Citadels + Dark City Exp (Boardgame Review) G.O.L.T.

 

The weather has been foul the past couple of weeks in Split and a few of the guild members had not seen tabletop in action in quite some time. The once regular Dungeons & Dragons game fell apart due to unforeseeable circumstances so the G.O.L.T. was on hard times. I can speak as a DM it hurt watching dust accumulate on my books, missing the sound of dice hitting the table and watching players squirm. Good times. Thankfully this changed recently thanks to Lil Joey and the senior guild members.

An office space belonging to a relative of Joey’s was being renovated and he had time to use it prior to the work starting. The boy notified the guild and a session was booked. This is a review as much as it is an article because the first purchase of the guild of 2016 was Citadels. After seeing several reviews and playing the game myself over the holidays with my girlfriend I grew fond of its mechanics to it immediately. I was surprised I had not heard of it before and proposed it to the guild that we consider getting it for our game bank. After a short vote we managed to buy the last one from Carta Magica Split. Not long afterwards I tested the game with a few members but it was not until a couple of weeks ago we played it in its entirety with 6 of us.

Citadels

Citadels is a card game of bluffing, diplomacy, intrigue and plays up to 8 players with the Dark City Expansion (which is standard with the 3rd Edition) and was designed by Bruno Faidutti whose last game priror to designing it was was Mystery of the Abbey. The box contains everything you need to start playing and fits in snug, the box itself is small so carrying it around is not going to be a problem for anyone choosing to purchase it. The one thing is I would stress to anyone looking to buy Citadels is to be sleeves for all the cards because they will get worn out fast after playing regularly.

In short in the game a player takes on the role of a city builder and the point of the game is to have the most valuable structures and total points at the end of the game. The game ends when the 8th district is built and upon the final players turn you tally up the scores. This card game which also has strategy involved is why it can be fun even for non gamers but the luck factor also comes in so one game can truly be hectic if you keep drawing bad cards. Character cards are numbered 1-8 (9 if you are playing 8) and the order of play starts at 1 every hand or next number. At the end of every round of play the character deck is reshuffled and the characters vary from the Assassin who plays first can kill characters while the Warlord can destroy any district card except for the Bishop’s whose lands are protected. No one character is overpowered and you can really mix it up by including the expansion district cards and characters. The box says that the game can take up to half an hour but in all honesty I am yet to play a game under an hour and that is with only 1 new player but unlike most cards games this one is engaging and you always have something to do.  The artwork in the manual and cards is interesting and the gold tokens look decent though I would have loved more of them because we at certain times had nothing in bank and that was with only 6 players so Fantasy Flight should step their game up but u can always play with other tokens.

cit session 1

Citadels is a very fun game to play and I was skeptical that a card game could be so intense but I have witnessed cards fly across rooms and tokens roll off tables after someone gets robbed for the third straight round. This is not a game if you want something quick paced and short because there is thinking and you have to pay attention to who is building what and anticipate who they may be. The mind games run a muck especially once you really get the hand of all the cards and the expansion cards truly make the game that much more interesting. The game cost 250 Croatian Kunas and it has the expansion built in and the only other investment you would have to make is getting sleeves for the cards to enjoy the game forever 🙂 This game has a high play-ability rate but because it is a card game which is competitive so don’t expect much depth while throwing down cards and pissing off your neighboring players. A game that is fun to play, relatively cheap to buy just don’t expect this to be your go to game and its not something you can play more than twice in one setting but the positive is that it is something you can do while having beers and still have a chat without missing too much.

Until next time, don’t touch my board with greasy hands, don’t include monopoly as a board and never never EVER let a bro blow on ya dice.

The numbers (out of 5 *):

Price: **** (4)

Playability: **** (4)

Build: **** (4)

Design: ***** (5)

 

Where you can buy it:

CARTA MAGICA SPLIT ( 5% DISCOUNT IF YOU SING UP AS A MEMBER)

SPEIL OFFENSIVE (Deliver to most European Nations with varied discounts)

BOARD GAME GURU  (UK based store with affordable prices)

 

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Info Zona & Carta Magica ST : Board Games for the people of Split !!!

Yours truly decided to accept the invitation of Carta Magica Split & Info Zona to their ‘Modern Board Game Night’ ! Read further to see what we thought.

 

I am glad to tell the expats and locals alike in Split that gaming is growing and it is thanks to to Carta Magica Split and Info Zona. The shops ownership decided to take their efforts a step further by aligning themselves with Info Zona to give the people of Split a place to game on Saturdays. As I stated in my very first blog post Split does not have a large, hell even mid sized gaming community. There are only 2 gaming clubs which are only for consoles and PCs and apart from the shop itself (which cannot work long weekends) the promotion of gaming was limited. After a successful convention last summer Marko Mlinar and his team are hoping to garner more interest in board games and RPGS. The biggest problems they face are resources and spaces, games in Croatia sadly are expensive for the younger demographic and places to play is a problem for the older demographic. The third would be, WHO TO PLAY WITH? So instead of giving up they have been doing these game sessions every Saturday back to back and last weekend broke the record for attendance with more than 35 gamers present!

ZONA 1

Walking up to the venue you go through the very heart of the city so I knew if I would get thirsty or hungry the solution is walking distance. You go through a small door and are energized by the vibes when you enter. A room full of people, packed like sardines but everyone is all smiles and there is no yelling ! Polite socializing, open door policy and most of all friendly faces. It was my first time attending was glad to see a game I was dying to play for a while (7 Wonders) and to my luck Marko brought the Leaders expansion :D. There were classic favorites such as Settlers of Catan, Cosmic Encounter and the party time favorite Avalon were some of the arsenal they brought out that night. In short its a bright light for gamers and every gamer would have something for themselves. The level of gamer also varied so that made it a little more enjoyable for me. Nobody wants to get owned as a newbie, especially not their first time. The whole time I was there everyone was friendly and helpful, forthcoming with information and for the first time in a while I was somewhere where the majority of people were not staring at their cellphones or texting. Info Zona run a tight ship and have a great space especially for those living in the center or who simply find themselves strolling can easy find the location. As you can see in the picture above, it is well furnished and everyone present came to game and have a good time. No loud music, no loud patrons and above all a decent game bank to choose from. An added bonus is also that the crowd is very mixed ranging from ages, backgrounds and if you are an expat most of the gamers speak very good English.

 

ZON 2

 

In short I would to thank them for their noble pursuit but I must also state why I am wary of their efforts. As of now in Split if someone is searching for a place to game and learn about gaming you can visit the store during working hours and you can also game Saturday’s at Zona. Problem with Zona is that it starts a  bit later in the day and the place is pretty much always crowded so people looking for earlier sessions are on their own. I heard from some people that it is usually the same people which slightly irritated me. As you well know I am the head of a guild and in one year our board game collection is at 7 games ! I feel its wack to come every Saturday and not at least consider buying a game for yourself to game with your friends or by yourself, in fact I would go as far as saying its downplaying the efforts of volunteers and taking advantage of their generosity. Maybe Im old school but owning a game always gives you the option of introducing gaming to your friends and new people. These people invest their time and energy into something decent and pure and I believe the only way to repay them is by doing right and grasping their commitment. None of them get paid to do it and they can just as easily be at home gaming with their friends but they gift you their time and themselves, selflessness…it’s a beautiful thing. I say this in the hopes of people considering that the games offered at these places are out of someones private collection and if one was to be ruined I highly doubt the hurt party would be compensated. I urge people who have not yet visited Carta Magica Split or Info Zona to make an effort to swing by, you can meet some interesting people, if your lucky you might even meet me (kidding). Characters to look out for would be Gordan ( the gentle beard ), Toni ( The Sci Fi guy), Jerko ( Star Fly ) Kruno ( Troll Vader ) Romana ( Scroll Vader ), Marijana ( Sweetheart Zombie Slayer ) & Marko ( Pancho Splicho ) who are very helpful to guests and do their best to ensure you have a good time.  It is because these individuals put in the work we have such a treasure in the city and I will ALWAYS speak highly of them and it will only be a pleasure to do write ups on their events. For these events to continue other people outside the volunteer circles MUST start participating because Split is the second city of Croatia yet there is only one board game and RPG guild (G.O.L.T.) . So to all the the people who are on the fence of buying a game here are some suggestions :

  1. Watch reviews online : this way you can at least get an idea of a game you may like
  2. Visit the store and become a member : 5% discount with membership!
  3. Try out different games
  4. Gather a group of friends and split the costs

 

and if you are truly interested in gaming or have games but no one to play with then apply for membership with The Guild of Lost Travelers. Bare in mind the screening process may take a couple of days as all senior members must vote on granting admission to the group. If you reach out expect to receive a message and a meeting to be arranged but fear not young padawan for no one in the guild is a dick…except me (kidding again). Until next time quest strong, drink responsibly, roll 20 and watch out for that ORC !!!!

 

*the opinions of The Fantasy Dimension do not reflect those of Info Zona or Carta Magica and the nicknames provided are aliases which I carefully crafted to maintain the privacy of these heroes of gaming! Like the pages now so you don’t have to later !!!

 

pages to checkout:

Fantastikon (Only Sci Fi / Fanstasy / Gaming Con in Dalmatia)

Carta Magica Split

Info Zona (FB Page)

Guild of Lost Travlers

NERD DIMENSION FB PAGE

 

 

 

International TableTop Day 2015, held on 11. 04. 2015. @ FESB powered by : Carta Magica Split & Stari Svijet

That Saturday it was a sunny day in Split, the sun was shinning and a cool breeze was blowing. Almost too hot for the hoodies and jackets many of the students from FESB ( University of Split Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture … the translation is brutal). This writer was on route to the college to DM a session at the first ever International Table Top Day event to be held in Split. It was the brain child of the gracious owners of Carta Magica and the members of Stari Svijet who decided to throw an open door event to promote the culture of gaming.

I was approached and volunteered to do be a Dunegeon Master and even considered bringing my guilds set of Summoner Wars and maybe school some noobs in between D&D sessions. Or so I thought. Fast forward to your beloved blogger speeding towards the venue with half his notes missing as well as his second fix of caffeine. Upon arrival I was welcomed by the part I was to DM for that faithful morning but first shook hands with my inside guys : Marko Mlinar and Kruno Lapenda (two of the three Owners of Carta Magica Split).

Preparations were still underway as the final waves of promotion went down. I laid down my materials and ran across to the Carta Magica store to print some character sheets and buy some cigarettes where I bumped into a few guys who looked like they would be interested in throwing some dice and squashing some minions. Returning to the venue I saw that we had table 1 next to the blackboard and my party awaited :

encounterJerko Sanja Kruno Ivan

ROLE CALL :

Sanja M. aka Scarlet > a fiery dragonborn sorcerer in pursuit of knowledge and magical artifacts. Not too bad to look at neither.

Boris M. aka Skaras > A water Genassi cleric whose neutrality would make the Swiss look like bullies. Not for nothing but it was not the water that made this Cleric slippery.

Nikola aka Rockslide: Sadly Nikola had to jump ship half way through the questing and was picked up by Ljubo Simic temporarily. Sadly no one has seen or heard from Rockslide since…dare we call it a conspiracy?

Marin M. aka Heldeggar: Interesting rogue, always bouncing around but despite his size asked the big questions.

Josip B. aka Arthos: A curious caster who found himself in a bit of a pinch with some Planar chick but how can you blame him, those eyes are hypnotic !

Jerko HP. aka Bruce Banner: Bruce is truly smarter than you average barbarian, no seriously he is 😀

Ivan P. aka Scottish Legolas : In between drinking and hitting on some of the shadiest women in Ashroft he is … stabbing himself with his arrows or contracting parasites.

game Runebound

Considering I myself was new to D&D 5.0 there was no shortage of laughs, puzzle solving and ofcourse a dungeon was entered and a fight broke out in the tavern. All in all dice were rolled, role play points were awarded and most of all fun was had. In the down time other games could have been played ranging from Warhammer 40 K, Arkham Horror, Runebound 2nd Edition, Race for the Galaxy, Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft, the epic Twilight Imperium to name a few. No gamer walked away without getting their fix of their favorite table top games or trying something new out. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers for getting us the big hall and providing us with food and beverages. For the first time ever in Split gamers had a space they could call home and the place and the gaming ran well into 21:00 before an after party was announced for the brave few.

I was sad to see all the games boxed up but in my eyes and those I played with it was a success and they can count on our support any time. I would recommend that anyone visiting ST and looking to kill some time to pencil in a game, or if someone from ST is looking to dive into the magical world of board games and RPGs to also swing by, the people at Carta Magica are very forthcoming with information and even offer a 5% discount on cash purchases for members of their club. Below I have attached the links where you can check for time slots, browse the pictures and like their group.

Word is a con is coming to Split in the very near future and we are expecting more people to show up and support. I encourage those visiting Split, studying in split or just living in Split to check out the store because you never know when you can meet your next board game buddy or just start a new friendship.

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The Quest Begins 1/22/2015

In 2012 a group of friends from different parts of Split began a guild, mostly an excuse to play classic RPGs on classic gaming consoles between their basketball games. The winters in Split can be harsh and an indoor hobby could be fun to escape the elements. There was no specific game nor did it really qualify as a guild and was more of a gang of grown up Goonies looking for something to do.  As time passed and the weather got colder, the winds stronger they found themselves playing less basketball outside and more time indoors. Finding a place to hang out was a challenge and several nights were spent, just them huddled somewhere sheltered from the rain sharing a few words or a drink in a whole in the wall bar.

It was not until Vedran, the ‘master narrator’ returned from his studies in Dubrovnik that Dungeons and Dragons was formally introduced to the guild. Up until that point all the majority knew about the game was from an episode of Dexter’s Lab and Community but knew it sounded like fun, despite the nerdy connotations. The guild mostly consisting of comic book men, fan boys, former PC gamers, has been athletes and the sort welcomed it with open arms. Everyone had heard of Dungeons & Dragons but nobody had really knew much of how it was played other than dice and some basics of fantasy. One must consider that in the city of Split there was but one establishment for fantasy fans and it was the Land of Magic for the longest time.

A hobby shop franchise with a small store in the Center of town with a gaming room in the back. It was finally a vestige of hope but sadly social media was not really a thing back then and the city did not yet have the demand for such a store. So unfortunately they would close their doors and leave the citizens of Split without any substitute leading to the biggest problem facing potential gamers and fans. Where could they learn and meet people who can bring them into that world, introduce them to other players. Apart from what they can access online it is difficult for people to get into something like D&D in a city like Split.

Dragons-of-Massive-Geek-dungeons-and-dragons-1004082_771_762(2)

The biggest challenges are as followed:

  • No places where such games, manuals and materials can be purchased through traditional retail channels. Meaning those interested in playing cannot familiarize themselves or ask questions to someone in person and blog posts will never replace the store experience and assistance.
  • Apart from two Croatian portals (and now the Nerd Dimension); games, reviews and the bulk of the material available are in English so a language barrier does exist as there was no Croatian print version. Good thing most of us were proficient in English!
  • The price. The average modern fantasy board game will run you about 300 to 400 Kunas excluding shipping and even more for miniature based games.
  • The limited amount of games and waiting period for getting them delivered. Croatia still does not have the option of delivery through some of the bigger sites and customs for most games produced in the USA make them too expensive for your average consumer who are lucky if they earn 500$ a month.
  • Lastly it is hard to get a game going when most of the gaming demographic live with their parents in close quarters (not by choice in most cases) so places to play and getting a steady game becomes a feat in itself for many. This also seems to be a problem in other European cities as well as many young adults are forced into tight living arrangements.
  • Lack of knowledge and the public stigma towards board games is that of classic European Style games such as Monopoly and Risk which are staggeringly basic and I dare say boring when compared to the newer modern games that are now in print. Due to the fact that few people are being introduced to these games and the limited understanding and comprehension of the fantasy genre they believe it to be childish, boring or simply a waste of time. Do not get me started on tabletop RPGS !

It was tough staying motivated and getting new people to play so the few members would pool their resources and come together in dimly lit dungeon settings and share in adventuring and begin filling the passages of their quest. All of the group were excited to finally play something they had heard about for so long.

After playing the simplified board game version Vedran had in his stash, with him Dungeon Mastering the group grew to understand the basic concepts and would pursue playing the original RPG. For most of the players it was their first time experiencing something similar and thought the game Vedran was running was grossly simplified compared to the original source material. The evening proved to be fun and did spark the party’s interest in the hobby further. In the first campaign the role-play would immerse them and they would start researching the subject, reading up on classes, races and characters. Vedran would become the hub of their party for all things fantasy and board game related and a go to person for questions concerning said subjects.

Not long afterwards, the unthinkable happened. The first and only DM of the guild had to journey westwards to continue his studies, effectively leaving the party masterless and without his knowledge. After months of meetings and failed attempts at finding a suitable replacement the group had almost but given up hope. Until…

The noble gamer and fellow comic book man Stipe arrived and once again reunited the fellowship around the table once more. It took time before they could get a regular party going but not too long. Soon the guild were testing their mettle and spell casting their way through his obstacles and familiarizing themselves once again with the fantastic world that could be created with their imaginations. New members would arrive with each party or guild meeting. Even women would show up interested in the RPG, which was a pleasant and welcome surprise that helped shatter the stereotype some members still held of it being a ‘guy thing’.

The group would soon order individual dice sets, character sheets printed and minis hunted down as other games would enter their arsenal. As time passes the members create a lasting bond and friendship with one another becoming more than just guys and girls who game together. Birthdays were celebrated and highs and lows shared as they grew closer as friends while forgetting the prior boredom and loneliness.

What started as a group of out of shape guys meeting up to play Champions of Norrath or Marvel Ultimate Alliance soon became a community of friends playing a deeper role in one another’s lives.  Now the guild members meet more frequent than before and are on their way to mastering their crafts. The guild now are seeking to find a place for all people like them, fans of fantasy, comic book men and gamers to meet and congregate but above all quest and play together.

Who would ever believe that so many people from such distant walks of life could connect over their shared common passion for fiction, last of all in such times of negativity and isolation? In a time and city where the only thing for young adults to do on any given weekend is indulge in alcohol and lousy loud music. It is now finally that people from Split and the surrounding cities can meet up, game, talk or just exchange ideas with one another in person. With time this sub culture and form of entertainment and art will grow and embrace more fans and followers. What a day it will be when Split hosts its first Con, what splendid times will be had as ale is raised and cheer is shared by all present.

Until then, may your games be thrilling, reading inspiring and your questing EPIC. guantlet.jpg

Special thanks to:

Apic, Vedran, Stipe, Boris, Milos, Medeni, Kruno, Darko & Dom. I am glad we still speak for the most part and are still friends and adventurers til this day.

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