Ben Bateson(ousgg)United Kingdom
Ross-on-WyeOi! Hands off...
The same trio as last week, thanks to Bill's untimely dose of man-flu. Ben was just putting the finishing touches to a clinical win of Biblios as John came through the door, and we wasted no time in cracking open Taluva.
A curious beast, is Taluva. It's one of those games I always end up enjoying a lot more than I thought I would, and there's a fair degree of complexity with all the things that need keeping an eye on. Our first game went very vertically, with the third layer of tiles being crowned almost immediately, and it wasn't too hard for Ben to play a couple of towers and follow up with a made hut-building frenzy. JP was sufficiently enamoured by the game to request a second helping, and the follow-up game proved to be a great deal more thinky and tactical, Ben again squeaking a win from under Becky as John built too many huts and not enough temples. Definitely flavour of the month, this game; I expect we'll be playing again.
Moving on from volcanic island territory, John and Becky broke open Key Harvest. 3 players is probably the prime spot for this one; I don't think I'd want to play an extended session with 4. After the traditional flick-back-and-forth and umming-ahhing rules readthrough that seems to always precede Key games, we got down to business...
Possibly the biggest negative aspect of Key Harvest is that it's almost impossible for me to describe the gameplay, and on reflection, it's extremely tactical and a game that does play itself to some extent. John said it was 'interesting', which is his code for 'I don't want to play this again'. Becky claims to like it, but always plays a crop-heavy strategy that doesn't usually win, and I built up two sizeable contiguous fields and won fairly easily. I quite like the game as a tactical experience, but I sense my fellow game-players might be going off it.
John was insistent that we play Zooloretto, a new acquisition for me, but I deeply enjoy Coloretto so it was a bit of a no-brainer. After lengthy debate about what bonobos were (it's better not to ask), we got down to business. Few elephants emerged from the bag at first, and John had a precipitately full barn near the end that cost him the win. Without sounding too triumphal, I managed to win again - I make that five in a row this week.
My big problem is that I don't actually see if Zooloretto adds enough over its predecessor and little brother. Sure, the thematics are cute, and there's more opportunity to diversify, but I just don't think it's as tight and nail-biting as Coloretto. Still worth playing again, though; perhaps more so than Key Harvest.
We finished off with R-Eco, and this time we managed to get the rules correct for filling up the dump sites, which made for a much more satisfying game. I was even satisfied despite scoring precisely zero points - now how many games can you do that in? Becky won this one by giving scant attention to the 'illegal dumping' rules, proving that litter is the way forward. I'm not entirely sure that was the intention of the game's designer...