Last Call – For me it held to the hype.

I admit that I am a hard to please girl some days, especially when there is a good deal of hype around something.  So I was fully prepared to be disappointed when I played “Last Call”.   We had received a copy during the Origins 2011 Game Fair.   As seems to be customary with my large group of gamers, we ended up splitting into two groups for gaming, and I ended up on the other side of the split from Last Call (I believe I played Face Eater that night instead).   There was lots of frustrated cursing, laughing, and calling of “order!” coming from the other table, and after their game ended, I heard nothing but good comments.  It’s hard to please everyone in my group, so I was a bit shocked.  It had to be a fluke.

The initial setup of the game.  Each colored tile is a bartender and the things sitting on top are the bottles.

The initial setup of the game. Each colored tile is a bartender and the things sitting on top are the bottles.

The second time the game got broke out, I once again ended up on the wrong side of the cut.  I forget what I played that evening, but once again the people playing Last Call seemed to be having a blast.  It was time I bellied up to that bar and found out what this was all about.

I admit that when I first learned the rules I was running on very little sleep and a whole mess of Monster energy drink.  Therefore it took a tidbit of explaining by the others to get me going.  I was struggling with the fact that the bartenders colors didn’t match the colors of the bottles and getting confused repeatedly about the fact that I couldn’t move a blue bottle even though a blue card was just played.  But even in my “less than best” state, it didn’t take me more then five minutes to figure out what was going on.  So this game certainly scores brownie points for ease of learning.

Essentially this game is all about getting a bartender to make a perfect, or a near perfect drink.  This is determined by what drinks are represented on the cards in your hand.  For instance, you may have a card that requires two bottles of gin, and one bottle of vodka.  Your goal is to get one of the bartenders on the table to have that combination.  Easy enough right?

That’s where the strategy of the game comes in.  Only one bottle moves at a time, from one bartender to another.  The “dealer” plays out bartender cards onto the board.  Only if a bartender has a card in front of them may they be involved in the movement of a bottle (either giving or receiving).  When you see a trade on the board that you want to happen just call out “Order!”.   The cards from in front of those bartenders are removed, the trade happens, and the game continues.

These are the drink cards used in the game.  Each player receives one of each kind of card.

These are the drink cards used in the game. Each player receives one of each kind of card.

Ever get a drink that is too strong at a bar?  Yeah, I think the majority of us have, and what do you do?   Water it down.  If a bartender has more bottles on him then it takes to complete your drink and you would still like to call your drink complete, you can, but it has to be watered down.  Players take one “ice cube” for every unneeded bottle on their bar tender.   The player with the fewest ice cubes when all drinks have been made is the winner.

I have to take a moment and brag on Wattsalpoag, the creators of this game, they made a really nice product.  The components are sound (and we all know how much of a stickler I am about that).  The game comes with cute little plastic bottles, which are easy to move, rather then fumbling around with cardboard chits.   The ice cubes look almost realistic, and are a heavy plastic.  The artwork is good (which I’m sorry Wattsal, is not always your strong point).  They made a really nice looking, functional, product.

So for me, the game held to the hype.  Even in my extremely tired state, I wanted to play another round of it immediately after the first.  I’m already looking forward to playing it again, and while I have a long list of cool new games to play, I just think this one might jump to the front of the line to be replayed at least once more before I am compelled to move on.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Monday, July 11th, 2011 at 7:14 am and is filed under Board Game Reviews, Resource Management Games . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


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