September 26, 2007

Time for a revival

by Susan Rozmiarek

My, my, this poor little blog certainly has been a victim of neglect. My daily schedule has consisted of way too much busyness and way too little sleep. As a result, playing games and writing about them have taken a backseat to just plain surviving and getting through the daily grind and all its responsibilities. All is not bleak though, and things should ease a bit around, oh, Thanksgiving if we are lucky. Gack. Thanks to a new laptop though, I can now spend my son's soccer practices at the library and perhaps revive this blog with that bit of extra time.

So, this blog post is coming to you from the Round Rock Public Library. My new laptop is a Dell Inspiron 1720. I don't know what that means in regards to the geeky details. I'm not much of a computer nerd, I'm afraid. The important thing is that is has a 17" screen for my 40+ year old eyes and it runs important software like the PC version of Ticket to Ride. Best of all, its pink. This is to discourage the male members of the household from even thinking about sharing it. It's mine. I've even named "her." She's Lady Gormenghast. The computers in our home network are all named after castles and I'm a big fan of Mervyn Peake's quirky book trilogy.

As I said, gaming around here has been sparse, so this blog may limp along for a while with me just chattering about whatever game thoughts are bumping around inside my head that day. I'll just apologize now if you are coming here for the usual reviews and lengthy session reports. Hopefully, I'll be able to spit out one or two occasionally, but it's been a dry season for games. I do have one new game to blather about a bit:

Patrician - Michael Schacht continues his series of Dry Games for Three. Lest that sounds critical, I like most Schacht designs and this one, while not spectacular, is an okay little filler. It's not deep, but it is fun to see how the game plays out and it usually plays in less than 30 minutes. I wasn't impressed at all with my first game as it seemed chaotic and reactive, but after playing it again with fewer players, some strategy started to emerge to change my opinion. Like several of his games, it is a simple and streamlined design with a little twist or two to provide some tension. In Patrician the angst is caused by the pull between playing where you want versus getting a card you want, coupled with the two different ways to score - sets of Patricians and tower floor majorities. With two players, it is not that exciting, with five any semblance of planning goes out the door, four is a bit better and three I think hits its sweet spot. More plays will tell and this is one I hope to review soon.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at September 26, 2007 11:36 AM


Keep chattering... we're listening.

Haven't played Patrician... but I've become wary of Michael Schacht games recently, as they are starting to feel same-y.

Posted by: Mark Jackson on September 26, 2007 1:47 PM

Susan, I just played Patrician for the first time last week. We played with five and it laid a huge egg. The early moves didn't seem to matter, the end came very quickly, and the control seemed minimal. Plus, it sure felt like the first player was at a considerable disadvantage. I'm glad to hear it plays better with three, but it might be really tough getting it back on the table.

Posted by: Larry Levy on September 26, 2007 9:21 PM

I have a pink PC as well! Mine is a Sony Vaio - and yes, I waited until they had re-stocked the pink ones. Of course, with 2 daughters, it may not have been the best choice - there are threats of competition for Mummy's Work PC.

Posted by: Melissa on September 27, 2007 12:32 AM

Mark: You have good reason to be wary. Patrician is same-y. I played Web of Power on the same day and was struck by the fact both use the mechanism of playing a card out of a very limited hand to place a piece in the corresponding region to attempt to get a majority there. Web of Power is far cleverer and has more going on, but Patrician (with 3) isn't bad and it is easier to teach and plays even more quickly if those are qualities you are looking for. It's a game that I'd be happy to play every now and then, but I wouldn't buy it.

Larry: I would have to really be sweet talked into playing this game again with five or even four. My first game was with five also. I wouldn't blame anyone if it never hit the table again after that. A few players at the table thought it was at least okay. Since I have a review copy, I felt obligated to give it another go and I had other unsuspecting victims. So if you get another chance, try it with three players. If not, well, there are plenty of better light, filler games out there so no real loss.

Melissa: I even have a matching pink mouse and a pink and white carrying case for my laptop. I've never been much of a "pink" girlie girl, but I had to stake my claim somehow!

Posted by: Susan on September 27, 2007 12:03 PM
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