When I first discovered BSW, I spent a lot on time there. It felt like a virtual convention to me, with rooms full of strangers who I could play games with. It gave me a chance to test drive games before I bought them and all from the comfort of my own home.
Since then, I’ve cut back quite a bit on my BSW time but I’m still log on quite a bit. The difference is now I log on to just get a quick game or two in on a busy night, as a way to get my gaming fix and to unwind. Some people like to watch television or drink a couple beers after a hard day at the office. I like to get in a couple games.
And, for whatever reason, playing against computers just isn’t the same for me. Even though I’m playing on the computer against a faceless stranger who I am hoping isn’t a computer, it gives me a greater sense of enjoyment and relaxation than playing against an AI. Not sure if that makes any sense. It’s just the way I am.
Last night, I got to revisit a game that I used to play a lot on BSW back when I spent a lot more time there, Café International. It’s an older tile-laying game whose theme actually blends in well with its completely abstract rules. The placement restrictions match the idea of seating people at tables.
One element in Café International that I haven’t seen in many other games is that your hand is open so you know what options your opponent has. Because of that, despite the random tile draw, there is a strong tactical element in the play and the better player does tend to win.
Last night, I was not the better player
I played the more luck-based strategy of emptying my hand and ending the game early by going out. My opponent effectively countered with tight board control and blocking me every chance they had. Even though I ended both games by going out, my opponent’s penalty for their remaining hand wasn’t enough for me to win.
Still, both games were fun and I did tighten the margin of loss in the second game. Any game that you’re smiling at the end of, win or lose, is a good game.