Participants: Jon, David, Gili
Jon 85ish, David 60ish, Gili 2 points behind David
First play for David. This is Gili’s game, but I think I’ve played more than her now. It’s a good game with many interesting Euro mechanics. Some are standard: claim control of city spaces, take the resources there, earn points for your largest connected area, try to be the first to ship the resources, trade money for points, buy booster ability cards. The rondel that determines the actions you get each round is both good and bad. It’s good because it’s an interesting idea, and the restrictions it makes make for angst. It’s bad, because what you can do is determined by dice rolls. On the one hand, everyone has access to the same dice rolls, so this should not be an issue. However, as the game develops, different people require that different rolls come up. As a result, they tend to favor or hurt some more than others. You can play a conservative game to minimize your need for specific dice rolls, but then you play a bit of a crippled game with minimal powers.
Also, although the game has planning, way too many other game elements come at you randomly, just to screw with your plans. And there are many cubes to push around and lots of cube combination allotment calculations. It can bog down a bit.
I created a very minimally intrusive “fix” for this, that allows you to change a die by 1 point up or down if you pay a gold coin, which is not insignificant (somewhat less significant near the end of the game, but then so are the dice results). My proposal was met with derision by the game’s advocates on BGG, so take it as you will. It made the game MUCH more enjoyable for me and I think for the others in our group as well.
Nadine trounced us several times, but she wasn’t here, so I did the trouncing this time. David decided to completely avoid the city and shipping, instead staying first in turn order, getting high point bonus cards, and getting money for the points market. He only went into the city to block other people. Unfortunately for him, this strategy didn’t work out well. I sold only one less time than he did, and my shipping was many times more than his. Gili had the largest city area, and she shipped more than us, but again only slightly more than I did, and she almost never sold on the market. Somehow I managed to balance most things and end up on top.
Jon 63, Gili 54, David 30something
First play for David and me. This game looked a lot like Bingo, and I had low expectations, but I am willing to try most things once. I was happily surprised that, while the central mechanic is Bingo-like, the game is more than that. You can move your pieces around and the game’s main mechanics revolve around deciding what cards to fill for their points and bonuses and what bonus tiles to shoot for from a limited supply. And it’s fairly quick.
Not that it was a fantastic game, but I would play it again as a filler.
In our game, Gili ended with a complete set of seven cards. David had 6 (or 5) and I had only 4. But my four counted a lot (two were 18 points) and I had the 10 point bonus for 3 orange cards.
On shabbat I played two player with Aaron.
We played Battle Con (first play for me), a two player push and pull combat game, where you choose two-card combinations for each attack (with range, movement, damage, stun, damage reduction, and some special abilities). Played cards return to your hand after two rounds out of play. It was a good game for its class, but I don’t particularly favor these kinds of games. The more you know the cards, the less interesting it will be, since you know all of the interesting combinations. It then comes down to bluff and rock/paper/scissors. He barely won with a final coup de grace.
After that we played Five Tribes, first play for him. He really liked the game. It looked like a runaway win for me as I nailed many whites and bought a lot of djinns, and then nailed a lot of yellows (each worth 3 points for me). He earned more points in resources, but not too much more. I also took many of the best board spots, including the 15, 12, and two spots with castles (4 and 3 each) to his 10 and one castle spot (3 castles). But the final scores were not too far apart: 224 to 199. He would like to play again.