Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Yep, Another Game Night Post

We had a pretty decent turnout (better than last week anyway). There are still a few regulars on vacation but we had enough to keep a couple of games going all the time.

First up for me was Pillars of the Earth. This game has been called "Caylus Light" by some and that isn't far wrong. Pillars shares a similar worker placement mechanism and it's also a production game where players acquire resources to contribute to the building of a large public work: in this case a cathedral. It also has a card drawing mechanic that reminded at least one of our group of the card buying mechanic from Saint Petersburg. I have to admit that I didn't see that one until he pointed it out and I still think it's kind of a weak connection.

I really like Pillars. I've played it a couple of times now and I look forward to playing many more times. It's shorter than Caylus. It's more random (particularly the order that players get to choose actions which is almost completely random). At the same time it's also a little more scripted since the craftsmen always appear in the same order and they determine how you get victory points. The game seems to work well with two, three or four players although it definitely feels very different across the range. With four players, the competition for resources and actions is brutal and getting to place your master builders early (which is determined randomly) becomes critical; one unlucky draw can really ruin your day. With two players it's about picking the right strategy and making it work; the random element isn't nearly as big of a factor. I think three players is probably the sweet spot.

Next I played a couple of games of To Court the King. This game has some similarities to Yahtzee but it is far more strategic. It also plays pretty quickly and it's a lot of fun. We managed to dash off two games while we were waiting for the others to finish their game. Unfortunately, midway through our second game they started another game and so by the time the second one wrapped up I was left with a choice: wait for them to finish their game or go home early and get to bed at a reasonable hour. I chose the latter.

Other games played included Caylus, Midgard and On the Underground.


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