January 20, 2008

Another New Year's Resolution

by Susan Rozmiarek

I have another gaming resolution to add for this year. I'm going to try to have at least five nickels and one dime when I tally my games played at the end of the year for Mark Jackson's "Five & Dime" data. This year I only had one nickel - To Court the King. Pathetic. I don't count online games and I did have several at four plays so maybe I shouldn't feel so badly. Still, I get sucked in too easily to my group's "Cult of the New." There are so many good, forgotten older games that get pushed aside for the new and shiny ones. A few weeks ago, Ed, Mark and I played Attika and I really, really enjoyed it just as I always have. Maybe I will try to make that game my first nickel of the year.

Speaking of resolutions, Ed and I broke out the two-player games last night and I got two off my unplayed list:

Lightning: Midway

This was a huge disappointment. I liked the D-Day game in the series but this one bombed with me (pun intended). I played the U.S. and Ed played Japan. The goal of the game is to defeat the other side's four objectives. This is done by attacking an objective with force cards. The defender also defends with their forces and whoever has the highest total value wins the battle. Each player also gets to play several types of action cards to boost their forces. Each side commits their forces and then play goes back and forth playing action cards until both sides pass. The Japanese side has superior forces and the U.S. side has stronger actions. The problem is the fact that there can only be one type of a given action on the table at a time. So, if you play a leader card to boost your forces, your opponent has to discard his leader card if he has one. Since I depended on these action cards to beat Ed's forces, I felt that I needed to fill my hand with them before attacking. This also gave Ed time to fill his as well. Then, when I attacked, we'd go back and forth playing out the action cards in our hand with him usually able to boot mine off the table. I just didn't see a way to beat his initial forces. I ended up just conceding after he destroyed one of my objectives. The game was going way too long and I didn't see how I was going to win.

This game gets a lot of high ratings. Did we just miss something? We both went over the rules and FAQ and I think we played the game correctly. I did see several comments online by other people having difficulty playing the U.S. but there weren't any satisfactory answers.

Rat Hot
This game is by a favorite designer of mine, Michael Schacht, and was originally published as a free download online. It's a simple tile placement game with rectangular planks, each depicting a mix of three goods, rats or blanks. You draw two tiles on your turn and try to place them such that you form groups of goods in your color. Tiles can be stacked on top of each other as long as gaps are not left underneath. You score as you go along, getting points as you place the tiles but your opponent also gets points if your placements form groups of his goods. The game ends when all the tiles are placed and there is a final scoring of all groups currently displayed. The tension in the game comes from the fact that if there are ever three of your rats showing at the end of your turn, the game ends immediately and you lose. This is a nice, easy game that is perfect for playing while watching TV. (We were watching mindless TV - The World's Biggest Loser from this past week).

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at January 20, 2008 4:27 PM


I know some do and some don't, but I'm always curios why people that bother to track their games played won't count a game that is played online. Did you play against live people and not AI? Then what's the big deal? I've probably only played Memoir 44 face-to-face 3 times (two of those Overlord), and yet I've played PBEM games at least two dozen times. I think that gives me a pretty good handle on the game for ratings and so forth, so why wouldn't I count all the games I play on Vassal?

(I'm not starting a fight, just curious).

Posted by: Charles Hasegawa on January 20, 2008 6:56 PM

Personally, I have no problem with reporting an online game as a game played. Especially if played against real people not AIs. For me, it's a matter of remembering to record the game. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. Whereas, I almost always remember to record my face to face games right away after a gaming session.

Posted by: Ed on January 21, 2008 9:15 AM
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