Marcus came over early in the week with 2 new games - Innovation and American Rails. I've been dying to try Innovation as I'm a huge fan of Glory to Rome. Verdict? I like it and will be looking to acquire it. It does come across more abstract than Glory to Rome with a definite weaker theme. On the other hand, it feels more accessible than GtR despite its 100+ unique card powers. Perhaps it is due to the fact that only 5 card powers are in play for each player at any one time. Just like GtR, the strength is in the interaction which is a key element I look for in games. I enjoy the fact that not only are many of the card powers interactive in nature but you have to constantly 'compete' with other players to be ahead in card symbols to avoid sharing your powers with others. Van wasn't impressed even though she too is a fan of GtR. I suppose it's down to the theme or in this case, the lack of...
American Rails plays similar to Chicago Express which I own. And I have to admit, it's probably the better game. You get to start anywhere on the board unlike CE's fixed positions, which enhances replayability and offers more strategic options. Secondly, the action mechanism reminiscent of Steam also puts it above CE. I like the fact that each action can only be selected by one player each time round, and your choice of action will determine your turn order subsequently. It definitely adds more depth to the game. The game felt a lot more open, less predictable and many more options available with what you can and want to do with the different companies.
The sole advantage CE has over AR is perhaps its gateway potential. I like the fact that you reduce each player turn effectively down to only 3 options: Auction, Develop, or Expand. However, I find the whole Wabash addition once a company hits Chicago fiddly. Sure it adds an extra layer to the decision-making but new players tend to struggle wrapping their head around that part of the game. Nonetheless, the components of CE are far more attractive and I suppose that always serves as an important hook for casual/non-gamers.
Mid-week, the usual gang came over for our weekly fix of A Game of Thrones LCG. Can't remember much except that Jo (Greyjoy) and I (Lanni) took a close one from Ben (Bara) and Ivan (Martell). We ended off with Ra and Ivan took his first win in that, completely demolishing the rest of us. After Ben left, we managed to squeeze in a game of Dominion:Intrigue and a game of Citadels before calling it a day.
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