A quick visit to LA to see my friend Ms. Meeples and a little time at Strategicon for games makes for a fun weekend. So onto the games!
Jennifer wanted to learn how to play The Speicherstadt. Has a nice auction mechanism but the rest of the game doesn't inspire me much. I played a similar weight game with an interesting turn and income mechanism but a more engaging theme this weekend so more on Pergamon in a bit.
Then it was off to the con where we played Lords of Vegas. I was curious about this game and Jennifer offered to teach. Ok this is a game I probably normally wouldn't like but due to some incredible card drawing ability and dice throwing skills I somehow managed to win, and had a great time too, mostly because we had a fun table of people. The game is fairly simple. You draw a card which gives you a parcel of land. You can build casinos on the parcels and the larger the casino the more points you will earn if you are the boss. The boss is determined by dice that are placed on each parcel as the casinos are built. Naturally there are ways you re-roll those dice or remodel the casinos to gain control. You can also sprawl or take over as of yet unclaimed parcels. The risk here is that if someone draws the card they may then take over the parcel and any built casino. This of course is exactly what happened. On her first turn J sprawled into the parcel adjacent to my casino and re-rolled improving the die number. On my turn I drew that card and took over control of the a now bigger Casino! There were lots of last ditch efforts at the end game with all kinds of crazy dice rolling going on in an effort to make points. Our end game positions LoV is a very light-hearted game and taken in that context with a bit of gambling bravado to fit in with the Vegas theme I would recommend it.
I had picked up a copy of Claustrophobia and Jennifer was kind enough to run through the first scenario with me. The components are top notch. The choices are straight forward and it is easy enough to pick up quickly. The game plays quickly which is nice. I love these themed games but I really can't stand any of them that drag on too long-which is most of them! I had a lot of fun playing the trogs and look forward to another play.
On Saturday, I played Risk Express which is a quick little Yahtzee variant.
Next up Olympus. This is a worker placement game. It has some shades of Endeavor like tracks to advance on. I liked the game but the first play takes forever as people try and figure out all the cards and options. I thought the worker placement mechanism was interesting where you must decide to choose an alpha option where you get extra benefits or a beta where you are allowed to take the same action as an opponent only getting a slightly lesser benefit. I'd like to play it again although I'm a little leery of how long it will take to teach a new group.
Pergamon is a light to mid weight game with a nice archeology theme. It has an interesting mechanism for turn order and income as players can choose. If you go earlier in the turn you generally get less money but if you go last you may get hosed completely out of money or you may get a windfall. Once you have chosen this you may then excavate collecting treasure and put on an exhibition for points. Has an interesting little twist in that older exhibits tend to lose value as the game goes on. Feels a little more interesting to me than The Speicherstadt which feels about the same level of complexity and game length.
Poseidon was next. I have played this a few times now and this is the first game where I've seen an E train-oops, I mean ship, hit the table. We had a 4 player game that felt pretty competitive. . This is a nice 18XX variant that plays in a relatively short time.
Sunday, I got to play one of my favorites that doesn't hit the table very often any more, The Princes of Florence. We had a nice 5 player game going. It's always interesting to play with people outside your own usual suspects as group think can vary quite a bit. In this game Builders went cheaply in this game and no one seemed to want Jesters that much either. The end game was close with just a couple of points separating first and second.
This one is for all the lists and posts asking for suggestions in what king of games girls like. We had a nice all female, 5-player game of Hansa Teutonica using the Hansa Teutonica: East Expansion board. It was Shannon, Cheryl, Jennifer, Melissa and I.
I think I like the expansion board better than the original board. Jennifer was pushing the pace with collecting 20 points at the action point city. Shannon was making a big network. The end game was great as I had to try and slow Jennifer down enough turns to try and catch up. The final result was the top 4 were within 6 points and the the last player was about 10 points behind but this was her first game. Shannon pulled off the win with 2 bonus markers. Really was fun.
Next up was High Frontier. Ok, normally I am pretty quick at picking up new games but this one was a huge exception. I don't think I still quite understood it by the end of the game. Apparently I am dense, of maybe didn't have enough coffee, or my normal repulsion of anything that seems overly math-y was out of control. I am glad I played and special thanks to Richard for being so kind to teach and explaining everything over and over again.
I was excited to have made a manned trip to Mercury and back though. The game is certainly thematic and I appreciate that about it but not for me.
Next I taught The Castles of Burgundy. This latest addition to the alea games plays pretty well. The hard part is learning to recognize all the little buildings. Some people think the game is overly long but I haven't found that to be the case and so far have enjoyed my plays.
Last game of the weekend was also spaced themed but a little easier for me to wrap my poor tired brain around Merchant of Venus. This classic pick up and deliver game still holds up pretty well. Jennifer, Bruce and I headed off to the stars to sell our goods. Bruce wrapped up the game pretty quickly as I couldn't manage to make much profit off my psychotic sculptures.