But while we waited for Martin, Andrew, Ian and I started with a quick game of Timeline. My set contains a massive jumble of inventions, animals, historic events and more (The Big Bang is a personal favourite). Martin joined us halfway through, but it didn't make much difference; Andrew closed out the game with the rest of us a three-way tie for second place.
An interesting note; the invention of the cork in 1695, the invention of the corkscrew a full 100 years later - what were people doing with all that wine for a century!? Poking the cork in with a knife I guess.
Martin, Ian, Joe joint 2nd
So we set to and unpacked the plethora of bits that come with Lost Valley. It's hard to imagine a game with more bits, certainly one that actually coheres as well as this does. It helps when you've got Martin as your teaching guide of course, and I'd got up to speed via a comprehensive review on the Geek earlier in the day.
The theme is strong in this one. You are prospectors during the Yukon gold rush of 1896, discovering and extracting river and more precious mountain gold, some of which you'll trade for gear that makes it easier to get more gold. It's got elements of Carcassonne, the tiles that form the board being added by the players as they explore.
Here's me, for instance, thinking I was in clover as I found myself surrounded by untapped gold reserves:
|Martin hovering in the background . . .|
|Ian with lots of precious mountain gold, and jerky. Oh look it's Martin lurking in the bushes again.|
Ian's skill was the drunkard, meaning he could drink twice as much whiskey as us each turn, but at the expense of experience which gets you new skills. As I mentioned earlier, it's a game with big ideas - there seem to be tons of things going on, but it's all very thematic and as a result it never feels overwhelming. In fact, for the first time in ages, I felt I was playing a game for the first time with a real sense of discovery, rather than stress at not fully grasping the mechanics.
The game can end in a couple of different ways, and ours was scuppered by the encroaching winter.
Despite all being fairly gold-rich at earlier points in the game, we'd all spent gold on gear, and not quite got round to using it, so the final tally was less than impressive. That said, Andrew had almost twice as much gold as his next nearest rival, and four times that of Martin in last place, so he was definitely doing something right.
|The Yukon, as winter hits and the game ends.|
I enjoyed it a lot. It was long, but there was a lot of consulting the rulebook, and we were taking our time exploring the options. It has a lot going for it though - feels like a very open space in which to explore different strategies, and that feeling fits so well with the theme that the net result is a game with real charm.
Martin scooted at this point, as he had a plane to catch to America the next day. We three manfully pushed on with a quick game of High Society. Unlike our last few, this one played out in the way you might expect, with a decent showing of points cards interspersed with negatives and multipliers. Ian's greed got the better of him in the end, as he snaffled a multiplier for a whopping 32 points but did so with all his money, instantly disqualifying him.
This took the pressure off Andrew and I, and we fought over another multiplier. I should have taken it but I let Andrew pay a lot for it, hoping a few high point cards might come out next for me. But the card that came out next ended the game,and Andrew scooped his third win of the evening.
Well played sir.
Ian 32 OUT
A fine evening, and I hope to read of some gaming exploits over the next few weeks whilst away in Scotland. If I manage to bribe my kids in to playing any games with me, I'll be sure and let you know.