April 9, 2007

New Year Resolution Progress for March

by Susan Rozmiarek

With a really busy month, I got my three games off the unplayed list in just under the wire. Actually, one of them was played on April 1st but I'm going to cheat and count it as a March game. Since they are my resolutions, I can do that.

Mystery Rummy Case No. 3: Jekyll & Hyde

Considering how much we like the first in this series, Jack the Ripper, I was surprised that we've never gotten around to playing this one. I was even more surprised and horrified that we haven't played Ripper in almost six years! I'll need to rectify that soon. Meanwhile, this version of rummy has a neat mechanism to fit the theme. There is a dual-sided Identity card that is kept on the table. One side shows Dr. Jekyll and the other depicts Mr. Hyde. The cards that you are trying to meld can only be laid down if they match the character currently showing on that identity card. There are gavel cards that when played, flip it to the other side. At the end of the game, card melds that match the current identity score double points. In addition, as kind of an equivalent to the Ripper Escapes of the other game, you can shut out the other player. You do this by going out and having every card in your play area matching the identity card. Of course, there are gavel cards that can be cleverly played to prevent an opponent from doing this. For Ed and me, the game did not play as nearly interesting as it sounds, though. Each hand seemed to be a race to go out and was over very quickly with the winner being the person lucky enough to get those melds down. Thus, there didn't seem to be much to it, certainly not enough to put it in the same class as Ripper. After a little reading on BoardgameGeek, it appears that there may be a few nuances to the game that we didn't catch. Attempting a shut out seems to be the focus for experienced players. We'll have to give it another chance. It also turns out that we are missing Case #2: Murders in the Rue Morgue and it is out-of-print. Rats. See, this is why you buy any game you think you might ever want as soon as it is released! :-)

Die Rückkehr der Helden: Die Gralssuche

Or, for the Deutsch-challenged - Return of the Heroes: Search for the Grail. This an expansion for the excellent game Return of the Heroes, which is a sort of fantasy dungeon crawl with a pick-up-and-deliver emphasis. This time players are running around the board looking for "clues" to the location of the Holy Grail. Once you collect four clues you can try to "find" the Grail by going to its current rumored location and attempting four trials. If you are successful at all four, you find the Grail and win the game. Of course, your character needs to be buffed up with the necessary skills first to beat the trials (on the clue tokens you've collected) which will direct your strategy. The expansion introduces all kinds of neat Arthurian elements including companions such Merlin and Lancelot that can help you, artifacts like Excalibur and some new characters. The translation at BGG makes any German on the components only a slight annoyance.

The damper on this family playing was that two of the adventurers, Ed and my older son Kevin, were tired and yawning throughout the game. A cattle prod would have been useful. On the bright side, that kept the Monty Python jokes to a minimum. Shea's elf, maintained a decent lead through out the game, although Ed almost caught up to him near the end. Kevin and I floundered around most of the game. I was a stumpy, but hot looking female dwarf who waddled her way slowly along the roads. Fortunately, I had plenty of cash and eventually purchased a zippy cart. I still couldn't find many clues, but I had fun fighting all those brutish Saxons who seemed to be hiding behind every tree. I'm looking forward to trying the Underground expansion next.

Ebbe und Flut

This is another one of those Adlung games that manages to fit a "big" game into a little tuck box of cards. This is a nice abstract game for two players. As with most Adlung games, the English rules in the box are written in an entirely different English language than most of us know, but a very nice person (Christine Biancheria) has provided an excellent rewritten version on BGG. The loosely-fitted theme is the ebb and flow of the tide. One player is the water and the other is the land. Each has 25 cards lettered from A to E and numbered from 1 to 5. Cards are played to a 5x5 grid on the table. Each player has a three starting spots for cards in their lower right hand corner and the goal is to get your cards to your opponent's starting area. Each card that you get on one of those spaces comes off the table and scores a point for you at the end of the game. Players randomly draw one of their cards each turn and place it on one of their starting spots. The twist is that cards of the same type (water or land) cannot remain in a row or column with either a matching letter OR a matching number. One of the matching cards (player's choice) must drift to the left or up a space depending on whether the match is in a column or row. This may further set off a chain reaction as the new placement may create new matches. Cards can and will be covered by others during the game. Cleverly placing cards so that they match others is the way you try and move your cards toward your opponent's start area. It can be quite brain melting trying to figure out the results of a certain placement. Often both Ed and I were surprised at all the possibilities with a seemingly useless card. The game really did kind of feel like its theme. I'd get water cards flowing toward Ed's side and then he'd cover them up as he spread his land cards toward me. I really liked it which is not surprising since it is a puzzle-y game.

As far as game purchases go, there were none this month! Descent: Altars of Despair, Taluva, Midgard, and Hermagor look like likely additions this next month. I got a chance to play Hermagor this past Friday and really enjoyed it for the most part. I'll write up that session report soon.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at April 9, 2007 1:37 PM

Post a comment

This page viewed times since April 9, 2007.

E-mail Ed Rozmiarek with questions or problems concerning this page.

Copyright © 2007, Ed & Susan Rozmiarek.
No portion of this website may be reproduced or copied without the consent of Ed or Susan Rozmiarek.