This week, we had what we thought was going to be the welcome return of an old face, Ben. However, after reading this week’s session, you’ll soon realise that he perhaps won’t be welcomed back too enthusiastically again. Anyway, only Mark K and I were there to witness the event so we kicked off with a brand new game by Leo Colovini, a designer who I like a lot. Clans is all about moving settlers from some prehistoric time around a landscape to form larger groups or clans. All settlers start out isolated and each move brings one or more settlers into contact with another settler or settler group. Once a group becomes isolated from any other settlers, the group forms a village and points are scored. The settlers come in five types (colours) and each player is secretly supporting one colour, so they try to form villages in which their colour settlers score well. Scoring depends on the type of landscape the village is founded in and the number of settlers in the group. If there are five colours present, any colours represented by a single settler are eliminated and only the remaining settlers score.
As the game progresses, the players’ colour identities become clearer and this makes the choice of moves more critical. At the end of the game, you can be faced, as I was with a number of choices none of which are very appealing but you try to make the one least damaging to your position. Ben managed to engineer things so that his pieces scored the critical points in the final couple of villages. He is very good at games involving visualising positions and connections and he proved this yet again. Good game though, pretty quick and some interesting decision-making to be made.