This week it was my choice and I thought I would choose a couple of games I purchased at Essen this year but hadn't got around to playing yet, Metromania and Fiji. Metromania is published by Speil-ou-Face and designed by Jean-Michel Maman. In the game the players dig two subway lines each across the city, trying to connect places of housing, leisure and factories to gain points. The play is not difficult, in a turn a player may lay up to 3 subway tiles or build a station, if his line connects to another line a station is built automatically. Players also have some destination markers with letters on the backs, these must be placed during the game and at the end journeys are made between them, the lines that consist of the shortest journey time score points for their owners.
A journey is also made between the park and the lake. So players must complete their two lines or they get a penalty and they are trying to connect to the destinations so they score points in the journeys at the end of the game. The game components are OK, the triangular tiles and stations are a bit fiddly to lay, especially when the board gets a bit crowded, but overall not a bad game with some interesting situations arising for placement. Garry got blocked on one of his lines and so could only build on his other line. I think we may have played the ending condition wrong at this point, in the rules the ending conditions are if 5 lines have been completed or blocked, or a player finishes his second line. We ended the game when Garry had finished his second line, but in reality this was only his first as his other was blocked.....ah well, get it right next time.
Board Close Up
We were only 3 tonight as Richard couldn't make it, and the board was crowded with 3 so it would have more so with four. I enjoyed the game and there is some interesting plays to be made.
Garry 29, Steve 20, Colin 9
Fiji is a game by Friedmann Friese, and if you don't like auctions this is probably not the game for you. In this game you are bidding gems to win more gems and the player with the highest amount of the right gems at the end of the round gets shrunken heads as a reward. The game consists of 4 rounds each of 3 auctions. Each player starts with a set of gems which he places behind his screen, one extra set is placed as the pool. The four goal are shuffled and rotated at random then dealt alongside the idol card, the nearest one is the first goal the rest are tiebreakers. Then you shuffle the condition cards and lay out 4, then the action cards and lay 4 alongside the condition cards. Each player secretly chooses a number of gems to bid and then they are revealed together. Each players bid counts for all 4 of the condition cards, you win depending on what the condition card says, most green gems, least blue and yellow, there are different combinations on all the cards. You do this 3 times then their is a scoring round the player that meets the 1st goal card, it may be most gems or least gems of a particular colour, gets 2 shrunken heads, second player gets 1.
You play 4 rounds and the player with the most shrunken heads at the end is the winner. As I say if you don't like auctions it's maybe not the game for you and you don't want to analyse the cards too much when you bid it loses it's fun flavour. It's best played fast and loose, it was a lot of fun and we all enjoyed it.
Steve 5, Colin 4, Garry 3