September 15, 2010

Participants: Jon, Debbie, Nadine, David K, Gili

We skipped last week, the holidays wreak havoc on the game night schedule. Debbie is a friend of Rachel’s who decided to join us for game night. Hopefully, she’ll come again.

Dominion

Jon 43, Nadine 42, Debbie 34

First play for Debbie. Brave soul. She did pretty well, too. We decided to stick to the basic set to make things easier on her (this decision was reached from experience).

Kingdoms: Moat, Village, Woodcutter, Feast, Militia, Smithy, Festival, Laboratory, Mine, Adventurer

As we said a few times during the game, many good choices. I took an early Village and Militia, but then took a few golds, which make the Village underused for a while. Should I have taken Festivals instead? I eventually took some, a Moat and some Smithies.

Nadine took Feasts, Festivals, and a Laboratory. She started with silver instead of Village. Debbie also took an early Militia and a Woodcutter. No one took Mine, though it would have been nice to get rid of all of those coppers.

In the end, I won by taking an Estate before Nadine ended the game. I had two earlier Provinces, and she thought for sure that I was winning, but I knew it was closer than she thought.

Tichu

Jon/Nadine 555, David/Debbie 45

First play for Debbie. She wasn’t sure how to help her partner, but she was able to play well enough after three hands.

I opened with an made a Grand Tichu, with my partner going out second to boot. Second hand, I set David in a Tichu (I was really going to call it myself) with a net result of +5 for us and -5 for them. Third hand I made another Tichu.

Jon/Nadine+, David/Gili

Later in the evening we returned to this. I don’t remember the final scores, but I set David in yet another Tichu. My hands were pretty good all evening.

Pillars of the Earth

Jon 47, Nadine, Gili, David 40

Scores approximate, but I know that I beat David, the last placed player by 7 points, since if he had bought the craftsman that I told him to buy on the last round, he would have netted 8 more points and won the game. David was flush at 30 cash the entire game. I hovered around 10 to 15 as usual, but sank to 0 on the penultimate round. I was a few points ahead on the score track the entire game, however.

Which was weird, because a) I had my usual abysmal luck with the master craftsman, as usual, and so missed nearly every important selection on the board most rounds, and b) the most I was ever able to convert was 1 to 1, although I could do it by round 2 and could do it for every type of resource.

I have to admit that I finally got fed up with the master craftsman mechanic this game. It’s just too brutal to lose by it (or win by it) so often for so many games. A mechanic that evens out over the course of a single game is one thing; one that only evens out over the course of many games is useless unless it’s a game designed to be played many times in succession (such as Poker).

I like everything else about the game. I’m thinking of replacing the master craftsman mechanic with something like the initiative track from Year of the Dragon or with some kind of auction.

Nadine adds: Gili was ahead of me by one point so she was second, though she seemed better positioned the whole time. I agree with you about the mechanic.

No game night next week again, and the week after is Games Day.

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