July 5, 2004

Session Report for June 23, 2004

by Susan Rozmiarek

The good turnout continues, but tonight there wasnít much mixing & mingling. The two tables going never seemed to end their games at the same time and nobody was willing to wait on the other.

 

With Ed arriving home late any minute, I didnít want to start a long game. So, I pulled out a few recent purchases that looked to be light fillers.

Familienbande

While making a recent Adam Spielt order, I spied this title in the ďneu im shopĒ section. I could find virtually no information on it at the time, not even an English translation of the rules. I decided to take a chance on it because it was by a designer I like, Leo Colovini, and it was cheap. Fortunately, by the time it arrived, a translation had been posted to BoardGameGeek. Happily, it was a good gamble as it turned out to be a pleasant little filler.

This is a card game that involves filling out five generations of a family tree. Players are secretly trying to score a particular family trait of the people depicted on the cards. While having a heavy dose of luck, it also has some tricky hand management tactics. Cards left in your hand are penalized heavily at the end of the game, so you have to balance collecting cards in an attempt to get ones that help you, versus getting rid of cards by playing them and possibly helping other players. Also, you must try to ensure that your trait gets passed on to subsequent generations for higher scoring .

The art is barely humorous in an awful sort of way and I have some major quibbles with the scoring track, but otherwise I really enjoyed this fluffy game. It was surprising to discover a game by Colovini that didnít feel really dry and abstract as most of his designs usually do. We played it twice as it took a game to work out the rules and to see the ramifications of our plays. There were several lighthearted suggestions of tweaking the rules to make them more ďmodern,Ē such as allowing same-sex marriages and out-of-wedlock children. These new variations only came up when someone didnít like their choices as to what they could play, and were therefore certainly not allowed!

Results: Game #1: Mark 54, Adam 46, Mike 41, Susan 22
Game #2: Mike 59, Susan 50, Adam 49, Mark 38

Familienbande, goofy looking people making more goofy looking people.

Nuggets

Now it was on to another Winning Moves game in a cute little box. Unlike the previous game, however, this box contains no cards and almost no theme. Instead, it is a rather abstract game of bluffing and area control. I had played it two-player once with my son and wasnít very impressed. There just didnít seem to be much to the game. This time it was with the four-player partner rules and it played MUCH better.

The rules are extremely simple. The game is played on an 8x5 grid, with cylinders representing gold mines in various spaces on the board. The mines are worth different values indicated by a number on the top of each one. Players have a set of cardboard chits in their color, with number values from 1 to 5.

On a player's turn, he may either place one of his chits face down on an unoccupied space on the board, or place two fences (wooden sticks) between spaces on the board. The only restriction with the fences is that in placing them an area smaller than four spaces cannot be closed off. In this way, regions are formed that may contain one or more mines.

This continues until no more plays can be made and the board is filled up. Then chits are turned over and their values are added. The point value of each mine is awarded to the partners who have the most influence in the area (chit values added together). The winner is the duo with the most points.

The game was quite a tense struggle with lots of jockeying for position between the higher valued mines followed by clever fence building. Unfortunately, some of my bluffing worked too well, fooling my partner Mike as well as our opponents into thinking Iíd laid down a high valued tile when I really hadnít. Oh well. It was fun, tense and played in less than 30 minutes.

Results: Adam/Mark 34, Susan/Mike 17

Fighting for control of gold mines in Nuggets.

Iím the Boss

Ed finally arrived and Mike suggested this new edition of the old game collectorís Holy Grail, Kohle, Kies & Knete. I had played it once before, came in dead last, and simply loathed it. Ed pointed out that in that previous game I had been calling deals too early before I had built up enough cards in my hand to protect myself. So this time around I took his advice and managed to finish in second place.

I still loathed it. There are few games I will veto when they are suggested and this one just made the list. For the most part, I donít get overly angry or frustrated when things donít go my way in a game. I can take bad luck, being picked on, and my stupid mistakes in stride and still find a game to be fun. Not so with Iím the Boss. Negotiation games are not generally favorites of mine and this one really rubs me the wrong way. Spending several turns to build up my hand of cards and then losing the majority of them in a deal I get cut out of irritates me enough to completely destroy my enjoyment of the game. I donít know quite why. A character flaw, my husband would say, as he just adores the game.

I think I fumed quietly enough not to ruin it for everybody else as they all seemed to be having a grand old time wheeling and dealing. Heck, my quiet whining probably helped me by making me seem out of the running. I sure am glad we didnít pay the ridiculously high price of the older version of this game when it was out of print.

Results: Ed 55, Susan 47, Adam 45, Mark 44, Mike 30


Susan, Mark, Mike, Adam and Ed make deals and back stab each other in I'm the Boss!.

The I'm the Boss! board.

Einfach Genial

With only hardy, diehard gamers left, we brought out a current group hit, Einfach Genial. I had found this game to be pleasant fun when you donít want to overtax your brain. This time we played with partners and I found it to be even more enjoyable. This is definitely the best way to play with four players. Also, the more our group gets familiar with the game, the more defensive our play is becoming, which makes it more challenging.

The danger in this game is having one or more colors that you desperately need get cut off with no more room to grow. There are usually a few colors that you are lagging behind in towards the end of the game and itís easy to let this happen, especially when you donít get the tiles you need. Adam and I were doomed when the purple got cut off. It was a fun game though, and very close until towards the end.

Results: Ed/Jon 34, Adam/Susan 27


Susan, Jon, Adam and Ed finish the night with a team game of Einfach Genial.

Einfach Genial end game.

Other games played: Pig Pile, Call My Bluff, Sequence (This was definitely the fluffy table!)


A 6-player game of Pig Pile

Jeff and Jon use their minds powers to determine the dice under the other players' cups during Call My Bluff.

For more pictures from this gaming session and others, see our Gaming Picture Gallery.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at July 5, 2004 7:11 PM

Comments

You don't like I'm the Boss? Heresy! It is one of the best deal making games ever made. The moments of back-stabbing and deceit are deliciously evil.

Still, you are not alone. Fellow Gulf Gamer Shanna Labranche also loathes the game.

Posted by: Greg J. Schloesser on July 5, 2004 10:14 PM

I know, I know. This game just brings out the crybaby in me. Everyone else in the group thinks I'm nuts. They all just love the game.

Another reason to like Shanna!

Posted by: Susan on July 6, 2004 11:05 AM

I love I'm the boss. I razed Mark so much before we started, I think I feared him into not trading with me!

Posted by: MIke C. on July 6, 2004 12:41 PM
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