October 12, 2006

Game Rambles

by Susan Rozmiarek

The only reason there is something to read here today is because my bike has a flat tire and something is wrong with my pump or tire or both. Or maybe it's just that I'm a woman and incapable of dealing with such things. Whatever. At any rate, here I am killing a beautiful afternoon inside in front of a computer.

Another game night was hosted by John G. at his church. Since most in attendance are non- or not-quite-gamers, it is a perfect opportunity to bring out an older, lighter favorite. Since most of the folks have never heard of any of the games we bring, there are no arguments. Too bad my regular group won't let me dictate what we play all the time! Just as in grade school, we separated into boy and girl tables and the game I chose for the "girls" was Expedition, a favorite from way back when I was a not-quite-gamer myself. What ensued was a very enjoyable, leisurely game that would have had most hardcore gamers crawling up the walls and tearing their hair out. We chatted, we made our moves, we chatted some more, we pointed out clever moves for each other and we graciously allowed people to claim locations they (oops) missed. The game went over really well and the German text on the cards did not bother anybody but me, always burning with curiosity about those exotic locations. Like another favorite of mine, Elfenland, Expedition suffers from too many rules variants floating around. Every group seems to insist on a different way to play. Since I was teaching it we played (ha!) MY way which is that you must play off the loop you formed, not anywhere off the expedition. The latter way makes life too easy and we can't have that, even with newbie players. We also got in a round or two of Poison and Ubongo to complete a very pleasant and laid back evening.

John G. also hosted games on Monday and I joined him, Gina and Mark for a few games:

Leonardo da Vinci: This was my second playing of the game and just as intriguing as the first. Why am I so awful at this type of game? With three beginners and me still clueless, I don't think any of us played all that optimally. We all went for and fought viciously over the additional workers and lab upgrades and were very slow completing inventions. So much for the beginner's setup that is in theory supposed to nudge us toward different paths. I'm actually looking forward to trying the advanced setup where we get to pick our extra starting goodies. I started with only three workers and didn't like the deficit one bit. I also stacked the invention deck slightly incorrectly but I don't think my mistake had much, if any, impact.

Blue Moon City: Another second playing for me. I thought the game was much tenser than my earlier two-player game. The endgame was extremely close with everyone just about able to win. The problem is by completing a last building to get the crystals you need to win, you are probably setting up another player to win before you get another turn. I seem to remember others complaining about this on the gaming forums. Still, it's fun and fast to play so far. In my two games, I've taken the approach of using the cards I have to dictate which buildings to go for, and not discarding many cards. I'm wondering if it would be wiser to assess the board more closely and target certain buildings whether or not I have the cards, discarding in the hopes of drawing the correct ones. I'll have to try that. There were some very valuable buildings that I ignored because I didn't have the right cards.

Weinhändler: This is a very tricky little card game that reminded me of Knizia's Money but with a spatial aspect thrown in as you use the wine cards you are collecting to build personal pyramid-shaped wine cellars with bonus points for certain configurations. I thought it rather clever, perhaps too clever for me. I'm looking forward to playing it more to see if I can figure it out.

Some more rambling:

The single panel comics on BGG have been hilarious. A lot of people might be able to relate to the most recent one. Of course, nobody has to grovel in this household (at least for games ;-)).

Mike Siggins has recently posted two excellent columns on Funagain.com, here and here. He pretty much nailed my first impressions of Emira. I have to remember to swing by Funagain more often to see if he's posted anything new. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an RSS feed which I suppose would defeat Funagain's probable purpose of getting people to visit their front page.

It's time to drag out all those bad Halloween games and inflict them on my (un)willing victims. Betrayal at House on the Hill, Zombies!!! and my all-time favorite, The Gothic Game. C'mon, you only have to play them once a year!

I was in Barnes & Nobles the other evening and saw a display of games for sale on a table with the National Games Week sign. Surprisingly, the selection included Rheinlander, Puerto Rico, Settlers of Catan, Shear Panic, and Tsuro to name a few. I wonder how many of those they will sell or will they just make a bunch of game geeks happy when they later go on clearance?

I am currently wishing that I lived in Europe and could hop in my car in a week or two and just drive a few hours to Essen. It's hard for me to fathom being a day's drive or less to multiple countries when it takes at least three hours for me to even get out of my own state (Texas). We are only a half day's drive (or less) from Mexico but last time I checked there weren't any major game conventions there. Sigh. At least we now have BGG.con.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at October 12, 2006 2:35 PM


Me too! I spent all day Thursday catching up on blogging. Man, that's a lot of work.

Posted by: Mark Hamzy on October 13, 2006 8:15 PM

I think there is RSS on my column. At least I asked for it...


Posted by: Mike Siggins on October 16, 2006 5:50 PM

You are right Mike. The feed is right here: http://www.funagain.com/control/viewblog.xml?contentBlogId=1

Posted by: Ed Rozmiarek on October 16, 2006 5:56 PM
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