Paging Patterson, Party of Five
by David Short
published by Alderac Entertainment Group
Susan was given this game by her AMNH board game collaborator, Barry Joseph, who snagged a couple of copies at the NY Toy Fair back in 2015.
Susan: Because of the main mancala mechanic, I guess you could say “Five Tribes,” but it’s a rather unique game with how it blends that movement mechanic with goal achievement simultaneously.
Mike: Yeah obviously it’s gonna give Five Tribes vibes BUT it also reminds me of a favorite aspect of "Tiny Epic Westerns" and Susan’s own "Gutsy" where key strategic moves can be made by sacrificing one benefit printed on a card for a benefit of another kind that is also represented on the same card. This positive take on a “Morton’s Fork” mechanic is gaining popularity in board game design lately, and I’m fan!
Susan: It’s classic AEG - simple, yet effective. This game has a bunch of symbols and the starter side of the board has some blank spaces - I feel like these could have been used to provide some legends. The player aids, which look like old-fashioned boarding passes (remember those? Before we had barcodes on our phones?) are very snazzy.
Mike: The airport layout is inspired. It’s very cool thing to have built the game UI around and I dig the story it tells. It’s not incredibly detailed, it's functional, utilitarian even, but it gets the job done.
Susan: I really like the way that players have to make strategic choices between using the cards as either, actions - to help them adjust their movement to their advantage - or to save them to use them as goals to score victory points. And I also really like the mechanic of having to balance out also moving the neutral cubes to try to get yourself more of those cards.
Mike: Oh, I didn’t see that you mentioned this in my first read-through of your comments! Whoops! Oh well, as I have mentioned above I am also a fan of this but I get the most satisfaction in moving opponents pieces out of optimal boarding spaces. Soooo satisfying! Getting to move opponent’s pieces is something that’s not built in nearly enough to game design!
Susan: I have no idea why the game includes so many traffic cones and I think the design is a little bland.
Mike: I’ve always kind of felt this game missed an opportunity to have “plane meeples”, allowing me to fly around the board making jet sounds as I do it!! (This is a key point of fun in AEG’s Automobiles with the cars!) I mean the game is called PLANES after all!!
Susan: I’m pretty sure that the first time that we played, we didn’t quite get that if we were playing as red and blue, for example, that the other two colors were acting as neutral and so still needed to be moved and could be boarded onto their planes to get to draw cards.
Mike: We may have played 3 times before we realized that you MUST have one of your own cubes in hand when you pick up at a gate! And if I’m being honest, it happens still at least once or twice a game (tho now we always catch it)
Susan: Absolutely. We got this game a while ago and just pulled it out again to show Susan’s fiancé. He picked it up pretty quickly and it was a good way to show someone how a mancala-based game works. It’s relatively quick. I think this will be a staple for years to come
Mike: Well I guess Susan broke some news there! Yep, she’s off the market everybody! Our Susan’s getting hitched! Congrats Matt and Susan! (It’s still just TWO Damn Board though, but he can play with us every so often!).
|That damn rock better not scratch any game boards!|
So go buy one here: