February 11, 2005

I C Unplayed Games

by Susan Rozmiarek

This past week, I finished up with the ďBĒ games and started in on ďC.Ē I actually have seven unplayed ďCĒ games in our collection, but several of them were grabbed off of prize tables and were things we probably would not have purchased. I managed to knock off two of them this week.

Backgammon

I hadnít played this classic in over ten years. I guess that qualifies it as a game that hasnít seen recent table time. Ed used to be a big fan of it and would coerce me into a game every now and then back in my non-gamer days. Heíd always win and I hated it. I had no idea what to do other than shuffle my little discs forward. Now, as a seasoned gamer and midway through our first game of the evening, I couldnít understand how Iíd missed the obvious little strategies is the game. This is EASY. Of course, Ed then proceeded to beat me soundly three times in a row. The man who canít roll a six or an eight to save his life in Settlers of Catan was rolling double sixes at the exact moment he needed them to get out of my little traps. Grrr. I still hate it. I least I got to try out my nice little game table that I got for my birthday.


My new, little game table is perfect for two-player games while watching tv. It has board inserts for Monopoly, Chess/Checkers, Backgammon, and Scrabble, as well as a plain top. The table came with all the playing pieces, which are stored in the drawer.

Chessington

Ed discovered a nifty racing game called Winchester a few years ago at Gulf Games. Itís an obscure, self-published game that proved to be hard to find. He finally tracked down a used copy in England, and it came packaged with another, similar racing game, Chessington.

The Chessington board is comprised of a rectangular race track with a grid on it. Each player has four chess pieces, a King, a Knight, a Bishop, and a Rook that move just as they do in chess. Each starts the race in a different section of the track with the pieces capable of moving the farthest on a single turn starting further back. On playerís turn he chooses one of his pieces and moves it. He cannot move the same type of piece as the previous player. Pieces can capture other pieces as long as they are of a different type. When captured, the captured piece switches places with the capturing piece. Of course, pieces can be blocked by other pieces as well as by tiles that are randomly distributed at the beginning of the game. As pieces move over the finish line, they are awarded points, with more going to the earlier finishers. After all the pieces have crossed the finished line, points are tallied and the player with the most wins.

This is a nice, light tactical game that makes a good lunchtime game. The components arenít the greatest Ė the game looks basically homemade with very bland, simple art and laminated pieces stuck in a plastic stand. Iím thinking about getting some cheap wooden chess pieces and painting them.

RR Gamers session for 2-02-05:

Cityscape


It's the "C" week so Cityscape gets tried out.
This game gets rather lukewarm reviews, but I couldnít resist picking it up off the Gulf Games prize table. I like the two other Pin International games we own, Octiles and Fire and Ice, and they all look so pretty. And heavy. Very heavy. These games are solid wood. I ended up lugging Cityscape home in my carry-on, because I was afraid it would push our already stuffed luggage over the airlineís weight limits.

This is a light game of bluffing and hidden goals. You are trying to build a city of skyscrapers so that it meets four goals that you secretly pick from a list at the beginning of the game. The goals are all related to the height of the buildings in the rows as you look down them from the side. The harder goals to achieve will earn more points at the end of the game. There are several different sizes of wooden blocks and on your turn you take one and stack it on any building spot or any building on the board. After all blocks have been placed, players reveal their goals and get points for each successful achievement. The player with the most points wins. Thatís it. The game is very simple and itís not going to set the world on fire, but it was short and enjoyable.

Results: Susan 50, Ed/Mark 40, Marty 0

Citadels


Susan, Peter, Francesca, Marty and Mark play Citadels.
Next up was one of my favorite Bruno Faduitti games. The game combines several of my favorite mechanisms - resource management, building, and outguessing your opponent - all rolled into a simple card game. The mechanism of choosing a different role each turn and how those roles interact is just brilliant. The art on the cards is gorgeous, but I wish the cardstock quality was as good as that of the German version.

I was pretty lousy at guessing which role people would take. I usually do better. I kept trying to destroy Peterís buildings with my soldier, but he kept choosing the protection of the Bishop. I wasnít able to get many buildings down, but I did manage to bring my score up by building one of each color.

Results: Peter 31, Marty 23, Francesca/Susan 22, Mark 21

Niagara

Well, after a hefty helping of alphabet soup, I was ready to abandon the ďCĒ games. This new acquisition was being played by the others while I was playing Citadels and they seemed to be having a great time with it. It has to be one of the coolest looking games we own. The board depicts a river and drapes over the upturned box and lid to form a waterfall at one end. Wooden canoes travel up and down the river collecting brightly covered gems from caves along the sides. Players need to collect a certain number of jewels to win and can steal from each other, making it a rather vicious game. Each round, players simultaneous select how many movement points they are going to spend or whether they want to affect the river movement By far the neatest mechanism is the movement of the river. At the end of a round, the river moves, using big, clear, plastic disks, a number of spaces based on a simple chart and the lowest movement token played. Canoes caught downstream in a fast-moving river are swept over the waterfall, losing a jewel, if they are carrying one. Players must also spend a jewel to get their canoe back. Brutal!

Apparently our game played out differently than that of the group before us. Their game was dominated by an unforgiving, rapidly moving river with plenty of canoes hurtling over the edge. We were more cautious in our game, but much more evil with plenty of thieving from our fellow treasure hunters. Despite us all going after him, Jon was able to pick up the necessary seven jewels for the victory right ahead of Peter.


Clark, Mike, Rick, Doug and Ed go canoeing on the Niagara river.

Paddle faster!!!

Other games played: Caribbean, which was not well received, ensuring that Iíll never get a chance to try it, Cloud 9, Carolus Magnus, and the much loved filler, 6 Nimmt!

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

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at February 11, 2005 1:18 PM

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