Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday Game Report

We started Saturday off with empenadas and Tolkien! Rob, Steve, Ted, and I pulled out Knizia's Lord of the Rings and this week we ratcheted things up by adding in Friends and Foes. I had Battlefields already punched and ready, but after explaining the game with just F&F added the players new to the game (Rob and Ted) felt we had enough to digest without the extra layer. To keep things brief, we made it about halfway through Helms Deep when everyone except the Ringbearer bit the dust. Ringbearer (Pippen/Steve) lasted another 2-3 futile turns before succumbing as well. One thing that killed us was that Sam (i.e., me) when selected to take a black die roll for the team rolled eye symbols instead of corruption damage about four times, rocketing the Dark Lord towards us. Argh!

Time was growing short for Ted, so we decided to play 4-player Nexus Ops. A closely fought game was played, but evil Rob and his flight of dragons carried the day. Once again the player who held the monolith most of the game prevailed.

After Ted departed Rob recruited his brother Kevin to play, and we played a spirited game of Ruse and Bruise. I totally enjoyed the game, and my enjoyment was further enhanced by winning. Hooray!

By then pizza had arrived, and Steve had to leave. We decided to play one more game: Vinci. Amazingly, after spending almost the entire game in last place, Rob raced forward, overtook Kevin and I, and squeaked out victory by a nose! Congratulations, Rob!

Many thanks to Rob for hosting. Score another wonderful Saturday of SABG board game action.



At 5:36 PM, April 28, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

Beat me to it. I was coming back to make a report.

Following your train-of-thought with Nexus Ops, in Ruse and Bruise, once again, the 'point-doubler' wins the game. Ben had over 30 points (39?), to our punies 15's and 18's (no doubling). Great filler.

At 5:36 PM, April 28, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

Oh, and Nexus Ops...better than I expected.

At 5:51 PM, April 28, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

Nexus Ops doesn't suck!

At 5:54 PM, April 28, 2007, Blogger Schifani said...

Winning a 3 VP special objective goes a long way toward winning in Nexus Ops, said the man who has yet to complete one.

At 5:56 PM, April 28, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

According to a post on BGG, in LotR: F&F, the red shields with a "1" on each Foe Card are a reminder that the Fellowship scores one point for each defeated Foe.

Hooray, we played correctly!

At 6:58 PM, April 28, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Nexus Ops = crazy attacking fun

I think my mistake was not being aggressive enough. I should have rocketed straight at the tower, troops be damned.

On LotR, I seem to recall we got a lot of corruption from not completing the secondary tracks. If we had finished the main track faster it wouldn't have mattered. I think we should have held a pow-wow at the beginning of each board: what do we need on this board, what do we currently have in our hands, how much corruption can we afford to take, etc.

[rant on]
Finally, I've noticed I have a quirk regarding this game and Beowulf. Both these games have similar card mechanics, and I try hard to call each suit by it's 'proper' name: 'travelling' not 'feet', etc. Other folks do the opposite, commonly talking about 'foxes' and 'trees.' This is definitely me against the world, but I don't understand.

Why is it fun to lay down "2 feet" or "1 fox"? If I want to drain all the meaning out of things and manipulate symbols on a formal basis, I'll play an abstract like go or chess. Or I'll do math. When I'm playing a themed game, however, I want "fighting" and "hiding", not "swords" and "trees."

Again, I'm not picking on any individual: I'm the strange one here. I've had the exact same experience with several different groups and many different people. I don't get it. Can some one explain it to me?
[rant off]

At 7:19 PM, April 28, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

Further, when playing games, we should refer to each other by game character name only and act in-character at all times, preferably in-costume. I need to practice my high pitched hobbit voice for the next time we play. ;)

Its been too long since we've had a good rant around here.

At 11:00 PM, April 28, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

(Ben) LOL

Nexus Ops is chaotic and fun. Sure has some luck, but can be mitigated (like shooting for Mecatol Rex, making combos, etc).

[tangential rant]

Ted, I think the issue with both games (and thanks for using both because I also noticed some similarities between them) is the strength of association between the theme and the mechanics and elements of the games. I am a STRONG proponent of sticking with the theme, don't get me wrong (I need the flavor text in Arkham), but it shouldn't require 'extra effort' for me to 'feel the theme' by trying to figure out the association between a mechanic/element and what it represents.

In the case of these 2 games, I need to put some effort to think and analyze how 3 hearts in a row, and 3 suns in a row represents 'leaving Bree' (just an example, can't remember the exact symbols). The thought process probably goes something like "well, ahhhh.... you need friends, and you love your friends....uhhhh.... and the sun brightens your day....and.... kills shadows.... yeah".

In other games, the association between an element or a mechanic in the game and what it's supposed to represent is a lot more intuitive/less 'forced'/natural. You don't have to 'work' at trying to figure out what they represent (I mean, it's not rocket science, but I prefer when in my brain, the association comes as a knee-jerk reaction). A good simple example that comes to mind: In PR, white barrel=sugar. In Beowulf for example, "I need an axe which is a battle, and a fox, which represents cunning, both of which I need to be able to defeat X creature...otherwise it would have been impossible to kill".

Trying to sum up my messy rant, while using a different angle to express my views... I guess my issue is really in the mixing generic and 'concrete' symbols (heart, sun, axe, fox...) in different combinations, like ingredients in a recipe, to create something more abstract like a 'story'. It feels too much like math.


...with a,b,c being concrete things like heart,ring,suns,etc, and D is something abstract that could actually be interpreted VERY differently by every player. On a different track in the game, adding one or two more of these symbols is supposed to change the event that is being represented?


Plus one more point which is probably a third way to say the same thing I just said above: in some of Dr K's games, the mechanics simply overwhelm the theme. In Beowulf and LOTR, hand management is key and can make or break your game. In B, you need to stay on your feet looking ahead making sure you have the right cards for each step along the way....I don't really feel like I'm trying to be 'more cunning' to defeat so and so creature, or try to beat my opponents' 'cunning ways' when on the bidding sections. It's simply a bid with different suits that have the same 'value' (no card is stronger than the other.... it could have been 'battle' as well as 'cunning'....ramble ramble, etc, etc).

[/tangential rant]

Again, don't get me wrong. I'm all about theme. I just find it harder to associate mechanics with theme in these games. LOTR's theme works better with the mechanics IMO though.

Sorry for the long rant....I should go to bed. Hadn't played in a long time, and had to purge.

At 9:09 AM, April 30, 2007, Blogger Jeff said...

Ted Kostek said...
"Nexus Ops = crazy attacking fun

I think my mistake was not being aggressive enough. I should have rocketed straight at the tower, troops be damned."

Very true.
Turtling in Nexus Ops = Losing.


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