December 16, 2009

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Abraham, Emily, Eitan

Hanukkah gaming.

Hare and Tortoise

Abraham+, Nadine, Jon, Gili

I started us off with this little guy. First play for all of us. I understood that this is supposed to be a kids’ game, really, which is true if you consider the graphics. But it’s more intelligent that any mainstream roll and move game, and challenging enough for adults.

This is a race game where the object is to be the first to cross the finish line. There’s dice rolling, but not for movement; it’s for the results of what happens when you land on certain spaces. You move 1, 2, 3, … spaces by expending 1, 3, 6, … carrots. So your job is to find ways to acquire more carrots for more movement, as well as rid yourself of three lettuces and block the spaces your opponent’s require (only one rabbit per space). It’s a lot of jockeying for position; last place gets bonus carrots on several occasions. It’s even nicely thematic.

Fun game for a filler, or with kids.

Cuba

Abraham, Jon, Nadine, Gili

First play for all of us. Nadine had gone home with the game to learn the rules and gamely tried to explain them to us, but I had to take over after confusion reined.

Cuba is a meaty Euro, a little simpler than Puerto Rico but in the same vein. The problem is that every game that tries to be in the same vein as Puerto Rico but simpler ends up being unfavorably compared to Puerto Rico. Cuba is no exception.

You’ve got a few dozen different VP paths, and every building is available for purchase at the beginning of the game, which makes the first few games an exercise in figuring out how the parts of the game mesh together. We all scored pretty closely.

Nadine is under the impression that further games are also going to score closely, so long as people with the same experience levels play each other. This may be true, or it may be that a few good plays can score a wild swing in the points during one or two turns. We just don’t know yet. In any case, experienced players should certainly do better than non-experienced ones. Abraham also liked it, but less than he liked some other new games.

I enjoyed the game, and I look forward to studying it more.

Amyitis

Eitan, Emily

Unfortunately for these two, they came when we were starting Cuba, and so tried to play Amyitis on their own, including learning it on their own. I had played it once, but didn’t remember enough to teach it.

They weren’t thrilled with it, claiming that certain things don’t seem to work well. I’m pretty sure that they must have gotten something wrong. I remember liking it when I played it (enough to buy it) although I do recall that one of the cards was somewhat better than the others, and so the number that appeared each round had a strong effect on one’s success.

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