I've been playing so many games over the past week, I haven't had time to talk about playing games.
On the Underground
Played this a lot, with 2, 3, and 4 players. It's really a nice design. The passenger mechanism works great. The only bad part of the game is that while a player is considering where to build--usually based on how to maximize the passenger for themselves--there's nothing for the other players to do. Fortunately, the game is light, short, and even with 4 players, the wait is not excruciating.
Shadows Over Camelot
I finally got the be the traitor! It was only a 3 player game, so I didn't discover my identity until we had 6 swords. Fortunately for me, I had Lancelot's Armor. I was able to bury the not-so-awful Black cards and act as though I drew 2 bad ones. The players foolishly left 11 Siege Engines in play when it came to my turn. I think they must have figured there was no traitor.
After the first half of the game, I was embarrassingly ahead. I think I started playing with a more cavalier attitude. My opponent quickly caught up and won by about 5 points. My bad. This was the first game I've played where the board was almost "full".
Downfall of Pompeii
I played this another handful of times. Nothing much to say.
Dexterity and physics. The pieces are all different lengths. Since they support the levels to varying degrees, you can get screwed if your piece is slightly longer. I don't really like the play or the design of this game. When the tower falls, the only thing I feel is, "It's over. Now we can play something else."
It's strange. If this game had dice with no numbers and scoring was purely based on the number of dice at the given levels, it would be much less luck-driven...and much less fun. Still, it's only good as a filler. If this came out in the middle of game night, I would probably go play something on the Wii.
Finally got this on the table! I liked it even more than I thought I would. There were so many little things that jumped out at me as we played. There's more depth here than the rules would suggest. The game is also not as complicated as the rules would suggest. I can't wait to play this again!
- If you play 3 blocks in the same province, you get more influence, and only lose 1 if you win the election there (other than ties or Paris). If you play 3 blocks in 3 different provinces, you might lose a block in each if you win all 3 elections, and will have no blocks left in the next round for your efforts.
- Using cards with 3 blocks (and placing them in your personal display) too early in the round is dangerous. The opponents have more time to counter your influence, and to remove your card. However, if you wait too long, the round may end before you get to play them.
- The order of resolution in the regions and the provinces is important since breaking ties involves playing cards from your personal display.
- Going last is significant. Don't worry if you get no VP in the first year.
It was nice to sit down and play a meaty game without having to teach anyone or learn how to play for a change. We used the alternate scoring for the Nobles which reduces the effect of differences. It had no effect on the outcome, but our scores were further apart than they usually are in games I've played.
I got to teach a first-timer who had read the rules already. I played the US. I thought that would be enough of a handicap to make the game roughly even. I managed to get to 6 VP by the end of round 2. Then it was all downhill. I lost in the middle of round 7, the USSR reaching 20 VP. The game took about 4 hours. I found the game to be significantly more enjoyable this second time. Knowing what type of events exist makes the decision process an order of magnitude easier. Twilight Struggle is now a game I look forward to playing again. I'm keen to win as the US.
Princes of Florence
My first ever game of PoF using the actual game. Until this evening, I had only ever played using the dreaded BSW interface. We had the full complement of 5. It took a while for me to get comfortable with the physical mechanics of the game since I had never had to perform them before. I started the game with 2 Laboratory Profession cards and two that overlapped in Landscape and Freedom. I grabbed the first Jester for 1000, and easily performed the best work during round 1. My plan was to grab at least one more Jester early, but I never got another the entire rest of the game. I acquired an additional Profession card, a Recruiter, and 2 Builders. I published 5 works in all. My downfall was in preparing for round 7 at the end of round 6. I decided that I only needed 700 florins to cover the cost of a Builder and a Building. During the auction, another player called for the Builder. Oh %$#@! I had to go up to 500 to get him, leaving me with only 200. I ended up spending a PP to pay for the Building, which gave me the best work. I tied with another player at 54 PP, but had no cash left. He had 300. It was a fantastic game face to face. I may have to bump it up in my ratings to Amun-Re levels.