Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What do you like on your Hamburgum?

Last night was game night and I finally got to play Hamburgum, the latest Mac Gerdis game. I've been looking forward to trying this one for a few weeks now and I finally got the chance. I'm glad I did. I really liked it. The rules aren't complicated but there are a lot of different things going on. This is one of those games where you always feel like there are tons of things you would like to do on your turn but you can only pick one. The goal of the game is to contribute to the church and help improve the city to acquire prestige. In order to do that you need to produce goods and ship them overseas so that you can purchase the raw materials necessary to contribute to various construction projects. There are many potential avenues to victory and depending on what the other players do, any of them could be good. Somehow I managed to luck into the winning strategy this game by quietly trying to maximize each turn and trying to watch what the others were doing. I say "luck" because I never really did feel like I had a good handle on what was going on but I still managed to pull out a win. I'm sure that if we had played again I'd have not been nearly so lucky. Anyway, it's a great game and I look forward to playing it again.

Meanwhile we had others playing Die Macher and In the Year of the Dragon. (Two games of Dragon were played back to back even!) I didn't pay attention to who won and I've talked about both many times recently so I'll just move on.

My next game was half a game of Njet. We played five hands with five players (instead of the full ten rounds); mostly because there were a couple of folks who were interested in trying it. I've talked about this game recently too. It's a trick taking game with a few twists but the most important twist is that before a hand starts there's a "Njet" round where each player gets to eliminate a suit or an option from consideration in one of five categories: start player, cards to discard before play, trump, super-trump, and point multiplier. The start player then chooses the teams for that hand and the hand is played much like any other trump game. There are a couple of other wrinkles of course, but that description's close enough for my purposes. Now that I've played several times, I think that the card play is most interesting with five players but the "Njet" round is most frustrating with five. This is a good game but it falls short of greatness for me. If you're unfortunate to have a really long suit then you can bet that suit will not be trump. The game really seems to favor mediocre hands. You can mitigate that by picking the right partner(s) but the "Njet" round is just too short to get any real indication of the strength of each player's hand so you don't really have enough information to go on. I won this one too though *chuckle* so I guess I shouldn't complain.

My last game of the evening was Detroit Cleveland Grand Prix. This is a fun, light racing game that I think works really well as a closer. It's pretty luck heavy but it's a lot of fun because on each turn you get to really mess with everybody else's car. I had some pretty rotten luck this time and did horribly but I still had a great time. If you're the type who wants to always be in control then this isn't the game for you; but if you enjoy a game with a high screwage component that doesn't ever really feel mean then this is a great choice.


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