Board Game Session Report July 18, 2006


This weekend, my friends, Chip and Sara, were visiting from Massachusetts. We had a private gaming session.

Magic: the Gathering Coldsnap

Chip had a box of Magic: the Gathering's Coldsnap that he was eager to try out. (He's a Hasbro delegate so he gets to demo a lot of cool stuff before the general public.) So we drafted decks to play against each other. It was strange to see snow-covered lands again, so long after Ice Age. This time, there were a lot of cards that were useful with snow-covered lands around. One criticism: I wish snow-covered lands were more obvious across the table. Except for the text, there's no way to tell them apart from basic lands.

Sara and I played best two out of three. The best play I made: when things looked gloomy for me because Sara's creatures outnumbered mine, I was able to play Sunscour to destroy all creatures, which just ran her game afoul.

Click here to buy Magic: the Gathering Coldsnap at

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Chip was eager to try out Dreamblade. Another Hasbro preview! We divided up his stash of Dreamblade miniatures and created a team of 16 figures each.

Dreamblade is a quick strategy game. It reminds me of a mix of the games: Anachronism and Star Wars CCG.

The object of the game is to hold scoring spaces and to kill off opposing characters. Whoever scores the most points during a round, gets a victory point. Whoever reaches six victory points wins.

The game consists of an initiative phase, determined by each player rolling a six-sided die. The sum on the dice is also the amount of power available for summoning creatures.

The player with initiative gets the first two phases, then the second player gets two phases. The choices for the phases are movement or strike.

For movement, a player may select any and all figures to move to an adjacent space.

For strike, all figures in contested spaces may attack the opponents pieces. For this action, special six-sided dice are used. The number of dice rolled is equal to the power of the figure. The dice contain the numbers 1-3, a miss icon, and a blade icon. Blade icons may be used for a figure's special ability. The numbers are used against the opponent's figure's defense ratings. There are two numbers for defense: one for banishing the figure to an empty space, and one for destroying the figure. An interesting mechanic: a figure destroyed during the first player's attack gets a counterattack.

I think the miniatures a generally ugly. Two examples that strike me are a fin and scissors. I mean, it's a miniatures -- why not show the entire creature, instead of just a fin?!?! And scissors?!?!

I lost the game, and I fault myself for not moving a defender one space up to block an onslaught of an attack. I decided to protect the five-point scoring space with a defender, but if I moved him up one space, I could've prevented Chip from scoring the win. It was a close game, though: 6 to 5.

Click here to buy Dreamblade at

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Magic: the Gathering Ravnica: City of Guilds

Chip was eager to open the box of Magic: the Gathering: Ravnica that he gave me for Christmas. (Yes, without Chip, I wouldn't be getting my MtG fix at all! :-)

We played best two out of three. The best part was that I actually made him concede the second game which seemed to last an hour, slowly picking off his creatures and using a puny unblockable creature, or a creature with flying. (Chip seems to have a weakness against flyers -- seldom having enough of his own to protect himself.)

Click here to buy Magic: the Gathering: Ravnica: City of Guilds at

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Aqua Romana

We then played my brand new game, Aqua Romana. Tile-laying games are my favorite, and this looked like a better version of Tsuro.

Both of us read the rules ahead of time.

Each player has a set of workers who extend their aqueduct. Around the perimeter of the board, there are master builders in his line-of-sight that allow the worker to lay a certain tile. The object of the game is to extend each worker's aqueduct, and score its length.

Gameplay is:

  1. Extend an aqueduct
  2. Score closed aqueducts
  3. Move master builder clockwise to next empty space

I enjoyed the game a great deal, but Chip seemed to prefer Tsuro over this game.

The game took 40 minutes to play.

Click here to buy Aqua Romana at

Click here to learn more about Aqua Romana at

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