Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cold Blooded Lizards Session Report

Last night Amy, Jeff & Simon showed up for gaming. First on the table, Coloretto This is by Michael Schacht, which means short and simple mechanisms. Simon called it a defensive draft. On your turn you can draw a card and add it to a pile, or take a pile. Once you take, you are out (until everyone has taken one). Towards the bottom of the deck there's a "Finish up" card. Once that shows up you just finish the current set of piles and score. Each pile scores using the common triangular formula, but only your best three colors are positive. The rest are negative.

In our game, Simon made a huge comeback in the final round to narrowly edge Amy.

The obvious next step -- big lizards! We pulled out Aladdin's Dragons.
At it's heart, this is a blind-bidding game. Each player has eight chits (numbered 1-9, with no '3'), and takes turn placing the (face down) in various locations in the city. Then you resolve the locations. The caves (where the dragons live) give treasures. Highest value gets the most. In the palace, the highest value earns the right to buy magical artifacts (which win the game), but have to pay treasure equal to the value of their chits. If you play a '4' chit, you have to pay 4 matching treasures. Play a '4' and a '2', you have to pay four of one kind, and two of another. Of course, if someone else played a '7', they win ... at the cost of seven treasures. In between the caves and the palace is the city, where each space does a special action -- buy some spells at the bazaar. Move the turn around around at the camel trader's. Get a few extra treasures swapped around at the money changers. And you have the palace gates. Each turn the guards patrol, and if you don't match their value (1-10), then you get evicted from the palace ... unless you bribe them with treasure equal to the difference.

Additionally, each artifact has a special power, and you can use one artifact per turn (two if you win the artifact space in the city). Everyone starts with a lamp, which you can use to cast spells. The other artifacts are bought in the palace. The key lets you get past the guards, the flying carpet counts as a '3' token. The doubler lets you double one token including your opponents. Come in second in the palace? Double your opponents '5' token and see if he has two sets of five treasures. The Scroll doesn't do anything, but breaks ties at the end. And the counterspell ... counters a spell.

Keep going until all the artifacts are bought, most artifacts wins.

Despite the fact that there are only 6 artifacts per player (and we each start with one), I've never seen this game tied. Jeff ran away last night and never looked back. Typical scores are 7-7-5-5 (or 7-6-6-5). Last night was 9-6-5-4. I personally had three (or was it four?) of my spells countered, and managed to carefully guess tiles to spend 8-13 points of chits for no effect several times. Such is blind bidding for you.

At this point, the sun had set. So everyone scurried home to rest on warm rocks.


At 9:38 AM, December 02, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Nice report. I've only played Aladdin's Dragons once about 1.5 years ago at Patrick's house, but I remember it as a good game.

At 2:22 PM, December 02, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

I really liked the board! It's like a little piece of art with no real game related clutter on it (no words, no scoring track, etc.). As for the game, I tried my best to make a desperate full round sweep at the end, but everyone thought it'd be great to screw me with every special power in the book whilst Jeff coolly picked up enough artifacts to royally spank us all. In hindsight, I would've had to win all of the artifacts up for auction just to beat Jeff by a mere single point, BUT STILL!

At 5:42 PM, December 02, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Yes Ben, Aladdin's Dragons takes me back to the times of yore.... I played Kendahl's copy at Patrick's.

At 5:45 PM, December 02, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Oh, and Coloretto...great filler.


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