Thursday session: Greentown, Corner Lot

Greentown box

During yesterday’s game session, I was able to play the two games I most wanted. First we played Greentown, a rather excellent route-building game. Players develop the board to make the most beneficial tourist routes. Route cards specify the length of the route and the mandatory and optional locations to visit. Visiting places makes you money, but if you visit opponent’s location, they get the money.

So, you want to both keep your own routes private while placing your buildings so that your opponents must use them on their routes. Rather delightful. The route-building is taken from 18xx games. You can either build new tiles or replace old ones to change the routes.

This is a very analytical game, where you can really get stuck on planning those routes. We played 21 turns in almost 60 minutes, so on average we took almost three minutes per turn. Kind of slow, and the players weren’t that slow. I would avoid the game like plague with very AP prone players. With swift enough players, Greentown is excellent.

The other game we played was also an 18xx derivative, JC Lawrence’s prototype Corner Lot, which is based on the private company auction phase of 18xx, made into a full game.

It’s all about auctions and set collecting, and a rather clever game, too. I liked it, but I played it with the wrong people, as just about everybody else hated it… Too much calculating, wrong kind of calculating and too much information, too. I liked it, however, it’s an interesting challenge and requires some thinking, as money soon becomes scarce and you have to both collect good cards for yourself and prevent opponents from making too good sets.

If you’re interested, check out the short rules (a PDF file) and playtest kits are also available. The game is just 45 cards and poker chips, so it’s easy to assemble and a fairly complete game.

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