Saturday, October 14, 2006

Game Nights

Thursday night is starting to be a regular 2p game night at home. Our choices this time were Elasund and Kreta.

This game of Elasund was the most interactive yet. We actively blocked building permits, destroyed buildings, were vicious with the pirate, and were generous with the church tiles. It's one of those good but not great games. The only thing left to do is to try it with 3 or 4 players.

This was only our 2nd play of Kreta. I decided to play conservatively and fight the urge to pile up on every territory. This put me behind for almost the entire game. As we came upon the final 3 cards, I still had a fort and 2 villages left. I managed to score a 6 territory twice in a row with a quick score and the win.

A last minute email late Thursday night brought me to another fantastic game night at "The Condo" on Friday.

We warmed up with Top Race. I had played Formula De before, but this was nothing like it. It's more like Winner's Circle (Royal Turf) with cards instead of dice. Players own the cars (by auction), but can also "bid" on which car they think will win at 3 different points during the race. Much more interesting than I expected, but still light and random.

While waiting for pizza, we played Bucket King. My experience on BSW paid off. Half way through the game, I had the least buckets left, but managed to hold on while knocking down everyone else. When the bucket counts were down to 4-1-3-1 (I was 4), I took a chance and played 3 cards of a color to knock a player out.

Next up was Basari. I think I incorrectly assumed that this was the same game as Bazaar from BSW, which I don't like that much. Basari is a clever, elegant, and balanced game. You really need to watch everyone's gem counts at every step. Still, the AP wasn't prominent except for a few critical moments.

And last but not least, Black Vienna. I never thought I'd get to play this in my lifetime. The rules description sounded very simple. As soon as a few cards start coming down and the chips start distributing, the weight of the deductive system starts to hit you. I started marking information on my sheet, decided I didn't like my marking system, changed it, and changed it again. I was the first to think I had the answer, so I called, "Black Vienna!" I guessed AHQ, but the right answer was AHJ. Somewhere between changing systems and understanding the game, I marked an incorrect deduction and that rippled into the wrong answer. The 2nd player also guessed wrong. The third player, only 1 turn later, guessed right. This is a fantastic pure deduction game, with subtle randomness, good player control, and some tension. Looking forward to trying this again, if only to see if I can get through it without making any errors.

One of the players brought a copy of Taj Mahal. I actually touched a copy of Taj Mahal! Sadly, at our only chance to play it, we only had 3 players.


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