March 5, 2006

President's Day Gaming at Great Hall Games

by Susan Rozmiarek

I’ve gotten very behind on my blog posting in part due to a sore finger that made it difficult to type. Yes, that’s a real excuse; I’m telling the truth here! I now have several posts backlogged in my brain to make in the coming week if my memory cells hold up. I’ll give it my best shot.

First up is an afternoon of gaming at Great Hall Games on President’s Day. Marty was off from work and suggested it, and Mark, John and I were more than happy to take him up on his offer. Lauren came down during her lunch break to play a few games, and Ed even stopped by for a visit. I must say, Great Hall sure knows how to take care of their customers! They have expanded the gaming area into two good sized rooms with plenty of tables and chairs. They’ve painted the walls to recreate a “Great Hall” in a castle and it really looks cool. With lots of demo games, a clean bathroom, a vending machine and even a microwave, you probably won’t find a more comfortable public place to play games anywhere. I forgot to bring my camera so no pictures, but you can see a few of the facilities at Great Hall Game’s website.


Mark brought this trick-taking game that uses very nice bakelite tiles similar in size and thickness to some of the Mah-jongg sets that I’ve seen. The game is a ladder climbing game, similar to Tichu, and I found it very difficult to grok. The main problem I had was the fact that “2” was the highest valued number, followed by “1” and then “15” on down to the lowest number, “3.” There was also a hierarchy of trump between the different suits. For some reason, I just couldn’t get used to this and so would look at my hand in confusion, unable to evaluate it. I think I only got the lead twice during the game and came in dead last. I am just getting to where I am somewhat confident playing Tichu, so I think that I’ll just stick with that and pass on the pretty, pretty Lexio tiles.


Next up was a second playing of Hacienda for me, and it is definitely a game that I can’t get enough of right now. And not just because I remain undefeated. :-) Fortunately there is a play-by-web version. The game reminds me a little of Ticket to Ride and is only a few notches up in complexity, making it a nice “gateway” game, I think. Unfortunately, this time around the game moved….way….too….slowly. One player seemed to have a hard time with the game and was asking a lot of questions. Toward the end, we were giving out advice to speed the game up, much to the irritation of Mark, who is opposed to such help. Actually, in theory, I am too but my patience limits had been reached and I wanted to get another game in before I had to leave. Regardless, I still enjoyed the game a lot and I want to try it on some new maps. I think it will get pretty boring eventually without some map variety. Also, while I was waiting for one of my turns I found a copy of Ice Lake on the clearance shelves for half off so that was nice.


I enjoyed my first playing of this with a different group of players, but this time it fell flat and seemed rather dull. Okay, VERY dull. I’m not sure why. I guess there is really not all that much new in this game and it is too long and repetitive. Another frustrating thing for me was that everyone seemed rather confused with my rules explanation although I’m not sure how I could have explained it differently. Marty and Mark thought the ship card that divides your hand confusing and pretty useless although I only partly agree. Anyway, I guess I need to play it at least one more time to cement my opinion of it.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at March 5, 2006 10:00 PM


Lexio is a great game, you just have to give it a few plays to grow on you. I also agree about Ostia.... talk about boring!

Posted by: Joe Steadman on March 6, 2006 1:57 AM
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