Session Report – 22 November 2011

This session report kindly provided by Laurie and Daniel. [ With editorial contributions by Ellis.]

In this evening’s game session, a good time was had by everyone as we accumulated a lot of sparkling gems. [The first time in a long time, I have played in a themed Game evening!]

Valdora is a valley of treasure for adventurers to discover. Gemstones are free for the taking in the middle of the board, as are silver coins. Adventurers have freedom of movement, only impeded by stops in cities along the way. Ellis found this game play “laissez faire” and even “hippy” in the open approach to movement and gathering of wealth. [True.]

Players must deliver gemstones as commissions, and then earn workshops for accumulating enough commissions in each color. Although it was a first play for both Ellis and Rochelle, both players managed to trounce Laurie. [Laurie was busy explaining the rules…] They scored more points for diversity of commissions completed, workshops won, and bonuses gathered. Rochelle won with 142 points, completing commissions in each of half a dozen colors. Ellis scored 136, completing 15 commissions, the most of any player. Although Laurie posted high-point-earning white commissions, she gathered the gemstones for her final white commission too late to deliver them before game end. Two of Laurie’s workshops scored her no points and earned her only one bonus tile, resulting in a measly point total of 102 at game end.

[This was an interesting game. The players have a lot of freedom of movement, and there’s plenty opportunity to pick up the gems you want, the commissions you need, and the coins you are going to spend. The choice of commissions and tools (needed to transport the gems you pick up) is governed by cards, used in a book format (complete with miniature book frames). You have a choice of card and can flip it (turn the page) for the next one. Cute. The competitive edge is a wee bit hidden, and the chances to do damage to your fellow players is limited. (I tried, I tried…) There’s a quirky throwback rule of having to pay your opponent if you land in the same space as them. Ahem. But, in general, the low level of player interaction is what takes the shine off it for me. Not that it’s bad game, but I felt it needed a bit more oomph; a bit more of a cutting edge. That having been said, the margin between success and failure is slim as I believe Laurie was hammering us until she lost her train of thought and, seemingly, abandoned her winning plan. Fun? Yes. Worth playing again? Yes. A desert island game? No. But, nice gems and game pieces.]

From sunlight to darkness, the hunt for gems continued into the cave exploration game Diamant. Daniel joined in for this game, more risk averse than usual. In several of the caves, Ellis and Laurie were the only adventurers to brave the final section of the cave, scooping up many additional gemstones. Alas, Ellis was consumed by an evil serpent in cave number four, resulting in the loss of his share of the treasure for that cave. Laurie’s intuition held true for all five caves, bringing her a victory of 64 points. Daniel scored 32, Ellis 30 and Rochelle 24. [A light, fun, filler game. Definitely too easy too be consumed by the ‘just one more tile into the cave’ syndrome.]

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