September 1, 2006

Game Day Report for August 19, 2006

by Susan Rozmiarek

With a month’s worth of weekends taken up by Kevin’s soccer games coming up, Ed and I decided to squeeze in a game day at the last minute. Circumstances were not the best, as Ed has been very ill. (shingles – I don’t recommend it). However, it went pretty well and I think the gaming took Ed’s mind off the pain for a little while.



This was my third playing of this and it is turning out to be a decent family game or filler with a little bit of strategy to it that becomes more obvious after playing it a few times. I am still not sure I like the method of scoring with the road segments and I definitely don’t like the rule that the winner of the last road gets to exchange their longest road for the shortest one. This seems so powerful and has thrown the game to that person in all three of my games. I might try the game without that rule next time. Shea, our ten year old son, played with Marty, Ed and I and really liked the game. I hope to play this a few more times with my family soon and get a review out.


It was off to play Tempus for most of the newly- arrived, leaving Paul, Ed and me looking for a game that plays well with three. Paul suggested Hansa, having only played it online and Ed and I were happy to oblige. After all the new games we’ve been learning lately, it was very nice to sit down and play a familiar game that needed only a quick rules refresher. The idea of this game is to collect some nice goodies for yourself while leaving the ship in a bad spot to deny the next player of the same. Unfortunately, Ed has played this game many times and understands that all too well and I was that next player. Paul did a great job placing markets and it always seemed like we were always paying him to buy goods. I came in last but enjoyed the game as I always do. This is a very simple yet clever game that takes some practice in order to do well.

Susan, Paul and Ed pick up and deliver goods in Hansa.


I really, really want to like this game, but it just didn’t impress me this first time out of the gate. It has a pretty original theme of sheiks attracting women to their harem, or rather princesses to their palace. The publishers actually did a great job of making the theme not offensive, at least to me. The rules showed a lot of promise of it being a nice “gamer’s game” with hidden goals and shades of Princes of Florence with the auctioning of items to enhance your sheik. The reason you want to enhance your sheik is that your goal is to attract a certain number of princesses to your palace that include a certain combination of skills (cooking, housekeeping, intelligence and romance) as depicted on your secret goal card that you are given at the start of the game. A princess card is turned up each round, and at the end of it, she will go to the sheik that has space in his palace and the highest value in the attribute she prefers. Desirable attributes include appearance, money, status, and a big palace. Everything costs money in this game – the auctions, the items and the upkeep of spoiled princesses - so managing and keeping a steady stream of gold is important. Thrown in are a few other things like event cards and unique princesses.

Sounds neat, right? Well, this is how our game played:

We had a few hotly contested auctions, but for the most part everyone focused on keeping the lead in one or two preferences that included the preference that their sheik had an advantage in at the start of the game. Although it happened once or twice, we found it difficult to overtake somebody in a particular preference once they got ahead. So, especially toward the latter part of the game, it seemed you were just sitting back and hoping to get lucky and have the right princesses turn up.

Plus, some of the princesses have bad effects on them and there was no way to avoid them if you had their preference and they turned up at the wrong time. I REALLY got stung with this bad luck. My sheik's starting preference advantage was an extra palace. The first princess turned up was Suleika, whose preference is the sheik with the biggest palace. Unfortunately, she is also very jealous and requires a payment of a 100 gold any time another princess joins the palace. This is a lot of money at the beginning of the game and sure enough, another palace-loving princess got turned up soon thereafter and I had to take her as well. Besides the extra 100 gold, princesses also require upkeep every turn and I had to suddenly put all my effort into obtaining spice caravans to barely keep afloat. I was hoping to grow my income to the point where I could win the princesses who went to the richest sheik but by that time most had come up and gone to somebody else. I was way too behind in the other preferences to overtake anyone in them. I could only sit back at that point and hope my game winning princess came up. She didn't. She was near the bottom of the deck.

I’m told this game has a high learning curve and I really want to give it the benefit of the doubt because it did win the prestigious Hippodice contest. So, I’m waiting until it becomes more widely available and more people get a chance to play it and comment. Oh, did I mention that the game took over 2.5 hours? That didn’t help bolster our opinion either.

Emira central board.

Mama Mia

Who wouldn’t like a game about pizza that practically requires you to speak with a bad Italian accent? It is so easy to get caught up in all the new releases that one forgets all about the “classics” that now sit invisible on the shelves. This is one of the few memory games that I really enjoy, even though I am pretty lousy at it. As usual, I waited too long to plop down order cards before somebody else did. Toward the end of the game, I got a bit bolder, making some riskier plays and finally fulfilled a few orders. I still ended up in last place.

Ticket to Ride: Märklin

After coming in last place for three straight games, I finally had my revenge. With Marty and Jon slugging it out over the eastern side of the board and Paul and Ed working on the center, I quietly built a long route from top to bottom along the western side of the board. I was able to collect passengers three times along most of this route as well as fulfill several nice destination tickets. I won easily with 158 points, over 20 points ahead of second place. I can’t believe I was left alone but I’m not complaining!

Susan, Jon, Marty, Paul and Ed finishing the night with a game of Ticket to Ride: Märklin.

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

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at September 1, 2006 4:26 PM


Pretty much agree with you on Emira. Huge disappointment. I was the one who didn't get a cash flow going and boy did I suffer. It has other problems too, like game length. Some good bits, which makes for a nice game to review when I get the time.

Posted by: Mike Siggins on September 6, 2006 8:07 AM

Mike, I would love to read a review by you of Emira. I doubt I'll be able to even get it to the table again although I'd like to give it at least one more chance. It certainly is pretty and made for some humorous table talk with that theme!

Btw, I enjoy your Funagain column. I wish you posted more often than monthly, though (hint, hint)

Posted by: Susan on September 18, 2006 4:20 PM
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