Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Very Successful Game Night

We had a lot of people turn out for game night last night; including some newcomers! It's always nice to see new faces. Hopefully our newcomers will become regulars!

The six of us who arrived first passed the time until the others arrived by playing Loot. Loot is a light card game by Gamewright Games. Unlike most of the games we play at game night, I've actually seen this one in some of the local big name stores like Target and Fred Meyer. Kudos to Gamewright for getting their product into those stores!

This was my second time playing the game and I'm afraid that my initial impression remains unchanged. It's too long for what it is: a very luck-heavy, ultra-light card game. The artwork is whimsical but the game play just isn't deep enough for a game of that length in my opinion. Still, it's enjoyable enough with the right people and I'm sure that many will feel that it's worth its low price.

Next up, I really wanted to play Masons with the correct rules. Adam, Mike and I watched Max (one of the newcomers) run away with an early lead that proved to be uncatchable. With the correct rules the game proved to be much shorter and that's a good thing because the last time we played it went way too long. In this game, players take turns placing walls on the board. Whenever an enclosed area (called a city) is created it triggers a round of scoring. In last night's game, we all waited too long before creating that first city. That allowed Max to play a couple of scoring cards which enabled him to score something like twenty points on a single turn. From that point on his victory was basically ensured. I suspect with repeated play, we might get a better feel for when to trigger scoring to ensure that nobody gets such a huge advantage. I like it but I do feel it's a little luck heavy, particularly for a Colovini game.

The next game we played was one which none of us had ever played before: Aqua Romana. This is a very pretty game by Martin Schlegel and Queen Games where players build aqueducts that crisscross all over a roman square. It's a tile laying game with tiles that look an awful lot like the tiles in Streetcar or Metro. The twist here is that there are master builders (big wooden meeples) that march around the perimeter of the board which dictate which tiles can be built where on each player's turn. My initial impression is that it's very pretty and very tactical. There's some strategy as well but for a game with no luck element at all I found it surprisingly difficult to figure out what my next move was going to be. I imagine that would be different with fewer than four players. Still, I enjoyed it very much and I'd happily play it again. One other thing: the English translation of the rules was terrible. There were several phrases that left us scratching our heads but I think we ultimately got them right.

I really wanted Adam to have a chance to play Carcassonne: the City. A few weeks back I introduced him to the original Carcassonne but this version is so much superior that I really wanted him to play this one too so he, Michael, Max and I played. Everyone but Michael managed to muscle in on a large shared market about half way through the game and it put Michael behind by a huge amount of points. Unfortunately for him, he always seemed to be an easy target and without really thinking about it, we never seemed to give him a break. In the end, he got lapped more than once on the scoring track. It's a good thing he's a good sport because a lesser man would have been very upset. Adam won but (for at least three of us) the scores were respectably close. Sorry Mike. Next time I'll have to remember to pay more attention to things like that.

Other games played tonight included For Sale, Bus, Thurn & Taxis, Cleopatara and Puerto Rico.


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