Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Insomniac's Game Night Report

I worked late tonight after game night and now I'm so wound up that I can't sleep. Guess I'll write my game night wrap-up now instead of waiting like I had originally planned.

I think we'll stick with the building 50 cafe from here on in. It's easily the best lit cafe we've tried. The tables are all just right. It's not too big or too busy. And it's central to most of us and near the freeway so that makes it just about perfect.

Mike K. and I were the first ones there. While we waited for the others to arrive we played a two player game of Fairy Tale. This game works well with every number of players I've tried. It's fast enough to play just about any time and adding players doesn't significantly affect the game length. I won this time but I've played it far more than Mike so I had a distinct advantage, since I know what cards are in the deck and have had time to develop a strategy or two.

While we were playing Mike M. arrived, followed closely by the Seattle gang (Christopher, Birch, Wade, and Jose). With seven of us it was time to break out the big games and Christopher, Jose, Mike K. and I decided to try and tackle Siena.

I've been meaning to get Siena to the table for weeks now. I'll talk more about Siena in a future post but here are some brief comments. First of all, Siena is seriously marred by its poorly written English rules and lack of iconography. The learning curve is way too high for what in the end is really only a medium complexity game. We had some alternate rules translations that helped somewhat but the best way to play this game for the first time would definitely be to play it with someone who already knows how to play. It took us forever just to feel we understood the rules well enough to begin playing. Later this evening I read through the revised English rules posted by Zman on the Geek (which are a HUGE improvement) and discovered that we had only got a couple of minor things wrong. Frankly, I was hoping we'd gotten much more wrong because our experience was not the best. I want to play it again because I think I understand better how to play it now and I might enjoy it more but I'm not sure if anyone from this group will want to play it again. That seems a shame because I think there's a decent game in here if it were played correctly by people that understood how to play it well. I'll post more on this later.

While we played Siena, the others played a game of Hacienda. And Darryl showed up just in time to join them. Unlike Siena, Hacienda is relatively easy to learn and it's proven quite enjoyable from the very first playing. It also plays in a relatively short amount of time.

Darryl also brought SET which that group played while we finished up our game of Siena. SET is a great logic game where players try to identify sets of cards. It's one of those mental gymnastic games that takes a little while to get the hang of.

After Siena broke up, the Seattle group headed home and Mike M., Mike K. Darryl, and I played Tigris & Euphrates. I never get tired of this game. It doesn't hurt that I won again. This game has a wonderful balance of strategy and tactics and luck. And it's relatively easy to teach too. It's just about perfect.


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