Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pirate Mü Cow Spies?

Last night's game night was extremely enjoyable. Our attendance was just a little bit thin due to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday but we still had enough players to keep a couple of game tables well populated.

The Seattle gang joined with Kai to play his new edition of Die Macher. We were all a little puzzled by some of the production choices they made. They changed the artwork for the new edition but most of the changes were subtle enough that I didn't notice them at first and the few that weren't subtle seemed to add nothing at all to the presentation. That opinion is based on only a casual glance at the game (since I wasn't playing) so I may be completely wrong here. It's a fine game and were it not for the length (which is far too long for my tastes) I'd long to play it again soon.

The rest of us started the evening with a very nice game of Rum & Pirates. It's a light and somewhat random game with nice bits and a really nice and highly functional storage tray. Don't let that "somewhat random"comment put you off though; it's got more than enough strategy. I can vouch for that because I consistently lose and tonight was no exception. Curt applied his superior experience (he's probably played it twice as much as any of us) to good effect. He ran away with the game.

Next we played the new edition of Inkognito. This is an Alex Randolph and Leo Colovini gem where players are spies in Venice during Carnival. It's a very nice light deduction game. Players wander around a map trying to figure out who is who and what they're up to. The bits in this game are absolutely awesome. Each player has four large plastic "reveller" pawns complete with tri-cornered hats and carnival masks. But the best bit is the "Phantom of Prophecy" which is basically a random color generator in the shape of a large Masked Carnival Phantom. At the start of each turn, the player shakes him around and then puts him on the table. There are ten colored balls inside and three of them appear in three windows. The colors that appear determine what you can do on your turn. It's fun just to shake the darn thing.

Mike and I won the game but we almost blew it. We had satisfied the victory condition but due to a minor rules misunderstanding, Mike failed to let me know which of his pawns was "the real one"and so I couldn't be 100% sure that we had won. That caused me to hesitate to declare victory, figuring I'd leave it for Mike to do on his turn. But on the next turn, Curt declared that he and Steve had won the game. Luckily for us, he had made a transcription error and so he was wrong. That gave Mike and I the win after all.

A couple of late comers had arrived by then so we decided to play a game of next. The more I play this superb trick taking game, the more I like it. I'll gladly play this game any time. We had a very competitive game and I came in second by only one point.

And we wrapped it all up with another game of... you guessed it: Tichu. This time Curt and I partnered against Mike and Steve. We got out to a very good start but then the tables turned and the game turned in to a bit of a slog. Several hands went by with no one having enough confidence to call "Tichu". We eventually found ourselves on the brink of losing. Mike and Steve had (I think it was) 970 points and we were at about 630. Curt tried a "Hail Mary" Large Tichu call and we made it, then we followed it up with another Tichu to lock up the come-from-behind win.
National Games Week 2006I hope you all have a safe Thanksgiving holiday. Play some games! After all, it is National Games Week!


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