Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Game Night Recap

Sorry I missed last week. I did go to game night and I did play games but I just never got around to writing it up. Bad me.

The first game for me last night was The End of the Triumvirate. The most unique feature of this game is that it is designed to be played with exactly three players. No more. No less. There is a variant for two players but it's pretty clear that it was included as a way to soften the blow of having just bought a game that really only plays with exactly three people. It's a moderately heavy game that mixes combat and politics in some pretty interesting ways. There is only a smattering of luck involved and quite a bit of strategy. I enjoyed it quite a bit even though I made a pretty horrible blunder towards the end of the game that cost me any chance at victory. Up to that point I was at least in the hunt but I failed to notice a rather important piece which made my move obviously foolish and then rather than whine about it I just sucked it up and enjoyed myself anyway.

Next up was another game that was new to me: Gheos. The grossly over-simplified description that leaps immediately to mind is: Carcassonne with triangular tiles. Of course that's a completely superficial description and the game is actually not much like Carcassonne at all. However it definitely fits in the same family of games. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It will never be one of my ultimate favorites but I'll happily play it again any time. It's simple and it offers a pretty decent blend of luck and strategy (with the needle pointing a little more towards the luck side).

One of the other games (Imperial) was about to break up so four of us played Sticheln for a few hands while we waited. Sticheln is one of my favorite light card games. If you play it too seriously it can ruin the game but if you accept the game for what it is: a lovely excuse to stick someone with a boatload of negative points, it can be uproarious fun. Curt made the mistake of leading high in his pain suit way too early and paid dearly for that mistake. I'd feel sorry for him but he's played this game enough that he definitely should know better. Lesson learned I think.

Last game for me was Tichu (of course). This was one of the strangest and more frustrating games of Tichu I've played in a while. Curt and Mike teamed up against Steve and I (yes, two Steves) and from the start nothing seemed to go right for us. Every time we thought we had a Tichu-worthy hand we'd get set and every time we thought we might set them they'd squeak by with a win. Eventually the score was 940 points to 60. Clearly things were desperate. I was then dealt a pretty decent starting eight cards and so I decided to risk a grand-Tichu call. BOOM! We not only won the hand but we also got the double win! 400 points! Next hand we managed to pull off another Tichu-double win for 300 points! It was looking like the comeback of the century. Then we played another hand with no Tichu call but we managed to hold them to less than 60 points and force one more hand. Unfortunately we lost that final hand but at least we crawled back out of the cellar! Hooray for us!

Other games played included Thurn & Taxis, Augsburg 1520, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Imperial.

Last week's new game for me was Augsburg 1520 which I enjoyed very much. It's a bidding production game but it's a little more forgiving than production games usually are and you don't feel compelled to always win a bid. In fact, the game is structured so that occasionally it makes sense to enter an auction with the express intention of not winning the bid. Pretty cool game and I'm eager to play it again.


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