All Aboard August 2014

It’s almost been a year since I last wrote about board games or the All Aboard event, mainly because I haven’t been attending the said event and because I didn’t play a lot of board games this year. Well, I attended last month’s event and I figured, why not share the games that I played, like I always do?

all aboard

I only played two games that day, the first one is a card game called Love Letter.

love letter - box

Love Letter is a competitive card game for two to four players where the objective is to send love letters to the kingdom’s princess, in the hopes of successfully wooing her and eventually marrying her. Each letter is handed to a person in the castle, and the player whose love letter is in the hands of the person closest to the princess gets to the princess wins that round. The suitor who gets the most number of love letters to the princess (specific depending on the number of players) succeeds in winning her heart and is the winner of the game.

The cards represent the people who are helping you in your quest, and on each card there is a number that represents how close they are to the princess. Each card also has an effect or ability that triggers when the card is discarded, which represents what that person can do, like the priest who can reveal any secrets obtained through confession (he’ll force a player to reveal his hand to you).

A player is only allowed to keep one card in his hand. During a turn, a player draws a card, then will have to discard a card. The effect or ability of the card is played, regardless if it is beneficial or harmful to the player who played it. Players take turns for the round until there are no more cards to draw or there is only one player remaining.

love letter - componentsLove Letter comes with: cards, counters, a rule book, and a nice carry pouch.

Love Letter is a really fast game, especially since you only have two cards to choose from when discarding during your turn, so a full game lasts around thirty minutes. While the game can be played with just two players, it’s best to play it with three or four – choices are severely limited if there’s just one opponent. I think it’s a great game, I enjoyed playing it and love how it’s simple in terms of mechanics but still involves careful thinking about your choices in order to win.

We also played Forbidden Desert, a game also designed by the publishers of Forbidden Island.

Forbidden Desert box

Forbidden Desert is a cooperative game for 2 to 5 players that is structurally very similar to Forbidden Island. The premise of the game is that you are a group of adventurers travelling on a helicopter. You get caught in a sandstorm while crossing a desert, causing your helicopter to crash. Now, you need explore the desert and look for special artifacts that you’ll need in order to build an ancient flying machine and escape before the area is completely covered in sand.

Like Forbidden Island, the board is composed of different tiles which are laid out randomly. Players move around the board, flipping tiles over to discover clues to where each of the four flying machine parts are, dig them out and fly off to safety. There are two different threats though – a raging sandstorm that moves around wherever it pleases, covering the desert with sand, and the searing heat of the midday sun. Each player has his/her own water supply; they have to keep themselves hydrated or else they’ll pass out.

Forbidden Desert game setupBoard set up of Forbidden Desert.

Luckily, this group of adventurers are comprised of highly skilled people with special abilities. The Navigator, for example, allows the rest of her team to travel across the desert much more easily. The Climber is able to traverse any part of the desert, no matter how much sand there is. The area is also the site of an ancient but well developed civilization, so there’s plenty of unique equipment that the group can find that will help them survive.

Forbidden Desert componentsComponents are top notch, although I would’ve preferred better looking meeples.

We had an awesome session of Forbidden Desert that went down the wire. There were five of us that played, and I would say that everyone had a significant contribution to the victory. In terms of complexity, it’s right in-between Pandemic and Forbidden Island and succeeds at actually making you feel like adventurers trapped on a desert as opposed to Flash Point: Fire Rescue (where nobody really sheds a tear whenever victims die). Having two different threats to keep in mind really kept the group on their toes.

I didn’t spend as much time at the event as I used to, but it was time well spent. I was able to play two really good games in just a few hours. I think I may have to start attending this event regularly again.

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