April 29, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Dylan, Genia, Gili, David K

Game night was moved to Tuesday owing to Holocaust Remembrance day being Wed night / Thursday.

Solomon’s Stones

Nadine+, Jon

Jon, David

Solomon’s Stones is a game sent to me by a new publisher Solbenk. It has simple rules: each person takes one or more stones from any single column or row. The last person to take a stone loses.

For a full review, see my blog.

None of us really wanted to play this simple and elegant abstract game, as it was far more interesting to sit down and consider the game as a kind of puzzle. Working our way up from the most simple positions, we tried to determine how the game could be solved.

I was convinced that it would not be too difficult to solve. David considered that it might be more challenging to solve than it seems, and may even be NP complete. I will do a deeper analysis on some other night.

Saikoro

Dylan, Genia

Jon+, Dylan

Jon+, David

Saikoro is the second game sent to us by Solbenk. For a full review, see my blog.

In short, the game is a really good game, much better than I expected. I expected it to be depressingly simple or repetitive. But, in fact, the game provides an interesting set of patterns, a tight game play, and a story arc as the board changes and mobility becomes difficult.

We were still learning the patterns in my first games. David probably only lost to me because I didn’t fully explain all the rules before we started playing.

I expect that the game will come out again many times as a quick and interesting filler game for two people.

Notre Dame

Jon 73, Gili 67, Nadine 58, Dylan 47, Genia 44

This was Genia’s first game, and she was interrupted by a few phone calls during the game. She believe that she may have lost a few points she was supposed to get from her Park, though everyone else at the table claims to have given her the correct amount.

I played a very even game at the beginning, nearly completely ignoring victory points in favor of cubes, gold, Park and Hospital, with one cube in Notre Dame as an exception. As a result, I had only 5 VPs at the end of the first triad, while others had 15 or more. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to win.

Eventually, I took the favor that let me move three cubes over to the Park, allowing me to net +2 VP for each VP gain. As a result of this, moving my carriage, and a few other favors, I made a bunch of 10 point gains which put me tied for first place with Gili who was doing the VP track.

On the last round, Gili and I tied for points, but I had a cube in Notre Dame and she got hit with rats. The rats took Gili down a number of times during the game.

I can’t remember what everyone else was doing, but most people had a few cubes in Hospital and 2 in Park. I think this was my first victory.

Power Grid – Central Europe

Nadine 16, Jon 14, Gili 14, David 10*

In the last third of the game, we were all convinced that David was going to win this, hands down. In fact, it didn’t look like anyone else had a chance. David could power 13 while the rest of us could only power 9, and he had the money and cities, too.

However, in phase 2, he was stymied from building to 17 cities by the simple fact that every single city already had two plants in it. And on the last round, Nadine acquired a plant that allowed her to run out the fuel from under him. It’s amazing how often the game turns on what happens on the last round (and therefore, the penultimate round as well).

We played on the Central Europe board for the first time. Nadine found the nuclear building provinces silly; I rather liked them, although I wasn’t affected by them. In fact, I rather liked the board altogether.

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