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dale yu
United States
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Contra 1/16/03

Dale 5 – Bret 2

Chris left and we were back to two player gaming. Pulled out Contra as I had recently got this in a trade and hadn’t been able to play it yet. This is a seemingly simple color matching game which has a little more depth to it that first glance. The premise is simple – each player has a number of player tiles which have different colored borders on them. There are also crown tiles that can be played to the board. If you picture a checkers board, the player tiles are to be played on all the red squares and the crown tiles are to be played on the black squares. By doing this, you ensure that each player tile can be orthogonally surrounded by four crown tiles. On your turn, you can play two tiles – in any combination of crown tiles and your own player tiles. Whenever a player tile is completely surrounded, it is immediately scored. Scoring is simple – if all 4 sides match in color you get +1 point. If three sides match, you score nothing. If two or less sides match – you lose 2 points! (You start the game with three points). The game ends when either two crown tiles are left or someone loses all their points. The game was nip and tuck most of the way as we tried to figure out good strategies. It seemed that defensive play was better – trying to ensure that your own player tiles wouldn’t lose points and trying to disrupt your opponent’s tile matching rather than going on the offensive trying to specifically match all four of your tile’s sides. We played to the end of the crown tiles and I won 5-2. My score of 5 was matching two tiles on all four sides (out of 14) and merely protecting all the rest so that I wouldn’t lose points. Bret was able to match three tiles completely, but he was stuck twice with losing points by not matching along the way. Not bad for a game that fits in my back pocket.
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