At Meeple Design we are playing Board Games every week. We like to provide our weekly game reports, which we record on ScorePal, with our thoughts to help you make decisions about what games may want to try. Check out our Instagram for pictures of the games set up, to get a better idea of how the components and art look. Time for our weekly gaming report and this week we played 2 games, both at 2 players.
We didn’t release a play report last week as we were too tired to play Board Games, it does happen sometimes. Although we did play a couple of games of Love Letter, which is often our go to quick game that we like to play.
Altiplano is a worker placement bag building game which is predominantly focused on point scoring by building up resources. The unique worker placement in this game is that the board is made up of different locations randomly laid down in a circle. Each player has one worker and has to move them to a location to use its action and moving costs resources. It introduces an additional element that you need to optimise your resources and placement to make sure you can get to the different locations in that turn.
I have only played this at the 2 player count with my wife and we have played more than the 2 games that we have recorded on ScorePal. This is one of the few games we own that I consistently win at so obviously it is a favourite of mine. Nevertheless, my wife still enjoys this game, in part due to her determination to one day win. The game is mainly about deciding early one what you want to work towards, partly determined by missions which earn you a considerable amount of points during end game scoring and optimising your actions & resources to achieve your key goals. The bag building element does bring a tactical element to the game as you need to be flexible and adjust your plans as you go, but in general this game doesn’t favour players who aim to achieve multiple point scoring opportunities. Also, I feel that most of the actions you take will score you the majority of your points in the last couple of turns.
I managed to maintain my win record in Altiplano winning 100 to 77 points with this game being much closer than when we have played previously. Which does make me think that I am going to lose at this sooner rather than later…..maybe we won’t play it for a while. Overall the game is a favourite of ours as it focuses on building up resources, has the fun bag building element to it and isn’t confrontational, actually it doesn’t have much player interaction at all with 2 players. However I couldn’t imagine enjoying it as much with more than 2 players as it would slow the game down slightly and part of what we like is the fact that, despite being quite complex, it is still a fast paced game. We won’t have a chance to play with more than 2 players for a while but users on board game geek voted the best player count is 3 so maybe one day we’ll try it.
We brought this game when we attended Tabletop Gaming Live in London in 2018 and to our shame it has been sitting on our shelf since then. It was our first play but technically we didn’t play a full game of it as it is made up of 2 parts. The first part of the game impacts how the game starts in the second game. Each game has a different set of rules and as it is quite a complex game we only had time to learn the rules for the first half of the game.
This game is a hidden movement game where one player controls the fellowship aiming to get Frodo to Mordor across the 2 games and the other player controls the Nazgul trying to stop Frodo. In part 1 the player controls Frodo directly secretly planning out their route to 1 of the 3 possible exit points, within 16 moves. The main reason the rules take time to grasp is due to both players having different goals and turn structures. Once you learn the rules it is actually quite straightforward. The player controlling Frodo plans their route out and can play ally cards on their turn whereas the player(s) controlling the 4 Nazgul move the pieces on the board and use dice to take different actions. Playing as Frodo is unique due to the hidden movement and really the mechanic that makes the Nazgul turns interesting is the dice pool that you use for actions. The dice have to last three turns before they are rerolled and as their are 6 dice with a total of 12 Nazgul moves you need to use them at the right moments.
I comfortably lost the game to my wife, who got Frodo safely to Bree without me ever having any real idea of where Frodo was during the game. My main mistake was forgetting that the Nazgul could perform a free search action every turn that didn’t require using a dice. If I had used the search actions then I have no doubt that I will still have lost as hidden movement games are definitely not my forte. Although maybe the loss would have been less severe. We are both looking forward to playing again and are aiming to play part 1 & 2 on the same day. It's worth noting that there is an option to save your state of play at the end of game 1 so you don’t have to play both games in one go but we choose not to do that as it was our learning match.
Let us know in the comments if you have any tips for us and your opinion on the games we played.