In Royals players collect sets of cards to gain influence over monarchical figures: Kings, Dukes, Princesses, Duchesses, etc. for various regions on the board. Points are scored for being the first to gain influence in a region, for having the most influence in a region at the end of a round, and even for having had your representatives that used to influence a region assassinated by the other players. You also gain points for having the most influence over a specific type of monarch. Different monarchs require differing numbers of cards to control, with Kings requiring the highest numbers. The card play of Royals is intuitive and easy, the scoring is varied and everything that you need to know about the game is provided right on the game board. The board and other components are beautifully illustrated making Royals a top-notch game.
In Shipwrights of the North Sea players draft cards that they can then use to build up a small viking village. Every player’s ultimate goal is to build ships which will provide the bulk of the victory points toward winning the game. The game is played until a player has built their 4th ship, then everyone gets one more turn and points are tallied. This is a good all around village building game. Everything makes sense and aspects interact well. You must draft craftsmen to make certain resources to make specific buildings or ships. One aspect that I really like is that the draw pile itself is part of the game. The backs of all the cards show the value of goods in the market place, and the backs of all the cards (like the fronts) are different, so that every round the market changes, but this just happens organically as cards are drawn. It’s a clever piece of design.
While it looks like a city building game, it really isn’t. Flip City is pure deck-building (with some push-your-luck thrown in for good measure.) Cards that you buy are added to your discard to be played later. You never keep played cards in front of you between turns. So, you will win or lose Flip City based solely on the strength of the deck that you build. Each turn you play cards to get resources to buy cards. Thematically these are “buildings,” but as stated, they go into your deck and don’t stay on the table between turns. New cards provide more resources or ways to mitigate unhappiness. Ah, yes … unhappiness, this is the push-your-luck aspect that I mentioned. On your turn you may play as many cards as you want, but if you play too many cards that have unhappiness on them you will “bust,” and you will get nothing. Cards also have victory points on them, and like everything else, these exist in your deck, but do not stay in play when its not your turn. So, you must acquire all the points that you need for victory on a single turn. Sound neat? It is! And, I haven’t even mentioned the coolest part yet. Cards that you acquire can be upgraded. Upgrading a card allows you to flip it over to its opposite side to gain new benefits. This innovative mechanism allows you to add better cards to your deck without “watering down” your distribution, and it’s how Flip City gets its name!
CV stands for curriculum vitae, Latin for "course of life." In CV players use dice to gain resources to buy cards that provide more resources and victory points. The cool thing about CV is that it’s played over a number of phases representing the stages in a person’s life, with different cards available to acquire depending upon which stage you are in. The cards feature appealing cartoon illustrations and represent different life accomplishments. Cards in the early stages mostly provide ways to improve your engine, while cards from the final stages are almost all victory points. After the final stage, points are tallied and the person with the most points wins. Best of all, the tableau of cards in front of each player tells the unique life story of the person the player “created” during the course of the game!
World’s Fair 1893 is a card drafting area control game. Players take turns drafting cards which represent different exhibits at the World’s Fair. These cards provide immediate benefits or contribute to sets which are scored at the end of the game. When drafting cards players deposit cubes to areas of the board representing different sections of the fair. Area majority in these sections is a major way to score points toward winning the game. The exhibit cards for World’s Fair 1893 are all based on actual exhibits and look amazing. World’s Fair 1893 is a beautiful game. It’s easy to play, and quick to set-up.