Friday, June 1, 2012

Loch Ness Monster Spotted in Rio Grande

Day 30 - Loch Ness
Designed by Ronald Wettering

I love photography, and there is one photograph that would definitely win some prizes - and that is a picture of the Loch Ness Monster. Little Nessie, as the monster is so lovingly nicknamed by some, is a true legend. You hear stories about Big Foot, but I believe that Nessie is the bigger story. There is something special about the idea of an ancient sea animal living in a (apparently not so small) lake. Movies have been made about the creature and its elusiveness. There is even a delightful website that has some interesting facts, first hand accounts, and even live webcams of the lake (if you have a spare moment, try to find Nessie yourself). The lake and surrounding area looks like a beautiful place to visit if you ask me. Well, tonight I had the privilege of taking  many photographs of Nessie as The Wife and I played Loch Ness.

Loch Ness is a fun game that isn't complicated and doesn't take a long time to explain or play. The game is made for 2 to 5 players and only takes about 30 minutes to play. Some games that have a similar feel or game play include Limits and Incan Gold. The object of the game is to obtain the most points by strategically (and with a little/or a lot of luck) placing your cameras in the locations where Nessie decides to show herself. If you have your cameras placed in the right spots, you will walk away with some pretty valuable photos as well which will also help your score.

The game is played with a large board of Loch Ness which has many little stations for cameras to be set up. Nessie moves around the lake while the players are trying to set up their cameras where Nessie will move to that round. Each player has an opportunity to choose a special action that will help them that round. There are multiple actions to choose from, but only one person can utilize each action during that round. Players take turns choosing in a clockwise direction from the starting player for that round. Some examples of actions include receiving an extra camera for that turn, making a 3 point camera worth 9 points, and being able to move Nessie one space right to where you want her for a nice close up! After the actions are chosen, 3 players (the starting player and the next two players clockwise) will choose a movement card from their deck (each player has movement cards 1 through 5). In a 2 player game, there is a neutral movement deck that will be used for the third player. The players then take turns moving their cameras on the board trying to make educated guesses to where Nessie will turn up after she moves. When everyone is ready, the 3 movement cards are flipped up and Nessie moves around the lake the added number of spaces. Players score points for being in the general area where Nessie is (equal to the point value of camera 3,4,5, or 7 points) and they obtain photo cards for being in the exact location where Nessie is. At the end of the game, players score points for collecting sets of pictures (head, body, tail - a full set is 10 points, any combination of the two is 5 points, and any additional single card by itself is another 1 point).

With not knowing exactly what the other movement cards are face down prior to movement, it's a guessing game as to where to place/move your cameras - so there is a bit of luck to the game. The game includes two variants that may be played independently or together with the basic game. To me, both variants are very nice and I think I would end up playing both variants all of the time. When the big Nessie is moved around the lake with the movement cards, there is a little Nessie meeple that runs around the scoring track the same amount of movement as the big Nessie. The game ends when little Nessie makes it all of the way around the board. This keeps the game a good length and you will probably even want to play another quick game. The Wife and I played the game just the 2 of us tonight and I thought it played very nicely with just 2. Now, the game is not really a cut-throat kind of game with just 2 because the board is pretty open for each person to choose a camera location for their cameras, but the game still plays well with 2. I look forward to playing this game with others and would definitely recommend this game to others as a fun, easy to learn and play, quick, luck-of-the-cards type game.

A big SHOUT OUT to Rio Grande Games for their support of my A Game A Day project! Thanks to Rio Grande I was able to play and review Loch Ness tonight and will be able to play and review 4 more games thanks to their donation (upcoming games from Rio Grande include Hawaii, Pantheon, Royal Palace, and Ranking). Rio Grande Games actually publishes most of my absolute favorite games like Carcassonne, Dominion, Bohnanza, Power Grid, Coloretto, and the list goes on and on. Thank you Rio Grande Games for bringing these amazing games (mostly from Germany or other places in Europe) to us in English and making them accessible for the avid gamer and families a like and that is How Lou Sees It.

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