July 15, 2005

Thursday Night Gaming - July 7, 2005

by Susan Rozmiarek

It was a slow night at Mark’s house, with only Ed, Adam, Mark and me, which made for a very relaxing evening.




I was pushing to play this one to see if it worked better with more than two players. (See the previous entry for a brief description). The conclusion: well, not really. A few potential problems came up, the biggest being the dreaded Analysis Paralysis. You can plot out your move when it’s not your turn, but chances are, by the time it gets back around to you, the board will have changed and you’ll have to rethink your plans. Fortunately, the game is fairly short. It was too short, according to Ed, but it felt about right to me.

A rather annoying situation happened to Ed. One of the actions you can do is hood your opponents’ falcons. Hooded falcons sit out a turn and are back in play at the end if its owner’s turn. This means that the owner doesn’t have chance to move the falcon away from the card setup that allowed it to be hooded (forest cards at the end of both adjacent rows). Now, it may well be that in most cases, the board will change enough that the falcon will be out of danger, but in this case Ed’s falcon kept getting re-hooded before his next turn. He was not pleased!

I have a few other nagging questions about the game, especially about the randomness of matching Goal Cards to Creature Cards, but I need to play it a few more times before passing judgment. I do enjoy the tactical puzzle that each turn presents.

Results: Adam 21, Susan 20, Ed 16, Mark 11

You can tell Mark is excited to be playing Fredericus.


This was yet another new trick-taking game for me. Our group just loves them. The weird twist (don’t they all have one?) is that the tricks are tied in to play on a board. The board depicts a pirate ship in each of the card colors as well a chain of islands. The ships each have three spots for pirate tokens. When a player wins a trick, he gets to place one of his tokens on the pirate ship matching the color of the trick. If it is full, he can bump another token to the first island, which can then bump tokens down the chain of islands, as there can only be one token per island. Tokens bumped off the last island go back to the owner. After each round, players get positive points for tokens on ships and negative points for tokens on islands.

The card play has a few little twists as well. Trump is determined at the start of a round by players selecting and simultaneously revealing a card from their hand. The high card is the trump color. If there is a tie for highest, the trump is the second highest. Players set the card they played aside for the next round. We played this incorrectly, taking this card back into our hand. I think the correct rule will make selecting the card much more interesting. Players must follow suit if they can, but the highest card of any color, except if a trump is played, wins the hand. The game also has a strange mechanism, which I didn’t like at all. The player who wins the trick may pass it and any other tricks won to the player on his right or left. At the end of a round, the players with most and second most cards in their pile will score negative points. I thought that this was rather weird and pointless. I couldn’t figure out any strategy to the passing other than making sure you won the last trick in the round so that you could pass your cards and not be stuck with them.

This is probably a clever game, if I had only been able to make the connection between what I needed to do on the board to how I was playing my hand. My timing felt way off, with a couple of my pirates ending up on islands at the end of the first round. They stayed there, to be bumped off and returned to my supply early in the next round, and I was able to get a few in ships for a decent number of points. However, the following rounds found too many once again on islands. I think I was also stuck with a pile of tricks every round for a penalty. Both the board and that trick-passing thing was an annoying distraction to me. Still, I was intrigued and what to play again in the hopes that something will click in my brain.

Results: Ed 34, Mark 26, Adam/Susan 18

The Hispaniola board.


We played two games of this fast and fun filler. I absolutely tanked in both games. I never could get the cards that I needed in order to “bridge” my sets to get fewer negative points. Ah, well. I still enjoyed it. This game is an excellent closer for an evening.

Results: Game #1: Mark, -29, Ed -36, Adam -45, Susan -48 Game #2: Ed -29, Adam -33, Mark -48, Susan -50

Finishing the night off with a couple quick games of Geschenkt.
For more pictures from this gaming session and others, see our Gaming Picture Gallery.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at July 15, 2005 6:02 PM


I was hooded by Adam and Susan!

Posted by: Mark Hamzy on July 16, 2005 8:23 PM
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