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Tag Archives: Roll Through the Ages

Hey! We played some games this week! In an amazing coincidence we all arrived at Owen’s house very early. Mike was the last to arrive and that let the rest of us play a couple games of Roll Through the Ages. I think Ben won one and Owen won one. I was last both times. The dice hate me.

Once Mike arrived we played Splendor. Ben has played this game many times. The rest of us had never played it, so we looked to Ben for strategy tips…and then we did the opposite. (Note: it’s a well proven fact that Ben never follows his own advice either.)

The rules for Splendor are simple. Each round you can take some gems, in the form of chips, or you can buy a card using your chips, or reserve a card so you can build it later. Most cards have victory points and that’s how you win the game. The first to 15 is declared the Supreme Poobah or something like that. There are also some special cards that earn you prestige points. These are just like victory points only you add the word “prestige” in front of it to make them sound special.

The first game Ben hoover-ed up all of the cheap cards, so later he could buy expensive cards. I didn’t mention this before, but you can use the cards you buy with chips to later help buy other cards. This was a winning strategy for Ben…who won…by a lot.

The second game went quite differently. Ben waffled on his strategy which caused him no end of distress and long turns. Mike went for HIGH value cards and this nearly won him the game. He may refine this strategy in the future. I used Ben’s strategy from the first game and ended up winning…just barely. Both Owen and Mike were right on the cusp of being able to win as well.

Our last game was Damaged Report. Everyone but Mike had played this a couple times before. We lost terribly both those times. This game is a literal race against time. Aliens are trying to destroy your ship and you’re trying to either repair the warp engines and get the heck out of dodge, or repair the laser and blow the aliens sky high. All the while you’re taking damage from those pesky aliens.

The first game we one is about 2 minutes. That’s because we cheated. That’s because Ben told us we could.

The next game was a little harder.

Just like in so many movies the robot/synthetic/android (known as Ben) nearly killed us all by delivering the wrong part at a crucial moment. “I’m color blind” was his reason for bringing the wielding torch instead of the wrench. “Mr. Robot was killed in the laser room with the wielding torch.” That’s what we were thinking.

We recovered though and won, literally, by seconds. We blew those aliens to kingdom come.

Chaos Steve


Evil Mike is in New Jersey for his work this week, but that didn’t stop Ben, Owen, and I from doing some gaming. First up we chose to play Dominion. We played with just the core set and randomly picked our 10 stacks of kingdom cards. In the first game we had a lot of kingdom cards that generated coinage. So it was no surprise when the game ended with the last 6 point victory card being bought. Ben got the majority of those 6-pointers and won the game with 52 points. I came in second with 42 points and Owen was right behind second place with 32 points. (Notice the symmetry of our scores? That’s the hallmark of real gamers. Or it could be just dumb luck.)

The second game we chose another random set of kingdom cards. This time we were heavy on cards that gave you extra actions and allowed you to draw more cards into your hand. I think Ben was the king of this. He’d play 4 or 5 actions, grabbing another 4 or 5 cards. Fortunately for us, all that card shuffling did him little good when it came to getting coinage to buy victory points and kingdom cards. Owen on the other hand, had a well-tuned deck and he continually garnered Victory Point cards. He didn’t end up with a lot of 6-pointers, but had a slew of 3-pointers. Owen won the game with 40 points. That would have got him last place in our first game. As it was Ben only scored 28 points and I had a measly 18 points. You have to wonder if Ben and I were even playing the same game as Owen.

Then we switched games and played Roll through the Ages. Our first game was rather ordinary. I thought I could pull off a win by ending the game quickly. It turns out that Owen beat me by three points. Owen had 26 points. I had 23 and ben was dead last with 17 points.

Our last game of Roll through the Ages was by far the most exciting…at least at the end. Ben had rolled two Skulls on the dice. (This would normally mean Drought for him, -2 points, but he had the Development so he could ignore this.) Ben had three more dice available. If he could roll one more skull, it would mean -3 points to both Owen and I. This would probably win him the game. He rolled…and got TWO more skulls for a total of FOUR! This was Invasion or -4 points for him. Poor Ben. Owen ended the game on the next turn, but I still had one more roll of the dice. Although I didn’t have many points, with a lucky roll I could grab the Empire Development and game 13 points from it. I had six dice to roll. I immediacy rolled two skulls just like Ben. Ben and Owen both thought I should roll all of the remaining dice to try for one more skull. A -3 to both of them could win me the game. I didn’t listen to them and wasted my second roll. Now I was down to my last roll. I decided to follow their suggestion and I rolled all of the remaining dice…and got TWO more skulls just like Ben! That was -4 points to me! Oh the injustice of it all! (It was just funny when it happened to Ben.) Owen won the game with 17 points. Ben was right behind him with 16. I had a whopping 13 points thanks to that -4.

All-in-all we had a great time. We hardly missed…uh, what’s his name.

Chaos Steve

This week we played another new game (for us) called Im Jahr des Drachen (In the Year of the Dragon). This is the second German game with an oriental theme that we’ve played in recent weeks. It’s an economy-type gamed where the players are Chinese rulers trying to manage their empires against a never ending onslaught of disasters–kind of like my real life. No, I’m not a Chinese ruler, but the never ending onslaught of disasters is right on. Unlike in my real life (thank God), the game disasters take the form of drought, deadly diseases, Mongol hordes, and more. The good news that you know what is coming and when, and you can prepare for it. The bad news is that your rival Chinese rulers–those pesky other players–also have this information. Your turns are spent executing actions (or if you are Ben, executing peasants), summoning people who can help you through the disasters, and garnering victory points. With the number of game components you get, you may think the game is complicated. It’s not. What is challenging is managing your people and resources to minimize or eliminate the various disasters each turn. So let’s see how we did…

There’s a little country ditty from the old TV show Hee Haw that starts with “Gloom, despair and agony on me…” I think that’s how all of us felt at one time or another during the game. Mike started out making some poor decisions because he misunderstood a few of the rules. He followed that up by listening to Wormtongue (Ben) on a couple of his turns. Even with these handicaps, he led for most the game. It was towards the end of the game that things feel apart for him. It’s not completely his fault though. We realized very late in the game that he had one less Person card than the rest of us. And worse yet, his missing card was one of his “wild” cards—a very useful card indeed. His empire ended up being completely destroyed at the end of the game.

I was completely inept throughout most of the game in making good use of my events and people. During a full quarter of the events, I could do nothing. Still I managed to stay at the front of the pack and eventually came in second. Owen, poor Owen, seemed doomed to never score many victory points. He was way behind for most of the game. But he steadily continued building his empire and by the end of the game scored a considerable amount of points, giving him a respectable third place finish. Ben, strangely, managed his empire well and steadily earned points. There was one point where he had to execute several of his people, but he deemed this as an acceptable loss. He uncharacteristically went on to win the game.

The big game of the night came next though, when Owen broke out his Roll Through the Ages. We all loved this game. It’s easy to play, challenging, yet takes only about 20 minutes to run through an entire game. Players roll dice to obtain commodities and workers to build up their civilizations. Now this may sound like a Yatzee variant, but it’s far from that. There are various ways to build your civilization. Will you build monuments to earn your points or buy developments which can also help you on future turns? Or maybe a clever combination of both? Whatever you do, you must beware of disasters, which reduce your victory point total. Knizia does it again with this seemly small game that’s packed to the brim with high quality components. Buy it. Buy it now. Oh, and in our game, I crushed my opponent’s puny civilizations beneath the weight of my civilization’s developments. Sure they had monuments, but I had currency*!

*You’ll just have to play the game to know what the heck I’m talking about.

Chaos Steve