‘Existence is a die thrown by blind human hands – only the gods glimpse its final outcome.’

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Quantum slipped right past me, somehow, even with all of its hype from Essen’13, it went completely under my radar.  It wasn’t until I saw a local distributor on Facebook post about it that it even caught my attention.  How? I have no clue, I enjoy science fiction and I enjoy throwing dice.  I did a little digging into it and realized that this may be right up my alley. I thought about what my game groups reaction would be.  Would there be too much randomness and luck built into it for some of us? Absolutely.  Would there be enough strategy for me to want to bring this to the table over and over? Is there really enough of a game when dice are a huge part of the mechanics, or is it just a luck fiesta? Read on to find out…

 

Overview:

Sometime in ’52 during the Cold War a seam of theoretical physicists and experimental poets (what? Seriously? Experimental poets?!) hack time and space to create the ‘Six-Dimensional Quantum Displacer – or Quantum D6.  A machine that projects future possibilities and selects one to become a reality.  (Uh…sure.  I guess if I can buy into Dune and Star Wars, I can buy into this.)

Jump to ’84 when there was an epic war, no… in fact there was a Planet-Shattering War.  The Quantum D6 demanded inconceivable amounts of energy, and with fuel limited, war was inevitable.  (Are you still with me here?) Wars started and Earth’s superpowers split the planet asunder to drain the last breath of life from the core.  We must have then fled earth on ships fueled by Quantum, of course headed for the stars.

Alright…I won’t go on, but you get it right? We’re not playing with fancy colored dice, we’re playing with the ever powerful Quantum D6.  Quantum can do everything! It can change your ships into entirely different ships, it can build Quantum Cubes which rip energy from planets to feed our massively hungry ships, really what can’t it do?

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Game Setup:

The game set up will depend entirely on the number of players that you have at your table. Quantum can accommodate 2 to 4 players.  You’ll choose from a variety of maps that are laid out for you either in the rule book (starting maps) or on the additional Sector Maps sheet that comes with the game.  There’s a large variety of maps that you can choose from once your acquainted with the game and it’s mechanics.

Each player will choose a command sheet, the matching 7 dice and specified number of quantum cubes based on the map you choose to play.  The number of Quantum cubes can range from 5 to 7.

You’ll place a die on both the Dominance and Research spaces on your Command sheet, with 1 pip showing.  You’ll place the specified amount of quantum cubes on the corresponding spot on your board and you’re almost ready to play!

You’ll roll 3 of your remaining 5 dice and those will be your starting ships.  The other two dice, place somewhere to the side, they can be earned later in the game as expansion ships.  You can re-roll your dice if you don’t like the outcome, but you must re-roll all of them and must keep the second roll.

The first player will be the one with the lowest ship total, aka the lowest total number of pips showing on their dice.  That player will then place one of his Quantum cubes on one of the starting planets.  Then in player order you’ll also place your 3 starting ships (the dice you’ve rolled) in the spaces next to your starting planet.  These are the orthogonally adjacent spaces, not any spaces diagonal to the planet.

Grab those awesome combat dice, that’s the fancy term for the black and white die that come with the game and place them near the map.

Now all that’s left is to shuffle the two separate decks of advancement cards.  The white Command cards and the Black Gambit cards.  Deal 3 of each of these face up on the table.

Get ready to start beating up on your friends, because it’s time to start draining planets!

 

Game Play Overview:

The game will be played over a series of rounds.  Each round a player will have exactly 3 actions to utilize in Phase 1.

Reconfigure: You can reroll one of our existing ships.  If you get the same starting number, you may reroll again until you get a new number.

Deploy: You may relocate a ship from the scrapyard to an orbital position on a planet that contains one of your Quantum cubes.

Move/Attack: You can move your ship up to the number of pips on it and may attack by landing on an enemy.  A ship can only attack/move once per turn even if it’s number changes.  You may not move through other ships (yours included) or planets.

This is really the only action that we need to go into much depth on.  Each of the 6 different faces on your die represent different ships.  The smaller the number the larger and more battle hardened your ship is.  Each ship also has one special ability which you can use on your turn as well that does not cost you an action.

The ship breakdown:

1: Battlestation.  This is the toughest ship that you have.  It’s special ability allows it to attach 1 enemy next to it. (Orthogonally)

2: Flagship.  This allows you to pick up 1 ship from a surrounding space and carry it on your move, then drop it any empty surrounding space.  Surrounding in terms of Quantum is any of the 9 spaces around where the Flagship moves into, the placement must be legal and you can not place on a planet or another ship.  This does count as a movement action. 

3: Destroyer.  This ship allows you to swap places with one of your other ships on the map.  This does not count as an action!

4: Frigate.  You may change your ship to a 3 or a 5.

5: Interceptor.  You may move diagonally as you move/attack.  This is the only ship that allows you to move diagonally.

6: Scout.  This is your fastest ship, it’ll allow you to move the furthest across the board but it’s very weak.  It’s special ability is that you’re allowed to re-roll it once per turn for free.

Attacking: When moving and attacking, you must have enough movement to be able to move into the space in which you are attacking.  You will move you ship halfway into the space in which you are attacking, and both participants in the battle will roll an additional die.

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Here’s the catch, the lowest total combination of your ship plus your die roll wins the battle.  Remember when I said the 1 was your toughest ship? Yea, it’s slow and tough as nails.  Example: The green player has a Battlestation (1) in which the red player is attacking with their Destroyer (3).  The red player rolls the black attack die and gets a 4, for a total of 7.  The green player rolls the white die and gets a 4 as well for a total of 5.

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This means that the defender wins the battle and essentially nothing happens.  The red player will move back to the last space they moved from (the space before they entered your air space) and it’s over.  Had the Red player rolled lower than the green player, it’s a victory and the green player would remove his ship from the board, re-roll it and place it in his Scrapyard on his player board.  The red player will then gain 1 dominance point and the green player would lose one Dominance point.

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Battling your way to 6 Dominance points is the only other way to place a Quantum cube on the board.

 

Construct Cube: This takes 2 actions.  You may only construct a cube on a planet in which you do not already have a cube.  (There are some adjustments to this rule which I’ll cover later).  You may only place a Quantum Cube on a planet in which your ships are in Orbital Positions and add up to exactly the number of the planet.

Research: Simply add 1 to your research die.

Phase 2: the Advancement Cards

You are allowed to take 1 card for each Quantum cube you placed on the turn, and 1 card for a research breakthrough, which means raising your research to a 6.

You are only ever allowed to have 3 Command cards, if you are to earn an additional card, you may draw it and then choose which Command Card to discard.

Gambit cards are one time bonuses that happen once you take the card.

Think carefully about the cards you choose, those quick fix Gambit cards are awfully tempting, but the Command cards can give you ways to take extra actions or manipulate the dice.

Game End:

The game ends when one player places out his last Quantum cube.  Yes, it’s that simple, there isn’t some crazy Victory condition.  Place your cube, end the game, laugh at your friends.  Quite simple.

 

Thoughts:

Quantum wound up filling a void in my gaming shelves.  It allows players to utilize strategy while giving your opponents the ability to completely destroy that strategy on their turn.  There are those who are going to hate Quantum because of the luck factor, in fact it was only 3 rounds in when one of our regular game group said ‘I already hate this game, it’s entirely too luck based’, of course this was after a string of bad rolls. So know going into it that the dice can play a large part of your success or failure, but that all depends on how you plan your actions as well.

Quantum provides (for me at least) a quick, fun, space game that allows direct confrontation and doesn’t shy away from making you attack your friends.  If you want to be the peaceful ambassador and try to just ensure that you’re getting the right numbered ships adjacent to the planets to place your Quantum cubes, nothing is stopping you.  Oh wait…yes there is, the other players at the table that have that rabid bloodlust in their eyes, just waiting to position their ships next to yours to blow them to little quantum bits and pieces.  You could technically win by avoiding battle entirely if the other players allowed you to do so, but the games I’ve played there was no way to let one player just do what they wanted.  You had to pay attention to each player, how many cubes they had on the board, where they were moving and what possible benefits they could have on their turns.  Quantum practically begs you to beat on your opponents, this is a battle for supremacy not an acoustic camp fire session for pacifists.

If you aren’t a fan of direct confrontation games, look else where.  If you want a completely friendly space game, try…uh I actually don’t know what to tell you. Maybe TI3 because before you actually get to battle you may have fallen asleep.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

It’s played well with 2 and 3 players, I haven’t gotten 4 players to the table yet, though I only assume that’s going to make it that much more fun. It’s fairly quick, with 3 players it’s averaged under an hour, a 4th may prolong it a bit, but you should have no problem finishing in just about an hour.

The components are good, at least my copy had none of the complaints that I’ve seen on BGG so far.  The Command Sheets are really nice card stock, the print quality is excellent.  The dice are large, mine did initially have a weird film on them, they weren’t sticky but they weren’t smooth either, but after a few games no one even noticed any longer.  The card stock isn’t amazing, but they should hold up just fine.  The insert is actually really well created, though for those of you that sleeve cards, they’ll no longer fit into the box.

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Overall, if you’re looking for a new space themed game with a good amount of direct confrontation and strategy, Quantum may be right for you.

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Camp Grizzly: A session report…

Jody, Karen, C.J. and Kevin were the counselors on that fateful night.

Jody was the loner of the group and left the camp fire first that night.  He headed over to Beaver cabin, and found the little Angela.  She couldn’t sleep and while against Jody’s better judgement, he let her tag along.

Karen wanted to check up on Jody and wound up leaving shortly later to follow him and make sure he was alright, so she headed over to Beaver Cabin as well. When she saw he was with a camper, she continued to make her way to the girls shower.   Though she had an awful feeling that she was being watched. (Killer’s Obsession Plot Twist)

C.J. was feeling tired and decided to head to Beaver Cabin to retire for the night, where he stumbled upon a Instant Camera.

Kevin waited a bit longer at the camp fire, making sure that it was going to go out without causing any problems and then headed over to the Dining hall to see if he could find anything to eat.  There was a broken window in the Dining hall, and because there was a sense of dread in the air, he grabbed a Shard of Glass just to be safe.

Our Killer made his way to the campfire, only to find out that all of the counselors had already left for the night.

Jody talked Angela into walking over to the Commons with him where, they heard a scuffle in the distance.  It was Karen they heard screaming when OTIS STRIKED (Killer’s obsession card).  Luckily she was ‘Scrappy’ enough to make her way through the encounter unscathed.

Jody decided to take a forest route even though it was pitch black out, and luckily enough, made her way to Morris’ Office to acquire the Keys.

C.J. made his way over to the Commons to meet up with Jody who had Angela in tow.  And ‘Search the Cabin’  finding the Meat Cleaver.

After not having any luck finding something to sooth his munchies, Kevin made his way back to the Campfire to make sure it had gone out completely.  He stumbled over a pair of old ‘Running Shoes’ and picked them up.

Our Killer reappears at the Swimming area and starts to make his way towards the dining hall.

Jody decides that it’s best to stay put and looks around the commons some more.  He was ‘Horrified’ to find a murdered counselor in ‘The Time Out Chair’.

Karen moves out of Morris’ Office  into the Commons and makes her way over to Beaver Cabin.  She’s exhausted and grabs the ‘Swivel Chair’ only to find a counselor with a slit throat, she becomes ‘Horrified’.

C.J. was always attracted to Karen, so he quietly made his way out of the Commons and headed over to Beaver Cabin to meet up with her.  Where, much to his dismay he met up with Morgan, one of the Campers that had given him trouble earlier in the day.

Kevin decided that he would check on Li’l Cub Cabin, Where OTIS STRIKES (Chiseled Features) and he decides to ‘Scream for Help’ attracting the attention of his best friend C. J.   Otis and C.J. battle it out, but luckily for C.J. his ‘Meat Cleaver’ came in handy and he was able to fight Otis off and our killer disappears only to…

Show up in Beaver Cabin with Karen, Karen isn’t as lucky as Kevin and C.J, as she takes a wound and panics moving towards the campfire.

Jody decides that he’s going to move over to Morris’ Office to see if he can find anything useful, determined to find something helpful he finds a ‘Axe’ in the closet.

Karen, nursing her wound decides to head over to Buck Cabin, to see what’s been locked away there.  She finds ‘Timmy Teddy’ and starts to wonder why all this madness has happened.

C.J. ever persistent heads back over to Buck Cabin in an attempt to meet up with Karen again, where he finds a ‘Flashlight’.

Kevin is still shook up from his experience and decides to stay at Li’l Cub cabin and hope that Karen and C.J. will head over.  While he’s waiting, little Kimberly crawls out from under her bed and runs over to him.

Otis heads to the Commons as it’s the middle ground between both Karen who’s with C.J and Jody in Morris’ Office.

Jody attempts to find the forest path over to the Girls Shower and fails., when a ‘Fire!’ breaks out, it fire catches his arm and he receives a burn.

Karen attempts to ditch C.J. and heads through the forest trail over to Li’l Cub Cabin and up to the Sports Cage because she has the keys.  She remembers ‘Safety First’ and is able to think of a ‘Diversion’ that she may be able to use later.

C.J. decides to follow the forest path but stays in Li’l Cub Cabin with Kevin.  It’s there he discovers that he must have had a ‘Hole in his Backpack’ and realizes that he lost his ‘Instant Camera’.

Kevin has had enough waiting around and decides to head to the Tool Shed to see if he can find anything that explains what’s going on.  It’s there where Kevin is ‘Chased!’  Otis just catches him with his claw and Kevin takes a wound, he heads to the campfire and is able to outrun Otis and head down to the Dining hall.

Otis reappears at Buck Cabin and decides to move towards C.J. Where he catches him in the doorway, C.J wins using his ‘Meat Cleaver’ to drive Otis away yet again.

Jody tries to make his way from the fire and safely makes it out and into the Commons area.  Just when he thought he was safe, he and Angela were dragged ‘Into the Woods’.  Angela pulls out her friend ‘Mr Slicey’ and decides to take on Otis and is able to drive him off.  They make their way through the woods and pop back out at Beaver Cabin.

Karen heads to the Game Room, where OTIS STRIKES, with her quick reflexes she tosses ‘Timmy Teddy’ towards Otis and is able to move back over to Li’l Cub Corner.

C.J. heads to the dining room, just as he does so he hears Otis and must take this ‘Window of Opportunity’ which he does to try to escape to the woods.  Just when he thinks he’s in the clear out in the woods, OTIS STRIKES and this time his trusty ‘Meat Cleaver’ isn’t enough to save him, he takes a wound and stumbles away from Otis.

Kevin stays in the dining hall and is able to find a Crowbar!

Otis barrels out of the woods and approaches Buck Cabin and moves towards Karen in Li’l Cub Cabin and strikes, because she’s still determined and ‘Scrappy’ she is able to fend Otis off.

Jody makes his way down to the Girls Shower where he finds the First Aid Station!!

Karen heads to the Dining Hall when a ‘Blackout’ occurs, which makes all counselors but C.J. with his trusty flashlight, horrified.

C.J. is still wandering the woods trying to get out and he finally appears at Li’l Cub Cabin. Where he finds a short cut which allows him to move to the Tool Shed.

Kevin stays in the Dining Hall with Karen, where he proceeds to tell her that ‘Tonight’s the Anniversary.  It’s been fifteen years since Jeremy Played his final prank.”

Otis appears at the end of a trail at the Tool shed and strikes C.J. He was able to best Otis one more time with his ‘Meat Cleaver’.

Jody decides to stay at the Girls Shower and heals a wound with the First Aid kit.

Karen heads over to Bunny Cabin, unlocking the door to find a dead camper.  (+1 Body Count)

C.J. is able to restart the generator at the tool shed, helping everyone ditch their horrified feelings.

Kevin heads up to the Campfire where he is able to find the ‘Crank’.

Otis appears at the Swimming area again and makes his way over and through the dinning hall.

Jody heads up through Braver Cabin and into the Commons, where he runs into ‘Lunchbox’.  Jody is having a bad enough night, but now he has to drag around two of these brats with him.

Karen moves out of Bunny Cabin and over to the Girls Shower where she is able to heal one of her injuries with the First aid kit.

C.J. heads from the Tool Shed up to Buck Cabin, where he finds an Acoustic Guitar.  This is where Kevin meets up with him, and is able to avoid any disasters for now. (Finds Practice Target).

Otis makes his way across the camp and to Buck Cabin to Strike!  Kevin is able to use his Crow Bar to ward off the attack and drive Otis away.

Jody and his pack of brats moves over to Buck Cabin to meet up with C.J and Kevin when he finds the 8 Track Player.  Karen meets up with the Gang at Buck Cabin just as the ‘Downpour’ starts.

C.J. heads up to the Boys Shower and finds the ‘Safety First’ manual.  Kevin heads out of Buck Cabin, past the campfire and over to Li’l Cub Cabin in an attempt to make it over to the stables eventually.  It’s there that he encounters ‘Detective Haddon’.

Otis reappears at the Tool Shed and immediately heads to Li’l Cub Cabin to Strike.  Haddon is immediately killed and Otis attacks Kevin.  Otis catches Kevin in the leg and he panics moving away.

Jody hears Kevins scream and makes his way over to Li’l Cub Cabin and encounters Otis with his Axe.  He blasts Otis with his Axe, but as Otis makes his departure he can’t unlodge the Axe from him.  The Axe is now lost forever.

Karen heads down to the dining hall, in hopes of finally making it to the kitchen, but becomes lost in the woods.

C.J. heads back to Buck Cabin, where he finally gets his chance to ‘Fool around’ with Karen, he knows it’s a bad idea to tempt fate but as the only virgin counselor, he decides to go ahead with it anyway.  (Nothing happens when I draw 1 card)

Kevin makes his way over to the Game Room, where OTIS STRIKES.  Otis uses his claw to unleash another strong attack and Kevins ‘Crowbar’ is useless.  Kevin Panics and heads towards the stables.

Otis stalks down Kevin in the pouring rain and strikes again, this time burying his claw into the other leg, Kevin panics again and makes his way stumbling back to the game room.  It’s not looking good for Kevin at this point.

Jody meets up with Kevin at the Game Room.  “Holy shit man, you look bad, real bad.”  That’s where they encounter ‘Head Counselor Morris’.  Head Counselor Morris shuffles off the two campers that have been clinging to Jody and Otis appears.  He immediately strikes down Head Counselor Morris, then attacks Jody.  Jody is caught by the claw in the shoulder and gains a grievous wound, panicking he runs to the stables.  Otis knows a wounded counselor when he sees one and goes straight for Kevin, but in his desperation Kevin is able to fight Otis off with his crowbar.

Jody cleans herself up and heads down to the dining room after her time spent with C.J, while shes making her way she notices a ‘Heavy fog’ start to fill the camp.

C.J. uses the forest trail to make his way over to Li’l Cub Cabin, it’s there that Otis stabs him from the shadows and disappears.  (Bleed Out).

Kevin makes his way from the game room up to the Stables, where he finds a rain slicker.  If he had only found this a few hours ago.

Otis returns at the swimming area and makes his way towards Karen in the dinning hall, he’s close, very close.

Jody finally makes his way far enough into the stables only to discover… another dead counselor.

Karen has had enough and instead of running, she confronts Otis.  Her gamble this time works and she fights Otis off.

C.J. just moves closer to the Li’l Cub Cabin door and looks out to see a ‘Full Moon’.  Kevin makes his way back to the Game Room, where OTIS Strikes again.  Kevin takes yet another wound, panicking he runs to the other end of the Game Room.  Otis stalks him down the Game room, claw raised in the air and strikes Kevin down.  Dragging his corpse into the corner of the room.

Jody makes his way towards the door of the stables where he runs into Dawn, who has an asthma condition.

Karen makes it to the Kitchen, fumbling with the lock and is able to find the battery.  Wait, that’s it, we can make it to the Ranger Tower if we can just find Kevin and get that crank back, I wonder where he is….

C.J. heads to the Campfire, where OTIS STRIKES.  Otis unleashes all hell on C.J. and buries the claw into his back, C.J. is able to get away to the dining hall, covered in blood.  Otis follows though and strikes out at C.J. again, this time finishing the job for good.

Jody makes his way to Li’l Cub Cabin where he notices a ‘Door Ajar’.

Karen makes her way into the Game Room trying to find Kevin.  What’s that in the corner ‘Oh Jesus’ she screams.  It’s Kevin.  She hears whimpering in the corner and realizes one of the campers, Don is there.  He must have witnessed everything.  She grabs the crank from Kevin’s lifeless body.

Otis makes his way towards the Game room, knowing they must have found Kevin’s body by now.  He makes it just to the end of the dining hall when he hears in the distance…

Jody making his way through a forest path into Buck Cabin, where he finds a pocket knife.  He also sets up the 8 Track Player.

Karen makes her way to Li’l Cub Cabin, where the stench was overwhelming.  She decides not to investigate the body.

Otis makes his way through the Game Room!

Jody makes it through Buck Cabin and into the Commons area.  Where he becomes lost in the woods, of all the luck, you’d think I’d know these damn trails by now.

Karen is thankful that she’s athletic as she is able to make it all the way to Beaver Cabin, where she finds a spare set of keys.  ‘Shitload of good these do me…”

Otis moves through the trails, through the toolshed and to the campfire.

Jody makes his way down into Beaver Cabin, where he frantically looks for something to help and pulls a chainsaw out from under the couch!

Karen makes her way to the Ranger Tower, hoping that Jody isn’t far behind.

Otis hears noise in Buck Cabin and heads that way to dispatch yet another counselor, he’s furious when he realizes that it’s just an 8-track player.

Jody makes his way into the Girls Shower and uses the First Aid Kid to heal his wound.

Karen is getting impatient at the Ranger tower, she freaks out when she realizes that she has lost a set of keys on the trails, it’s a good thing she picked up those spares after all.

Otis stalks his way to the Commons, tearing his way through the doors.

Jody reach the Ranger Tower.  They may just make it out alive.

Jody and Karen make their way towards the tower, they both make it to the tower!

Karen grabs the phone to call for help.  She’s able to get through! Help is on the way! OTIS STRIKES, Jody cranks the chainsaw for a battle with Otis, he is able to defeat Otis and they’re safe until Help Arrives.  Both Karen and Jody with Don and Dawn make it through a stay at Camp Grizzly.

 

(I may have missed some rules…but I think I’m good.  I obviously left out what the actual rolls were, but you should have been able to get the point. )

 

Camp Grizzly is truly an amazing experience.

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Waiting in line has never been this interesting…

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During a trip to my FLGS, the owner and I were talking about new games and he mentioned Kolejka.  We talked about how bizarre it is to have a game based on Communist Poland and how waiting in line for stores to open sounded incredibly odd for the premise of a board game.

Curiosity got the best of me and when I returned home, I logged in to BGG and looked into it, watched a short video review and read about the game and it’s ratings.   When I returned to the store a few days later to pick up a copy of Dark, Darker, Darkest, I kept picking up Kolejka and looking at it, returning it to the shelf and looking around more.  I picked up DDD and was about to leave when I went back over to the shelf and wound up leaving the store with it.

 

Overview:

The game is set in 1980′s Poland.  Every player has different goals and desires, that they need to be able to acquire.  Unfortunately, the fulfillment of those wishes is caught up in the deliveries of product, or lack of deliveries to the local neighborhood stores.  Even in these rough times, you’ve been able to save up enough money to pick up the products that you need, but due to shortages, the merchandise is delivered in very limited quantities.  The goal of the game is to be the first family to pick up all 10 items on your shopping list.

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Game Setup:

Place the game board in the center of the table with the Truck Delivery Board next to it.

Shuffle the Product cards by color and put one card of each color on the outdoor market.  The order in which you place these cards will remain unchanged for the rest of the game.  Place the remaining product cards on their appropriate places on the delivery truck board.

Place the market trader meeple on the outdoor market in the first field.  It’s marked with the letter B.

Each player will choose their color of their meeples (family members) and take their queuing cards and player assistance cards in matching colors.

Each player shuffles his/her own queuing cards and forms a stack, then draws 3 cards.

Each player then draws one shopping list card and places it face up in front of him/her.  The player with the highest number on their list gets the first player marker.

**It’s important to note that Kolejka is a game where all information is open, so other players will know what you’re looking for and what items that you already have.**

Then in clockwise order, starting with the first player, the players will take turns placing their pawns, one at a time in front of stores of their choice, until all of their pawns are in line.

Once all meeples are in place, you’ll place a spectator (a black meeple) at the end of each of the five lines.  You’re now ready to play Kolejka.

Game Play Overview:

Kolejka is played over a series of rounds, each round is broken into 6 activities.

1. Queuing Up

At the beginning of the game, everyone is already queued into lines.  During the Queuing Up step of the following rounds, any meeples that were able to come home with their items are now allowed in player order to place their meeples back into new lines to wait again.

2. Merchandise Delivery

The Manager (the first player) will draw the top three cards from the delivery deck stack and place them face up on the designated spots in the center of the board.  (This will depend on the number of players,  if you’re playing with less than 5 players, less items will be delivered to the stores).  The manager then transfers the merchandise from the delivery trucks to the appropriate stores, as long as the supplies last.

3. Queue Jumping

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The queue jumping phase plays out over 3 turns, and this is the part of the game where it can turn ugly really fast.  The player with the first player marker can now choose one of the three queuing cards that they have in their hand and play it face up on the designated spot on the board.  The next player may now play a card, this will continue until all players have had a chance to play 3 of their queuing cards in a similar manner.

Each player starts the game with only 10 Queue cards, there are 5 rounds of each week, so you may run out of Queue cards before the end of the first week, if you’re out of cards you, don’t get them back until the 6th round of the game.  So you have to think carefully about how and when to play your queue cards each turn.

When a player chooses to pass, they are no longer allowed to play Queue cards during that round again.  The Queue cards change the placements of the meeples in each queue.  I’m won’t list the details of each card, but know that most of them have the ability to screw over each player and prevent them from gaining the merchandise that they need.

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4. Opening of the Stores

When the stores open, the players at the beginning of each queue till take all of the available merchandise.  Each pawn can only take one items of merchandise, so getting the proper placement in the queue is vital to winning the game.

Your pawn will return home with the merchandise acquired and in step 1 of the next round, you’ll be able to queue them up in line again.

If an item of merchandise has been purchased by a spectator, it will then be added to the outdoor market on the designated field and the spectator will then be moved to the end of the same line they just acquired merchandise in.

If there are any items left in the store, they’re then left in the store for the next round.

5. Exchanging Merchandise at the Outdoor Market.

Any players that have queued up their meeples in front of the outdoor market can now exchange any number of products for items available in the market.  Merchandise is exchanged at a rate of 2 for 1, except where the market trader sits, there is only a 1 for 1 exchange rate.

If a player does not wish to shop during this phase, he/she can pass and the pawn can remain in front of the market until next round or return home empty-handed.  Any other players on the outdoor market place may then choose to exchange merchandise at the market.

6. PCT

This is the ‘clean up’ set of the rounds.  The manager will then turn over the discarded merchandise delivery cards and place them on the waste bin spot on the board.

Any ‘Closed for Stock taking’ cards that were played are them moved to the discard pile.

The market trader is then moved to the next spot at the outdoor market.

Each player will draw up to 3  queuing cards to replenish their hands, as long as they have enough cards to do so.

The next player in a clockwise direction will take the game opening market and the first of the 6 steps will start again.

Saturday:

Once you’ve played 5 rounds through the above steps it’s Saturday and the board must be tidied up.  The waste bin containing the used delivery cards is emptied and all of the cards are reshuffled to create the delivery deck again.

The queuing cards that have been played and discarded are now reorganized and handed back to each player.  They’re shuffled and each player can draw back up to 3 cards.

The market trader is then placed back on the first card in the outdoor market again.

Game End:

The first player to buy or exchange the final item on his/her shopping list wins the game.  If two players simultaneously end the game, the player with the biggest surplus of items then wins the game, if the players are still tied with surplus items then the game ends in a draw.

Thoughts:

Kolejka, also known as Queue is essentially a worker placement game, that plays out with some special abilities that are played out through using the Queuing up cards that you have each round.  While a game about waiting in lines for merchandise or food in communist Poland may not sounds exciting or interesting, there’s a good level of strategy involved once you play your cards.

In both of the games that I’ve played, the game has gotten really cut throat with players taking every opportunity to block and ruin opportunities for other players.  It’s easy to set up and learn and doesn’t take too long to play out, though depending on the amount of queuing cards that are played, it could take longer.

Kolejka has good components, though be prepared to spend some time stickering the cards when you want to play.  The game comes with 6 rule books in different languages, each language rulebook comes with a set of stickers so that you can make each deck of cards read in the proper language as the cards are all in Polish when you open the game.

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The game is produced by ‘The Institute of National Remembrance’ and is considered a ‘historical board game’.  “It was designed to reconstruct, in a vivid manner, the circumstances in which Poles lived for decades under an externally imposed communist system.” This may make the game sound heavy and unapproachable due to the serious nature, but it plays out completely differently than that.  It’s a fairly fast, fun but tough game.

This is the 2nd edition printing of Kolejka and would have gone largely under the radar if I had not had a discussion with my FLGS owner about it.  It’s something that I feel will hit the table on a regular basis, it’s a good introduction to worker placement and allows you to build a good strategy based on the cards you’ve drawn.  If you’re looking for something interesting and easy to each, give Kolejka a shot.

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Who doesn’t want to run away with the Circus?

I can trace my obsession with releases from Essen directly back to this game.  Had my first importing been a disaster, I doubt I would have continued trying to get my hands on these releases before they hit state side.  This is a review that’s been a long time coming, and I wanted to ensure that it hit before the 2nd printing Kickstarter games shipped out and it started showing up at your FLGS.   If you’re unfamiliar with Artipia games, hopefully this will encourage you to look into their releases as they have a really strong catalog, great looking games and a few that will be released soon.   (I can’t be the only one super excited about Archon).

 

Overview:

You’re a traveling circus owner in the 1900′s, moving across europe, setting up shoes and working your hardest to impress the crowd.  When you set up your camp, you’ll need to focus on building your circus by hiring new performers and fulfilling their needs to prepare them to give an all start performance.  You’ll hire local personnel and invest in your circus in order to become the most successful circus owner.  After only 3 shows, the person with the most points will be the winner.

 

Game Setup:

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I want to start out by mentioning that this the first edition of the game, so some components may have slightly changed within the next printing, as well as there were numerous kickstarter rewards that have been added to the game.  (I was able to just order the kickstarter bonuses, instead of re-buying the entire game.  Thanks Artipia.)

You’ll place the board in the center of the table and place the two brown markers on the main board, one on the preparation track and one on the first show spots.

 

Shuffle the personnel, performer and the investment decks and place them next to the play area.  You’ll place the performer cover card on top of the performer deck, this blocks you from seeing the performer card on the top of the deck.  Each time you would deal a performer from the deck, you’ll actual deal it from the bottom of the deck.

You’ll then take the performer deck and deal cards out equal to the number of players plus one face up below the personnel cards.

When new performers are dealt, if three of them are the same type, you’ll discard the last one revealed and deal a new one.

Each player will receive a player board in the color of their choice.

The score and ticket cubes of their chosen color, and you’ll place one cube on the 0 of the scoring track and the other on the starting ticket in the tickets area.  (I’ll explain this more later)

They’ll take 3 action markers of their own color.

One random region tile which they’ll place on their player board.

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Each player is dealt two performers from the bottom of the performer deck.  These are kept secret from the other players.  All players will then choose one of their performers that they want to keep and at the same time they will pass the other performer to their player on their left.  After that the performers are revealed and placed below their player board.

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(examples of performers…some may be from the expansion available on BGG)

Each player then chooses two resources and places them in their storage area on their player board.  It can be any two resources that you want.

Each player receives 15 dollars, then they must subtract the hiring cost of the two performers that they have in their circus.

The player who most recently visited a circus becomes the first player, or choose randomly.

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Game Play Overview:

During the game, players will give 3 shows.  Each show players will have 5-7 turns of prep to get their circus ready for their performance.

Preparation turns consist of two phases.  (Though I’ll list the rest of the phases of the game here, only two are part of the preparation phase)

Action Phase:

During the Action hase players use their three actions to acquire resources, invest, sell tickets, hire personnel and performers for their circus.

The actions that are available to take with your action marker:

Rehearsal: This will allow the player to take a white cube.  This space on the board may only be taken once each turn and by only one player.

Equipment: This will allow the player to take a yellow cube.  This space can only be performed once each turn and only by one player.

Promotion: This will allow the player to take a green cube.  This action can only be performed once each turn and only by one player.

Costume: This will allow the player to take a blue cube.  This action can only be performed once each turn and only by one player.

Supplies: This will allow the player to take a red cube.  This action can only be performed once each turn and only by one player.

Sell tickets: If you place your marker here, you’ll receive coins.  They’ll move their ticket cube one slow ahead in the ticket area and get the corresponding amount.  Once the last ticket slot is reached, the player can not perform this action until the next show.  After each show, all ticket cubes return to the starting position.  This action can only be performed twice each turn by each player.

Invest: Player pays 1 coin and takes the top card from the investment deck.  Each player has a hand limit of 2 cards which can be increased by 1 for each magician in that players circus.  This action can only be performed twice each turn by each player.

Hire Performer: The player may hire 1 performer for their hiring cost (minus any discount tokens they may have).  The performer is then placed in that players circus below their player board.  This action can only be performed once each turn by each player.

Hire Personnel: The player may hire 1 personnel member for their hiring cost (minus any discount tokens they may have).  The hired personnel is then place in that players circus on the left of the player board.  This action can only be performed once each turn by each player.

Pass: A player may choose not to perform any number of actions, they receive 1 dollar for each action they do not perform.

So now that all players have placed their action markers what happens? There’s action resolution.  Once all players have chosen their actions, each player removed their action marker and performs the chosen action in the following order.

Cube actions, Sell tickets, Invest, Hire Performer, Hire Personnel.

Once all actions have been resolved, each personnel member that was not hired receives a discount token, which will make them cheaper the next round.  (Which also creates very sad performers).

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Distribution Phase:

This is the phase where players can equip their performers with resources for the show.

All players will simultaneously move 2 of their resources from the cube storage area on to their performers.  Once a cube is moved to their performer, it can not be moved and reamins there for the rest of the game.  Unless the performer gets fired or are flipped for their victory points.  When this happens all resources are returned back to the supply.

Turn End Phase: 

You’ll replenish the number of available personnel and performer cards.

Move the turn marker one step ahead on the preparation track.  Move the starting player tile to the next player on the left.

Start a new turn.

Voting Phase:

After you’ve played 5 rounds, the players vote if they want to start their show or delay it in order to have a 6th or 7th preparation round.  Players will take one action marker into their hand and secretly choose to keep it in their hand or not.  Choosing to keep it in their hand means that the player wants to delay the show for another preparation round.   If the Majority votes for a delay, there’s another preparation round played.  If there is a 7th preparation round all players who voted for a delay on the show will lose one victory point!

Show Phase:

In player order, or couples in 4 player games, players will give a show and receive benefits.  Each player can choose the order their performers will appear in the show, and get the benefits in the order they need them.

Each performer gives a show based on the cubes the player has moved onto the cards.  This will result in different times of performances.

Poor Performance: The player receives the benefit shown below the poor performance cube area.

Good Performance: The player receives the benefit shown below the good performance cube area.

Outstanding Performance: The player here has 2 options.  The first is to do the same as above and receive the benefits shown below the outstanding performance cube space.  The second option is to (once per game per performer) is to flip the performer and immediately score the victory points the performer is offering.

No performance: If you choose to not play any cubes onto a performer during the distribution phase, the performer is fired! The card is removed from your circus and the player must pay the performers hiring cost as compensation and lose a victory point.  (now you know why there are sad clowns).

Salary Phase:

After each show, the player must pay out salaries.  They must pay each member in their circus based on the cost displayed on each card.  For every coin a player can’t pay, they lose a victory point, and yes you can go below 0 victory points!

Show End Phase: 

After all shows have been performed and salaries are paid, all performer cards and personell member cards in the hiring area are discarded and new cards are dealt for both.  The prep track will go back to the first position and the show marker will move to the next show.  Each player will pass their region tile to the player on their left.  Each player will return their ticket cube to the first spot.  And you re-begin a new preparation round.

 

Game End:

After the end of the 3rd show, the game ends.  There are end-game victory points awarded.

 

Thoughts:

Drum Roll is one of the few games that our game group played multiple times in the same night.  When it first arrived and I dove into the rule book, I knew it was worth everything that I had just paid, and trust me, getting it as early as I did, I paid a lot.

Drum Roll has an immersive theme, with strong illustrations that help bring you into the setting of the game.  Sure there are those that will say it’s just another cube pusher, but if you’re playing and thinking about what those cubes represent, which performers need what to prep for the show, etc it’s a much more enjoyable game.  If you’re one of those players that breaks every game down to simple math and resource collecting, a theme like Drum Roll will be completely lost on you.

As you play, you’re trying to think ahead, which resources do you need the most to have your performers give an outstanding performance? Is it more important to grab that resource before your rival? Do you need to try to get that new performer more than the resource? It offers may different decisions that you will have to make to really maximize your turns and performances.

The fact that each region you perform in will give you a different bonus for the performers that you have, you need to start thinking in advance for the next performance as well.  Do you take a performer that someone else may need for the performance at the end of this preparation phase or do you take it to prepare for the next show?

It falls into the Medium weight gaming, at least in my opinion.  It’s got just a bit to much to consider it a light game.  Though by no means is it difficult to learn or teach.  I know after reading the game play overview, you may feel as theres a lot to learn, but the rounds go fast and because it’s a language independent game, it’s very easy to pick up on the symbols.

If you’re a euro gamer who loves theme to your game, I think Drum Roll is a perfect decision for you.  It has excellent components, great card quality and excellent art.  This was the first in a line of great games to be released by Artipia games.  If you missed the kickstarter campaign for the second printing, get a hold of your local game store and have them pre-order this for you.

Now for the fun part… for an undisclosed amount of time. Anyone who likes and comments on this review will be eligible to win a copy of the Drum Roll RingMaster expansion from the BGG shop.  I ordered an extra copy and it’s been sitting waiting for this review to happen.  I will take all names, throw them in a hat and like a rabbit pull one out and send the expansion to you! (sadly I have to limit this to United States participants only)

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Shake hands, stab backs, gain influence and take over Florence.

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Tasty Minstrel Games pull a lot of my money, more than I’m ok with, but as long as they continue to put out good games I’ll probably continue to throw my money their way.  So when I found out they were partnering with H@ll Games to release Il Vecchio, I immediately asked my local game store, to be on the look out and let me know when it arrived.

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Overview:

It’s Florence during the 15th century and the Medici family controls the most powerful dynasty in the land.  You become the head of another family that is trying to work it’s way to the top and gain influence through different cities and infiltrare the Medici empire to become the new leader.

 

Game Setup:

You’ll lay out the board in the center of the table, which side you use is entirely up to you.  The only difference is the coloring of the different areas.

Sort the Province tiles by region and place them in the corresponding spaces in the corner of the game board.

Separate the Florence tiles, which are divided between City Council Tiles and Nobility Tiles and place them face down on the corresponding spaces.  Place the x3 tile on the City Council Tiles.

Depending on how many players you have, you’ll take a specified amount of Medici crests and place them face down on the space marked below the Florence location.  These will act as a timer for the game.

You’ll distribute the 5 Middlemen among towns with the color-matching symbols.  Most of these will match, don’t let the red Middleman throw you off, the space it will go into looks brown.

Give the starting player the First player marker, this never changes or moves throughout the game.  Then give him 2 Florins (money), the player to his right will get 4 Florins and everyone else will get 3 Florins.

Put the rest of the tokens (Follower, Scroll, Carriage and Bishop) and place them next to the game board accessible by all players.  These tokens are not limited, so if you run out, find a way to substitute them.

Each player will choose a color and take all of the family members of that color, 1 Carriage token, 1 Bishop token and 3 of the City Council Tiles.  You’ll choose to keep only 1 of the 3 City Council Tiles, which will provide a benefit throughout the game.  Shuffle the City Council tiles that players do not pick and place them back into the City Council pile.

To finish up set up, each player will place 4 family members on the board.  Beginning with the starting player, each person will roll 2 dice and place 2 family members in town adjacent to the area indicated by the dice roll.  If you roll a 7 place your family members anywhere you want.  Once all players have placed, they take turns placing 2 more family members.  Your family members can be in the same city as other players.  There is no restriction to how many family members can be in one area.

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Game Play Overview:

During your turn you’ll take one of 5 actions available.  They’re pretty straight forward and easy to learn.  Before I get into the actions you can take, I want to cover movement.  Before you actually have to take most actions, you’re allowed to move around the board. To move you’ll pay 1 florin per town to move from location to location.  You may also use a carriage to move anywhere you’d like, regardless of distance.

1.  Collect Tokens

If your family member is at a location with a Middleman you can choose to lay down your family member, you’ll then move the Middleman to the next matching location.  You’ll collect the tokens based on the location you’re at.

Purple: You’ll collect either 2 Bishop tokens or 2 Carriage tokens.

Red: You’ll collect either a scroll or 5 Florins.

White: You’ll collect a white follower token, which has praying hands on it.

Black: You’ll collect a black follower token, which has crossed swords on it.

Gray: You’ll collect a gray follower, which has a helmet on it.

There are also green locations on the board in which you can collect 3 Florins.

You may also turn in a Bishop token to take the tokens from a location where there is no Middleman, you also do not have to lay down your family member when using a Bishop Token.  Additionally if there is a Middleman, you may use your Bishop token and not move the middleman, effectively setting you up to use that location again next turn.

 

2. Gain a Province Tile.

You’ll travel if need be to one of the three provinces on the board.  You’ll place your family member on the Region track.  Pay the required # of followers (white, gray or black tokens as mentioned above) and the required amount of Florins.  Each Province has a different  follower cost, and each location on the Region track will have a different Florin cost.  These will allow you to gain victory points at the end of the game, depending on your position on the Region track and also allow you to take a Province tile of that region.  A province tile will give you a one time benefit.

There will be locations on the Region track that are yellow, if your family member if placed in one of these spots you’ll trigger a Medici event.

When triggering a Medici event, you’ll take one of the Medici tokens and follow the instructions on the back.  There will be 3 different options that will effect all players.

 

3. Gain a Florence Tile

You’ll travel to Florence if need be.  Place your family member on the City Council (Left track) or the Nobility Track (Right Track). To place a family member on one of these tracks it will cost 2 Scrolls and possibly 3 Florins.

When the game starts there is a X3 tile on top of the City Council pile, once the first Medici event is triggered it moves to the Nobility tiles and stays there the rest of the game.  Again, if you place in one of the yellow spots you’ll trigger a Medici event.

Gaining a place in Florence will give you two options.  City Council will give you benefits throughout the game, Nobility will give you a secret scoring victory conditions at the end of the game.

When you place on one of the tracks, you’ll take the top 5 tiles of that track and keep one.

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4. Reinforcement 

You’ll roll the dice and place a Family Member in a valid town, just as in the beginning of the game.

 

5. Recovery.

If all of your family members are laying down, you may raise all of them and collect one Florin.

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So how does it end and how do you win?  When the last Medici token is triggered, you’ll finish the current round.  Then in the Final Round, each player in order may take a double turn beginning with the starting player, and taking two actions in a row.  A player may decide to pass on his entire double turn and just gain two power points at the end of the game.

How do you score the end game?

You’ll check any Nobility tiles that you have and see if you score any points.

You’ll gain power points for your family members on the region tracks for each province.  The amount of points change depending on your location on the region track.

You’ll get 2 power points for each of your family members on the City Council or Nobility tracks.

You’ll get 3 power points per Majority on the Region and Florence tracks.  If theres a tie, the person who has the earliest family member on the track wins.

You’ll get 1 point for each Medici crest you’ve triggered.

The 2 points if you decided to skip the double turn.

The player with the most points wins!

 

Thoughts:

I’m not sure how I feel about Il Vecchio, it’s made it to the table a few times and I enjoy it.  It may be that it’s just so much lighter than I expected it to be, I don’t know why I’m so torn on it.

Il Vecchio definitely offers a variety of decisions that may change the outcome of the game.  There are different ways to build engines to gather followers and take your positions on the Province tracks.  It can be extremely competitive if playing with the right people, or extremely laid back, it will all come down to your group.  There are numerous paths to victory, though you’re not locked in to a particular path if you choose to change strategy mid-game.

It’s a game that has a great subtle learning curve to it, as mentioned before there are numerous paths to victory.  I think that it’s simple straight forward mechanics will fool a lot of players into not digging deeper into the variety of ways you can win, or more importantly block other players from winning. The more you plan, you realize the importance of planning ahead, and really thinking about what your next move should be.

Il Vecchio has earned its place on my gaming shelves along with its TMG brethren.  In fact, I think my review has convinced me that it’s defiantly a game that should be hitting the table more and that I’ll be introducing to more people.  If you’re looking for a light/middle weight game, that’s easy to teach and has much more depth than appears on the outside, this could be a possibility for your next game purchase.

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