Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Last Night's Gaming

Last night was game night but my busy work schedule meant that I couldn't stay very long. I had to head back to work. Still, I managed to get a couple of good games in.

While people were arriving, four of us played Take It Easy. This is a puzzle game that's very simple to play. Hexagonal tiles are drawn and can be placed anywhere on a small hex grid. Each tile has three numbers corresponding to three lines that cross the hex. If you get a matching line to stretch unbroken from one side of your hex board to the other (requiring 3, 4, or 5 tiles depending on where you put the tiles) then you score the number on that line times the number of tiles in the line. Interrupted (non-matching) lines score nothing. Everyone pulls the tiles in the same sequence so the luck affects everyone equally. It's a very nice quick game and one thing I particularly like about it is that, due to its simultaneous and independent play, it scales to virtually any number of players. Although there's only enough bits in one box for four players you can just add boxes to support more players. I believe that Oren won the game and I came in second. I believe Tejas and Michael M. were the other two players but my brain's a bit fuzzy from lack of sleep and too much work.

Next we played my favorite card game Tichu! If you can get four card players together there is simply no better card game around. I'm sure there are plenty of Bridge players who would disagree with that statement but in my opinion, all the convoluted bidding conventions make Bridge a little too unapproachable for your average gamer. Tichu is a little complicated when compared to your average German style card game, but it can easily be taught in thirty minutes or so, which is precisely what I did last night. We didn't play more than a few hands and we didn't keep score (it was a learning game for one of us) but it was still quite satisfying. I play this game probably three times a week at lunch and I never get tired of it.

My last game of the night was Queen's Necklace. This is another game that Tejas had requested I bring and I was happy to do it. It had been well over a year since I'd played so I had to spend a little time reviewing the rules but that worked out OK since nobody else at the table had played before so they were learning the rules while I was re-learning them. Queen's Necklace is an interesting game by Bruno Cathala and Bruno Fiadutti. It's about buying and selling jewelry in the decadent French court just before the revolution. One of its rather unique features is that instead of drawing cards, players purchase cards from a set of five face up cards. Each card has a value and any card not purchased by a player has its value reduced. Pass up a card too many times and it gets discarded. Three times during the game, cards in the players' hands are combined to make jewelry which is then sold. Only the best jewels in each of four categories will be sold so there's an interesting mix of blind bluffing where players try and combine more jewels in each category. But the more gems that are used, the more common those gems are and that drives their value down and reduces the amount of points you can get from selling them. It's an interesting game and I'd like to play it more often.

And that was all I had time for. After that I slogged it back to my desk and worked until the wee hours of the morning. Man! I'll be glad when this crunch time is over.


Post a Comment

<< Home