Thursday, November 30, 2006

Game Night at the Condo

This night was supposed to be 3 gamers plus 3 newbies. We started to pull out all the light games that could handle 6, including For Sale, Bang, Shadows Over Camelot, Cluzzle, and I'm the Boss. It happened that 2 more gamers showed and 1 less newbie showed, making 7 players. We decided to split into a table of 4 and a table of 3. At the A table, we played:

Maharaja: I own this, and played a few 2p games long ago. I think having read the rules a second time, a lot more sunk in. And, of course, the 4p game is superior to the 2p game. Players engaged in all sorts of strategies: going full out for the current city, setting up the next city, building a large house network, and changing the city order. The Exchange action was taken by at least 3 players per round, most commonly Exchange + Build Palace/House. There were a few instances of faulty plans, and a few plans being completely foiled by unexpected actions (taken or not taken). On turn 6, one player noticed that another player had 2 palaces left and 26 gold. The 3 of us tried to find a way to prevent the 4th player from being able to build his last 2 palaces on the current turn. Our best option was to move all of our houses from around the city with his Architect and each build a palace ourselves, leaving only 1 space for his palace. Unfortunately, the way the houses lay, he could still win with Build Palace + Build Palace/House, so we resigned. The experience was so much better than before that I raised my rating up to 8.

Robber Knights: I had had this on my want list for a while just prior to its release. It sounded interesting, but I wasn't convinced I wanted to own it. Fortunately, I finally got to play someone else's copy tonight. I do like it, but not quite enough to want to own it. It's a nice quick filler with mild spatial and tile/disc management decisions. The "luck of the draw" is mitigated by a semi-sorted stack of tiles; all the various types cannot clump together, so you can expect certain ones within each set of 5. I suspect this will be a common filler since it plays quickly and comes in a small box.

China: The deck seemed so small tonight. We went through it twice so fast. One region didn't get any pieces. We played with the fortification bonus. One player got 12 points for a chain of houses and 12 points for the purple region. I cashed in on 3 big alliances to make up for a poor fortification placement, but it wasn't quite enough. 3 players ended the game within 2 points of each other.

Subbuteo: A quick 15 minute "half" to end the night. Mike's 2nd shot on goal was excellent. With 2 minutes left, I could not score. I've pored over the 70-page rulebook, but I still can't figure out the back/foul conditions for all the various combinations of collisions and other infractions. Next week, an expert is supposed to be coming by. I hope to grill him on everything that isn't clear, and perhaps turn him into a gamer.

Maharaja image by dare


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