Thursday, January 25, 2007

Game Night at the Condo

In Maine, we are used to cold weather. Today it went from a balmy 34°F in the day down to a nippy 6°F at night. But no matter how bad it gets, it won't stop us from staying indoors, having pizza delivered, and playing games. We are hearty folk.

My first time playing against a player who rates it a 10. That was my first clue that I was about to get my ass handed to me. And it was...twice. Even after glancing at the excellent Stephen Tavener's Zertz Strategy Guide, I was helpless against someone who knew even the basic tactics. This is a really good game. I knew I was going to like it before I bought it, but I was still surprised how good it is. I mean, in the end you are simply acquiring marbles by jumping and by isolation. But you are accomplishing this by forcing the opponent to set you up, and you must be willing to give the opponent more marbles than you are going to get--just make sure they are the wrong ones.

The thing about Zertz is that you really have to get over the hump of learning basic tactics. A bunch of mediocre moves equals a loss. I had to work hard to find moves that wouldn't be a disaster. My opponent kept doing stuff to me that was obvious immediately afterwards. I suspect this will be the case for quite some time. I could have played this game all night.

My first time playing with 3. The first time for the other 2 players. The thing about Goa is that no matter how many players you have, each player gets an average of 1 tile and exactly 3 actions (plus any extras) per round. So you would expect a similar scores. The only thing in the game that changes based on the number of players is the availability of the bonus expedition cards from reach the 4th and 5th rows on the development chart.

Finding efficient paths of development and evaluating tiles is difficult in your first game. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that most of Goa is about short-term planning. You may decide up front, for example, to go for the expedition track, but if you get no nutmeg during the first round and your colony fails, then you have to try something else. If you build ships, then decide on a later action to increase your ship track, this has cost you a ship (if you could have done the actions in reverse order). Regardless, the new players did fairly well: 46, 31, 30.

Other games played: Diamant, Basari, Santiago, Coloretto.

Zertz image by toulouse


At 2:33 AM, Blogger Yehuda Berlinger said...

I just played Zertz for the first time and like it very much.


At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't gotten a chance to play Zertz yet, which annoys me a little. It's the only part of the Gipf series that lacks a real-time element that I haven' gotten to evaluate yet, and given my fondness for the rest (except DVONN) it seems like a natural fit for me.

Based on what you know of my taste in games, do you think I'll enjoy it? Where in the Gipf series would you rank it.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger ekted said...

As of now, it's right up there with YINSH and PUNCT, but that may be its newness. I really loved how my opponent was able to crush me with little effort, and that such simple plays were beyond my ability to envision. I really enjoy being on the uphill side of the learning curve.


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