June 29, 2011

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda

Small nights bode ill for the future of the JSGC. This game night was interrupted in the middle. I had to run out at 8:30. Game night continued at Nadine’s.

Canal Mania

Jon, Nadine, Gili, Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda

First play for all of us. I think I played or watched a game of this at a BGG.con, which is why I asked for it as my secret santa gift. Unfortunately, the game did not succeed with our group.

Canal Mania is a light “train” game, i.e. route connection game. It’s a little heavier than Ticket to Ride or La Strada, but lighter than Steam. The game’s core mechanics are not complicated. However, each mechanic has a slew of very specific provisions and exceptions that make the game harder to learn than it would first appear. Undoubtedly these niggly rules were added after much play-testing, and it’s clear to see how some of them add to the interest of the game or prevent certain problems. But there’s something wrong: niggly rules that have no thematic purpose. They make it seems like there is something wrong with the core design, but it’s just managing to hold together.

In the third of a game that we played, I didn’t see any major flaws with the game. Aside from the fact that no one else was able to think on any other players’ turn, despite that their turn pretty much didn’t affect yours, I was interested enough to continue. This is because I love route building games, unless they’re flawed. The others don’t feel that way. They found the game uninspiring, not interesting like Steam or Power Grid, and not painless and intuitive like Ticket to Ride (which they don’t like much, either).

None of them were unhappy to end the game when I was called away at 8:30. I fear that the game isn’t going to be played again by us.

El Grande

Gili 103, Nadine 101, Binyamin 95, Tzvi Yehuda 93

Nadine continues the report: From the games I have, some people would have played PR, some Shadows, but everyone agreed to play my new El Grande, which I didn’t think I’d ever get to use.

Binyamin wanted to handicap me 10 or 20 points, but I never win 4 player, and not even always with 5.

Scores each round:

Gili 30 63 103
Nadine 27 53 101
Binyamin 27 57 95
Tzvi Yehuda 27 53 93

It was very close first round. Later Zvi Yehuda was doing well for a while, which caused him to get attacked. I was way in last place, not reflected in the scoring. Gili was hard to attack. When I had played my 1 to play the 13 on the last turn of the second round, the second king came up. Binyamin protected his high scoreboard at the end when he selected for the Castillo; he would have done better somewhere else. Gili played the Castillo and mobile scoreboards well.

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