Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Knizia-Fest, 5 June 2006

Last night we celebrated one of the greatest board game designers of all time, Reiner Knizia, by conducting an all-Knizia game night (well, sort of). Thank you, Ted, for coming up with what I think was a great idea. Security, please escort that disruptive guy in the Doom Marine costume out the back door, please!

Knizia games I was involved in were Colossal Arena (my favorite light game); Modern Art (which I discovered is even better when you get the rules correct); and Pikomino. I also saw Ra, Beowulf, and Merchants of Amsterdam getting played. Overall, I would declare Knizia-fest a success.

I also managed to spend about half my night playing the non-Knizia game Indonesia. I do enjoy complex business games like this one, and I especially enjoyed experiencing the 18XX DNA you could see pumping through the veins of this one.

Like 18XX games, I think Indonesia might require 3-4 plays and/or a lot of study before one could be seriously competitive against players who know the game well. I used to play 18XX games against a group of older guys who played nothing execpt 18XX games every week for over five years. The learning curve was a frustrating, humbling experience for about 3 months, but victory was intensely rewarding when I dominated my first game of 1830 against this hardcore group. Then, we'd switch to 1835, and I'd suck again for another month or so...

Anyway, I enjoyed Indonesia. Due to the learning curve there was a fair amount of downtime during other players' turns, which was artificially worse due to the fact that I was hungry and really wanting to play more Knizia games. Still, the morning after I do find myself thinking about the game and how I could have played better, which is always a very good sign!


At 7:11 AM, June 06, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Ben....I'm disappointed. Even in Knizia fest you don't get to play his masterpiece T+E. If I had been there, I would have made sure you played.

Battle Line? Well, not everyone's favorite but cool still.

Samurai would have been one I'd have liked to play again (only played once a long time ago in an SABG session).

(sigh) playing vicariously through your session reports.

At 7:27 AM, June 06, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I actually finally played T+E two Fridays ago with Jon, Michael, and Jeff. What a great game!! Its definitely going to be a part of my next Thought Hammer shipment.

Battle Line is one of my favorite two player games. I'd give a slight edge to LotR: Confrontation, simply because I like Stratego more than Poker. :)

Another game I would have liked to play last night was a full Lord of the Rings with Friends and Foes shuffled in.

At 8:25 AM, June 06, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Ben wrote: "...which was artificially worse due to the fact that I was hungry..."

I've been wondering how people manage to get there so much before me, and I guess this partially explains it. At least last night Ben skipped dinner.

I left work as soon as I could, picked up fast food, let out the dog, changed, ate, and still only got there at 7. Folks already had 3 games down!

Anyway, I rate Knizia-fest a success. Sure there were non-Knizia games, but Knizia was very well represented.

I played Through the Desert, Beowulf, and Ra, all with Dennis and Michael. TtD is a fun abstract game. Sort of like multi-player, water-down go. I don't recall who won, but we didn't explain scoring well to Dennis, so there's an asterisk on that one.

Beowulf is a combo of gambling, hand management, and auctions with a dash of fantasy/advenure. Michael smoked Dennis and I. A key part of his victory was a blessing he won from Queen somebody. Her help allowed him to dodge a wound from the dragon. Dennis got a blessing from King somebody-else, and I showed the resolve of Beowulf himself, but it wasn't enough. With his blessing in hand, Michael went after the dragon w/o any other resources (cards) whereas I had been hoarding my bravery and fighting for a long time. Poor Dennis suffered dramatically from bad luck through the whole game, but I think he enjoyed it anyway.

Ra is pure auction goodness with some push-your-luck and a touch of Egypt. In the last epoch I grabbed the last flood, thereby pulling Michael down into last place with me. If I had grabbed a civ, Micheal probably would have grabbed the flood and pulled ahead of me. I'm not good at this game, but the many various factors are very interesting.

All in all, great fun.

At 8:37 AM, June 06, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Low blood sugar sautéed with a mix of intensely competitive gaming is not a recipe for victory.

At 9:15 AM, June 06, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Sorry Ben, that probably would have been a good time to play you back with a half sandwich. Yes, I can attest to that; playing with an empty stomach is not good (like I did in my Twilight struggle session).

At 9:38 AM, June 06, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Escort the doom guy out? I played less non-Knizia games than you did last night! (One: 25 Words or Less)

At 12:28 PM, June 06, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

By the way, I much prefer this photo of the "good doctor:"


Oh yeah, he's casual, he's all business, and he's male. He's casual business male, baby!

lil' "I guarantee it!"

At 4:31 PM, June 06, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

Worst Epoch Ever.

I was a little disappointed that T&E didn't hit the table given the theme. I'll live I guess. I have to mention a thank you to Ted about his Beowulf explanation. The risk management vs. hand management description was enlightening to me.

I know I mentioned this is the store last night, but if anyone is planning on doing an order soon, is it possible I leech/help you get free shipping? I have to have Roma and possibly Ricochet Robots.

At 6:32 PM, June 06, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Roma is getting a lot of positive buzz. I need to check this game out.

That's a great photo of Knizia. Casual male business indeed.

I just realized that Simon and a new-comer joined Michael, Dennis and me in playing Ra. Didn't mean to slight anyone.


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