Ben Bateson(ousgg)United Kingdom
Ross-on-WyeOi! Hands off...
Just a trio, this week, but we found ourselves upgraded to a table in the middle of the bar, rather than shoved in the corner, although this could have been due to Cristo's strange booking policy.
With my New Years resolution still uppermost in mind, I'd brought a selection of likely boxes. But as a quick starter, and in an effort to teach JP one of the classics, we hoicked out Alhambra first.
Despite being blessed almost exclusively with Gardens and ill-fitting money cards for the first third of the game, I came through with something of an epically-walled Alhambra (including the strategic use of reinforcement buttresses made of discarded cards to stop everything falling off the table), and finished well off the top of the scoreboard.
It's an odd game. Tony seems happy to play interminable 3P games of Alhambra online, but I'm feeling an urge to at least throw an expansion or two in. There's a fair few to choose from, after all. Any recommendations?
Our meaty main event was the lovely Hamburgum and, although the concept of selling beer in order to buy bricks was lost on me, we plunged into the rules nevertheless. Unusually for a first playing, everything was quite intuitive (always the hallmark of a well-designed game, I feel) and although it looked worryingly like we might end up proceeding around the rondel in unison, a range of plausible strategies soon emerged. Thanks mostly to Becky and John being a bit slower on the uptake of where to actually get VPs from, I was able to land this one. John proclaimed himself unimpressed by the game, but Becky was won over by the church bells and realising where she went wrong: I think with good fine-tuning this could make a very close game indeed. And it's full of lovely bits and pieces to scratch the 'components' itch. I'd call that £8 very well spent!
With about 45 minutes to spare, Artus was briefly pondered, but we settled on Bonnie & Clyde, a game which has sat in idle perpetuity on my shelves for many a month. Broadly rummy-based (the Mystery Rummy series is a bit of a giveaway), it has an interesting manipulation and deduction mechanic thrown in, and with ranks of only 1-10, it's easier to play the pure cards aspect than in gin. The whole thing is topped off with lovely card art and backstory.
I was surprised that I really, really enjoyed the game, despite being pipped in the last, 'sudden death', round by John. Two player, it would be absolutely stand-out, with many of the best features of gin, Jaipur and Lost Cities. Given that I'd spent about a year convincing myself that Bonnie & Clyde was worthy of a '6' rating at best, it comes highly recommended.