Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Rise and Fall of the Vinci Empire

We had a really strong turnout for game night last night. There were enough people to have several games going at once so, as usual, I'll focus on the games in which I participated.

First up for me was a quick game of Liar's Dice. This is just about the perfect opener since it's so short and it's very easy for people to join a game in progress. It also helps that my homemade edition supports up to 7 players so there's plenty of room for people while we wait for enough to arrive that we can split up into the more serious games. I came in second which wasn't bad considering I played most of the game with only a couple of dice.

Next up was a game of Vinci. This is one of the better conquest games out there. Something of a hybrid between a war game and a eurogame, in Vinci, players bring civilizations on to the board in order to score points. Each civilization has a pair of traits that make it unique and part of the fun is in deciding which of the available civilizations is likely to score the most points in a given situation. I got off to a respectable start but Oren (the evil one) wiped out one of my civilizations before it could really get a foothold and I ended up playing catchup for the rest of the game. I was quite pleased when he and I both tied for last place. Just catching up to him felt like an accomplishment. (How'd that strategy work for you buddy? *chuckle*)

Next Oren, Brian, Adam and I played a few games of Tichu. Adam and I, who play together at lunch pretty regularly, were eager to partner together but Oren immediately objected on the grounds that we were the two most experienced players. We talked him into grudgingly allowing us to partner on the condition that we would play more than one game and switch partners for the second if he liked. Then he and Brian proceeded to mop the floor with us. It was one of the more lopsided games I've ever played. It seemed like Adam and I couldn't catch a single break. Several hands and many failed Tichu calls later, we lost and we were only too happy to have a score above zero. Adam and I insisted on a rematch and in the second game we fared much better, winning by a comfortable (although not extreme) margin.

Wrapping up the evening for me was a nice game of Inkognito. I've played this three or four times now and I like it. It's not a great game by any stretch but it's a nice, friendly, relatively short deduction game. The pieces are great and the game play is pretty good, if a little old school (it's an older game). One thing that annoys me though is that it's possible for someone to get unlucky and have nothing they can do on their turn. At the beginning of each turn you shake a device that reveals three colored balls. The balls indicated what you can do on your turn. White balls give you no action and it's possible (albeit unlikely) to get three of them. One variant I've considered is to remove one (or even two) of the three white balls so that players are guaranteed to be able to at least move something on their turn. I'll have to try that next time and see how it goes. I think it would be an improvement. Still, it's a fun little game. Oren (the no so evil one this time) and I won.


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