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Monday, May 24, 2010

Recap: Of Barbarians and Triplica


This week, I was able to play my first game of Traders and Barbarians for Settlers of Catan.  Unlike the other expansions, T&B doesn't expand the playing field or introduce a complete set of new game elements.  Instead, it offers several different scenarios or mini-expansions that are compatible with the base game.  Some scenarios are not compatible with the prior expansions. 

The scenario I played was the Barbarian attack.  Each time a settlement is built or upgraded to a city, Barbarian hordes invade Catan.  And, because the dice dictate where they invade, they tend to gum up the most profitable coastal hexes.  Once they do, that hex is locked down and no longer produces for the settlers.  The Barbarians are busy stealing all the goods.  The players can use knights to combat the Barbarians and eject them from Catan (worth potential victory points), but Knights sometimes die in combat to Barbarians. 

I found that staying away from the coastal sections altogether was a good strategy.  When I had the winning cards, I waited patiently for my turn, only for the player to my right to win on his turn.  A good game.  Plus, towards the end, there were so many Barbarians on the board, that they appeared to be the new Settlers of the island.  (And, on that note, I'll be making a more concerted effort to get photographic evidence of weekend plays). 

Then, one of the Barbarians fell into a hole at the center of the island and turned into a smoke monster.  That was weird....

I also played a very light, family oriented card game called Triplica this weekend.  I had a blast and shared it with many of my non-gamer friends who enjoyed it.  I'll be giving it a full write-up this Friday, but for now, it is a very pleasant, very uncomplicated game that can occupy a group for 5-10 minutes in one play. 
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