Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Showing posts with label Perry Rhodan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Perry Rhodan. Show all posts

Friday, June 15, 2012

Boardgames in the backyard: Perry Rhodan returns

The first time we tried Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League in the backyard was the first time either of us had played.  It's not a complicated game, but it does take us a little while to come up to speed, so we never finished our first game.  But today we sat down out on the rocking bench in the backyard with our chips and salsa and cocktails, and launched right into outer space for our second round of PR:TCL.

Spring weather brings out the shorts and the backyard boardgames.
Before long, we were picking up and delivering all over the Rhodan solar system.  We came to understand the importance of acquiring technologies early.  We had essentially the same technologies in play by the mid-game, except that Kathy picked up an extra Replenishment card that I never matched.  That extra card draw might have made the difference in the game in the long run.  The lead changed hands several times before Kathy came up with several strong turns and pulled away for a big win.  

As I mentioned before, the game fits snugly on the little glass top table we have out back.  No board in the conventional sense, the play area consists of a sun for a point/money track, six planets in a line, and their associated goods cards alongside them.  There are not a lot of small parts that can get lost off the table into the paver gravel.  Card play is manageable in the available space.  The game play is pretty engaging despite a fairly small set of moving parts.  In our search for games that work outside, this one is a winner.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Boardgames in the Backyard II: Discovering Perry Rhodan

(c) Z-man Games
Used by permission
As a joint birthday gift, my good friend Grant G. gave Kathy and me a copy of Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League (designer Heinrich Glumpler, artist Swen Papenbrock [webpage in German], publisher Z-man Games).  Grant knows that I play more games with Kathy in a two-player format than I do any other format with anyone else, which makes PR:TCL a particularly thoughtful gift.  As it happens, I'd read a few reviews and already tagged it as a "must have" on my wish list, so I was particularly happy to receive it.

We finally got it to the table during one of our few cocktail hours this week, in the backyard on a beautiful spring afternoon.  (She had a French 75; I had a Margarita.)  We discovered that Perry R. sets up very comfortably on our little outdoor table - a sun with a spiral scoring track, a row of six planets, and five goods cards alongside each planet.  The game is compact, visually very appealing, and relatively quick to set up.  We both picked up the rules fairly quickly.  Money and victory points are equivalent; the first player to reach 70 currency units wins the game.  (The names of the planets, the races, and even the unit of currency are ridiculous and nearly unpronounceable, so I won't bother to look them up and repeat them here.)

Agent Infiltration intervention card
Image uploaded to
by David Gerrard
Each turn consists of a move action, two planetary actions (load a container with goods, unload a container to sell the goods, or buy a permanent technology), and two interventions (single-play action cards).  Those five steps can be taken in any order, so it is not uncommon to load a container (first planetary action), move to another planet (move action), unload a container (second planetary action), and perhaps play one or two intervention cards, such as delivering a passenger to his/her/its home planet.  Unloading containers and delivering passengers gain money, i.e. victory points.

Some interventions are innocuous, but others have a "take that" flavor, such as switching locations with your opponent or switching contents of containers.  Kathy seemed to get the knack of the game first, but I found my groove and caught up to her after a few turns.  The lead traded hands a few times before we had to stop the game prematurely for dinner.  (We had a late start from having to learn the rules - not uncommon when we pick up a game for the first time).

So we came away with a very favorable impression of PR:TCL as a light, compact, fun game with quite a bit of nuance and tactics to keep it interesting.  I think card luck might turn out to be a significant factor as we play it more, but tactical decision-making still seems to count heavily on the game progress.  We look forward to trying it again.