Friday, June 07, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part 38 (22-21)

#22 Cape May

In Cape May players are building cottages and shops in a seaside resort town. The main board represents the town of Cape May and is made up of paved streets and empty lots in four different regions. The region furthest from the sea is the gravel region in gray. Next is the grass region in green. Then there's the dirt region in brown, and finally the sand region in beige which is next to the sea at the bottom of the game board.

Regions are important because they affect how much it costs to build in those areas. Gravel that is furthest from the sea is the cheapest to build on, while the sand region next to the sea is the most expensive. Players start with some money and gain income as they add buildings in their color to the game board. Cottages provide a little income. Shops provide a bit more.

After all players have had a turn, the round marker (a lighthouse miniature) advances on the round track. The round track is a circular wheel divided into 12 spaces. Each space has a symbol on it for spring, summer, fall and winter. There are 3 spots for each season. Once the round tracker makes a full rotation, a year has passed, and the game ends.

Players only collect income three times during the game as the seasons change from spring to summer, from summer to fall, and from fall to winter. So, increasing income as much as possible is really important. Everything you'll want to do in the game costs money: building shops and cottages, upgrading shops to businesses and cottages to Victorians and Victorians to landmarks.

Upgrading buildings gets you more income and more points at the end of the game. Also, when you upgrade a shop you get to draw a special upgrade card as a reward that will give you some kind of mechanical benefit during the game. Maybe a way to improve your movement around the board or a way to build things more cheaply, for example.

Movement is done by playing cards and some movement cards actually require you to spend some of your hard earned money to play them. All players start with the same set of movement cards and you have to spend one of your three available actions on your turn to pick these back up to start again. This movement puzzle is a big part of the game because your player pawn must be standing on the street next to a building space in order for you to build there.

In addition to money, each player gets 2 activity cards each time they get income. These provide various benefits just like the shop upgrade cards. Also every time the round marker is advanced, an event card that affects all players is put into play. These can be good or bad events. Maybe everyone gets a discount on building cottages for the round, or maybe a section of Cape May catches on fire! (Events are exciting!)

At the end of the game players earn points for the buildings that they have upgraded as well as for having the majority of buildings in the different regions. The area majority scoring works the opposite from the scoring individual buildings. Buildings near the sea are worth the most as this represents the most valuable properties. However, majorities furthest from the sea score the most as this represents expansion and growth.

Cape May is a great little resource management, area control game. The theme is well realized by the mechanics and the game looks beautiful on the table. Cottage and shop upgrades are represented by 3D models on the table that look fantastic. Fun, challenging, beautiful, exciting! Cape May is awesome!

#21 Parade

In Parade players place a card each turn into a row or cards in the center of the table. This row or line represents the "parade." The people in the parade are characters from Alice In Wonderland. There's Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the Rabbit, the Dodo, and Humpty Dumpty. (Not the Queen because she would boss everyone around and ruin the parade.)

Each character is a card suit represented also by a card color. So, all Alice cards are blue and all Cheshire Cat cards are purple, but because each color is also a character, the suits are color blind friendly. There are 11 cards in each of the 6 suits numbered 0-10 for a total of 66 cards in the game.

You will have five cards in your hand at all times. On your turn you play one card adding it to the end of the parade and then draw a new card into your hand to replace it. If you ever can't draw a card, this is one of the game end triggers. At this point, play continues until every other player has had one more turn and all players have only four cards in hand. Then the game ends.

When you play a card to the end of the parade, you then count a number of cards back through the parade that are closest to the card you just played. These are your friends, the cards that are happy to see you. Count a number of cards equal to the value of the card you just played. That's how many friends you have. If you played a 6 for example, the next 6 cards in the parade are your friends and they will follow you in the parade no matter what. 

Beyond this point, the rest of the characters (cards) in the parade are not happy to see you, and some of them are going to leave. If any card is the same suit as the card you just played – so, the same character as you, they will immediately get disgusted and leave the parade. "Two Alices in the same parade? That's absurd!" (Unless they're your friend – see above.)

Of the disgruntled characters remaining that are not the same character as the one just joining the parade (the card just played) only those characters with a willpower strong enough to ignore you are going to stay. Basically, characters with a card value higher than that of the card just played are strong enough to stick it out. Cards with a value lower than or equal to the card just played are too intimidated to stay. These cards are leaving too, and they aren't happy about it.

So, what happens to all these upset Wonderlandians who have left the fun of the parade either upset, angry or heartbroken? Guess what? You made them leave. They are your responsibility. You have to invite them all over to your house and feed them chicken soup. Mechanically, this just means putting these cards in front of you organized by suit.

If you ever have all six different characters (suits) in your house eating chicken soup (sitting in front of you) at the end of your turn, this is the other end game trigger. Don't draw a card into your hand at the end of this turn. Every other player has one more turn and they also do not draw a new card into their hands at the end of their turn. (All players will have only four cards in hand after their last turn.) There is only one last thing to do. 

What are you going to do with all of these characters in your house eating chicken soup? Obviously, you are going to call their parents to come get them and take them home. 

Choose any two of the cards left in your hand to be "the parents" and set them aside without showing the other players. Place the remaining two cards in your hand face down in the middle of the table into a special end game discard pile. Now simultaneously, all players reveal the two cards that they saved and add them to all the other cards they have in front of them. (Go ahead and add these last 2 cards into the correct suits with the others of their same type.)

Time to take a final head count before the parents take all the kids home. You need to make sure that no one gets forgotten in the bathroom. (This step is also called scoring.)

First compare the number of characters of each type that you have in front of you with the numbers of that character in front of the other players. If you have more cards of a specific character than anyone else, flip that character's cards face down. If you have the same number or less, you don't get to flip over the cards. You have to have more.

For each card still face up, you get a number of points equal to the value of the card. Add all of these together. Now add one more point for each face down card. This gives you your final score, but remember these cards represent the unhappy characters that you made leave the parade. You don't want these points! The player with the fewest points is the winner.

Hint: Because face down cards will give you less points, if you find you have taken a really high valued card of a specific character, it may become important to make sure that you have the most of that character at the end of the game. (Flipping a 10, and a 9, and an 8 face down turns 27 points into 3 points.) This is important to keep in mind when you are choosing which two cards to keep (the parents) at the end of the game.

Julie and I love a Parade! This is a simple, accessible card game that feels and plays like a classic. Despite my narrative above, Parade really has no theme at all, but the Wonderland characters are beautifully illustrated and the game looks great at the table. Parade has gone over well with everyone we have ever played it with, and it belongs in every board game collection.

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