Clank! In! Space!, Saint Petersburg, Tokaido and Friday – Tabletop Gaming Weekly

This past week my Monday night game group got together again. We played some Clank! In! Space! and I showed off the new printing of Saint Petersburg.

I continued to play 7 Wonders, Race for the Galaxy and Tokaido on Board Game Arena

Another game I played this past week was Friday by Friedemann Friese. This is a solo game I played in the preparation of the Playing By Yourself article I posted on the 20th.

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It was good to get some gaming in on a Monday again. It had been far too long. I decided to use this opportunity to break out some recent favourites.

First up was Clank! In! Space! This was only my second play of the In Space! version of Clank!. I’m still not completely sold on this version. It’s definitely more involved and longer. This game went faster than our last game but still seems to take about 1.5x the time regular Clank! takes. I did find I was really liking the card combo system. I went with a mostly purple deck and spent a lot of time rescuing prisoners. I would have won if I had made it off the ship but I died one step away from an escape pod. At least I still got to count my points.

Next, I broke out Saint Petersburg Second Edition. We played with the full second edition rules, including the market but didn’t add in any of the expansions. This game was very different from my previous play with the market. In this game the market really dominated. My friend Sean (local Sean not podcast host Sean) got into the lead in all five markets and destroyed everyone else’s scores. Now I don’t think that makes the game broken or anything. I think it’s important for players to watch what the other players are collecting and make sure this doesn’t happen as it will lead to a win if not stopped.

The only thing notable about my Board Game Arena plays this week is that we are trying the Crossroads expansion for Tokaido. I own this, but it’s in my pile of shame. Whenever I take out my physical copy of Tokaido to play it’s with new players and I don’t want to overwhelm new players by adding in an expansion right away. So my copy of Crossroads sits, opened but unplayed.

Now that a bunch of us have played multiple rounds of the game on BGA, we decided to toss in the expansion. It’s very interesting. It’s taken some time to figure out exactly what the new options are. As I’ve noted before BGA is not a good place to learn a game. Basically what Crossroads does is give you a second option at each and every stop along the path. This adds an entirely new level of decision making to the game. I’m digging it so far, even if I haven’t quite figured out what all the new things do or when to use them. Maybe I should break out my physical copy just to read the rules and look at the cards.

Two days ago I published an article about solo gaming. After I had finished writing it I realized I wanted an in-progress game picture. So I went looking through my game pictures on my PC. While I did find a few solo pics they were all rather old and taken with an out of date iPod Touch. They weren’t very good.

So I decided to head down to my game room and grab Friday and set it up to take a picture. While setting it up I figured, hey, why not actually play a game. So I did a quick review of the rules and played through a quick game, snapping a few pics with my phone along the way.

It was quite fun. I got totally destroyed and didn’t even make it through the green phase of the game, but I still had fun. It brought back memories of playing this game over and over one weekend when D was out of town and the kids were gone. I think I played like 10 times in a row before I was able to beat the game.

Friday is a rather cool deck building game where you are put into the role of Friday trying to help Robinson Crusoe get off of the Island. You start off with a deck of 18 Robinson cards that are all pretty horrible. They indicate how unskilled Robinson is when he first gets to the island. They include things like Weak and Distracted. There are a couple of good cards like Genius but they are few and far between. Each turn you flip over a couple Hazard Cards and pick one to encounter. Then you flip over a set number of those Robinson Cards and if the total strength of the Robinson Cards beats the difficulty of the hazard you get to add that Hazard to your Robinson Deck. This represents Robinson overcoming the obstacle and learning something from it. Now if you can’t beat the Hazard (something that happens a lot at the beginning of the game) you lose some life points. In addition to this Robinson can learn from his mistakes, so when you fail you can also spend life points to trash some of those bad Robinson Cards.

There’s more to it of course. You have to manage your life points, you have to eat, Robinson ages as the game goes on, and once you manage to survive the Island threats you have to get past two rounds of Pirates. None of it is particularly hard to pick up and you should be playing in minutes after opening the game.

What I really like is that it’s all surprisingly thematic for a simple card game. I dig the fact that you start off with this silly, pretty dumb and bumbling Robinson and turn him into a lean mean survival machine by the end. I don’t play a lot of solo games but this is one I really enjoy.

So only a couple rounds of games for me this week. What did you get up to?

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