Monday, November 21, 2011

First Impressions: Civilization and the Lord of the Rings LCG

This past Saturday was a good day for gamin'.  I got to head to my friendly local game store after class and spend the whole day playing games.  We started off with Civiliza...err, Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game, got to try the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game and ended on a high note with Red November.  Now, I've already reviewed Red November and both Civilization and LotR were learning games, so I'm just going to give some impressions and notes rather than any full reviews.

First up was Civilization.  Before I say anything else, I must once again give Fantasy Flight Games kudos for posting all of their rulebooks online.  Being able to skim the rules beforehand (as well as watching Drakkenstrike's excellent components breakdown) took some of the edge off of setting up the game, but we still took out time with the rules until we got used to the turn order.  The components lived up to Fantasy Flight's usual standard - especially the map tiles, which were rich and vibrant, and the market board, which hosted a lot of mechanics/components very efficiently.  I was particularly enamored with the combat system, but I'll save that analysis for the full review.  Overall, Civilization was a blast and I am eagerly looking forward to playing it again.

Now, halfway through Civilization, I noticed a brand new box sitting up on the demo shelf.  I gasped audibly and leapt our of my chair to grab it and peruse it's grim contents.  This was the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game - a game that I've been lustily eyeing for a while now.  It's good.  Very good.  Probably one of the best cooperative experiences I've had from Fantasy Flight.  The cards are stunning and I often found myself totally absorbed in reading the bountiful flavor text and staring wide-eyed at the beautiful portraits on each card.  If you like the idea of forming a fellowship consisting of your favorite characters from the books as well as a few unique additions provided by FFG, then check this game out - and bring a friend.  I'll be reviewing this as soon as I can get my Gollum-like mitts on a copy.  In the meantime, there's a wonderful introductory video series on the FFG page (at the bottom).

Lastly, as the store was closing, we broke out Red November.  For this game, we were joined by a few new recruits who had never served aboard a gnomish submarine before.  Due to time constraints, we ended up rushing a bit and there were a few turns that were dominated by one player or another dictating what someone should do (a classic problem with co-op games), but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves - despite the fact that the sub somehow caught fire and we all died.

Things will be quiet for the next week as I head out of town for Thanksgiving.  I've got a few posts in the works, though, so expect a lot more in the coming weeks.  Have a safe and happy holiday!

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