Board Game Session Report for May 30, 2003: Time Control, Alhambra, Dante's Inferno, Steam Tunnel


B20 session. 4-player Time Control, 4-player Alhambra, 4-player Dante's Inferno, 4-player Steam Tunnel.

Time Control

Players were Dave, Ralph, Matt, myself. New players to the game were: Dave, Ralph, Matt, myself.

We spent 36 minutes going over the rules and setting up the game.

Game Overview

Time Control is a real-time strategy game.

Each player has a board representing his timeline. Each player has a set of twelve agents (many with special abilities) starting in Today. The object of the game is to not lose -- last man standing. A player loses when he accumulates three or more Problems in each of three categories: Cultural, Societal and Technological.

Each round of Time Control has two turns. Each turn has three phases. During each phase, players act simultaneously. But once an action starts, it continues unless another player interrupts that action with his own action. Each phase ends when all player have taken their actions and agree to go to the next phase.

The turns are: Time Agent Turn and Time Wave Turn.

The Time Agent Turn contains the Launch Phase in which agents are assigned to different times from "Today," the Alert Phase in which agents are flipped from a "busy" state to an "alert" state, and the Action Phase in which agents perform actions: attack another agent, create time waves, attack time waves move to time zones, aid/sabotage attacks, move and invade, and snap back to Today.

The Time Wave Turn contains the Advance Phase in which time waves are advances one time zone towards Today, the Resolve Phase in which a time wave that enter Today (a situation in which players get Problems) or that enter a time zone with agents are resolved, and the Grow Phase in which a Create token is added to each time wave.

Battles are fought by selecting a token from a personal pool with a number from 1 - 21, or a "fate" token. The higher number wins. Attacker wins in a tie. The loser has a chance to call for one re-duel. A fate token means a fate card is drawn and the number on the card is used for the battle resolution. When the battle is over, the highest number token each player used is discarded. Fate tokens are never discarded.

There's a little more to it, but that's it in a nutshell.

Session Overview

Am I doomed to repeat the rules without ever playing the game? This time, knowing the rules better, I tried to go over them along with a dry run of the game.

Matt kept incredulously whining about not grasping the rules. Ralph was drawn in to Matt's attitude about the game. Dave, to his credit, was open to try the game.

So, once again, I didn't draw people to try this game. What am I doing wrong?

Click here to learn more about Time Control at


Players were Dave, Ralph, Matt, myself. I was a new player to the game. Ralph had the first turn.

We spent 13 minutes going over the rules and setting up the game.

Game Overview

Alhambra is a resource management game with a city-building theme.

Players start with money cards which could be four different colors. A pool of four town tiles are available for buying, in each of the four colors. The tiles themselves come in seven different colors and have a value, The tiles' colors are worth different values during a scoring round.

Each player builds his own city. Players try to get the most tiles of specific colors to score the most points during scoring rounds. Some tiles have walls, and the longest line of wall in each city is worth additional points.

During a player's turn, he may do one of:

There are three scoring rounds. The first two occur at semi-random points.

Session Overview

Matt was still very punchy during this game. This game didn't have much interaction otherwise. The rules were simple and the game went quickly.

Game lasted 46 minutes. Final scores were:

Click here to buy Alhambra at

Click here to learn more about Alhambra at

Dante's Inferno

Players were Jim, Dave, Ralph, myself. New players to the game were: Jim, Dave, Ralph. Ralph had the first turn.

We spent 16 minutes going over the rules and setting up the game.

Game Overview

Dante's Inferno is a resource-management, tile-laying game set in the nine circles of Hell.

Each tile has two of circles of Hell on it and two numbers printed on it. Players start with three pawns on the first (outer) circle which is laid out at the beginning of the game, and work their way down to the ninth circle to defeat Lucifer to win the game. Along the way, players collect souls (resources) and spend them on actions.

There are four different types of souls, and different combinations are needed to do different things.

There are three phases in a turn:

1) fight a demon in the same space as a pawn. Winning eliminates the demon from the board. Losing kicks the pawn up one level to the nearest corner.

2) Roll for resources. A player with a pawn on a number rolled receives the soul represented by the tile.

3) Perform actions. Perform as many actions as resources available.

These actions are:

. Move your pawn one space for free

. Move one demon one space for free

. Move your pawn one space

. Move a pawn between circles

. Flip an existing tile making it unpassable/passable

. Draw and play a tile to start filling in the inner circles where resource production is higher

. Move an opponent's pawn

. Add another pawn for a maximum of six

Other interesting rules: Rolling doubles means players may add an additional soul of their choice, rolling 7 means the player adds a demon to a corner tile, rolling 2 or 12 means the player may add or move a soul doubling chit to a tile or a zero production chit to a tile.

The game comes with beautiful plastic bits for the pawns and demons, sturdy tiles, and dice.

Session Overview

This session went much faster than the last one. People didn't spend too much time think about their moves. Playing an hour feels about right for this game, though other players seemed to think it was a bit slow.

I was kicking myself because I traded a soul Dave needed to get into the ninth circle, guessing he'd roll badly, but he didn't.

Game lasted 69 minutes. Final scores were:

Click here to buy Dante's Inferno at

Click here to learn more about Dante's Inferno at

Steam Tunnel

Players were Jim, Dave, Ralph, myself. New players to the game were: Jim, Dave, Ralph. Dave had the first turn.

We spent 1 minutes going over the rules and setting up the game.

Game Overview

Steam Tunnel is a tile game.

The board is a 6 x 6 grid of face-down tiles, four of which are face-up tiles with scoring end-nodes. Players take control of tunnel segments with the intention of owning the highest-scoring tunnels. Each tunnel is scored at the end of the game by adding the node values of a tunnel together, and counting the number of segments making up the tunnel, then multiplying those two values together. The player with the most tokens on a tunnel system gets the score -- ties are divided evenly.

Each turn, a player does two things:

1) Flip a tile

2) Either claim a tunnel segment, or bury a tile.

Burying a tile means tunnels pass straight through that tile, but doesn't count toward the score of tunnel systems connecting to it.

Session Overview

We ended up connected together a huge tunnel network, quite unexpectedly. It took time to track down all the forks in it, and the game time doesn't include scoring time! :-)

It was generally agreed that this is a good filler game.

Game lasted 15 minutes. Final scores were:

Click here to buy Steam Tunnel at

Click here to learn more about Steam Tunnel at

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