Tuesday, August 01, 2006

7/31 report

I got there again at 4pm expecting to find only Jeff. So I brought with me a bag full of 2 player games. But lo and behold, Simon was there too. Luckily I had Louis XIV with me. It was a well-fought game, but again I met my demise by ignoring the oh-so-easy-to-neglect coat of arms (= to 1 victory point each vs 5 for completed missions). Simon took the win by hoarding the aforementioned in the last round.

Chad, and Carlos waltzed in. Cartagena was put on the table. Simon again took the win. (Nice light filler game with a decent dash of strategy...enough to satisfy any gamer hungry for a quick snack).

Simon should have left after this streak, but instead he decided to pit his demonic hordes against mine in a game of Hecatomb. Very interesting mechanics; very reminiscent of MtG. Still, I feel that I haven't mastered deck-building with this game. I'm getting there....

Rick swung by and hosted a game of Hey that's my fish. A little after that Ted and I plunged into a tiny-but-tense scenario of Colombia Game's Pacific Victory. I liked the game a lot, not only because of the theater covered, but because it's so much different than Crusader Rex and Hammer of the Scots (no underscoring of these 2 intended by that comment though). Simon and a bunch of others played some mysterious dexterity game. Looked fun from where I was..... deep in the jungles of Singapore defending my holdings with my precious Japanese army.

'Til next Monday. This Saturday? ....still working on the logistics.


At 8:28 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Jeff said...

While the Japanese fought against the force of historical accuracy to win in the Asian theatre, we played Simon's "mysterious dexterity game" - Villa Palletti. The basic idea is to pull blocks of your color from the lower levels and place them on the highest level of an ever-growing tower. The player with the most valuable columns on the top level when the whole thing crashes down wins. Since it's tall, colorful, and loud, we drew a crowd of onlookers almost instantly. Some of them joined us for games two and three of VP and some stuck around for Power Grid. It was a tight, tense game of PG. It came down to tiebreakers with Rick pulling out the win.

At 8:48 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

I liked Rick's fish game a lot. Quick, easy, both strategy and tactics. Did I mention quick?

Now that I've played PV F2F twice, it's really starting to gel for me. The Japs have won the mini-scenario twice. It's a great teaching scenario, but the rules are a little unclear in places.

In my game against Ben, I was the Japs, and I tried a high risk/high reward strategy of cutting the supply to India. I nearly succeeded, but instead lost my navy. Ben took the land route to Singapore, but I held out.

Against Rob I was the allies. I played too conservative. Rob protected his navy, mostly doing hit-and-run raids. Eventually I took the Andamans and launched a desperate sea assault against Singapore, but it was too little, too late.

In both games, the allies probably would have pulled out the win with one or maybe two more turns. The scenario is hard on the allies, but probably not totally unbalanced.

At 9:26 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Jeff: I knew there was some kind of new buzz on your game (Cartagena). Here it is. Looks like just a reprint with new art.

At 3:00 PM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Tuesday Morning over at Blanco is still carrying the SdJ winner, Villa Palletti, if anyone is interested in picking up an embarrassingly cheap copy. They had some other games like Break the Safe, Gigamic's Quits, and inexpensive gaming accessories like Poker chips. I picked up a set of light up Bocce balls, too ($15, great for beach and backyard play regardless of the time of day).

As for Monday, I enjoyed Louis XIV - what a clever little game! Next time though, I think I'd prefer a full compliment of players for more interaction and maybe a house rule on coat of arms scoring.

Cartenga was so-so for me. I'm still questing for a Leo Colovini game that will strike my fancy. I'm sure there's one out there.

VP was a crowd favorite, drawing in the unwashed masses (for some of the regulars at Dragon's Lair I mean this literally). I played some more at my girlfriend's house yesterday and must say, the game is tense once you catch the steady-hand learning curve. Stacking a column on top of another column on the top floor is a feat of skill that deserves respect...

Rob and I also finally played a game of Hecatomb though it went a bit over my head. The game started a bit sluggishly and ended rather abruptly. My lack of understanding of all the meshing variables and game slang/powers left me awash. Still, I managed to pull off a deadly combo halfway through - totally unknowingly! Rob ended up taking the game later with some rush tactics and combos. The art was great and the cards just plain genius, but I'm not sure I'm the target market for this title. Perhaps the simpler and less demanding MtG clones like Blue Moon are more my speed.

At 11:05 PM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

More thoughts....

Hecatomb: I think the problem with it lies in the coolest feature of the game: abominations. They get "summoning sickness" whenever you add a creature to them. So basically you won't have a creature to fight with for a good 3-4 rounds. Nothing tends to happen for a good 5 rounds (unless...I make some radical changes to the decks...). MtG is a lot "faster" in that sense because creatures can fight the following round after being cast. BUT I'm not giving up on it. I'll keep playing around with the decks, and I'll keep bringing them as a 2player game backup to game nights.

Louis XIV
The coat-of-arms issue.... I have a few ideas:
1. -Face down draw pile, and draw randomly from it.
-Keep them secret from others (in a small box/bowl/screen), but not from the owner. Owner can see shield design.
-still give the bonus at the end to majority holder per design.
This would mimic T+E a bit.

2. Same as above, but player actually chooses what shield design to get from the face down pile. (Even more closely resembling T+E).

3. Play the game as it is with everything hidden and random draws from the draw pile, but no extra bonuses at the end.....but then keeping them hidden would make no sense....so then (see 4)

4. -Face up draw pile
-All shields are revealed to everyone.
-No bonus for majority per type of coat-of-arm. They are all just 1 VP counters.

I like no. 2 the best. Any thoughts? As it stands, I agree with what you all are thinking. The bonus shield gained by majority per design may be a little too much luck for my taste. The randomness/luck the Influence cards bring to the game is good enough by itself.

At 6:07 AM, August 03, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

After reading Jerry Taylor's detailed session report for Pacific Victory on Consimworld, I continue to be even more interested in playing the full scenario. I feel sorry for the guy he played in the game, as he spends the game stomping on his forces all across the map, but it does give a good feel for the game.

I hope to play Louis XIV someday, solely because I find the theme interesting, though I'm sure this is a minor aspect of the game.

Ah, the unwashed masses of Dragon's Lair... I need to print up a fresh set of group flyers and business cards for DL.

At 6:11 AM, August 03, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Ted, a flaw in my PV strategy in the game I played was that I overpowered my Navy and underpowered my strategic headquarters. I didn't need to max out the Illustrious and King George V quite so much, but definitely could have used more long distance transports for my ground units to get them within striking distance of Singapore.

So, at the end of the scenario, I had this beautiful, shiny, new Royal Navy steaming around the Singapore harbor while the Japanese Marines sat in their castle, thumbing their noses at me and hurling profanities in my general direction ala' Monty Python's Holy Grail.

At 8:08 AM, August 04, 2006, Blogger Jeff said...

Rob - Your #2 scoring variant is interesting. I don't think the pile should be face-down, though. If you can see what other players are choosing, then you can decide to either fight with them for the majority, or play Care Bear style and take the other designs. On the other hand, if you can only see which pattern is being depleted, but can't see who is doing it, you have another layer of intrigue. Chances are that the random bonus in the rules-as-printed won't change the outcome of the game, but I'd hate to have a close-fought, well-played contest come down to a coin-flip.

Ben - Playing Louis XIV for the theme is like playing Ra for the theme. Thin theme has never stopped a game from being good, though. In your first game, play with someone who knows when to flip the character tiles and how to handle the varying rewards. Rob kept our game running smoothly and Simon and I were able to focus on tactics rather than bookkeeping.

At 10:16 AM, August 04, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

With regards to its theme, perfectly put. Theme is tacked on like in Ra, although to be fair with the designer, each character does offer a reward related to who they were or what they did in history.

Re: variant
I just thought that keeping the pile secret, would make it hard to keep track of who is accumulating what design. I'd do something like put the draw pile in a bowl, and have players pick and choose whatever design they want, and then place it in their personal hidden box/bowl/screen. Next time you are up to draw coat-of-arms, you'll be left wondering...

is it one player hoarding a specific design, or are they evenly split up between my opponents, should I take one of those now or is it too late....

Yes, I like the intrigue this could bring. But again, I would keep BOTH piles secret (draw pile and personal pile).

I'm guessing you'd like to play it like in Tigris and Eufrates, where everyone can see what color you are going after. I think there just isn't that much drawing of coat-of-arms, and therefore it wouldn't be that hard to track who is going after what design. So, I would recommend keeping the draw pile secret too.

The bonus for having majority? Well, that is really the only incentive you'd have to go after one or two specific designs. I'd keep it if we were to try the #2 above.

At 10:18 AM, August 04, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Ok, I just reread your post.

Yes, maybe having the draw pile revealed would lead to more confrontation. That wouldn't be a bad thing. I just like the mystery keeping both things hidden (see previous post) would bring to the game.

hey, we could try both at some point.

At 2:40 PM, August 04, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

...Wouldn't it be simplest to simply remove majority bonuses? I think it tampers with the design the least...


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