Wednesday, September 06, 2006

" what are we playing now?" ....a 9/4 report

As usual, many great games were played, others not so great, and some time was wasted deciding what the next game would be (more than usual though.....what does this mean? Discuss...Talk amongst yourselves...I am ferklempt!).

El Grande: First time played, not disappointed. Runaway Chad won, but by a very small margin on the last round. Would play again (and bump up in my wishlist).

Wits and Wagers: Quickly falling in the "games I'd leave home because I'm getting burnt out". Don't get me wrong; it's a great trivia/party game. But 1. well, you all know how I feel about trivia, and 2. I can play trivia with anyone if I was really into them whereas Euros/wargames I can't. These are what I look forward to playing every Monday with the awesome SABG folks. Now, being the non-game basher (like others in the group....wink wink) and team player, if people want to keep playing this, yes, I'll pull up a chair. It is a good game after all, even with the chaotic betting. The other trivia game, Smarty Party, was refreshing even when I lost.

Caribbean: I'll admit it. This is my first lukewarm purchase. Bought it out of a whim, without even looking at reviews,etc. Not doing that ever again. This is a game that reads more interestingly than it actually performs. When I bought it, I thought "cool, a light Pirate game". And it is.... a light blind bidding game (no, I don't think ALL games accross the board with this mechanic suck) where you bet for control of 6 different pirate ships stealing treasures from different ports. The manual talks about all these cool combo moves you could pull off: steal treasure from other boats, swap treasures, etc etc. They sound very cool when you read about it, but somehow it just doesn't really happen in the game as "cooly". Definitvely feels more like a very light kid's game to me. If my "future kids" turn five before I am able to trade this on BGG, I'll keep it.

Roads and Boats (aka beefed-up Catan civ game mix): (Players: Michael, Me, Jeff, Amy, Brian). Great game. A few points:

1. It reminds me of everything I like about computer civ games: a real sense that your civ is developing/progressing, the tech tree works great offering multiple different branches to go down through, you can feel the comfort of having a well-greased production machine when you have more supplies than need for them, etc etc. Surprisingly, it's really not that complicated.
2. My only gripe at first was something I know Brian, Michael and I felt during the game: they who control mines the quickest, kick buttang the hardest. Interestingly enough, Jeff and Amy were the closest to mines from all of us, but they actually ended at opposite ends of the scoring spectrum!...Jeff last, Amy first. So maybe this doesn't guarantee victory. Plus there are ways around this which I tried to go after a little late in the game. In this game nobody controls the goods unless they are physically on a transport. I was able to build a raft that could have taken gold from their mines every 2rds. But by the time I realized this, they were almost depleted.
3. Another "mistake" we made I feel,we shouldn't have focused so much on bulding the monument: it is the option that gives you the least amount of points, and costs the most amount of resources....ergo, poor ROI. Focusing on the higher scoring stuff like gold/minting/stock market is the way to go (but would have also made the game last longer than 2 1/2 hrs because building the monument speeds up the game). I mean, think about it: I put a WHOLE lot more bricks into the monument than Jeff did, and I only ended 9 points ahead of him (4th place). Would like to play again at some point.
4. Next time too, we should use the walls to block off our neighbors. Surely, my neighbors (Amy) would have had to spend precious resources blocking my gold-stealing raft had I built it earlier in the game. We played too carebearishly.
5. Oh, and another gripe.... why the poor art quality???! there was no need for that other than to say "yes, we are arrogant...we know the game is great in its own right....we don't need good quality art".
6. Oh and BTW, the turn other deal with the "praying figures" that can reset turn order at key moments in the game adds another interest twist to the game I thought. It's another thing you have to factor into your carefully planned evil plans.

Mykerinos: Very interesting. Feels like 2 area control games in one, each with peculiar rules. Multiple options for scoring/multiple paths to victory is always an key element in my top-rated games. I'd like to play again for a few reasons: I liked the depth in such a short game, we (read Chad) messed up one rule that changes the whole "area control" part of the game, and I wasn't aware until the end that having full sets of characters scores bonus points. Now that I know how to play, I'd like to see how easy it is to "screw" with other players's plans to limit their scores, while setting myself up for victory.

Arkham: Not played, but Chad, count me in. Been itching for a theme-heavy game for a while. We can always do a 3 player game.


At 4:37 PM, September 06, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Now that's what I call a session report!

I have El Grande Dicentennial inbound, so I'm glad to hear you liked it.

I'm very much interested in trying out Arkham Horror with the new expansion pack I have mixed in...

At 4:50 PM, September 06, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

That's long night of work last night, and wanting to distract the mind today with gaming fluff.

At 4:57 PM, September 06, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Simon: Off topic for this thread, but check this out. Viva La Lune Bleue.

At 5:51 PM, September 06, 2006, Blogger Brian said...

I read the Roads & Boats rules (finally) and we got a few things wrong (I think):

1) You can build a building in your home hex!
2) When dong the turn order, you resolve praying, then players pick their turn order! This means that someone can do that to go last (which will matter for goose-thieving, and possibly other items). I don't think this mattered much, in our game.

At 7:00 PM, September 06, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

A few comments and a second session report from the same night:

Rob, I agree that it was weird when we couldn't pick a game to play and wonder what it means. A lot of people cut out early and all at once, too. I hope it was only just a bland mix of titles and board game burnout that contributed.

Rob (x2), I can see why Thurn & Taxis won even if I didn't enjoy it all that much or think it was particularly clever, so I don't think BMC got robbed. I definitely would have voted for Blue Moon City though, given the chance. The Geekies shall validate what gamers think about the two anyhow.

Session Report (x2) - So after laying waste to Michael, Chad, and Jon a few times at Louis XIV, sucking it up big time at Wits & Wagers, happily trailing the entire time in El Grande, being tormented with the all-blind-bidding (without differing reward incentives to the players) game style of Caribbean, churning out an incorrectly played session of Mykerinos, and playing everyone's favorite game of Perudo a couple rounds, it was off to my house for some much needed grub. Michael and Jon came along for the ride with promises of more gaming since everyone had dispersed so rapidly leaving our appetites un-wetted.

After arriving at my humble abode, we all scarfed down our food in no time (just kidding! Michael was there) and headed off with an armload of games into the office. First up was Loopin' Louie IIRC, played with rotating positions thanks to a D6 to cut down on unfair advantages from seating order. One too many go-arounds later, we played some Hey That's My Fish! wherein I incorrectly identified who was "running away with it" and ended up kingmaking Jon instead.

About this time we decided to go co-op for a change of pace, slaying a super hard version of Hoopla at the buzzer. We played with a stack of 25 cards and no hands, instead rolling the die and drawing off the top! Yay, we rejoiced mightily...only to have our "buttangs" beat the holy hell down by a vengeful Sauron in Lord of the Rings + Friends and Foes...twice...with one at easy difficulty...

Back to Louie it was! And what a joyful return since after a few Heffeweizens in me, I started getting the soft lob down pat. Unfortunately, so did Michael while Jon also perfected the cross lob. Nutz. This created a sub optimal set of games as it basically came down to kingmaking every time seeing as we all rarely missed our new found trick shots. I think this game really needs a full compliment of four to be enjoyable with, and I use the term loosely, “experienced” players.

Whew, what a great way to round out the night. Shortly thereafter, the drifters who helped me partake where booted to the curb and told never to return (or at least until next Monday).

Thanks for coming guys!

At 7:28 PM, September 06, 2006, Blogger Amy said...

Good session report, Rob!

At 9:47 PM, September 06, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Thanks Amy!

Simon: Great report. You should've told me you had Heffeweizens. I would have said "Stage II? Heck, why not III". And you know what, I'm on the fence between BMC and T+T for SDJ. Louis with 4? Agreed. MUCHO better.

Brian: Crap. Yes. I remember reading about picking turn order once prayers are rearranged. That's actually even cooler. Building at home? No idea.

At 8:00 AM, September 07, 2006, Blogger Jeff said...

Arrgh. We were playing R&B wrong. Brian's right on both counts. Not using the "you may build on your home hex" rule definitely impacted our game - I could have built my coal factory far, far, far away from Amy's encroaching wagons! The turn order mistake had much less impact - the vast majority of the time, I think, you'd want to move to the head of the turn order to steal freshly produced goods and use the very limited production capabilities of certain factories. As Brian mentions, stinking no-good goose thieves will want to move later.

At 9:23 AM, September 07, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

By the way, you guys' table talk on that Roads & Boats game was ridiculous. "So now that my donkey is in a pasture with a goose all by itself I make coal, right?" Wtf? I don't even want to know what bizarre commodities mating you were doing with poor cornered geese...

At 2:26 PM, September 07, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Need I say more...


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