Thursday was an unusual game day. Kurt, Mike, and John came over. Mike had played before, but this was a first for Kurt and John.
Shadows Over Camelot: When I teach this to new players, I always play without the traitor. The first game went very well. We were perilously close to losing for quite a while. Some careful choices and critical Merlin plays kept us 1 Siege Engine away from losing until we could complete the final Saxon quest for the win. Our second game included a Traitor card. Once again we found ourselves perilously close to losing. We held out for quite a while, but the luck was not ours. "So we all lose?" asked John. "Yes--" I started to reply. "Not all of us!" exclaimed Kurt, flipping over his Traitor card. He had been discarding Merlin cards every chance he got. He also possessed Lancelot's Armor, which may have been the major cause of our bad luck. I had an inkling he was the Traitor, but was never sure enough to accuse. Next time I won't be so foolish.
Bohnanza: Mary Ann arrived home just in time for a 5-player game of Bohnanza. We played the standard 3 times through the deck. I was amazed at how quickly new players figured out that the best short-term result for themselves was not necessarily the best overall. Deals for some very good cards were turned down when it was obvious how painful it would be to the active player. Fun fun! I was the only player who did not buy a 3rd beanfield, and ended up with a marginal victory: 15-14-14-9-9.
Vinci: I was a little worried about this one. I love the game, but I knew it wasn't a sure thing. Ten minutes of explanation later, we were going full speed. The most anyone paid for a new civilization was 4 VP (skip 2). Mike got Field General early and wiped me from the board. Everyone caught on to the ebb and flow of the game, and the way the different civilization tile combinations affected your choices. Once I established myself onto the board again in Spain, John decided to block me off from the rest of Europe and use Diplomacy on me. Nasty! I didn't mind being picked on since I was the only one who had played before. We had to call it quits before the game ended, but we played out a complete final round. I was in last place by a bit. Mary Ann and Mike were leading the pack. Later, Mary Ann asked, "Can you play Vinci with 2?" Ah, bliss...
Roma: At various points in the past week, Mary Ann and I have played about 8 games of Roma. It has some minor flaws, in my opinion, but it's a lot of fun. It feels somewhat like Magic the Gathering without the collectibility. Each turn is like a mini puzzle. How can I best use my 3 die rolls, the cards in play, the cards in my hand, and my money to gain VP or hurt my opponent? It's fairly elegant, and the icons on the cards are a useful reminder once you get used to what all the card functions are.
[Shadows Over Camelot image by TedTorgerson.]
[Bohnanza image by yayforme.]
[Vinci image by Debate.]
[Roma image by Chris Dorrell.]