Wednesday, April 18, 2007

17th April - Thief of Baghdad/Yspahan

Only 3 of us at this week's session. My choice and I chose The Thief of Baghdad. This game is designed by Thorsten Gimmler, the designer of that popular game Geschenk. The premise of the this game is that you are trying to get your thieves into the 6 palaces on the board and steal the treasure chests. The game is card driven, the deck consists of cards of 6 colours, corresponding to the colour of the palaces, and a smaller deck of dancer cards which act like jokers. The palaces have 4 spaces for guards to protect the treasure chests. Each player has 3 guards and before the game a black, neutral guard is placed in each palace, then the players place their guards. In a players turn he can either:
Place a thief in a palace by playing cards of that colour equal to the number of unfriendly and neutral guards that are guarding that palace.
Move one of his guards from one palace to another by playing a card of the colour of the palace he is leaving or the palace he is going to.
Do the same action but take one of your thieves with him.
And finally move a neutral guard, this takes 2 cards, one of the colour of the palace he is leaving and one of the colour he is moving to.

Steve working out some clever moves

At the end of your turn you replenish by taking 3 cards from the face down deck, if you make no moves in your turn, you take 3 cards plus a dancer card which can be used as any colour. In each palace is a stack of treasure chests, each chest requires an increasing number of thieves to purloin it, 4 for the top one, increasing to 7. As soon as you have the required number of thieves in a palace you can take the treasure chest.

Board layout

As with all games that are card driven you are reliant on which cards you get to a certain extent, but having said that I don't think it's too bad in this game. The fairly simple gameplay does give you several opportunities for clever moves and also to stuff your opponents. Never a bad thing!
The game comes in the standard Queen sized box and the components are good quality and visually pleasing. Taking only around an hour or so it doesn't outstay it's welcome. Play is smooth and I enjoyed it quite a bit. In a 3 player game the winner is the first to steal 5 chests.

Final Scores
Colin - 5 Treasure Chests

As we had some time left we visited the city of Yspahan again, in keeping with the eastern theme of course. As we played Yspahan on the 20th of last month I won't go into the gameplay in too much detail. Again this game takes only around an hour or so to play and although one of the mechanisms is dice rolls (not one of Steve's favourite) I don't think it affects the luck factor too much. Steve concentrated on getting his camels on the camel track and got quite a few points that way, I managed to populate a number of souks and when Steve tried to depopulate my 12 pointer by moving the supervisor, I luckily had a handy camel to disgard.

Final Board position

Final Scores
Colin 84, Steve 71, Garry 70

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