Sunday, 13 March 2016

Board Report: Incan Gold

Discerning and intelligent human being that you undoubtedly are, loyal reader, I've no doubt that you've noticed that since I'm here in Oxford and I haven't got a job (although that might be changing soon, watch this space) I've got a lot of free time on my hands for gaming.

As well as far too many computer games (which we'll get into a little later) but I've also been indulging myself by joining the Oxford Board Game Society, which mostly involves spending every Wednesday night getting schooled at nearly everything that I try my hand at. There's a good selection of titles games, so as well as slowly indoctrinating my new friends with some of my favourites, I've also had a chance to pick up and play a whole heap of new and interesting games.

Incan Gold

The only new game that I ended up playing this week was Incan Gold, a 5-10 minute push-your-luck game that involves purloining as many pretty gems as you can from the depths of an Incan temple before the whole team dies in one of a number of interesting ways. Actually, the copy we played was a blend of Incan Gold and Diamant, the original version, combining the best parts of each (they're mechanically the same, but Diamant had some cool bits for each player that aren't included in the remake).

Each turn, a card from the deck is turned up, and that card is either some number of gems (ranging from 1 to somewhere around 24?), a unique artifact (worth 5 gems initially), or some kind of hazard. The benefits are split equally between all players in the temple, with remainders left on the card. After each turn, each player simultaneously decide whether they're taking their winnings so far to safety or risking them by remaining in the temple. If two of the same hazards are ever turned up, anyone left in the temple loses their winnings, the next round begins, and then the highest score after five rounds win.

It works pretty well for a short game, with each player trying to strike the balance between leaving early and guaranteeing their winnings, or staying in the temple and potentially winning big. It's made better since the remaining gems are split amongst any leaving players, so you generally want to try and predict what the other players are going to do in order to leave as late as possible, but not at the same time as anyone else. 

Having a game or two in your collection that can entertain a relatively large group of people for a short period is a pretty good thing, so I'd heartily recommend this one, given that it easily plays up to 8 players. I don't think that I'll be picking it up myself, given that there's lots of other games of this general push-your-luck type where a little diversity goes a long way, and also that I already already have access to this one for the next few years or so anyway.

Gaming Goals This Week

Get some Brasenose people to Board Games Night
I've got a bunch of people who'll happily play board games with me at college but keep wimping out when I try to get them to come along with me to club night because the have 'work' or 'theses'. Talk about lame. I have a good feeling that this week will finally be the week to break the drought.

Regain Nova I rank in CounterStrike
My big time-sink video game for the last year or so has been CounterStrike, a game that I used to think I was half-decent at, but it turns out that there was a problem with their ranking algorithym, so I've been recategorised as a 'Silver Elite Master' (actually pretty terrible). I think I'm just on the cusp of 'Gold Nova I' (slightly less terrible) rank, so if I can string a couple of good games together I think I can get back there and regain at least a little of my self-respect.

Finish Train Valley
The latest in the seemingly never-ending chain of light train managment games in my Steam queue, I've happily wasted a few hours on this little gem by a Russian developer. I've only got a couple more levels to go, to I'll plan to knock them off this week and then retire the title from my regular rotation until they release a few more levels (there's only about 25 so far, but apparently more are on the way).

Play Pony Island
My good friend Peter gifted me a game last month that I've yet to boot up. Given that Peter generally has pretty good taste (the last game that he gifted me was CounterStrike!), I'm looking forward to it, so I'm hoping that I'll have a chance to give it a bit of a try this week. Apparently it's pretty short, but I'm not exactly an expert at finishing games quickly, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.

There you go, if I can get half of that one it'll be a very productive week. Happy gaming (or however you prefer to waste your time) to you all.


T McCarthy said...

What about DOTA?

UnwiseOwl said...

What about it? Want to suggest a goal?

Michael5000 said...

Light train management, eh?