Thursday, June 22, 2006

Are You Sleeping?

This Tuesday night, our vacationing friends from Seattle were back so we had a good sized crowd again. A lot of games were played. Here are a few of the ones that I remember.

Buccaneer is the new Stefan Dorra game. I've played this quite a few times this week and I have to say that I rather like it. Oh, it's got some issues: it's prone to kingmaking and it can be a little hard to do any sort of real strategizing; but it's got a great little theme, lovely bits, and it's a short enough game that you can bang one out in about a half-hour so those minor flaws don't spoil it for me. By the way, this is an updated version of an older game of his called Safecracker. From what I've heard of the original (I've never played it) this is the better version. I'll try to post a review soon.

Chris, Michael M, Adam and I played a game that I haven't played in a very long time: Mystery of the Abbey. This is one of the early Days of Wonder games and it doesn't get a lot of table time with our group because several among us don't care for it. I can sort of see why, it is rather random at times, some of the event cards which are meant to add flavor can be a little ... embarrassing to some. (Act out an entire turn in "plainsong"? or Everyone sing "Are You Sleeping?" in a round?) Of course if you don't like that sort of thing you can always ignore those cards. This is a deduction game similar to Clue, where players attempt to identify the foul murdering monk in a medieval abbey. It's loosely based on The Name of the Rose (an Umberto Eco novel and later a movie by the same name) and it's loaded with theme. The gameplay has some issues however. Players are encouraged to ask questions of one another in an attempt to identify the killer. Unfortunately, coming up with useful questions can be difficult, especially since cards are constantly changing hands, often invalidating any information you've already gathered. Usually you end up solving the crime just because so many cards have changed hands that you've seen them all. Still, I enjoy the game quite a bit and if you can ignore the few flaws and get into the spirit of the game, the luscious bits and deep theme can really draw you in.

I finished my night with a few rounds of No Thanks (or Geschenkt). This is a great little filler game and if you're one of the two or three gamers who still hasn't played this then you need to fix that problem right away.

Other games to hit the table included Caylus, Tichu and Can't Stop.


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