What else is there to do on an isolated base in Baghdad on the 4th of July?
How about taking Hacienda out for a test drive? Donated by the incredible Jay Tummelson from Rio Grande Games, I've been waiting to try it out since last year (I've been...uhh... occupied for the last year or so) and haven't been able to keep current on my gaming addiction.
I got together three other regulars, and after a pretty thorough reading of the rules, taught the game to them. It took all of five minutes and these aren't gamers, per se. That was a big plus in my book for the game. After the game, I reviewed the rules and picked up a few things that I'd missed but they were nothing that broke the game we played (haciendas only count for herds or land, the number of haciendas available at the beginning of the game).
Big fun was had by all. For some reason, herding was very popular and was the source of constant amusement throughout the game (Would you like a wolf with those sheep?) We powered our way through to the first scoring session pretty quickly with everyone staying pretty close, no one more than ten points from the leader.
And since we all knew how to play the game (Uh Huh) we buzzed through the second half pretty quickly. My market strategy didn't work as well as the water and hacienda strategy. I finished dead last, Oh well, that's not the first time or the last time that will happen.
Happy Heather took the game by a fairly large margin with a "I can draw/buy all the land I need in my corner and connect them all together around water and put haciendas on them" strategy. The rest of us finished pretty far back (cough, 30 points, cough).
The good news: Everyone really enjoyed the game and want to play it again.
We pretty much played in our corners this time. The next game will definitely see more interference with the other players best laid plans.
I will break him.
Gaming in Baghdad... cool. Hope you have time to play other games and stay safe over there.