1/25 Gaming Marathon Session Report
Patrickado's dotanuki caught the first rays of the sun as they appeared over the mountains. The long sword gleamed in the new light and reflected the smear of smoke on the horizon that marked the place where Simononi and Jeffasabe made war around Edo. Patrickado had marshaled his forces on the south end of the island Honshu without resistance, but the war would eventually reach him. His blade was made of steel that had been folded over and over into one hundred layers and pounded razor sharp by the swordsmiths. It was six generations old. Would he live to pass it on to his son?
I'm blatently stealing a page from the Book of Ben here to lead in to a report of our Wednesday night meet-up.
Patrick graciously hosted Simon and I. We got things rolling with Samurai, a Reiner Knizia tile-laying game that has strong ties to Tigris and Euphrates in my opinion. The board shows a map of the Japanese islands with cities and villages which contain various figures. Players place tiles labeled with varying types and amounts of influence around the cities. When a city is surrounded, they player with the most adjacent tiles with influence matching the figure in the city takes it. There are three types of figures. If any player has a majority of two of the types at the end of the game, he wins. Otherwise, each player who has a majority of one type sets aside the ones in which he has the majority and the total number of their other figures are compared. The most figures wins. Jon completely thrashed us in the first game, and he won the second one handily. I really like Samurai. It plays very quickly; we played twice in 90 minutes. It's tense from start to finish, and scales seamlessly from two to four.
Next we played a couple of quick games of Fairy Tale, which seems to be the filler of choice for the SABG, judging from recent sesssion reports. I find the play a bit anticlimatic, but the drafting of cards and evaluating their relative value to you and the other players makes for interesting decisions. I expect we'll be seeing this one for a while. Jon won our first game, and Patrick and I tied the second.
Patrick then pulled out An Ideal Candidate. It's a neat card game about running for president. Each player is a major political figure running for the high office with his own special power. Simon was Hilary, I was Ralph Nader, and Patrick was W. The goal is to win the most votes by influencing the public with speeches, TV commercials, and mass mailings. Alternatively, you can cause your opponent to lose public favor through slander and mudslinging. It's a game of hand/resource management with a considerable bit of 'take that' player interaction. Nader and Hilary were neck and neck as the last issue was decided, and Hilary pulled it out using her amazing "shrew" ability. You couldn't imagine Nader would win even in a game, could you?
We finished the night off with Succession. Each player is a figure in the royal court who is vying to manuever their heir of choice into the position of king. Each turn you may play one Intrigue which all players will vote on. They can pay gold or Influence to help push the vote the way they want. If the Intrigue succeeds, the candidate(s) you chose gain or lose standing in the court. The player who spent the most on the Intrigue, regardless of whether the vote went the way they wanted, gets to assign credit and blame. If a candidate gains standing, getting the credit causes you to gain favor with them. If the candidate loses standing, taking the blame means you lose favor. Once one candidate gains enough standing, they become king and the player with the most favor from that candidate wins. Jon and I both had maximum favor with Galahad when he ascended to he throne, and Jon won on tie-breakers. Now that I have had a chance to think about it, there's a lot of similarity between An Ideal Candidate and Succession. Succession is also a hand/resource management game with 'take that' style player interaction.
We managed to cram six games into five hours, although by the end I was yawning every five minutes. I knew I should have picked up a super-size double-adrenaline intravenous espresso on the way over.