August 11, 2006

Susan's Gulf Games Report - Part 3

by Susan Rozmiarek


I have long since stopped trying to compete in the “Friendly Gamer” contest which is won by the man, woman and child who play with the most different people over the course of the event. I am no match for the few who are really determined. However, I still try to mix with as many people as I can simply because I enjoy their company. Despite that, I always end up going home and regretting the fact that I didn’t spend enough time with certain folks. With that in mind, I hung out at the Pick Two table some today. This is where many of the Gulf Game women can be found, playing this evil word game. I’m pretty horrible at it but I’m determined to get better, even if I get an ulcer trying!

Pick Two x3

Hey, I actually didn’t come in last one game! I beat a 10 year old. I did have several low scoring rounds and a few proud moments, like forming the word “anthrax.” See, I am getting better!

Aqua Romana

This was the best of the newer games that I played, and one that immediately went on my buy list. It reminds me of Metro in that it is very tactical and has the goal of forming the longest routes, but there are a few twists to make this game different. We did play with one rule wrong, which would have given us more options and made it easier to hose people. The chunky wooden architects are nice, but the fact that they are “tilted” drove me nuts. It looks like the stickers are put on crooked and I kept wanting to fix them!

Kings & Castles

At long last, I got to play this older Ragnar Brothers game with Greg and Chris and Elaine Lohroff. This game, which for reasons unknown has managed to sit on our shelves for years, was the gaming highlight of the week for me. I knew I would like it from the description and in fact, I loved it. The turn order throughout the game is determined in a unique way at the start, with players choosing from the various kings of England listed along the sides of the board. These kings represent turns which are executed in the order that they are listed. Each also lists the region on the board in which a player can play that turn. I have a feeling that there is a lot more strategy in choosing these kings than is readily apparent with just one playing. The play is very puzzle-like, which I love, that involves both random elements as well as some resource management. There were a lot of opportunities to make clever plays if you were able to spot them. You are only allowed to tax (score) three times during the game and your score is based on the territories that you control. However, your opponents score as well although you get to double your score. I found it agonizing to decide when to tax. The biggest downside to the game was that there can be a lot of downtime between your turns. This doesn’t bother me as much as it does some people because I just use the time to socialize. I am definitely going to try to get this on the table again at home. I am kicking myself for waiting so long to try it.

Blokus Trigon x2

I am a Blokus junkie and this version is another worthy addition to the family. It feels different enough from the original and Gemblo to make it a keeper. Plus, it plays well with three players. It seemed to be quite popular as I saw our copy being played quite often.


Good grief. This is what can happen when you put an innocent children’s game in the hands of sleep-deprived adults in the wee hours of the morning. I got cajoled into playing this simple pig racing game as I was dragging myself out of the game room at an ungodly hour to go to bed. This is such a mindless game that I thought, “why not?” Oh, my. I knew those pigs could stack in all kinds of positions but I really had no idea. Naughty, NAUGHTY piggies!

Stay tuned for Part 4

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at August 11, 2006 6:12 PM


Hey, congrats on finally trying Kings & Castles! In my next podcast I'm asking for a little help with ideas for a component upgrade.

Posted by: Mark Johnson on August 11, 2006 9:28 PM

Aqua Romana is my newest purchase. (And yes, those stickers *can* be a pain)
We came up with an idea to make the tile-type of each master builder easier for *everyone* to see.
We lay them down rather than having them stand up.
They admittedly don't look as majestic....but everyone can see which type of tile can be used.
Have fun!

Posted by: Marc Gilutin on August 12, 2006 12:02 AM
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