Thursday, February 08, 2007

Game Night at the Condo

Tonight saw some 13 gamers show up. The more the merrier. However, more players always seems to mean more distractions, more decision time, and more downtime between games. I took it as a good sign that a game of Zertz was in progress when I arrived. Soon after, a 6-player game of Cluzzle started upstairs, which gave me an opportunity to play...

A "local" tournament Subbuteo player was in the neighborhood, and he was kind enough to go easy on me and only kick my ass by a little. I learned some new and "totally obvious" tactics like: you can block a man from behind by flicking one of your guys where the opponent's finger wants to go. It was a killer tactic against me. I also learned--and started playing by--the official offsides rules. Adding these rules changes play and setup quite a bit, but in subtle ways.

My first play. Obviously, I'd head some pretty bad things about the game, but I hadn't read the rules myself, so I was determined to give it a fair chance. Half way through, one player was just winning the progress battle every turn. She just kept building cities, but kept only 3 hexes with pieces on them, so we couldn't attack. At this point we stopped and started discussing this seemingly game-breaking strategy.

A quick check of the rules revealed that we were playing incorrectly. Cities only score 1 point towards progress (full points at the end only). Well, this small point turned a broken game into a reasonable game. We played on from this point. It seemed as though this same player was now in not-so-great a shape.

The game feels a little bit like Trias and a little bit like Vinci. I like that there's no tech tree. Everyone just gains the same advances, with the progress winner getting them a turn early. There's nothing to hate really. I'm not big on "games of efficiency", but I still love Goa and some others. I can certainly see how Tempus might have undergone an enormous evolutionary process to fine-tune many of the game's systems. I can't say that the game feels under-developed, but at the same time, I can't call it great or even very good, but I'll certainly play again.

I won the 3VP bonus for reaching the Age of Flight, but failed to match the winner's 22 points.

The night was going to end, but we managed to get 4 together for a "quickie" 45-minute game. A cell phone means always having to say you're sorry. The winning score was 127. I had 74. I think I am over-bidding.

Tempus image by aceraxon


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