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Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Not-at-Essen-Essen-gaming-night 2015, where we do not play at Essen and definitely don't play any of the Essen games on ESSEN SPIEL week.


First up, WELCOME TO THE DUNGEON! Not sure if there's an exclaimation after the title but it sure is more exciting with one.

Players play as what I like to imagine as 'Dungeoneer coaches' who try to outdo each other by either putting more monsters into the dungeon or by sending their proteges in with less equipment.

This narrative is of course entirely made up by me but look at the tiles! Such georgeousness!


There's the Barbarian...


... The Mage...


... The Rogue...


... and the Warrior.


Here's the easy reference card to show what character abilities beat which monster.


And the winner for the night is... (drumroll)


The Rogue! Who beat a dungeon of 3 monsters by discarding 5 equipments and entering it with only a suit of armor! (insert party noise)


Next up, SYLLA


A sneak photo of Ivan and Vence putting on their best Roman consul impression.


The game can be best described as a.. er.. Roman... er... standard eurogame with interesting interlocking mechanics of a medium weight.


The interesting part of the game is the various characters which have different power and abilities to assist you in acquiring various victory points. You and your opponent choose starting characters separately and you end up with different strategies depending on what you chose.


Lastly, we end the night with BROOM SERVICE


Yep, in the month of Halloween we shall control witches delivering potions in the land of super-colourful-cardboard-tokens!


Endgame victory points reference card


On your mark, get set, BRRROOMMM!


And what is a eurogame without custom potion-meeples?

The ten characters you can be in the game to accomplish your tasks.


The conceit of the game is that everyone chooses 4 characters from their hand of 10 characters. Then on their turn, they may play a card and announce whether they are the BRAVE or COWARDLY version of that character.

Everyone who has the same card must now also play it and announce their BRAVE or COWARDLY behaviour. However, only one person may be the BRAVE one and the last to announce so will be the only one allowed to execute the action.

Other COWARDLY characters may also execute their action but the effect is lesser. Indeed, if you play through the entire game without being BRAVE at least once, it would be impossible to win the game.

Certain people (cough, Jeff, cough) would be delighted at the rich psychoanalysis possibilities in the game where you have to decide - am I BRAVE or COWARDLY?

Thumbs up!


The night started with a two player game of Barony between Ivan and Heng


This game have serious component overproduction issues


Modular setup tiles


Game action summary card


Victory Points tracker


Control Points tiles


This game is sort of like chess where positioning and area control matters.


This is more so in our two player game as each move is met immediately by a countermove.

Castles, Fortresses and Mountains form up choke points and defensive barriers.

Villages give control points to convert to Victory Points. However the catch is that villages can be razed by the opponent to steal those control points from you.


The challenge is then to time the conversion and also to position those villages in more defensible territory.

As the game is deterministic (no random elements), the thinky and analysis paralysis can get quite bad. However it does reward repeated plays and there are many strategies that a veteran can employ against a beginner.

Next we are joined by Vence for Roll for the Galaxy (RollFTG)!


from left: Heng, Vence, Ivan. You can see Sinbad's gang in the background doing other games.

Race for the Galaxy (RaceFTG) is one of my favourite games, but I always felt the teaching time is too long and unnecessarily complex.

So how does RollFTG fare as an apparently shorter dice variant of RaceFTG?

First off - the dice now acts as the resource of the game, so no more huge hand of cards as resources, instead, it is better to get as many dice as possible in this game.

The explore option works differently in that new developments and worlds revealed go to the bottom of your stack and only the top can be worked on.

This is a massive change from RaceFTG as previously you will have a massive hand to pick and choose which tech or world to work on. So RollFTG although won't confuse new players as much with too many options, does feel constricting to a RaceFTG player.

The other major change for the better is to combine trade and consume into the same action called shipping.

Leeching off other player's actions is still a mainstay of RollFTG, however this time, in order to leech effectively, you have to commit dice resources to those actions that you think the other players will play. This is where the more dice you have the better as you have more dice to 'guess' where the other players will go and as an added bonus, mitigate the luck of the die roll.

sturdy dice cup


the colourful dice!


player board


player screen cum rules summary


action selection board


game credit marker


player action selection indicator


Player starting world plus specialisation (yup, you start with 3 development/world on tableau)


allocating dice


gaming @ Old Town Whitecoffee = getting fat


So what do I think of the game? RollFTG seems to be more streamlined and easier to teach, however the limited exploration option gives the game a different character from RaceFTG. I'll have to try it a few more times and with different player count. At this point in time, RollFTG does seem to be able to coexists with RaceFTG but definitely RollFTG will be my choice to teach to newbies.

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