RA gets the spot of honor this week due to being the only new game I learned.
Friday - Since we were missing our usually fifth player, we took the opportunity to bring out some 4 player games. We tried 10 Days in Asia. Attika followed. It turns out to be much different with four players than with two. I think I prefer it with four. We wrapped up the night with Railways of the World played on the Railways of Europe board. Excellent game! We hope our fifth player is feeling better soon!
We originally got to know PI as a hiking friend. Since she's been hiking sections of the AT, we thought she'd be one of our few gaming friends that might enjoy Trail Magic:. Though she got a late start due to blisters, we had fun with the trivia questions. We played a three player game of At the Gates of Loyang. We'd only played two player games so far. It had some interesting differences with three players. With her husband still absent, we got in two sessions of Race for the Galaxy (all expansions), since we knew he'd be happy to have missed it. Brass: Lancashire was next. Two, three, or four players - an excellent game. We played a hopeless round of Glory to Rome while eating PI's excellent curry. RnR ran away with the game so badly that it was almost painful. PI's husband chose the next game - Ra. It was fun, but doesn't seem like it would be good for only two. We closed the night with dessert - chai cheesecake - and Bohnanza. In rehashing the day on our way home RnR and I decided that the entire day was so good that we'd have trouble deciding which were our most and least favorite games of the day.
We tried our first game of Victory in the pacific. There is a lot to this game. I think we had more questions then we answered. Still not really understanding the difference between Raiders and Patrollers when the battle start.Back to the rule book to see if we can clarify some of the answers. i may also try playing on Vassel this week to see if that helps me to better understand all the rules. I think once we better understand the rules,this game will be fun and challenging.
I had the objective of playing several meaty games and I succeeded. Friday evening: Blam! with 2 players (fun, but definitely better with more players). Qwirkle (bleh, too long and too luck-based) and Dixit (I'm oficially tired of this game).
Saturday: 3-player Indonesia. It still is a brilliant game.
Played four games of Commands and colors. Three of Cannae, where I won 2 out of the three as the Romans. And one of Lake Trasimenus where I eeked out a victory as the Romans. This was the first time we played a scenario with this many hills. It made it very challenging.Especially since we didn't have the rules with us and I botched them, giving a huge advantage to the Carthaginians.(I gave the units on the hills way more power then they get)
The gang enjoyed my previous adventure so I continued with the same assortment of characters led by the Time Lord known as The Potter, along with his Potter's Shed TARDIS.
Last time it was Cybermen, this time my first adventure using the Daleks. Cleopatra was destined to ascend as an Osiren, a god-like alien race, before she took her own life. So the Daleks have revived her and plan on converting her into a Dalek at the moment of her ascention in order to create a Dalek god, the Kaled God of War incarnate!
"By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe."
Friday Night Played a 4 player cutthroat game of Arcane Legions, this was a game I originally did not like when it came out but it started to grow on me. Its a fun mini's game that is cheaper (for me) than 40k and without all the extra rules. $134 got me all the Egyptian figures in production right now. Playing with 4 players as a cutthroat game was ok but it would have been better to do teams with that many people, especially since there were 2 Egyptian players and 2 Roman players. The group agreed on the above notion. Still learning the rules but good fun and want to play again. Still learning which units work well and best with each other.
Saturday Night Played my first game of A Game of Thrones (first edition) with the 6 player expansion. 2 of the group had only played once before so we were feeling our way through it and grasped it to a certain extent. None of us had read the books and I have no desire to really its not my area of interest. The game itself lasted too long with us feeling our way through it and it seemed that once the diplomatic bargaining broke down and became set alliances the game suffered from it. The diplomatic back and forth was the most fun. We did not have a chance to play it all the way through turn 10 but myself and another gent were only one VP away from winning when we called it. Not that fun of a game, but this could have been attributed to 4 of us out of the 6 players trying to learn, the 6 players, and the not finishing the game. I think the game would have been better with an odd amount of players given the diplomatic end of it.
My usual game night was Thursday night, for assorted reasons, and I introduced Federation Commander in a short two-player fleet scale Sabotage scenario, where a Klingon frigate decides to attempt to attack a Federation cruiser with no shields and warp core problems. The frigate forgot about the High Energy Turn!
Then, an hour later, we played a long game of Blackbeard, with a smaller event card deck because we started late. I should have reduced the number of "must play immediately" cards in proportion to the "hold until played" cards because the game flew by too quickly.
So, Saturday all by my lonesome, I started to look at what Federation Commander scenarios I could play with the guys next weekend (which is being picked). I tried a fleet scale battlestation assault with a Klingon C8 and a C7
vs a Kzinti base. The Kzinti didn't stand a chance against all those drones. It may have been different in Squadron Scale, but fleet scale is a faster way to introduce the game.
I'm leaning towards playing the solo scenario, Rescue of the Chernekov, adjusted to a three player cooperative scenario, by adding two more disabled science ships. No shooting, but the scenario has movement, tractors, shields, damage (from a nasty stellar phenomenon), and therefore repairs, and transporter stuff.
Sunday night, for a change, I brought out Age of Exploration. Cabral completed one sucessful voyage to the new world. I wonder how he'll do today?
Just like each weekend nowadays, I played with my son in the sand but this time I could at least try this light filler. It's fine and wife-friendly but I tend to agree it has some fundamental problems. I played with the "only less cubes of the same color than seen on the trophy cards" extra rule and the original "only play cards to your opponent's side when your side is full there" rule which makes a lot more sense than the published rules; still it seemed to have some basic problems, especially when in the end my wife run out of usable cards and I won only because of that. Still it's fun and she loved it (more than me, but that's not a problem as I bought this game strongly based on the recommendations it got on the "what to play with gf" geeklists) so I'm happy to have it.
Finally got a chance to play this. I was soooo keen on it and wanted to have it in my collection. But after I played it, I've cooled off, despite the fact that I won. It's a beautiful game, the bits are awesome and it really feels like a city is being built in the desert.
But overall, it felt like seesawing a tree with a dull blade. Yes, you can build here or there to maximize your points, but for the most part you're maximizing them by 1 point here, 1 point there. The 1,2,3,4 point corner tower connection tiles were kind of silly, but a neat twist, I guess. It's not a bad game and I probably will not turn down another play, I just won't be putting it in my collection. Oh, well.
Marco Polo Expedition
This is actually a neat race/resource management game. It's tense, as you're grabbing cards TtR style from the table and playing them so, in order to advance your camels. But the trick is, you can only advance them 1 first empty space at a time, so you can't jump 3 or 5 spaces forward. You always have to keep up with the caravan. And each place on board requires you to play different set of cards in order to advance. So you're fighting for the right cards, while trying to keep up in order to gain points. There's some hoarding of the cards and waiting for SOMEONE to make a move forward, but that's what the game is all about. Very fun game. It may seem easy at first, but it actually has some deep strategy to it. What else did you expect from Knizia?
Another race game, with again trying to get the right cards to advance your pirates to the boat. But this one has a neat twist on how to obtain cards. You have to move BACKWARDS in order to gain 1 or 2 cards. Without the cards to advance, you're not gonna make it matey!! Very enjoyable and pretty quick game.
Played this for the 1st time. And now I know why I got rid of the game from my collection before I even opened it. After reading the rules, a while ago, I got the impression that it was just too fiddly, so I sold it. Now that I played it, I felt I was right. It is fiddly. Yes, there's interraction, yes, there are things changing, the money, the action cards, what you bid on. It's all there, but it somehow felt like pushing a mail cart through the office delivering mail to cubicles. The mechanics in the game with the markets is interesting, but the rest seemed kind of hum-ho.
Power Grid: China/Korea
I love this game. On any board. I don't play it enough though. Mostly because people take waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time calculating, recalculating, recalculating again, over and over and one more time and again from the start.... holy crap!! I just wish people would do this faster!! I know you're trying to optimize your turn, but so is everyone else, so pick up the pace so we can play again!!
Why can't more games have a handicapping mechanism?
We played our first game of WoG Friday (and finished it up on Saturday... what can I say, we're slow). The game rocks! So much historical flavor it almost hurts. We started with Lion in Winter, and are very much looking forward to the Hundred Years War scenario, although it might not hit the table again right away.
Also on Saturday a full game of Fresco. We'd played without the expansions before, and it felt anemic and not so interesting (unless accumulating a pile of thalers is fun for you). The expansions tightened the game up quite a bit. Still not a masterpiece or anything, but a nice, solid Euro.
Finally got a chance to play part of the new PG map, Brazil. It was a pretty tight game for everyone who wasn't me: I made a horribly stupid power plant purchase at mid-game that utterly destroyed me. (Honestly, it wasn't like I was doing great before that; oil is not an optimum starting resource for this map.) This is a game I could probably play every weekend with a different map and enjoy each time.
The Bottle Imp - I am finally to the point where I feel like I have a handle on how things work and how best to play my cards. I still get screwed but I'm not flailing around as I have been in the past. This is such an incredible game; I think I'm going to go raise my rating on it. BRB
MegaCorps - I kind of accidentally won this in an auction and finally got around to playing it. Once again I did a rock-stupid thing that just baffled everyone, including myself. It's not like it made THAT big of a difference in the long run, and although I did poorly, I wasn't as deep in a hole as I thought. We were playing one rule wrong and in addition we were just playing playing wrong -- there really needed to be a lot more negotiation and backstabbing happening. This seems to be one of those games, like Diplomacy, where you're furnished with a working ruleset and some components and the players are expected to bring the game. That is, the real meat comes in the interactions between players. If you don't get that, it's a fairly bland affair. Just not sure on it yet after only one play (I am not the biggest fan of negotiation games).
Tuesday night we played Shark after I informed my host that I had never played it. I liked it and had a lot of fun, but I'm not sure if, given a choice, I would roll with it, Acquire, or something else. As an easily learned economics game, it's a nice one.
We followed up with Saint Petersburg, which I hadn't played in ages and recently traded away (the two may be related). Weren't bad, and I did well, but it pretty much confirmed that I've gotten just about everything I'm going to get from that game. There just aren't that many angles to it.
OH OH HOW CAN I FORGET? Also on Sunday we had two sessions of Le Boomb!! I didn't win either and just don't know what I'm doing wrong. Once I have the boomb, I just can't seem to lose it fast enough. I guess I shouldn't expect to have sussed out the strategy after only two plays, though.
Friday: Claustrophobia x2, My first play, first scenario both times. It is pretty cool, felt like space hulk. I love the way the heros slow down as the get beat up, dying just in front of the exit and safety. Evil won the fist game and the second game was a tie.
Railways of the World, Mexico map. My first play but I had played Railroad tycoon. The Mexico map seemed perfect with 4.
Pandemic: 4 player, mutant strain on easy. We won with 2 cards left in the deck.
Witch's Brew: I managed to beat a bunch of noobs.
Dungeon Lords: I lost to a noob, I suck at this game. I will win it someday.
Space Alert x2: I don't think we did a good enough job explaining it to the new players, we lost horribly on two advance training missions.
Saturday was my middle son's 10th birthday and we got him Zooloretto and Thebes. I played Zooloretto with all three sons (13, 10, and 6). In the evening my wife and I played Thebes with the two older boys. Both games were hits with the birthday boy.
I played Here I Stand for the second time on Sunday, this time the two-player variant with the diplomacy deck. The diplomacy deck allows the players to play the papacy and protestant powers and abstracts away the other powers into random events. Luck of the draw tainted the victory more than a little bit. At one point I had a hand with 31 command points to spend while my opponent was holding 10 or 11. That allowed me to spend enough CP on French forces to threaten him militarily while still spending large numbers of points on reformation attempts. The game was quite fun and had a lot of interesting decisions so I'd recommend it to Here I Stand fans for a weekend when they can only find one other player.
Friday night is my usual GCOM game night (Silver Spring branch represent, wooo).
Fairy Tale - Started off with a quick 5p game of this. Man, it's been forever since I'd play Fairy Tale; I remember how I used to think it was surprisingly good. Now, coming back, it isn't nearly as enjoyable. It's alright, for a quick filler you could do worse, but it just doesn't have much that grabs me anymore. I think at the time when it impressed me, I was new to board gaming and the concept of "drafting" really blew me away, and now that that mechanic is old hat, there isn't much left about the game that really grabs me.
Endeavor - 5-player game, my second shot at this game (first time was at like 1 am at BGG.con, so wasn't really a fair shake). I feel like I should really like this, but something about it strikes me as kind of dry and boring. I'd still play it again; I'm hoping that as I get to understand the game better it will grow on me. But right now I'm finding it just a bit above mediocre.
Nexus Ops - 3 players. Brought this along in my game totes since it had been somewhere around 2 years since I'd last played, and I'm trying to keep things in my collection from going unplayed for too long. It's a silly little game, really, but I think it's fun. I am consistently impressed at how much direction the Secret Missions give the game; without them, it would be a really bland Risk-lite affair, but with them, you find yourself trying to make bizarre suboptimal tactical moves just to snag a few extra points.
Chrononauts x 3 - 3 player games; the last one couldn't finish due to time. Silly little filler. You have to come in knowing that winning is going to be largely random (usually someone wins because someone else unknowingly completed their timeline) and just enjoy bringing Hitler back to life after someone assassinated him.
Scattergories: The Card Game - I had a short amount of time to kill before needing to go to the Math Trade (traded away Cavum for Tigris & Euphrates, and after reading the rules I'm pretty pumped to try Tigris), and someone invited me into a game of this. It's... alright, I guess. I can think of better party games. I can see this being good with kids, but it's too simplistic for my tastes.
Ghost Stories - Saw some people playing Ghost Stories and consulting the rulebook frequently, and so I hovered for a bit to try and surreptitiously see if they needed help without butting in unnecessarily. When I saw that they were making a pretty game-breaking mistake (activating ghosts on all boards for every monk's turn), I decided I should probably say something, and then ended up hanging around to coach them through the rest of the game so they didn't have to keep going back to that awfully-written rulebook. The players were very nice, and I spent much of the weekend hanging out with them, particularly
"Sometimes it would be nice to be wrong about people." -Commander Samuel Vimes
When Nathan's partner needed to leave for a break, I subbed in for her and helped finish up the game (which ended in a 4-haunting loss due to a curse die roll).
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Pegasus Expansion - Nathan was running a BSG+Pegasus demo, and since it had been awhile since I'd played (I've been trying to hold off until I finish the series, but I figured with me being in Season 4.0 now, I should hopefully have gotten past most of the spoilers the game would have), I joined. It was a 6-player game with no Cylon Leaders, with two new players. The game went pretty long because one of the new players was having particular trouble understanding what was going on (in his defense, someone invited him in after Nathan had run through the explanation, meaning he had to learn as we went). Unluckily, both of the new people were Cylons from the beginning, which was difficult for them. We stopped at the beginning of the Sleeper phase: at 5 distance and 4 hours, we were all getting tired and one player had to go home, so we just called it. Still, I had a decent enough time, particularly when I, as Admiral Cain, managed to take out 2 basestars with 2 shots from Pegasus CIC, and subsequently brought up our flagging Morale with A Major Victory, all on one XO. I told the other players that they could refer to me as Admiral Badass for the remainder of the game. XD
Tales of the Arabian Nights - 4 players. This was a really nice wrap-up to the day; silly and fun but with little to no actual thought needed. Just wander around to different quests, read sometimes total non-sequitor adventures, and then hopefully win the game eventually. Every single one of us was Scorned at some point during the game, so each of us had to go On Pilgrimage at least once: Nathan and I both had to do so TWICE (in fact, we both were Scored the second time while still Pilgrimaging for the FIRST time ). I finally managed to dig out a victory without even completing my quest to marry the Sultan's daughter, largely thanks to the extra Destiny my Pilgrimages scored me.
For Sale x 2 - 5 player filler when I first came in Sunday. For how short and light it is, this is a really enjoyable game. The "pay half your bid" mechanism really adds some interesting tension. There's a lot of luck, sure, but there's definitely some skill involved, and it's interesting without being brain-burning.
Gonzaga - This had caught my eye, so when I saw a 3p game starting, I asked if I could join. I'm less than impressed with it; it sounded neat enough at the outset, but strangely enough I just did not feel much tension in terms of blocking or jostling. I mean, we did get in each other's way at times (particularly in the 3-harbor sets), but I often felt largely unconcerned with what the others were doing. The fact that 3 out of the 4 players managed to get all 6 of their secret city goals struck me as a failing of the game; secret missions should be difficult to fully accomplish. I think that the rings (which you can place on a city even if an opponent has placed a fief over it already) made the goals too easy. The guy teaching said it depends on which goals get randomly dealt, and it can be harder. I'd play again, since it wasn't a particularly time-consuming game, but it wasn't anything too special.
Lord of the Rings - It's been FOREVER since I've played this, so when I saw a game starting at 12:30, I jumped on it. Ended up being a 3 player game, and we agreed to do base game only (I've grown thoroughly disenchanted with Friends & Foes, and the other expansions just don't seem terribly worth the trouble they look like to me). We were doing great up to Mordor: by Mordor, we had Sam as ring-bearer, 2 Gandalfs' worth of shields with no Gandalfs used, the worst corruption was Frodo at 7, and Sauron was only at 13. But a few turns into Mordor, Sam's turn consisted of drawing 6 Sundial tiles in a row. We did our best to mitigate the damage (blocking one with a Gandalf and another with the Staff), but in the end, the final Event killed us that round, and there's nothing that we could have possibly done to have prevented it. Unlike games like Pandemic, where I feel like I often could have done something to prevent the loss, it was terribly frustrating to see that, other than shuffling the tiles differently, we had no chance of winning once we arrived at Mordor. Helps remind me of one of the reasons this game gets broken out less for me nowadays.
Ghost Stories: White Moon - Nathan liked Ghost Stories enough from Saturday's play that he bought it, and, on my recommendation, also picked up the expansion. So I sat him down to teach him the expansion so he wouldn't have to have to learn from the rulebook again. I love this game so much. XD We managed to win this one fairly handily with a minimum amount of alpha-playering on my part (I hope ).
That's Life! - 5 players with a family that was looking for people to join. Not a bad game for a roll-and-mover, but I find it a bit annoying how much of the game is basically spent stalling by moving guards around, hoping your opponent moves off the tile you want before you have to.
Friday night, played my daughter a game of Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. Hadnt played this in forever. Had done pretty well, was marching on the Shire, but wasn't able to get my hands on the Tricksy hobbit with the Ring.
Then she and I tried out Shazamm!, which I had gotten in the Gamestorm math trade but hadn't yet played. She didn't really grasp it, and I crushed her.
Then on Saturday, I played Shazamm! against my son. This was a much better game. Came down to the end, with him holding Silence and a two mana lead. I held Silence and Reserve Boost. He chose Silence, I played both, and with the extra mana, went on to drive him into the lava.
Then he and I broke out StarCraft: The Board Game – Brood War Expansion. We've never played SC with only two, but we went for it anyway. He was Tassadar and I was the Overmind. The planets played out oddly, with him setting up his Z-nav between his two placed planets, and me getting none, due to Ghenna Station being in the way. Early on I hit his nearest planet, taking his base, taking him down to 5 workers and getting a good CP lead. I thought I had won already. Sadly, his Zealots are a lot better than my Zerglings. He got Leg Enhancements and started hitting back. The station between my homeworld and him really cramped me, as I couldn't get the Air I was hoping to use over there fast enough. In the pentultimate turn I forgot I had the Air defense, and he took my base on the station. I had gotten a sweet stage two event that let my buy CPs, so I was still OK. Last turn, he needs to take both of my home planet's conquest point zones. Despite my Ultralisk hero, and one other I had bouth, he had lots of tech, Psi Storm, Hallucination, and a double splash reaver combat/reinforcement card, and was able to blow me away for the one point win. Pretty epic.