Wednesday, March 21, 2007

20th March - Yspahan/Ave Caesar

This week with Steve still unable to attend because of work saw a welcome visit from Jo. It was Garry's choice and he chose Yspahan and if we had time Ave Caesar. I was the only one who hadn't played this 2006 game from Ystari Games. Jo ran through the rules and Garry had printed off a handy crib sheet with the card abilities on them. Here is a brief description from the official website:

1598. Yspahan the fair becomes the capital of the Persian empire. Thus, being placed at the center of the world, the city enjoys a period of cultural and economic blossoming. The cities and villages of the region intend to take advantage of this expansion. Caravans loaded with goods and jewels set out for the desert, bearing the promises of a radiant future...

The players embody merchants trading with Yspahan. Meaning to take advantage of the coming of the Shah’s supervisor, they score points by placing their merchandise in the right shops, by sending them to the caravan, and by constructing buildings.

Going through the rules

The game gets a solid 7.5/10 from the Geek and I would agree with that. Gameplay is interesting, the dice do not introduce to much of a random element and it plays quickly and not too long. The game components are well up to standard and the boards are colourful and well designed.

Colourful gameboards

I suppose you could say this game is all about manipulating your camels, but only if you're Richard. Garry and myself didn't get one cube on the camel track, whereas Richard got enough to garner 24pts at the end of the game. Jo got an incredibly good start with the cards that enable you to build a building with no camels and no gold. Obviously he built the most expensive one.

Close up of the board

In the end the game was very close, only 3 points separating 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to playing it again.

Final Scores
Richard 83 (the camel strategy obviously payed off), Colin 82, Garry 81, Jo 74

Ave Caesar
As I said Yspahan plays quickly and we had enough time left for a couple of races of Ave Caesar. Set in a roman colisseum this is the ultimate chariot race game. Each player has their own set of cards, numbered 1 through 6. You draw a hand of three cards, play a card and move your chariot, it's as easy as that. If you are the leader you cannot play a 6 unless you have only 6's in your hand.

Jo making a move

We were playing with the Cafe Games reprint and I love the resin chariots and roman coins. Using your cards to try block your opponents progress while maintaining your position is fun. While there is no great strategy involved here, it plays quick so you can play a series of races and is great entertainment.

I streak into the lead

We played two races, one on each of the double-sided game board, I used my previous chariot driving skill to wangle a win in both races, although Jo did manage to lose one of his 6's under some papers in the second race which would have made a difference to the result.....ah well!!

The resin chariots

Final Scores
Race 1
1st Colin
2nd Garry
3rd Richar
4th Jo

Race 2
1st Colin
2nd Jo
3rd Garry
4th Richard

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