Participants: Jon, David, Binyamin, Aaron, Shneur, Roman, Nadine, Gili, Eszter, Jonathan, Nissan, Cliff
Magic: The Gathering
David and I chose mono-color decks: David chose red and I took white. In both games I took out several threats of his, but I couldn’t follow it up with enough damage to hurt him before he was able to regroup and kill everything of mine.
Roman 26, Nadine 41, Shneur 78, Aaron 50
First play for Shneur. Well done, Roman.
Lords of Waterdeep
Eszter 137, Nissan, Cliff, Roman 112
First play for some people, I don’t know whom.
Vasco da Gama
Jon 107, David 103, Gili 82, Nadine 78
First play for everyone, I had read the rules once, but it felt like starting from scratch. Even the setup took a while.
This is a pure Eurogame with some very clever and interesting mechanics. You take turns placing guys, but you don’t do your actions until everyone has placed. You pay more for later actions, but only until a point, after which all actions are free. You can also take the amount of money you would have paid for the action instead of the action.
There is almost no randomness and almost no luck. The random elements are the starting position for where actions become free and some essentially unimportant arrangements of how much money is available and how ship workers are available. The luck comes in after everyone has placed their workers; you then flip over a tile to adjust from what point actions are free, so you may end up not paying for an action after all, or paying for one if you were willing to risk taking one of the actions that was in the range of where this could fall. If you just assume that you’re going to pay for these actions, and plan for it, this doesn’t affect much, but it’s kind of annoying.
I basically got the game by the end of the first turn, but I still struggled to calculate the right amount of money I needed by the end for each of my actions: the order in which you take your actions is critical, and it’s (fun but) painful to figure this out. But I was a bit ahead of the curve. The others seemed to be having more difficulty and less fun. I enjoyed it. David said that it was just a bit too much work for the enjoyment, as did Gili. Nadine complained a lot, but in the end I think she felt it might be worth trying again. The most pain comes in near the end of the game where, if you calculate wrong, you end up not being able to play what you intended to play, and there is no next round to make up for it. Nadine and David both calculated wrong, and in both cases we let them try to adjust their moves to avoid the frustration.
Update: It turns out that we played with a number of rules errors, many of which (when played correctly) make the game harder.
Shneur 21, Jonathan 17, Binyamin 16, Aaron 6
I didn’t see how this went. I know it’s not my kind of game, however.
Shneur 38, Roman 36, Aaron 27, Benny 22
It was getting late, and Binyamin really wanted to go home. He had planned a strategy where he would build lots of little things to end the game quickly, and he would have won, too. Then they all stopped this from happening, and the game dragged on for several more rounds, totally destroying his strategy and driving him to distraction. He also said that the lack of a particular card flipping up prevented him from executing the strategy before they could stop him.