March 26, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Binyamin, Ben, David K

Another typical, lightly attended game night.

Race for the Galaxy

Nadine 45, Jon 40, Binyamin 39, Ben 30

It may be San Juan on steroids, but it’s a lot more interesting. The ability to ensure that you can always get the phase you want and the privilege, too, gives you control. The Production and Consumption phases only doing things for you if you have the abilities to utilize them is hard to wrap your head around, but cool. And the seemingly vast number of different paths to victory is intriguing.

The latter may simply be due to the fact that I’ve only played twice. It may be that a few paths dominate others. Your ability to choose which path is severely curtailed based on the cards you draw. Therefore, if a few paths really don’t work versus others, you’re not going to win if you’re unlucky, which could make any particular game frustrating.

In San Juan, there are not that many different final destinations that will win. In this game, it seems that you can work with not only different synergies but different end points. I’m eager to try again.

In our previous game, Nadine killed us with a straight Brown strategy. Luckily, she didn’t get the cards for that one again. Neither I nor Ben could pull a 6 point card to save our skin, but I realized in mid-game that I was the only player producing goods; everyone else had windfall worlds. That’s when I realized that I had to start shipping big time. It caught me up, although not enough to win.

The card that let’s you build military worlds for discards instead of conquest is a super card, and also helped.

Year of the Dragon

Binyamin 114, David 104, Jon 97, Ben 79, Nadine 76

Binyamin taught us all this game, which turned out to be another excellent Euro strategy game. Binyamin claims that it’s like a less lucky version of Notre Dame; I think that’s a bit of a stretch.

Anyway, he neglected to mention how difficult the game is to those with the least initiative, so I started off feeling a crunch. On the other hand, Binyamin won even though he spent the last half of the game in last initiative place.

David tried a straight victory point through books approach, gaining 9 points every round for half the game and pulling way ahead of everyone else, and looked like he was headed to complete victory. But Binyamin’s dragons were eventually giving him up to 7 points a round, and his people and statues added enough bonus to overtake David’s lead at the end.

All in all, quite interesting.

Bridge

Ben/Binyamin 600, Jon/Nadine 130

We played a few rounds. Actually I played three hands, and Nadine played the fourth. Our biggest loss was down three doubled in the last hand.

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