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One of Raine's biggest hobbies has always been gaming. It all started with an Atari and spread out to Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: the Gathering, and Dungeons & Dragons. As an artist, Raine takes pride in painting models for games as well as making his own terrain. He's also been a writer for many years, working both in the journalism industry and writing pieces of fiction. He decided to create Initiative : Tabletop as a platform to talk about all things gaming that he simply thought were cool, and reviewing games became a part of it!

Guest Post: The Plan – Part 20: Practice!

I decided to take my own advice and instead of playing many games off the list, I practiced for the subbuteo tournament that I’m heading to this weekend. There is going to be about 20 people there (the biggest tournament I have ever gone to) and I want to at least not be rusty when I go. Granted, these tournaments for me are hanging out with friends more than actually trying to win anything (I’m not even remotely that good at it – though I did win a “best of the losers” trophy a couple years back). So after the single game, I played a game of subbuteo in which I took the early lead 1-0, but allowed the tying goal in the middle of the second half. Subbuteo like most soccer games can end in a tie so we didn’t play any additional minutes (games consist of two 15 minute halves). I hope to get a couple more games in before the trip, but time is limited.

The only game off the list this week was Yspahan – a combination of drafting and area control mechanics. Players are trying to produce goods to place in nearby neighborhoods in four different districts in order to grab the attention of the Shah’s supervisor. The game lasts 3 weeks of 7 days each. The draft mechanic is pretty ingenious – the first player rolls nine dice which are placed in 6 different actions spaces for the day (with the dice being arranged by the number rolled). Then each player starting with the first player takes a single action where the number of dice rolled is the amount of goods you receive if you are taking either camels/gold or the number of cubes you place in the four districts (so if three dice were rolled as ones, you could take the camel action space to get 3 camels). If you don’t want either of those options for your turn, you may move the supervisor who places a good in a shop he ends up adjacent onto the caravan board or take a card – once you perform one of those three actions, you may build one of 6 buildings that give you some advantage.

Brendan Yspahan

Yspahan – Day 5 in the second week. A couple of diverse die rolls have allowed me to place goods in the lavish vase district (top right).

Placing cubes in the districts is easy, only a single player may place in a certain neighborhood (each neighborhood in the districts are color coded) and you must finish a neighborhood before moving to a new one. At the end of the week, all completed neighbors are scored depending on their size (between 1 and 6 shops) and which district they are located in (anywhere from 4 to 12 victory points). Once scored all cubes are removed from the board. At the end of the week (and when filled), the caravan board is scored. The number of cubes each player has is multiplied between 1 and 3 depending which row a player’s cube is occupying. In the end, I can’t decided if I like it enough to keep it in my collection since after I play it I feel like something is just ‘off’ with game play.

I don’t play in many tournaments – weird for the amount of time I have been playing games. Heck I have been playing Warmachine/Hordes for ages (almost ten years now) and I haven’t been to more than a dozen tournaments. I just don’t feel the need to play in them (maybe that’s another reason I don’t play much Magic: The Gathering) for some reason. I don’t know if that is because I don’t have the desire to get extremely good at a single game by playing it repetitively or if I don’t like how competitive some of those tournament games can be. I play games as a stress relief and I don’t get that level of enjoyment when I’m in a tournament so I try to avoid them when possible.

Until next time – Play a game!

Brendan Mayhugh


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