Suburbia, Last Night On Earth, Lords of Waterdeep and Love Letter

Last Saturday’s boardgaming was good. I got to play a new game, break in an expansion, and return to a couple of favourites.

Suburbia was the new game. Designed by Ted Alspach, it allows you and up to three others to design a city. Well, a strange board game type of city. Different buildings are represented by hexagonal tiles which fit together. Each player is designing their own tile, and they draft tiles from a small selection available to all. When you play a tile, it gives you a benefit, and may trigger other benefits on previously placed tiles – including those of other players!

I was worried about these triggered effects, but – as it happened – they weren’t too hard to manage. It’s currently ranked #54 on BoardGameGeek, and is best with 3. We played it with three; David and Nash joined me. Tiles can be residential (green), industrial (grey), commerce (blue) or civil (yellow). You can also play any tile upside-down as a lake, which gives you money but no progression on the Income or Reputation tracks. The winner of the game is determined by who has the greatest Population at the end of the game, with your Reputation adding to your Population throughout the game, and certain tiles also giving population boosts. There are 2-4 open goals, which give population bonuses for achieving certain tasks at the end of the game, and each player has one secret goal, which does the same thing.

Nash had the running throughout the game with a good population, whilst I maintained a good income. Dave didn’t have much of either. Our open goals were to have the most industrial buildings, the least industrial buildings, and the most commercial buildings. Nash managed the first, Dave and I blocked each other from achieving the second, and I had the third. I was the only one to complete my secret goal – to have the most lakes – and scored a nice population boost as a result, but I was still three population short of Nash.

It’s a really good game, and one I think Rich will like when he gets a chance to play it.

Last Night on Earth is not new, but we were playing with the Timber Peak stand-alone set and with its new expansion, Blood in the Forest.

The scenario I chose was a short one, so we could play something else afterwards. Ten turns: the group had to protect the generators from the Zombie Horde. If I (playing the Zombies) killed three heroes or destroyed three generators, I’d win. If the group survived 10 turns, they’d win.

How hard could this be?

Last Night on Earth is a fairly simple game at its core. The Zombie player draw cards, moves his zombies one space each, fights any battles, and then spawns new zombies (on the crosses). The Hero players either move or draw a card, then shoot ranged weapons, and finally fight any zombies in their space. What makes the game great is the variety of options that stem from the cards, character abilities and – now – upgrades you purchase with experience points for killing zombies (or humans, in the case of the zombie player).

Timber Peak added the experience point rules, whilst Blood in the Forest adds forest tiles and new special zombies. And more cards. The group didn’t need to go into the forest, so they didn’t. Instead, they concentrated on protecting the generators in the building. It didn’t take long for the first generator to be taken out by the zombies, and the group frantically searched for gear to fight the zombies with.

One of the survivors (Alice), armed with an axe, tried to hold off the zombies from another Generator, only to have the Zombie grab the axe! Alice fell shortly thereafter and rose as a zombie hero, now menacing the others. Nash drew a new character to replace Alice, and we continued…

The game was one of rising and falling action: there was a time when I was convinced that the heroes would win, especially as Nash created a real melee monster and just started chopping up Zombies, but being in melee is risky, and a bite infected that hero, who then fell to the next attack.

Nash and David played a very aggressive game, partly because their ranged weapons tended to run out of ammunition a lot – especially with my cards helping them along. In the end, with three turns left to go, their luck ran out, and I was able to take down the third hero. Victory for the Zombies!

I was joined then by David, Tim and Richard for a game of Lords of Waterdeep, again playing just the basic game. I enjoy the expansions a lot, but I just haven’t gotten around to making sure they’re always in my car! So, just a basic game for us. It was tough. By now, we’ve all played quite a few games of LoW, so we weren’t struggling with the basic strategies. Waterdeep Harbour was key in this game – especially as Mandatory Quests started flying around.

I had a very slow start to the game, mainly because I was investing in buildings. David grabbed the first building, but I used Bribe Agent to play a second building, redeployed to take first player, then played the third building. After that, David took the lion’s shares of the buildings, and Rich took the lion’s share of the points.

Rich played really well and, as a result, was hit by several mandatory quests. I played one on Dave, and had one played on me. My slow start continued for a long time – by the end of the fifth turn, I had still not completed any quests!

I sped up significantly after that, chaining several quests together when possible. Possibly the most significant turn was when I was allowed to take all three spots in Waterdeep Harbour – there were enough buildings out by now that taking last pick wasn’t a big deal.

No-one was particularly surprised when David revealed that he was Larissa, the builder lord, and he scored 42 points for that bonus. I don’t think any of the rest of us scored more than 20 points for our completed quests – but our quests were worth a significant number of points.

Final scores were as follows:
Merric (green) 116. Dave (blue) 110. Rich (red) 108. Tim (yellow) 101.

For a game of Lords of Waterdeep, they were extremely close scores. It had been a close and very enjoyable game!

We finished the afternoon with a game of Love Letter, one of the best micro games of recent years. Basically, the four players are trying to get a letter to the Princess. The card in their hand shows who is currently holding their letter, and when discarded has special abilities – looking at other people’s card, knocking someone out of the round if you can guess who has the letter, or exchanging hands are three of the possibilities.

It doesn’t take long to play. Each round is over in a few minutes, and a full game takes about 30 minutes or so. In this game, Rich and Dave owned us; Tim and I ended up winning only one round apiece. The final round saw Rich taking the game – and an end to our afternoon of board games!

One comment

  1. vobeskhan

    I have the old basic set of Last Night on Earth with the Growing Hunger expansion and love the game. The experience mechanic you mention in Timber Peak is also available as a web store expansion from Flying Frog too.


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