Thursday, November 30, 2017

Jumping into Lemminge

Lemminge is a game that I never would have heard of, let alone played, if it wasn’t for Yucata.

It’s a race game based on the disproven myth that lemmings are a bunch of suicidal rodents who have an urge to throw themselves off cliffs. You are trying to be the first person to get both your lemmings over the cliff.

The board is a wide, u-shaped track of hexes that are either blank or a terrain type, which are grouped together. 

On your turn, you can either draw cards or play cards. Playing cards is the interesting bit. The cards show the different terrain types and a number. Over the course the game, you make rows of each terrain type, counting down. If you play a higher card, you clear the row and start over with your card.

So here’s how movement works: you move one of your lemmings the sum Of the room that you just put a card in. They can move on blank spaces or the matching terrain. You can also push other lemmings but that takes movement points.

One of my favorite touches is that if you clear a card row and start a new one (which usually means less movement), you get the consolation of a tile that matches that terrain that you can use to fill an empty space on the board. Definitely gives options for nasty plays.

And, the game ends when someone flings their two lemmings over the cliff and wins.

On a whole, I’m pretty meh to the game. While you sometimes get to make some really cool moves, luck of the draw seems really powerful. And if you get blocked in or have bad card draws, even a move that gives you a lot of moves doesn’t seem like it would save you. Particularly because you only get one terrain type per move.

In the case of Lemminge, that fact that it is a very light game is kind of its saving grace. Because it is easy to understand and quick to play, I’m willing to keep on trying it. It could be that practicing hand management might mitigate the luck. Or it could be that each turn really only does have one good move.

It reminds me a lot of Odin’s Ravens, the whole playing cards to matching terrain for movement. However, Odin’s Ravens is a much tighter, more interactive game. Lemminge just doesn’t have the tension.

I won’t deny the fact that getting to learn a new game is  fun. So I am glad that I have gotten to experience Lemminge. However, I can’t say that it’s a game that I would actually think about getting a hardcopy or even try and get a play face-to-face.

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