Sunday, 26 April 2015

004. The Cardboard Cartographer issue 4.

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Welcome to issue 4 of The Cardboard Cartographer.

Editorial.

In this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer we'll be reviewing 'Jaipur'.
But first I'd like to thank you for visiting our new website!

Each issue we hope to post some news, a game review and talk about topics relevant to table top games, such as mechanics, conventions, Kickstarter and so on.

I'd also like to mention that all opinions in this issue, and all subsequent issues, are those of their respective authors.
Please don't feel like they are a personal attack or an attempt to undermine or void the opinions of others.
Feel free to agree, disagree, debate and discuss, or simply ignore any or all that is written here.
Whatever you do, be civil. Thank you.

If you have any suggestions feel free to comment, email us, or hit us up @TCBCartographer on twitter.

News.

UK Games Expo.

On May 29th 2015 the UK Games Expo will hit Birmingham.
For those of you unfamiliar with this event you can head over to their website.
They sum it up pretty well themselves, so;

'UK Games Expo aims to be the premier event in the UK where all aspects of the gaming hobby are represented under one roof:
• Card Games
• Boardgames
• Role-playing Games
• Miniature Games
• Family games

The goal is to create a fun event which will appeal to families and the general public as well as the enthusiast. You arrive, you wander around the trade stands, try out any games you wish, sit in on the seminars or join in with the tournaments These are the main elements:

• Tournaments and Championships in the most popular game systems
• Newest games and releases on show AND PLAYABLE
• Large trade fair
• Family Zone - lots for the kids to do
• Authors and artists
• Participation and Demonstration Games - No need to know the rules or book in advance -JUST WALK UP AND ASK TO JOIN IN!
• Costumed Groups
• Guests
• Seminars and Talks
• Space for Open Gaming and Roleplaying Games
• Game Ambassadors in blue shirts - if you are new, on your own or just lost ask them and they will help.

UK Games Expo IS open to the public. You can book in advance (online tickets coming soon) OR just turn up and pay on the day.'

I'm pleased to announce that The Cardboard Cartographer will be in attendance, represented by DarKHaZZl3.
As well as some of the above, we will also be participating in @GoHalvesOnGames #TwitterBingo event.
001 - UkGamesExpo Tiwtter Bingo

The idea is for some of the Twitter boardgaming community to finally meet each other in a manner befitting the hobby we represent; face to face.
You can read more about it, and see who else is participating, on GeekOnRadio's website.

If you are heading down come and say hi!

Dice Tower Awards 2014 Nominations.

The Dice Tower is one of the largest networks of boardgame enthusiasts, who collectively promote the hobby via various mediums, most notably their Podcast and YouTube channel.
Like most boardgame collectives they post a list of their games of the year.

'The Dice Tower announced their 2014 award nominees in 13 different categories. Nominees are made based upon the input of dozens of people - each voting on games they feel should make it into a category. Top vote in each category makes the cut. There's no bias, no weight - it's a panel made up of industry fans and experts all with an equal say. We're proud of this list as we feel it's a wonderful representation of the best in games for 2014. You can view the list by going up to the awards page in the menu bar - or by going to www.dicetowerawards.com.'

From here on out this segment gets very opinionated/ passionate/ grumpy.

Some of the choices on this list baffle me.

Make no mistake, the Dice Tower make a massive contribution to the hobby, and they deserve huge amounts of respect for that, but I just can't see where some of these choices have come from.

Let's start with Best board game components.
Splendor has been nominated and I just can't see why. The tokens are okay and the artwork is decent, but other than that it is just cards and a couple of titles.
Now you could argue that the artwork lifts it to Best board Game Component status. However, The Dice Tower has a Best Game Artwork category, which Splendor does not feature in, so the artwork clearly isn't rated that highly.
Speaking of Best Game Artwork; Imperial Settlers is featured.
Don't get me wrong, I think the artwork and style is ace, but I think games like Splendor and especially Five Tribes have much better artwork and are not featured.

These three games all make it into the Best Game of the Year category, and I can't argue with that at all. That being said, one nominee in the category just doesn't belong there, and that is Marvel Dice Masters.

Just, no.

I can't stand living card/ dice games &T/CCG's.
I can enjoy playing them, but for the most part the experience is pretty boring. Reliant on random probability to fuel the tension, and with very little strategy these games can only offer a tactical edge at best.
Dice Masters is just rolling dice, with some added cards.

No clever core mechanics, the artwork is generic Comic artwork; which fits the games 'theme' but isn't that interesting.
Couple this with a 'bleed your wallet dry' sales model?

Pass.

What are your thoughts on the games in each category? Who do you think should win what and why?
Let us know in the comments, @TCBCartographer on twitter or @DarkHaZZl3.

Kickstarter.

This issue Kickstarter round up was really difficult.
There were some great looking games that ended before the issue came out so missed the cut, and a couple more that didn't really have long enough left for our readers to check out.
It is for that reason we don't have a pick of the issue this time around.
Let us know in the comments which of the projects listed you think is the most worthy of your money, or any you think we should have included.

The Nobles.
002 The Nobles Kickstarter

'The Nobles is a fast-paced medieval fighting game where you take turns hacking and slashing at each other to see who can strike the killing blow first. Every single strike there's a chance to lose your head, adding a suspenseful life-threatening urgency to every move!
The game is simple. Like in the iconic black knight fight scene from a classic movie, each player fights until they lose all their limbs, or lose their head. Play cards to fight and confuse your opponent. Roll the dice to charge and retreat. And draw from the bag o' death to see what body part gets cut off.'

Ending of May 9th 2015, 'The Nobles,' by Shock Panda Games is a few thousand dollars over its funding goal with just under two weeks to go.

The Nobles is unlike anything we've featured so far on The Cardboard Cartographer and we would have probably passed it by if it wasn't for the fact it was a Kickstarter staff pick.

The Nobles is essentially a card driven combat game where players take it in turns to take 3 actions.
The actions are a combination of Move or Play a card to attack, defend or heal in a 'take that' fashion.
Once a player has had their head cut off or all their limbs removed they die and are out of the game.
This game is simple, quick to learn and play, but really lacks a lot of depth.
The player variable powers make it slightly more interesting, but not enough to keep it fresh.
Gameplay will wear thin quickly, and the has a very heavy luck element to it. While I think The Nobles looks entertaining enough, I don't think it is worth the $40 price tag.

In addition to this, Shock Panda Games are a complete unknown.
Their previous game 'Wrummy 3-4-5' did not get funded by quite some margin, so it is impossible to know how they will handle the project at all.

Because of these factors we won't be backing the full game.

There is an option to back the game for $1, which grants you the print and play version of the game before the project ends, so if you do like the look of the game, it is certainly affordable to check it out.

Haiku Warrior.
003 Haiku Kickstarter

'From the creator of Drinking Quest… A Tabletop RPG told entirely through Haiku. A haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world. Why Haiku? The 5-7-5 haiku structure is built on nuance and minimalism… it seemed like a great fit for the solo engine I was working on. From there, variant rules for up to four players were added. The Drinking Quest games were very loud and obnoxious, this game is kind of quiet and introspective. Both games are pretty funny and have a lighthearted tone.'

Ending on May 7th 2015, ' Haiku Warrior' is from the makers of Drinking Quest. The project recently achieved their funding goal of $9,000 CAD with over a week to spare.

Haiku Warrior joins the slew of recent card driven RPG boardgames that have been popular recently.
While the game follows many of the tropes of card fuelled RPG's, the difference is that the story is told entirely in Haiku form.

That is about it.

While it is certainly different, it isn't compelling enough to make us want to back or play it.
The main reason it made our list this issue is because of the unique stretch goals.
Unlike most games that offer improved components, limited edition promo's and other usually useless stuff, Haiku Warrior's stretch goals unlock additional Haiku's written by 'famous' writers.
From Mc Lars, the Comedy Nerdcore Punk Rock Rapper, to D&D writer Robin Laws and many more.
In a game told entirely in Haiku's I think these stretch goals will add a massive amount of diversity in both tone and theme.

Honestly I have no idea what to make of this project.
This game could be brilliant. It could be a complete flop.
But in my eyes, this is exactly what Kickstarter is about; you could not make this game without crowd funding.

One Night Resistance.
004 One Night Resistance Kickstarter

'One Night Resistance is a super fast game of secret identities for 3 to 10 players that combines all the deductive and chaotically fun elements of the One Night Ultimate Werewolf series with structured game play of The Resistance. The result is a very addictive game that is easy to learn and will be played over and over again.'

Ending on April 30th 2015, 'One Night Resistance' by Indie Boards & Cards has reached almost 10 times its funding goal at the time of writing.
This is not surprising in the least. The Resistance, Coup and One Night Werewolf, all made by the same publisher, are extremely popular games.

In the same way One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a single round version of Werewolf, One Night Resistance is a 'One Night' version of The Resistance.
In the last issue we talked about how Werewolf/ Mafia-esq games can suffer because of the need for a moderator.
The Resistance has never had this problem; it is a much more structured game than its predecessors.
We suggest you watch this episode of Tabletop to better understand what we mean.

This brings us back to One Night Resistance.
I don't think this game needs to be made, let alone on Kickstarter.
First of all, Indie Boards & Cards may well be a small time publisher, but having made several very popular games in the guise of the first Resistance, Coup and Flashpoint: Fire Rescue (which has several successful expansions) I think they've already cut their teeth in the industry enough to put out titles off their own back.
They claim cash flow problem at this time of year, but I really don't buy into that.
Be a responsible company and wait.

I really only see this as a pre-order system encouraging people to buy their product though the use of limited edition promos and discount add on sales.
Something I really dislike.

Secondly, unlike Werewolf and Mafia, Resistance never needed a moderator.
The traitor mechanics used were much more akin to Battlestar Galactica and Shadows Over Camelot, with players secretly voting instead of straight up arguing with each other and then having a single night phase.
It just feels like a Resistance skin thrown on top of One night Werewolf with some added things.

Our judgement? Avoid. Buy The Resistance or One Night Ultimate Werewolf.

'Jaipur' Review by 'DarKHaZZl3'
005 Jaipur Review Opening

Google - Fu.

Jaipur is a game designed by S├ębastien Pauchon and published by GameWorks and Asmodee in 2009.
It is a simple game for two players that consists of players collecting sets, trading and selling resources to see who can earn the most points, thus becoming the official merchant of the Maharaja.

If you'd like to know more head over to Jaipur page on Asmodee's website
Alternatively head over to the Jaipur page on Board Game Geek.

Contents and Impressions.

• 1 rule book
• 55 Goods Cards
o 6 Diamonds
o 6 Gold
o 6 Silver
o 8 Cloth
o 8 Spice
o 10 Leather
o 11 Camels
• 60 Tokens
o 1 Camel
o 3 Seals of Excellence
o 5 Diamonds
o 5 Gold
o 5 Silver
o 7 Cloth
o 7 Spice
o 9 Leather
o 7 #3 Bonus
o 6 #4 Bonus
o 5 #5 Bonus

006 Jaipur Contents

Jaipur is a simple card game with a really simple, clean visual style.
The cards are standard playing card sized cards. They are bright and colourful and along with the standard cardstock tokens easily convey which resources are which.


007 Jaipur Cards

The use of colour in Jaipur is excellent. Everything is distinct and clear while maintaining a level of relevance to the resource it represents. It may only be a small detail, but in a game with very few details, the little things matter the most.

Game Play.

The objective of Jaipur is to become the official merchant of the Maharaja.
To do this players take it in turns competing for resources in an attempt to make the most Rupees.

This game is for two players, so the set up is always the same.


008 Jaipur Set Up

Set up the tokens at the side of the playing area and then place 3 Camel cards from the resource deck in the middle of the playing area.
Shuffle the remaining cards and deal 2 more face up cards to the middle, this creates the market for the game.
Deal each player 4 cards. This is their starting hand.
If a player has any Camels in their had they place them face up, all other cards remain hidden from their opponent.

Players take turns to take one of three actions.

Take.
A player may take a resource form the market in the center.
If a player chooses to take a resource (Leather, Spices, Cloth, Silver, Gold or Diamonds) they may only take one card from the center.


009 Jaipur Gameplay 1

If a player chooses to take camels, they take all of the Camels and place them face up in front of them with any other Camels they have.


010 Jaipur Gameplay 2

Either way cards are drawn from the deck to replace those taken, up to a maximum of five cards.


011 Jaipur Gameplay 3


012 Jaipur Gameplay 4

Exchange.
Like the take action, a player may take several resources from the market and exchange them with cards from their hand; these may include a player's Camels.

For example;


013 Jaipur Gameplay 5


Here a player wants to take the Gold and the Spice form the middle.


014 Jaipur Gameplay 6

The player takes both and places them in their hand, and replaces them with a resource from their hand (a Silver) and a Camel.

Sell.
Players may sell resources to gain Rupees.

When selling resources a player can only hand in one 'set' of resources per turn.
A set is any number of resources of a single type.


015 Jaipur Gameplay 7

If this amount is 3, 4 or 5+ then a player also gains a bonus point token matching the number of cards they handed in.


016 Jaipur Gameplay 8

There are a few rules governing how resources are sold.
If the resource is a common resource; Leather, Spice or Silk, you can sell as many, or as few as you like in a matching set.


017 Jaipur Gameplay 9

However if a resource is one of the more valuable resources; Silver, Gold or Diamonds, then a minimum of two must be sold in a set in order to sell them at all.


018 Jaipur Gameplay 10

When taking the relevant tokens from a sale, players take the most valuable tokens first, working down towards the less valuable tokens as the game progresses.

The game ends immediately when 3 types of resource tokens have been deleted, or there are no cards left in the draw pile when trying to fill the market.


019 Jaipur Gameplay 11

When scoring the player with the most Camels receives the Camel token, worth 5 extra Rupees.


020 Jaipur Scoring 1

Players then add up all of their resource and bonus tokens. The player with the most Rupee's wins the round and is awarded a Seal of Excellence.
In the case of a draw it is the player with most bonus tokens, if it is still a tie it is the player with most resource tokens.


021 Jaipur Scoring 2

Once this is done, reset the game to the set up phase, and start again. The play who lost the last round starts the next one.

The first player to win gain two Seals of excellence wins the game.

If you'd like to check out the rules for yourself, you can download them directly from the GameWorks website.

Personal Opinion.

I really like Jaipur.
A quick, fast paced 2 player card game that isn't a TCG/CCG/Living Card/ Dice game is hard to come by these days.
Published in 2009, I think Jaipur has aged well in terms of gameplay and visuals. It doesn't look out of place amongst more modern boardgames.

Like most simple games a lot of the game can take place above the table, and the same is true about Jaipur. The battle between players for certain resources can hinge entirely on how you manage your hand which gives this game a decent amount of tension.

That being said, the game doesn't have a lot of content.
It is a simple, quick card game so you shouldn't expect extensive playability. It reminds me of Love Letter in this respect; that game isn't a deep experience, but is an extremely entertaining filler game.

Also, Jaipur does suffer from those 'game theory' moments; if presented with a high point value resource, it is almost always worth grabbing that over most other things, even if that means sacrificing a lower tier set to do so. I'm looking at you Diamonds.
These flaws can be annoying when laying the game over a prolonged period of time, but again, like Love Letter, that isn't really the purpose of the game.

While I love the visuals, and I think they fit the game quite well, I will admit that the box does little to convey the game to the audience.
I think making a 2 player card game jump out at someone is difficult, and because of Jaipur's nature, I don't think it does that very well.

If it wasn't for finding this game on Board Game Arena I might never have played it.

This is a shame, because I really think this game is worth playing and worth owning.


Expansions, Reprints and Different Versions.

There are no expansions or different versions of this game and I can't see one being released anytime soon.

Digital Spotlight.

Jaipur does not have an app version, but it does have a couple of good web applications.

Boardgame Arena:

022 BGA


If you're unfamiliar with Board Game Arena it is a website that allows people to play games with each other over the internet for free.
One of those games is Jaipur.
023 Jaipur on BGA

The user interface is clean, simple and easy to use. The rules are clearly laid out underneath the area of play, and there is a chat feature allowing conversation between the players.
I'm a big fan of Board Game Arena.
If it wasn't for this version of the game, I would not have gone out and bought a physical copy.
We recommend you play this, and other games on Board Game Arena. It is free, simple and good quality.

Yucata:
024 Yucata

For the most part, these two versions are the same.
However, the version of Jaipur on Yucata is a bit more cluttered than its Board Game Arena counterpart, but that is because the User Interface has more information in a more compact space.


025 Jaipu on Yucata

The key difference between the two for me is the website's navigation systems.
While Board Game Arena allows users to browse games that have spaces available, play private games and mix the two. Yucata does not.

It works on a invitation system, and while those invitations can be public, private or both, it is for more difficult to find a game because you cannot just browse open tables.

Out of the two, Board Game Arena comes out on top.

Outro.

What did you think of this issue? Pro's, Con's?
Did any other Kickstarter projects grab your attention?

Have you played Jaipur? What do you think?
Have you ever used Board Game Arena or Yucata? Which do you prefer?

Feel free to comment on this post, or alternatively hit us up on twitter @TCBCartographer.

Thank you for reading this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer, until next time!