bgg.con 2014 I play a two-headed snake

La Isla

20141121_103135Everyone was pronouncing the ‘s’, I would think it would be silent, like in isle. Another new Stefan Feld. Not my type of game, spatial positioning to coordinate with several cards and a cooperative track, one of my worst mechanics. Cute and interesting, but also light, and there’s luck with the cards and being able to get synergy. Quick and easy to learn, OK for a filler for most people. 61, 49, 48, 42, I think I was last. And red. Someone later said it has too much luck to be a good Stefan Feld game.

Evolution

20141121_123159Another new popular game. Run by a demoer. He didn’t explain everything before we started, and didn’t help with strategy. The player before me benefitted by playing carnivores on the first round, but then lost everything when we all defended against them so she starved, which the demoer hadn’t warned her about though he knew it was likely. Almost completely tactical, and light, but good. You have to react well to what’s happening, such as choosing when to add new animals, upgrade, and use carnivores. Easy to learn, nice components. 76, 71, 49 (me), lower (carnivore person).

Betrayal at House on the Hill

20141121_141910I wandered around the big room looking for a spot in a game I wanted to play. They were looking for players for Betrayal on the House on the Hill, so I decided to try it. I had heard about it but never played, and I like playing games with more players. We waited a bit for more players, they found two more, for five total. One person had played before. The game is fun despite the gross event descriptions, the horror part is not close to how it is in newer games, and no Zombies. I was last in turn order. After I had taken two turns, the player before me triggered the haunting phase. It’s a cooperative discovery game until then, at which point one player becomes the traitor. Each side reads their part of a matching scenario related to the room it was triggered in, giving secret goals. The guy who triggered it would have been the traitor, but due to a tie in movement points, it went to the player on his left, which was me. And the next turn started to my left, skipping my turn.

So I had to be a two-headed snake. My objective was to place 16 body parts in different rooms and explode the house to win. Or kill them all. They needed to kill both my heads, with 3 hits each, and they could reduce my might once per head with a spell with the skull in the room. They also had a card giving them additional rolling power. They all dropped both of those cards before the next player’s turn so that they could all keep using them. It seemed like it wouldn’t take them that long to kill me. They figured out to try to trap me so I couldn’t visit new rooms, and I had bad luck by drawing two closed rooms. Nevertheless, it took them a really long time, and one died and some others were close. They had to spend turns powering up. The player before me had a Heal card which he kept using to grow in might and movement. I said that’s a really powerful card. At which point, he reexamined it and realized he could only heal up, not past his starting number. So that helped a bit. I rolled really well, which caused a lot of damage to them. But they did manage to kill me after about an hour. I should have sent one head downstairs because there were about 8 rooms there, and it would have been harder for them to attack as often because the body parts doubled their movement requirements. They were still affected by new room events, but I wasn’t. I had 7 unplaced body parts left at the end of the game. My favorite coop though I haven’t played so many.

Alchemists

20141121_185141I also got into a game of Alchemists. It hadn’t started yet, so I was able to select my color while I waited for people. I had downloaded the app when I read about the game, and there were cell phones on the table for use with the game. You try to create potions from ingredients to make deductions about ingredient composition. But to get points you need to publish theories before you have all the information you need. I didn’t realize how important theories were, though I did get some in. I also didn’t realize the penalty for undebunked wrong theories. I bought a 6 point Artifact card, but that wasn’t close to enough compared to the other players’ points for correct theories. So there’s only one path to victory – good theories, which does involve some luck, but also many choices regarding use of resources and gaining information, including from what other players are doing. Turn order has a mechanic similar to Fresco.

The theme is cute and interesting, you can test on a student or on yourself, with penalties for bad results. We spend a lot of time trying to line up cards correctly using different phones. Later I noticed that the app has the options of just picking the cards, which would have been much easier and saved time. It would be complicated to play on Shabbat, you’d have to prepare documentation in advance, and have an administrator who is not playing check potion results, the way you need to play if you don’t have the app. When we finished another group came to play and wanted help learning it, I volunteered to teach them. It was late at night by then and I was jetlagged; I couldn’t remember any of the game terms though that’s not so important. I realized later that I forgot to tell them that you start with cards, but I had also said they should look up some details that I wasn’t sure of, so I hoped they had noticed and played correctly. 32, 32, 17 (me), 14

Last year I had problems with my computer – the plug broke the first morning. This year my phone didn’t charge overnight. I had almost run it out, so I didn’t check that it was charging. While Skyping with Yona during lunch I tried a different plug which worked. So for the first day’s pictures I asked other people to use their phones, and I entered my email address to send them, but they didn’t all arrive.

Power Grid

Wandering around late at night I wasn’t sure I wanted to play anything, and didn’t want to deal with the big room. In the small game area alongside the library, I saw some guys reading the rules to Power Grid, so I played. They were locals demoing CCG games most of the day. They caught on to the mechanics, but not as much to the strategy. At the end, one player bought a 5 plant because he wanted nuclear, which brought him to 16, but there was a 7 using 3 coal available. It used coal which was scarce, there were only 4 left, but he was buying first. I didn’t say anything, his friend had already got him to switch from a 6 oil. I was the only one with 17 capacity, and had almost enough money to buy to 17. We tried two ways and it didn’t work, so I probably couldn’t have. I probably would have won next round. But they kind of conceded because it was 1:30 am and they needed to get up at 9 for demoing, and they weren’t staying at the hotel. Someone came by and said the new North America map made changes such as higher connection costs and is better, resulting in closer games.

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