Seventy second session - Tycoons, Theme parks and Wandering Wizards

St. Ives Tabletop

21st February 2024

This session had 23 gamers spread over five tables playing ten different games covering the usual favourite themes of trains, trading and building, but more unusually wizards brewing potions, stained glass, cats on boats and evil theme parks.

Only one starter game this session, Ecosystem now on its twenty first club play.

Age Of Industry

Simon W. had proposed Age of Industry in advance on our Discord and four willing people joined to experience Brass V1.2. Now many people have heard of Brass: Lancashire (2018) and/or Brass: Birmingham (2018). In fact, Brass: Birmingham is currently the Number 1 game on Board Game Geek. What some people might not remember, is that it all started back in 2007 with Brass; a three or four player only game (which later had a two-player expansion map added). Brass: Lancashire is essentially a reprint of Brass. However, Martin Wallace worked on a revised version of Brass back in 2010, his aim was to make a more general system (akin to Age of Steam, Powergrid, etc.) that could more easily have expansion maps. Hence Age of Industry (2010) was born. Now, many have harshly called Age of Industry “Brass Lite”, but Simon is a firm supporter of this weird and mostly forgotten game that knocks some of the rough edges off Brass while still being a very engaging and interactive economic network building game; hence he jokingly calls it Brass V1.2.

Of the four players who sat down to play with Simon, three had already played Brass:B or Brass:L. This was both a good thing, for understanding some of the basics of building the network of industries but you do have to unlearn a few Brass quirks. It wouldn’t be a Martin Wallace game without loans and to really get that theme going you start with no money, but unlike Brass taking loans is not an action. The game clock is also different, with not all actions requiring a card to be played. The big difference from Brass is the lack of a canal era, only trains here (is it a train game? No, but it has trains).

This being the first play for everyone but Simon, it was a game of exploring how things work and what you can do. We played on the New England map from the base game (the Germany map is generally regarded as a bit boring). The final scores were: 26, 25, 23, 19, 14; so Age of Industry is not a high scoring game. One player built both their level-4 ships, which was 8 out of their 25 points, so the margins are tight in this game (rather like in Brass). Simon was left to dominate the railway network and scored 12 of 23 points (which no one will let happen again). Sadly, despite Simon’s best efforts he failed to sabotage the other committee member and Jyo K. took the win. Having played and experienced it, there was a good interest in trying again (perhaps on a different map) and so expect to see this at the club again.

Wandering Tower

One table got stuck into Wandering Towers, brought by Dave B., which is a competition of wizards racing to complete their allotted potions and get their team of wizards to the Raven tower. On your turn you get to choose 2 of three action cards you have - which move either a tower or one of your wizards. The towers and wizards have to move in a clockwise direction and if you get the right number of moves you can get your wizard home or move a tower on top of other wizards to capture their essence and complete a potion.

There is of course a twist that your wizards can get hidden by multiple tower levels so you have to remember where they all are! You can use up your completed potions to perform extra actions chosen at random at the start of the game that may help you or hinder others.

Wandering Tower

Its a fun and quick game so the group had a couple of plays. With quiet calculation, the first game was won by James T., and then Dave triumphantly won the second game beat a couple of others poised to win.


Then four players of the table then tried Ginkgopolis a eurogame brought by Jeremy J. with a theme of building a solar punk like city together. The aim is to score the most points by improving the city, either by expanding the city and activating adjacent tiles or building on top of city tiles and gaining scoring cards or creating districts where you have control at the end of the game.

A player has to manage the number of tiles and resources for building they have, to have more options on their turn. They start with some helper cards that let them gain a combination of resources, tiles or points depending on the action they choose on their turn. They can gain more of these cards whenever they build on top of a city tile, and later in the game these can be end-game scoring cards.

On a turn a player has a hand of four cards that either allow them to expand the city or build on top of existing tiles. If they don’t have the resources or city tiles for either they can discard a card to get some of these resources instead. All players choose an action at the same time, but then perform it one after the other, with the cards then passing to the next player.

Once the cards run out, new cards are added depending on what has been built and play continues until all the city tiles have been exhausted. Then players can sell city tiles they have back to the pool and play continues until the tiles run out again and the game ends.

Its an interesting game of working out how best to utilise and expand your special cards, whilst setting yourself up for district scoring at the end. The 3 new players all scored reasonably and would be happy to have a replay now they understand the mechanics!

Sagrada Sagrada

Another table started with Sagrada a game using translucent coloured dice to simulate stained glass windows, now on its fifth club play, first reviewed in session 28. Then the table moved onto Isle of Cats a pretty game about tesselating cat tiles onto a grid laid out on the deck of a boat, reviewed when it was first played in session 66.

Isle Of Cats Ticket To Ride

The fourth table tried classic train game Ticket to Ride then had two plays of Century: Spice Road which is the original game in the Century series, we have previously played Century: Golem Edition in session 45.

Century: Spice Road

This instalment of Century has a spice trading theme, with players plying the silk road delivering spices. The rules are simple to grasp – but keep an eye on what others are doing or the cards / points may be snatched before your turn! There are four different spices (coloured cubes). Each turn you can do one of four actions: 1) use your spices to buy a merchant card; 2) use your spices to buy a points card (fulfil an order); 3) Play a merchant card to gain spices to trade spices for other spices; or 4) Rest (reclaim the cards you have played). When any player has 5 points cards, the game ends at the end of that round. We played 2 games, with different winners. In the first game, the player who reached 5 points cards won. In the second game, one player got 5 points cards, but Graham W. had higher value cards and won.

Dale of Merchants 2

The final table quickly got going with Unfair then had a taster of Dale of Merchants 2 which had previously been played in session 67. In Unfair a theme park theme is selected by each player, in this game we chose Vampire, Ninja, Robot and Pirate. Then all the different types of cards from each theme deck are shuffled together making Event, City, Park and Blueprint card piles.


In Unfair everyone starts with 25 coins and five cards but can have a redo if they do not have an attraction. The game proceeds over 8 years which start with drawing a new event card each, revealing the city card modifier for that year, playing event cards, then three actions each per player followed by counting guests and acquiring money and clean-up.

City cards start out nice in the first four years with benefits for all players, then the final four years turn nasty with bad events like attraction types being closed or taxes or employees being unavailable. Event cards have two halves, one beneficial to the player and one detrimental to one or more other players, hence the Unfair in the game name as you can sabotage your opponents theme parks. The action rounds let you play attractions into your park (up to five) or add upgrades to attractions or hire workers for bonuses. Money is quite tight so you may need to take out a loan for a victory point penalty at game end.

Victory points are scored by counting up the number of different icons stacked up per attraction then consulting a score table, meeting conditions on blueprint cards (but negative points if you fail). Also points from workers and any other special cards and coins earned on the turnstiles but then negative points from loans.


This game was a walkover victory by Tom M. and his Ninja theme park, he managed to keep a very upgraded roller coaster through the various sabotage attempts by the other three players and destructive City cards and had collected two blueprints that matched his roller coaster and hoarded all the ninja themed upgrade cards making his the only park with Ninja themed attractions ticking another high scoring blueprint bonus box. Kathy J. and her Robot themed park was a distant second, she overcame the final City card destroying key upgrades on two attractions and salvaged her blueprint scores but her five attractions were not very upgraded any more and scored poorly. Natasha M. and Hannah S. were close behind but got caught out with some incomplete blueprints. There are more themes to try out in future plays and with the game play and card varieties better understood it should be more even next time.

Join us on the 6th of March for another session packed with varied games. If there is a game you would really like to try, let us know in advance on the Discord channel and we will try and arrange to bring it along.