This week, we met at Mark K’s house and, as I’d just received a new order from Germany, I was itching to play a couple of these. With just four of us, I decided we had to get in a game of Blue Moon City, the new Reiner Knizia game from Kosmos. The game is a boardgame cousin of the Blue Moon card game. It uses the same eight races but knowledge of the card game isn’t necessary to enjoy the boardgame. Nige insisted he wanted to play the Mimix and was a bit disappointed when I told him he couldn’t as all players use all the different races.
The theme of the game is about using the services of the different alien races to build the various exotic buildings that make up Blue Moon City. Each building has between 1 and 3 sections that need to be built before it is considered complete. Each section shows a number indicating the colour and value of cards that need to be played to build it. Players use cards from their hand to complete sections of a building and, once all the sections are complete, those who have taken part in building it are rewarded with a combination of dragon scales, cards and crystals, the last of which can be traded in to build a section of the obelisk in the central market place. And pieces of the obelisk are what matter at the end of the day, as the winner is the first person to build a certain number of pieces of the obelisk (4 in a four player game; 7 in a two-player game). Dragon scales yield additional crystals once the supply of scales is exhausted so can be a big benefit if you get enough of them.
I really enjoyed Blue Moon City. The clever part is that once buildings are complete, they add an additional reward to those that help complete an adjacent building. This ensures players compete in the same areas rather than go off and build by themselves in a corner. The semi-random set-up means you need to try and gauge where the critical buildings and the adjacent buildings are and, in our game, Nige took best advantage. I tried to use the dragon scales to gain crystals but it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped and Nige cruised to a fairly easy victory.
The other thing to say is that the game played really fast, which is unusual for our group. We finished within an hour, including rule explanation. I think Blue Moon City is a very nice game of optimising cards in your hand to best advantage. We wondered if the fourth player (me in our game) was at a significant disadvantage, as the earlier players were able to get a foothold in the most lucrative buildings, but I think there are enough decent places to start and you just need to adapt to how people have played before you. Anyway, very good game with a fair bit of replay value due to the random set-up of buildings. One to play again soon.