Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This Week's Games

Yesterday was Tuesday and you all know what that means. It's time for me to write another short list of games that we played last night.

Our opener was For Sale by Stefan Dorra. We've played this several times recently so I'll refrain from putting up a picture and a description. This is still a great opener and I'm still ready to play it just about any time.

I brought a couple of new games tonight and one of them was a lovely little game called Hey! That's My Fish! This is a really clever little game where players try to collect tiles (ice floes) from an ever shrinking board. The rules are supremely simple. On your turn you move a penguin as far as you want in any straight line, leaving him on a tile. He can't cross empty spaces and he can't pass other penguins. The tile he leaves is removed from the board. It's yours. The number of fish on the tile is the tile's point value. As the board shrinks penguins will become isolated. Once no more penguins can move, the game is over and you count your points. The whole thing takes perhaps ten minutes to play. We played two four player games in a row. I got the first win (it helps having been the only one to have played before) and then Mike K. creamed us for the second game. (Adam and Mike M. were the other two players.)

Next we played the other new game I brought: Stefan Dorra's Intrigue. This is a brutal, ugly, back-stabbing pure negotiation game. (In case it's not obvious, that's a good thing.) Each player has eight scholars in four categories (science, art, religion, and medicine). Each player also has a palace that's willing to pay salaries for four scholars (one of each type). On your turn you collect income for those of your scholars that are placed in other palaces, then you accept (or reject) applicants for the positions at your palace, then you send two of your scholars out into the world and try to place them in positions at the other players' palaces. The conflict arises because there are twice as many scholars in the world as there are available positions. That means that some scholars are going to have to be turned away. Whenever a player tries to place his scholar he negotiates with the palace owner. They dicker back and forth on the terms (which can be just about anything) and the process culminates with a bribe. Here's where things get nasty. Once the player has received his bribe the negotiations are over and he's free to do anything he wants. "Oh, I'm sorry. Did I say I'd put that scholar in the lucrative $10,000 salary position? I've changed my mind. He's going in to the $1,000 position instead." Of course, such nastiness is sure to have its repercussions when it's that player's turn to place a scholar or two. Mike M. won our game but just barely. I was entirely too dishonest for my own good and came in last. It was an experiment (none of us had played before) and next time I'll know better.

I rounded out my evening with several games of my all-time favorite card game: Tichu. This game ROCKS. We've got a group that regularly plays it over lunch and I have yet to get tired of the game. It's a partnership game and Adam, Mike M., Oren and I played three games in succession, changing partners each time. Mike & I won the first game, then I partnered with Oren and we lost. Finally I partnered with Adam and ... we lost. If you haven't been keeping track, that makes Mike the big winner.

We had a newcomer join us. Forrest sometimes plays with the Thursday night group that meets in the same cafeteria but today he popped in and played several games with the others who were in attendance. Hopefully he'll be back next week.

Games played by others included Up Front, Il Principe, and Condottiere.

Hope you can join us next time!


At 2:29 PM, March 22, 2006, Anonymous michael k said...

Hi -- Sorry I haven't made it lately! Work's been brutal.

I did pick up Intrigue, and played a couple games with some friends. I think we were a little too timid, and the games seemed to go on forever -- at least two hours each. Maybe it's just the group of people, but I think we need to find a way to get people a little more Machiavellian in their thinking.

Have lately been playing Meuterer on the weekends. Great fun -- wish it supported more players! And finally got in a game of Railrood Tycoon. So good.

At 2:59 PM, March 22, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Glad to hear you haven't been hit by a bus or something. :)

Our game went a bit over an hour I think. I can't exactly remember. It didn't seem exceptionally long though.


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