GenCant 2016 Day 1: Egypt and Rome

Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings

Day 1 of Gen Con was today and it looked awesome (although I have no desire to be in this). I loved seeing all of my online gaming buddies posting photos and reporting the latest and greatest from the con.

Valley of the Kings

It was also Day of GenCan’t 2016 and I participated in the #GenCantSoloCon by playing a solitaire game of Valley of the Kings. I’ve  played this deckbuilder several times solo and I enjoy it as a get-your-highest-score game. Set in ancient Egypt, it’s a deck builder with set collection, in which you only score points by putting cards in your tomb (trashing cards) and you earn more points for collecting similar items. This sets up interesting choices throughout the game: do you play your card for its money value, its action, or trash it to start accumulating points?

Valley of the Kings is one of two deck builders I recommend to Dominion fans (the other being Trains).

Rome: Rise to Power

Rome: Rise to Power

Rome: Rise to Power

After my solo game, I went to my Thursday night gaming group and I was able to get Rome: Rise to Power to the table. I’ve had the game for a few months and have been itching to play. Unfortunately, it’d been awhile since I’d gone through the rulebook (which isn’t exactly the easiest to follow), so there were a few pauses during the game to clarify some points. I’m usually pretty good at explaining games (I’m the designated rules guy during family game night), but I wasn’t at my best tonight. Thankfully, my gaming buddies are smart enough to figure out things on their own and we were able to play the game within the suggested time (45 minutes).

Rome: Rise to Power is a game that combines dice allocation, card drafting, set collection, area control game with variable player powers. Players are in ancient Rome trying to use its military to win regions throughout the Roman Empire, win influence with senators, and put on the best arena battles.

The dice allocation system is unique and it’s what appealed to me most when I’d heard about it. Yes, there’s luck involved with dice (duh), but there are several ways to mitigate the luck factor, mainly through the special powers each player earns through their combinations of senators and regions won. The third way to earn points, through the arena battles, is sort of wacky, but somehow it works: you buy cards to build a poker-like hand and play them after rounds three and five (the final round). So, three barbarians and two beasts are the “Battle Royale,” which is a full house in poker, and there other hands that score.

The overall consensus was okay. I liked it and agreed with two of my buddies; we’d like to play it again now that we have a better understanding of the game. The fourth guy didn’t care for it, but I’m thankful that they were all up for playing. I’ve got more than a few games in my collection that I haven’t played so it was good to scratch this one off the list.

Solitaire For Sale

For Sale

For Sale

While getting ready for #GenCantSoloCon (here’s my schedule of games for this weekend) I wanted to see if there was a solo variant for one of my favorite filler games, For Sale. A few clicks and clacks on and I can now play For Sale by myself.

For Sale is an auction-style game played in two rounds. During the first round, players bid on properties (numbered 1-30). A few properties are dealt out and players begin the auction by using their allotted amount of money tokens.The highest bid takes the current highest property, with the second highest bid taking the second highest property, etc. A player can drop out of the bidding at any time and receive half of their bid back along with the current lowest property. They can also pass (i.e., not bid on a property) and take the current lowest property for free. This process is repeated until all properties have been bought.

In the second round, players try to sell their newly acquired properties for checks (valued at $0 to $15,000). This time, the checks are dealt out and players secretly choose one of their properties. After everybody reveals them, the highest valued property earns the current highest valued check, the second highest property earns the second highest check, etc. This process is repeated until all properties have been sold. The player with the most money at the end wins.

For Sale is always a hit whenever I play it. It’s a fantastic quick play that also makes for a great introductory game for new board gamers.

Here’s the link to the original post of the solo play rules. And here’s my rewritten version; the technical writer/editor in me couldn’t resist streamlining the text and making things more consistent and orderly.

Day 222: Card Games


Our latest game night was with the youngest members of the family. They liked these three card games the best: Sushi Go!, Pit, and Milles Borne. The most popular was Sushi Go! and we played it numerous times. It was the perfect combination of easy-to-learn rules, fast play, and fun player interaction.

I’ve had the Milles Bornes game sitting in storage for years, so it was nice finally playing it. We did one run-through to figure out the basic game play. We’ll figure out scoring and strategy the next time it makes it to the table.

Pit is always a popular choice with any crowd I play it with and especially with the kids since it gives them an excuse to yell while playing.

I’m pretty sure it’s the same reason why adults like it, too.