Saturday, April 19, 2008

Catan Card Game - Wizards & Dragons

The Giggling One's birthday was last Tuesday. Along with a shiny new iPod ("It's Pink!"), I bought her the Catan Card Game Expansion Set.

We didn't have quite the level of issues we had with the base game. Unfortunately there was still one card missing from one of the sets. Hopefully I'll be able to remedy that soon.

Anyway, as it was The Giggling One's game, she had first choice of the expansion to play with when we had our first game on Thursday night. Her choice? Wizards & Dragons. Why? Because it's wizards and dragons!

Unfortunately it didn't play as well as we hoped (Oh no! Not another negative review! Well, maybe a little but it all depends upon what sort of game experience you are after). I think my expectations were set a little too high. I was hoping the set would complement the game more than it did. However it was more like shoving the geeky new kid into a room with the cool kids and forcing them to play together.

Of course there are interactions between the cards but the Wizards & Dragons cards seem to have a bigger influence over the resource cards than anything else.

Our first attempt to play was aborted after less than a minute after The Giggling One decided that she would draw her starting hand from one of the two Wizards stacks. Big mistake. Wizard cards are only any good to you once you own a Citadel.

You're much better off playing with the base game cards for a few rounds, expanding your colony, and only when you can afford to buy a Citadel should you draw from a Wizard stack.

So, realising she was effectively neutered by her starting hand, we began again.

There are some neat strategies involving the Wizards cards, and I discovered a couple along the way. I was fortunate enough to get a Citadel well before The Giggling One, so had free reign of spells and Wizard cards for some time.

My lead was cemented when my frustrated opponent finally built a Citadel but was unable to play or get rid of any cards in her hand so she could then draw from a Wizard stack. It took a few more turns before she finally managed to get her hand on any purple cards.

By then I had two Wizards in my realm, and had used the Earth Magic spell to swap one of my Wheat regions for one of her Sheep regions. Not only did this give me two Pastures either side of a Wool Mill (which was why I played the spell) but it left her without any "4" regions (this was not intentional (I'm not that bastardly) and we only noticed this the next time a 4 was rolled). So whenever a 4 was rolled for the remainder of the game she did not receive any resources.

I was also aided by the Wheel of Time spell which allows you to determine the roll of the Event Die. I used it in conjunction with the Alchemist to choose the Production Die value as well, and then completely screwed up the choice. I should have chosen "4" as it would have won me the game there and then, but I didn't want to be mean and pick a number The Giggling One didn't have.

It was of little consequence though, as I then used the Magical Eye spell to draw Ismai the Green Dragon and played him on my next turn to take the Knight token from The Giggling One and give me my 13th Victory Point.

It wasn't a particularly fun game overall as The Giggling One spent the majority of it frustrated that she couldn't do what she wanted.

My opinion of the Wizards & Dragons set is that it's kind of fun, but more of an add on than an interactive set as I anticipate the other expansion sets will be.

But more of that when we get a chance to play with the other new cards. Stay tuned.

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