Gary Heidenreich(bop517)United States
Reposted from the Milwaukee Guild
It started out with Kevin, Timm and myself squeezing in our ongoing game of Schafkopf. We started out the game with a doubler and I was at -9, Kevin was at +12 and Timm at -3. The first hand I got was the Grandma hands of Grandma hands. In the thousands of games I have played I maybe seen a hand like this less than 5 times and never in three handed (where you get 10 cards, not 6 like in five-handed). I had all four queens, all four jacks and the ace of diamonds and the 8 of diamonds. I got the hand and just laid it down, hand over. Doubler. Brought me back. On my third hand it was almost the same. I did have to play out the two black queens to draw out the rest of the trump and then laid it down. Dang. I was killin'. By the time Chris arrived, my hands started to turn, but I'm the leader at this time with Kevin in the pluses. Timm is still in the negatives. I'm not sure of the score right now.
I had already decided on the game we were going to play yesterday. I broke out Circus Train (First Edition) and the expansion. I just received it in trade and had been chomping at the bit to play. For me, it's the theme (and secondary was the gameplay that I read about). It took a little time to explain the rules and the game, overall, took us quite some time. It's a little fiddly but I think the second play of this will knock it down to 90 min or so (with four). I enjoyed the game and we played the basic rules for the most part, except we added in the special workers. I think that might have skewed scores as they seemed very high. The game was prepared to get near 300 points (on their scoring track). We were all over that. Timm won with 604, Chris had 351, Kevin had 374 and I had 322. I feel the scores will be high but closer the second game as we really went in blind on what is really good, scoring wise. Timm showed us that the elephants and becoming famous in elephants, is devastating to the others. I do enjoy the game and the second time I play will be different. I know how to build my circus better and know what is coming out in Summer and Fall as to how to perform. For a small publisher, I thought it was decent quality. Nice, easy to read chits, quality rules (in print and instruction wise). The board is a thicker paper (thinner than the original Twilight Struggle board) and is smallish (11"x17") but it was clear. I think next time either I'll strip it to basic rules or add in the advanced rules (where you can steal performers based on reputation and event cards). I did enjoy the game.
(edit: I did find out I completely botched the scoring)
At the halfway mark, we did bust out the Skull. That needed to be said.