New Acquisitions: October 2015 + The Die is Cast

This has been an excellent game for obtaining older Quartetts, as you will see in the images below. Especially pleased with Führer und Helden im Welthriege (Leaders and Heroes of the World War. Made in 1914/15 it features German leaders and soldiers. Of course, the Kaiser is the number 1 card. Lovely item.

In my search for dice-driven games, I have found another. It is called Alea iacta est; Latin for 'the die is cast'. It is attributed to Julius Caesar as he crossed the river Rubicon out of Italy into neighbouring land - an act which automatically declared war. As a phrase it means 'This is it. It is done. There is no going back now.' The designers are Jeffrey D. Allers and Bernd Eisenstein and I wonder if they spotted a marketing coup. Let's show it to Ravensburger and suggest they could make it under their range of Alea games. And they promptly did just that. I missed that opportunity. I should have designed a game that I could call 'Avalon' or even a game of mountaineering called 'Avalon Hill'. Or how about a game of espionage called 'SPI'? Or a game about noses (Nosey Parker) or cars (The Parker). Surely Parker Brothers could not have resisted such opportunities. Sigh! I missed all those boats.

Back to Alea iacta est. The game is in the same general category of Yahtzee. At least, that is the most famous game featuring dice rolling to achieve certain combinations. More recent games with a similar mechanism are Kingsburg and Vegas, and both are highly recommended. I believe Kingsburg is the best 'gateway' game into modern eurogames and Vegas is the best filler game at the end of a session when you want a short game to end the evening.

In Alea iacta est, players are a Roman emperor. The aim is to gain advantages from 5 buildings. Each turn dice are rolled (everyone gets 8 dice in their chosen colour). From their dice roll they may place dice in the following combinations:

The Forum Romanum (Forum) - Gains you Patricians to place in your Provinces.

The Templum (Temple) - Players gain Fortune tiles which are worth VPs at the end.

The Senatus (Senate) - Players earn cards which are the only hidden information that you earn, i.e. you earn bonus points for certain combinations that only apply to you.

The Castrum (Fortress) - Players earn Provinces where they might be able to match up their Patricians.

The Latrina (Latrines) - Players earn tiles that allow them to rethrow the dice if they are not happy with the result.

These buildings have certain requirements if you want to get first choice of the goodies on offer that round. In the Forum, the Provinces are chosen in the order of dice in the Forum, the left-most getting first choice, then the next left gets 2nd choice and so on. In the Temple, the number of dice placed decides the winner and gets to keep two of her Fortuna tiles earned that round. In the Senate, you must place a 'straight' of 1 to 6 dice. Previously placed dice there can be extended in a future turn that round. The player with the longest straight gets first choice of the cards available. He takes 3 and chooses 1 then the other 2 are given to 2nd place who chooses one. Only the two best straights will gain a card. In the Fortress you must play sets of the same number, the longer the better. Again, you can add to previously placed sets on future turns in the round. The winner gets to choose a Province from those on offer that round. Next best gets one from the remaining tiles and so on. In the Latrine you earn 'Re-Roll' tiles.

Scoring is at the end of each round. The number of rounds depends on the number of players. A round ends when one player has placed all their 8 dice. At the end of the game you tot up your points. Patricians are worthless unless you can match them with your Provinces. Each Province earns their face value minus 1 if not populated. They earn the full value if you have 1 or 2 Patricians in them. 2 Patricians must be one of each gender. Populated Provinces score their value + the value of the Patricians in them. Fortuna tiles are worth their face value. Latrine tiles are worth 1 point for every 2 you still have. Senate cards earn points if you can match the objectives on them. The one with the most points is the winner.

Obviously, we are a long way from Yahtzee but you can see the connection. This game is a nice addition if you like such dice games. Even Yahtzee (particularly  the Yam variant that I first saw in Games & Puzzles magazine Issue 54) is a good game in this household. Other dice games to look out for are Royal Turf, Bang! The Dice Game, and Dice Town. I think every game in this article (except Yahtzee) is out of print so you may struggle to find copies. They are worth the search.

Now to the acquisitions. I am kicking off with a great selection of the same game, same family at least. The Counties of England were produced for over 70 years by John Jaques. They had different series and each series related to an area of England, northern counties for example. The game is fundamentally a Quartett game. The difference is that there are variable numbers of cards in each set, from 2 to 8 cards. It was deemed to be educational because the cards featured cities and towns from that area and further information was on each card including the population at the time of the nearest census. The games were re-issued many, many times, with the main change being the population. This went up as time passed. I purchased all of these as one lot at a UK auction. The first 6 older editions starts off the table and I will end with 6 more from the 1920's to the 1930's.

The Counties of England

Jaques

1900

The Counties of England

Jaques

1900

The Counties of England

Jaques

1900

The Counties of England

Jaques

1900

The Counties of England

Jaques

1900

The Counties of England

Jaques

1900

Buddel Bande

Goldsieber

1999

Activity Zusatzkarten

Piatnik

1999

Das Glück auf der Kugel

Waldpost

1930

Isle of Skye

Lookout Games

2015

3 Novelty Card Games

Unknown

2000

Kahuna

Kosmos

2010

Bauernhof Tiere

ASS

2010

Children's Party Games

Whitman

1954

Charades

Early Learning Centre

2007

Buntes Wunder-Quartett

Rewe

1950

Soccer! Pontoon Card Game

W H Storey

1930

Gutsy - der starke Schlumpf!

Jumbo

2011

Elfer raus!

Ravensburger

1999

Halma im Felde

Werner & Schumann

1910

Die Heinzelmännchen zu Köln

Schwager & Steinlein

1960

Mount Drago

Schmidt

2011

Impuzzable

Missing Link

1987

Jambo

Kosmos

2004

Führer und Helden im Weltkriege

Jos. Scholz

1914

Trains and Stations

Wizkids

2013

 

Mombasa

Eggertspiele

2015

Märchen-Quartett

Jos. Scholz

1915

Komm gut heim!

ASS

2014

Zum Blauen Drachen

Pegasus

2011

Führer der Menscheit

Jos. Scholz

1920

Dalek Playing Cards

Doctor Who Adventures

2009

Monster Snap

Early Learning Centre

2007

Happy Family

Burton's

1970

Kan-U-Go

Jarvis-Porter

1975

Wer bellt denn da?

Kosmos

2011

Cards Mah Jong

Chad Valley

1935

Red Prince WM Quartett

Netto

2014

Tops & Tails

Piatnik

1975

Pilze jederzeit

Rudolf Forkel

1954

Zitaten Quartett

Jos. Scholz

1935

Quality Street Monopoly

Nestlé

2005

Rush-Hour

UPL

1935

Quiz Card Games: Tour of Britain

Waddingtons

1979

Der Wetterbericht Meldet

Lehrmittel Pössneck

1981

Unsere Luftwaffe

Jos. Scholz

1930

Tiere der Welt

Krauß & Weissert

1950

Das schöne Blumen

Schwager & Steinlein

1960

Stibitz

Ravensburger

2013

The Counties of England Series No. 1 Northern Counties

Jaques

1935

The Counties of England Series No. 1 Northern Counties

Jaques

1930

The Counties of England Series No. 2 Midland Counties

Jaques

1930

 

The Counties of England Series No. 2 Midland Counties

Jaques

1935

The Counties of England Series No. 3 Eastern Counties

Jaques

1935

 

The Counties of England Series No. 4 Southern Counties

Jaques

1935

 

 

Tags: 

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.