Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Shorter Game Night

Last night was game night and I went but I'm afraid that I didn't stick around very long. I've had a lot going on lately and I really just wanted to take it easy at home. So when the turnout was a little on the slim side and we found ourselves with an inconvenient number of free players I took advantage of the lull to make my exit.

In fact, I only got in two games. My evening started with one half of a game of Tichu. Then after enough other people had arrived we broke that game off to play Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix. When that finished, one of our number had to leave and we were left with the same four that were involved in the aborted Tichu game so we finished our game and then I headed for home. Meanwhile the others in our group got in a game of Yspahan followed by game of Hermagor. I'm told that Power Grid came out after I had left.

Here are a few brief comments on each of the games played.

Tichu: I've said it many times and I'm sure I'll say it again. For my tastes, this is the best four player partnership card game on the planet. I've played it hundreds of times and I never get tired of it. Even when I lose badly like I did last night. Enough said.

Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix: This is a really nice card driven race game. Cars are auctioned off to all the players and then the cars run a single lap around the board. Owners are awarded cash based on how their cars place. Whoever has the most money after three races wins. Players take turns playing cards from their hand. Each card moves one or more cars. Since you are required to play a card on your turn you often end up advancing other cars more than your own. The game is all about deciding which cards to hold back and which to play when. It's all timing. I did pretty well but I didn't win.

Yspahan: This is a very nice game from Ystari games, the folks who did Ys, Caylus and Mikerinos. Greatly oversimplified: it's a dice driven area control game. I like it but it's not my favorite. It seems that Curt's always playing this game lately. I can only assume that he likes it more than I do.

Hermagor: I've never played this one. It's by the same guy that did Oltre Mare and Il Principe which are both pretty good games. I know nothing about Hermagor other than that it seemed to take a very long time for them to play it. The fact that they were also just learning how to play it may have a lot to do with that. Hopefully I'll get a chance to try it out soon.

Power Grid: I consider this game to be Friedeman Friese's masterpiece. It's a wonderful game of auctions, economics, and supply and demand. It's polished and clever and can be quite difficult to play well. I need to play this one again soon. It's been a while.


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