Bobby's Games

I will be posting monthly recaps of my gaming which I used to do in GeekLists, but it has been a long, long time since that was he norm. I'll also be commenting on games on occasion, though I can tell you that I will be behind the curve because I just don't get to play the new games as soon as some people do.
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Games played in February 2012

Bobby Warren
United States
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La cheeserie!
So far this year, I have bought three games and have played two of them. The third is a game which I picked up yesterday at the Game Depot and fully expect to play at Mike's this week. Realizing this, and wanting to keep my purchases down, I've skipped buying some games and expansions which I am sure wouldn't be played soon. What are the odds that I will play every game purchase/trade acquisition this year? Probably not very good, but I will keep that as a goal for the year.

This was also the first month in a long, long time that I didn't play Thunderstone. With Thunderstone Advance coming out at the end of the week, I suspect a new streak will begin.

This month, thanks in large part to my Game of the Week, I played three games I hadn't played since 2007 and one I hadn't played since 2008. They are all ones which I want to keep in my collection and which I would like to play more often. Unfortunately, there are just too many games to be able to keep all the games I would like to in my regular rotation.

This month I played and logged 24 games a total of 48 times and five expansions a total of 17 times. I played six of the games for the first time in February and I played nine of them in January.

7 Wonders
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 1/12

Expansion Played: Leaders.

A couple of three-player games with Nico and Mike. Mike was dealt the Catan wonder board in the second game, which was the first time we had used it. Mike didn't think he would like the trade two for one ability, but by the end of the game he was won over by it. I suspect it might see more play than the Manneken Pis promo wonder.

Ascension: Storm of Souls
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/12

Mike and I played this, though I would rather play the two-player Return of the Fallen if it is just the two of us. Maybe we can find copies of the events and the Fanatic to include in RotF?

Times Played: 1
[b]Last Month Played:

A game with Mike. There was no skunkage or anything noteworthy about the game.

Dark Minions
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 1/12

Mike, Hilary, and I played it the week after we played it right for the first time. This time we used the Overlord cards. Our consensus is the added a little too much chaos to the game, and having the right card show up on your turn could mean the game. I managed to score 17 points by having the Minotaur show up, claiming him on one turn, then taking a double turn and getting a 7 VP and 8 VP city with my two turns.

We played again with Nico without the cards, and he caught on quickly and pulled out the win. In this game, I didn't get many second place tokens or victory points for being in second and I ended up in last by a bunch.

Being more familiar with the available cards could make a small difference, but we'll likely choose to play without them. That being said, if someone wanted to play with them I wouldn't refuse. I just think the game is better without them.

Nico picked up a copy and we played a five-player game later in the month and I had less fun with that many. I have some of the same complaints when playing with five as I did when we played with the wrong rules. It is just too easy to get sniped by a good roll on a city. It was less annoying because it happened when there were really good rolls and not all the time, like when we played wrong. I think it might be best with three or four players. I still haven't played the right way with four, so we will see how it works when I get the chance. The one good thing about playing right and not enjoying it as much, as the three new players could see the good game behind the less-than-stellar experience.

Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/11

What was being set up as a two-player game ended up being played with four players since Michael and Ben arrived as Nico and I were setting the game up. Michael had played before, though I don't know how many times he made the imaginary trip to Majorca to labor as a fruit collector.

I expect to do well when playing a game which is unfamiliar to the other players, but this was an incredibly lucky game. I managed to get four of the six five point bonus tiles because they were in the spaces others had the goods to buy the tiles they needed. I would have gotten another, but someone (Nico?) delivered more of one fruit before making the last delivery which triggered the tile being distributed.

This has to be the largest win I've seen in this game, especially in a four-player game. I'd claim it was skill, but sometimes the fruit falls right where you need it.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 1/12

For the first time, we played a two-player game and this seems to be the opposite of Pandemic: the fewer the players, the harder it is.

We managed to win the two-player game. Michael was the CAFS Firefighter and I was the fire Captain. I spent much of the game pushing him into position to fight the fire while using my remaining moves to help out with the fires and to grab POIs. It was tight and fun, though we probably should up the difficulty level.

The next game was Ben joining Michael and I and we won that one, too. Games three and four were with Mike and Hilary and we went 1-1 in those two.

Gosu: Kamakor
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me

I liked the Kamakor cards more than the original set, though I was not enjoying our three-player game at all early on. We did not draft the cards because we weren't familiar with them, which in hindsight was not a good idea. My level one Goblins did not come from any of the clans of my level two and level three Goblins, and my level three Goblins were the only ones of that clan I had.

Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me

Mike and I gave this new purchase a try and neither of us were that impressed by it. It had a fiddly set-up, but has fairly simple rules. The board layout is cluttered and a fat-fingered doofus, such as myself, will be constantly knocking over stacks of tiles.

I've seen some comparison to Vikings (which I like better) and can see that, but I find the game more similar to Royal Palace (which I also prefer). I'm hoping to play it with three and four players just to see how it might change and if I like it any better than I liked the two-player game, but I am leaning towards trading it away.

King of Tokyo
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/11

Monsters fight! Monsters cry! Monsters eat!

Then the fun starts…

Kingdom Builder
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/12

The one playing was the first time that the Capitol came into play since I got it. I like what it adds to the boards that only have one location which have tiles to reward. I don't record playings of small expansions such as this.

I'm really looking forward to the Nomads expansion, which should be out any time now.

Louis XIV
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/07

Another game that was completely new to Nico and Ben and which Michael had played back when it was being played. This time I explained the game and went first, since it is supposed to be the worst starting position.

The first round, we received six Louis d'or income, which meant everyone would be able to buy the mission chips from the four nobles on the internal circle. The inexperienced players didn't see how important that could be. Louis XIV was on the spot which gave me the token I needed for both of the mission cards I had drawn, so I decided to focus on winning his favor and getting one influence marker on each of the other three so I could buy the mission chips there. I won Louis' favor and also collected another wild to go with the chips I had won and completed three missions on the first turn.

I also managed to keep a steady supply of influence markers available and extra influence cards to play on a turn and managed a fairly comfortable win in this game. I didn't go over as well as Notre Dame did, but I think they would all be willing to play this again soon to use what they learned this game.

Notre Dame
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/11

Ahh, a total butt-kicking by Michael. I would like to blame Ben, who was playing for the first time, but I really was the culprit. In both of the first two rounds, Michael was the only player to put an influence marker in Notre Dame, scoring the 8 points for it each time.

The first time, I passed my card to Ben because I needed coins and the coin card was one of the choices. He passed the Notre Dame card on to Michael and then, since it was his first game, asked if it would be better to play his Notre Dame card with 3 coins or wait. He then decided on another course of action which let Michael know he would be alone on Notre Dame if he played his card.

The second time, I passed the card because it was going to be a huge rat turn and I needed to play on the Hospital. Ben passed it again, after already passing his. As he said, the first time it was excusable, the second time not so much so. Really, I can't blame anyone but myself for passing my card the first two rounds, and I know Michael well enough to know he would be playing all three rounds in Notre Dame if he could. It was Ben's first playing and I know he would play it differently in the future, and maybe my brain will be more tuned into the game.

I'll continue to bring this along on Saturdays for a while since both Nico and Ben seem to like it.

Ora et Labora
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me

I feel like playing and buying Agricola, Le Havre, and At the Gates of Loyang have been paid play tests and development of this. That's not saying this is the best of the games, but it is more polished than Le Havre which should probably be on my trade pile now.

I won't be buying this, however. The really low quality paper player aides, the thin cardboard (and warped) player boards, and the counters which didn't seem to be well-cut would have been deal breakers at the price point if I already had decided I would never want to try and explain the game using the rule books. Yes, plural. It's in three parts and the two which cover the game and learning it appeared incomplete from Mike's trying to find things when explaining it. We had a heck of a time figuring out what the symbols on the wheel(s), which apparently shouldn't be assembled. Having split rule books has never worked for me, except in the case of something like SPI's folio war games which had a booklet of rules which applied to all the games and then sheets which listed specific rules for specific games you played.

Complaining aside, it wasn't a bad game, but it doesn't rise above the mediocre production values.

Power Grid: First Sparks
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me

I had a long description planned out, but the best way to describe it is Power Grid without auctions and "buying" resources.

That's a good thing, and it's also still fun without the auctions.

Times Played: 12
Last Month Played: 1/12

Expansion Played: Rise of the Demons for all games.

These were all two-player games with all but two played against Mike and all using the rule which gives each player two-buys in a round. This really means the players can customize their pool of dice and rolling six Quiddity does not mean buying the most expensive die out there, when there might be two smaller ones which will help the cause.

Oh, and sometimes, having four Dragons is not enough to win…

Ra: The Dice Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/11

As always, it was a two-player game. Mike was ahead by a point at the end of the second era and ended up winning by that margin as we finished tied in every category in the third era.

Resident Evil: Nightmare
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 1/12

Expansion Played: Played with the original Resident Evil serving as an "expansion".

With four players, the card set-up which was fun with two did not work as well because we were quickly out of available weapons.

Later in the month, Mike and I played another suggested set-up from the Nightmare rule book and it was not as fun as the other set-up. I still think it is the best of the three sets I've played with.

There are two things I would like to see for this game. First, a set of official rules for setting up games, possibly adding extra weapons and actions when played with three and four players. Second, a randomizing program for the iPhone to generate lists of cards to play with. So someone out there needs to get cracking on the programming and Mr. Allinder needs to add random set-up rules to the next set!

Risiko Express
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/08

We played a three-player game that was over in the 20-minute time frame in which the game should be played. Sometimes it can drag and stay past its welcome, and it looked like it might when neither Michael nor Nico could win the last card while I was unable to steal a card from one of them so I could be in a position to win. Just as it was beginning to look like time would drag, Michael won the card and the game.

Road to Canterbury, The
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/11

Mike and I gave it another try as two-player game and agreed it was better than with three. He had been unable to sell or trade his copy since our awful playing experience in December and thought we might play it once or twice more before he decided to get rid of it again, then it sold that night. I suspect this will be the last time I will play the game. I won't miss it, but I also won't have bad thoughts about the game. My final rating for it is a 6 with two players, probably a 3 with three.

Speicherstadt, The
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me

This is a really good game and my favorite of the six I played for the first time this month. The players place workers to influence the cost of goods, contract, and buildings, hoping to cause the other players to overpay while arranging bargains for themselves.

Mike and I first played this as a two-player game and then we played again with Nico. It worked well with both numbers and I see it working with four or five players. I'm trying to reduce the number of games I buy while getting some of the unplayed games moved out of my collection, but this is one I am leaning towards picking up.

Tanto Cuore
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/11

Expansion Played: Expanding the House and Romantic Vacation.

After playing Expanding the House as a stand-alone a few times, we put all of the versions into a mix. Each version adds its own thing to the mix and they are all great.

Tanto Cuore: Expanding the House
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: New to me

More maids and more perverse banter. We started off playing just the cards from this set/expansion by itself four times, with the fifth time being the the one time it got mixed in with the base game and the second expansion.

I really like what the buildings add and also think that the general maids do improve the mix of fun cards available when the sets are combined.

That's Life!
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/07

Roll a d6, move a pawn. If you are the last to leave a tile/space, you collect it and the positive or (usually) negative points. It's that simple and yet still fun.

Michael, Nico, Abby and I played this as a closer one Saturday, and the young Miss Abby made some wise choices to come away with an easy win.

I need to get this played again soon so I can break out the expansions. I have played the first expansion once but never played the second one.

Web of Power
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/07

This was a three-player game, which is the only way to play, with Mike and Nico. Nico hadn't played before and neither Mike nor I had played in a long, long time.

I managed to keep a really long chain of cloisters running from Italien into Frankreich, with a detour through Aragon, but it wasn't enough. I made a tactical error by playing my initial advisors in Schwaben, not noticing that they would not score with Lothringen or Italien, which I had cards for. Mike did a better job of securing points with his advisors in Frankreich and the places they linked and won rather handily. Nico and I finished close to each other.
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