Recap: Carson City, King of Tokyo, and a taste of Realms
This week I got up to some excellent gaming shenanigans. I was able to get Carson City to the table and alleviate some of the doubts I held about that game. I also got to stomp around as a marauding monster in King of Tokyo. And last, but certainly not least, I got to open up the wonderful Small World Realms.
Carson City. First things first. Unlike the last time I played, there was no egregious (albeit ignorant) cheating running rampant throughout the board. Everything was played by the rules. We continued to play with the river and with the red sides of the cards. Or, as we called it, the “big boy rules.”
One player decided to go a powerful firearm strategy early on. Rather than contest it, I decided to adopt a heavy building strategy. Up until this play, I had been very concerned that the “all firepower” strategy was unduly powerful and very easy to adopt, so I wanted to see if a non-firepower strategy could compete. Turns out, it can.
I got a mine and a ranch early on. These helped me earn a healthy income and the revolvers they gave me helped me to avoid being an initial target for the firepower player. The second round, I went sheriff and immediately took valuable spots I was sure to lose duels on so that I could get the free points. I also got a saloon in play next to a cluster of my houses that started helping me with income. By game end I had racked up 49 points, with the firepower player coming in the lower 30s.
Now, the firepower player did not execute his strategy perfectly. I think his actions probably cost him in the neighborhood of 7-8 points (which is fairly significant for Carson City). But those errors would not have cost me any points, and the building strategy would have won the day anyway. I’m now much more reassured that the firepower strategy – while perhaps the most obvious and certainly very viable – is not overpowered or dominant. I feel much better about Carson City’s balance.
King of Tokyo. A friend of mine brought this game over. I had heard numerous good things about it and was very excited to give it a try. KoT has a fantastic theme, but mechanically it has two strikes against it; it’s a heavy dice game, and it features player elimination. After three back-to-back plays, though, any hesitations I had were largely removed.
The game moves so quickly that the mere fact that it is dice heavy does not detract from it. What’s more, because you are able to pick up dice of your choosing and reroll them up to three times, it’s not uncommon for there to be serious strategic and tactical questions to consider every turn. Additionally, you can buy extra powers for your monsters that can provide new abilities or dice manipulation. It’s a fantastic dice game.
As for player elimination, that’s mostly a non-issue. In two of the three games I played, either all the players were eliminated together (in one mammoth roll), or the final elimination occurred just a round or two after the first elimination. As a result, the out players weren’t sitting around for turn after turn. But in one game, that did occur. One player rode very close to the edge of elimination and, though it got him a lot of quick points, he was put out of the game early. That was a bummer because the game continued for about twenty minutes or so.
Overall, though, KoT is a wonderful little filler that I’d be very happy to play again in the future.
Small World Realms. OK. Just a teaser since it will likely be getting the full review treatment this week. Just as Cursed!, Grand Dames, and Be Not Afraid before it, Realms brings a fantastic amount of variety to the base game of Small World. Better yet, it brings that same variety to Small World Underground and numerous examples on how to combine the games. So, while the details are yet to come, if you are a Small World fan then this may be a must buy expansion.