Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First impressions of Dominion: Intrigue

Last night I played a couple of games of the new edition of Dominion: Dominion: Intrigue. I hesitate to call it an expansion because it's really a stand-alone game with an all-new set of 25 kingdom cards as well as complete sets of treasure, curse, and victory cards. Still, it's not completely wrong to call it an expansion either, as the new game has the same rules as the first and the 25 new kingdom cards can be mixed with the original 25 kingdom cards to create nearly endless deck-building possibilities.

As I said, I played twice last night and both games were very enjoyable. The new cards are different enough from the original 25 that, while the game still feels very familiar, it played very differently. Some of the new cards are (how shall I put it?) rather wicked. In our first game, everyone loaded up their decks with the Saboteur, who forces your opponents to flip through their decks until they come upon a card with a cost of 3 or more, trash it and then replace it with a card worth 2 less. One of the effects of this was that it was nearly impossible for players to get Province cards. I believe that the winner of that game only had something like 8 victory points, which is a very low amount. Our second game wasn't quite that extreme but it still felt quite different from games we'd played with the original edition.

My initial impression of the new game is very favorable. While the rules are basically identical, the new cards made for a very different experience, which in my opinion is a great thing. I'm really looking forward to mixing the new cards in with the original cards to see what crazy combinations people come up with. By the way, if you're worried about getting cards from the two sets mixed up: don't be. If you'll look closely on the lower-right of all your Dominion cards, you'll see a small symbol. That symbol identifies which box the cards came from so if you've mixed them, it's very easy to separate them out again when you're done.

If you haven't played the original game then I'd still recommend you pick that one up first, as this edition makes for a slightly more brutal experience, but if you've enjoyed the original and are looking to take it to the next level, then you definitely should pick this one up!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Yes. I still go to game night!

I've been so busy lately that I usually show up late and leave early but I still go. And this week I actually went early and stayed late! The fact that my good friends Joel and Curt, who each moved out of state (and in one case out of country) some time ago, were back in town for a visit might have something to do with that. It was great seeing them again, and getting to play games with them again. Joel brought his two oldest boys along and it was great seeing them too. Good times!

The addition of these four long-lost gamers, coupled with the fortuitous re-emergence of some other wayward gamers, meant that we had one of the largest groups at game night that we've seen for a while. Many a game was played, some new, some old. Good times were had by all.

But the one game that I want to focus on with this post is my old friend: Tichu! Why? Because Cristopher and I teamed up against Curt and Jose for two of the all-time awesomest couple of Tichu games. It was delicious! Let me break it down for you.

Game One:
Hand 1: Christopher Makes a Tichu call and we start the game off right: 180 to 20
Hand 2: I make a Tichu call and set the tone for the rest of the game: 340 to 60
Hand 5: Curt calls a Large Tichu and fails miserably! We take all 100 points in play and they lose 200. The score is now 510 to 90.
Hand 9: Christopher ends the misery with a convincing Tichu where we take all 100 points in addition to the 100 points for the Tichu call.
Final score: 1085 to 215. Ouch! Over the course of the game Christopher made three Tichu calls, I made one, Curt made two and missed one, and Jose missed one.

Well it just wouldn't be right to deny them a rematch so on to

Game Two:
Hand 1: we start strong and go up 80 to 20.
Hand 2: things begin to look bad. Curt and Jose score a double win. Score is now: 80 to 220.
Hand 3: we counter with a double win of our own against Jose's failed Tichu call: 280 to 120.
Hand 9: after Curt and Jose go on a tear of four made Tichu calls to our one the score is now: 620 to 980.
Hand 10: we somehow manage to keep hope alive by taking 90 points in play: 710 to 990.
Hand 11: when it seems certain that we can't possibly salvage this game Christopher catches lightning in a bottle and calls a confident Large Tichu. We play it perfectly and score a double win.
Final score: 1110 to 990!

What a great way to finish the night!

Thanks guys!