A Derk appears from the mists...
George, Elizabeth, Neil, Derk
The others were still trying to get to the first checkpoint in the Robo Rally game, and we couldn’t decide what game to play again. We opted to stick with the short and sweet theme so George pulled out his copy of Basari. I’ve played this game several times now, and I’ve pleased with the texture of the game every time, even if my performance has been less than spectacular each time. Using the pattern from last game, George explained the rules to Neil and Elizabeth and I followed it up with some strategy tips and clear warning about pulling a Derk when negotiating. I made decided effort to try to consider all the gems up for trade when making counter-offers and not just my side of the bargaining. I think I was moderately successful.
This game really started off slowly, for some reason. The scores after the first round were maybe high teens to low twenties, with Elizabeth in the lead followed by me. This was interesting because we were the only two to complete the lap for the bonus ten points. After the last game which saw Drew completely dominate the game through the lap bonuses, I was concentrating on that myself.
The second round was when George really started to take off. After the extra gems were discarded from the first round, he was in a perfect position to take majorities in three of the four gem types. And he would’ve been successful if Neil hadn’t stepped in right at the end to tie for one category. Neil was making everybody mad, because in that same maneuver he’d tied with George and took the majority that I had for the turn. But I still got my lap bonus! The scores after the second round were much tighter with George and Neil making up their earlier deficit.
The third and final round didn’t give me too many choices, because the spaces I landed on were awful. Plus to make things worse, I was starting to run out of gems. The others were scoring nicely, but the contest looked to be between Elizabeth and me again. Neil’s scoring run last turn had garnered a good number of points, but wouldn’t be enough to put him in contention. George was practically guaranteed to win majority in two different categories, but it also turned into a liability because others could offer him gems in these colors and they’d never help him. I tried to score some points through dice actions and points actions, but in the end it would be Neil’s move that decided the game. He again made a last second move to take an outright majority from me, giving Elizabeth the most points.
Elizabeth: 68, Derk: 67, George: 63, Neil: 45
It was a very close game, and besides, it’d been very good too. I was happy with my performance, if for no other reason than the fact that I didn’t have a major brainfart (a.k.a. give all my gems away in a stupid offer). George wondered out loud why I had so few gems in my pile at the end of the game, especially compared to the massive quantities that he held at the end. I’m of the opinion that if you’ve got a bunch of extra gems, then you didn’t use them as efficiently as you could’ve, because points are all that matter in the end. It’s a decent theory, but it can force you into some rotten positions towards the end of the game.
I’m definitely fond of this game, especially with the short playing time and the cool little gems. I think my only concern with the game are the spaces which players land on during the game. I’ve never really noticed this before, but there are some that are decidedly better than others and there are others that are just plain crap. That’s unfortunate, because it appears the designer tried to balance each space and make them all equal. Of course, this could be me suffering from a case of subjectivity. Either way, I gotta pick this game up eventually.