Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Another Game Night! Huzzah!

Ah game night! My favorite night of the week. We had another fine turnout. Lots of good games were played. I think everyone had a good time. I know I did.

One of the first games to hit the table was Caylus but this time I wasn't involved. This time it was Christopher, Jose, Ben, Chris and Oren. While they were playing I learned that I had actually missed a relatively important rule in last week's game. We hadn't noticed that the number of residences the players can build is NOT limited to the number of residence tiles in the box. It's never mattered in our earlier games but in last week's game it might have mattered to Jose. I don't think that it would have changed the outcome of the game much but it probably would have meant he was a bit more competitive. At least last week we were all operating under the same assumptions about the rules so the game was still fair. Incidentally, I actually kind of like that as a house rule because it introduces yet another element into the game that players have to manage and be aware of. I think the rules as written are better but if you're looking for a different challenge you might think about trying it that way.

I wasn't involved in Caylus because Mike K., Wade, Darryl, Birch and I were playing the new Ticket to Ride - Marklin Edition. Alan Moon's original Ticket to Ride won the Spiel des Jahres a couple of years back and it has become the gateway game of choice for many people. The Marklin Edition is the third Ticket to Ride version (Ticket to Ride: Europe being the second) and while I'm not sure the world really needs three distinct versions of Ticket to Ride, I must say that it is an excellent game. The biggest change in the Marklin edition (other than the superficial fact that it's played on a map of Germany) is the addition of a passenger delivery mechanic. On your turn you now have one more type of action: instead of playing or taking cards, you can choose to move one of your passengers along your routes from city to city, collecting delivery tokens along the way. A five or six stop delivery can be worth an awful lot of points so the new rule somewhat discourages the standard strategy of hoarding tickets until you're ready to lay down a slew of completed routes. Deliveries to a city are worth progressively fewer points so whoever gets there first stands to score more points than those who follow. This means that in addition to racing to complete your routes, you're also racing to be the first to score the plum deliveries. Mike K. easily won the game. I still haven't figured out the proper strategy and I came in near the back of the pack.

Scott, Adam, Michael M. and Peter played Louis XIV. I really enjoy this unique area control game set in the court of the Sun King. Some folks don't care for the random scoring mechanic with the shields at the end of the game but that's minor enough that it really doesn't bother me at all. It's just one more element that you need to take into consideration as you play. Michael was the clear winner this time.

Adam, Michael M., and I then taught Tichu to Scott. Scott isn't a trick taking game fan so he was a little reluctant but kudos to him for being a good sport and giving it a try. He and I were partners and we didn't do very well but that was more due to the fact that we kept getting some pretty stinky hands. Scott played quite well considering the garbage he was dealt and I'm hoping he'll let us talk him into trying it again. When Oren's game broke up, he was eager to play and Scott was still feeling a bit overwhelmed so he bowed out and let Oren take his place. We reset the scores and Oren and I went on to soundly thrash Mike and Adam. Again, this was really mostly due to our good fortune and not our supreme skill. It's a little hard to lose when your partnership controls most of the specials and seventy five percent of the face cards. I'm quite sure that I've now used up my month's allotment of good fortune and I expect to return to my usual string of dismal hands over lunch.

Meanwhile, Mike K, Jose, Darryl, Wade and Birch played World of Warcraft the Boardgame. This game is a bit too long for my tastes but it's been getting a lot of table time at game night and all who have played it seem to think it's just great. One of these days I'll have to give it a try (my son has been begging me to play with him) but I'm a little leery of the length which can easily exceed three hours.

Also played were Take Off (the card game, not the educational map game) and Lord of the Rings the Confrontation (the deluxe edition). And I'm sure I'm missing some others. Thanks to all who came! I hope you had as much fun as I did.


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