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Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Game Session Recap for 6/24/05

The Usual Suspects (and their BoardGameGeek nics)

  • Chester Ogborn (cornjob)
  • Jorge Montero (hibikir)
  • Eva Crespo (DeiTass)
  • Jay Little (ynnen)

It was great to get together for some impromptu gaming, especially to get to meet Chester for the first time and welcome him to St. Louis. We got to play a lot of smaller, lighter games, allowing us to socialize as well as game -- no realy brain burners here. I really had a good time, since I love to try out new games. We played six different games seven times total (For Sale was played twice) and of those six, four were completely new to me. A successful night of gaming for me on all accounts -- except, as you'll see, on the scoreboard. Ah well, last weekend was my weekend. I guess I can share the spotlight.

For Sale! (My 1st time played)

Game 1
Chester: 41
Jorge: 68
Eva: 63
Jay: 48

Game 2
Chester: 51
Jorge: 65
Eva: 53
Jay: 48

My Rating: 9.0

Wow -- what a great little game! Not many better for the 10-15 minute filler category. I absolutely love the two phase approach, where you bid in the first half to "draft" cards you want to use to actually earn money in the second half. Incredibly clever, easy to teach/learn, and a lot of fun. I wish I would have come across this game years ago!


Tutankhamen (My 1st time played)

Chester: 7
Jorge: 0
Eva: 7
Jay: 1

My Rating: 7.0

Fun, light, fast game. I like the idea that you can advance as far as you want, but at the cost of not being able to move back along the track. The first player, of course, has a significant advantage since he's always +1 tile over the other players, so I found it odd there's not a penalty of some sort for going first. Simple, fairly easy to understand set collection game, but with some unnecessary bits -- why have to put tokens, 1 at a time, into the pyramid? It's not like they're referenced or scored at the end... Stuff like that is a bit silly, and added to the production costs.


Louis XIV (My 2nd time played)

Chester: 43
Jorge: 42
Eva: 37
Jay: 33

My Rating: 7.5

I still really like the game and the potential, but I realized how crucial even small mistakes can be. During turn 2, I was careless reading the tokens on my mission card and collected the wrong items -- so I ended up losing 2 power tokens (exchanged for 2 shields), failing to fulfill a mission (worth 5 points) and thus failing to benefit from its gameplay bonus. So that one blunder ended up costing me 4-6 points over the course of the game. Given how close the scores tend to be (especially with the shield bonuses determining the winner in both games played so far), even one careless mistake can put you out of the running.


Santiago (My 5th time played)

Chester: 102
Jorge: 65
Eva: 66
Jay: 75

My Rating: 8.5

I really enjoy this game, and love the ebb and flow of the auctions and bribes. At the very end, though, it can bog down ever so slightly as folks try to pre-count the final game score based on different situations (I'll score X here if I take the 2-plot bean field, but Y there if I take the 1 plot potato field instead -- which is a gain of Z over Bob in the bean field, but a gain of Z+1 over Joe in the potato field, yadda yadda). I think this can create a bit of overanalysis toward the end, and the potential for kingmaking situations -- where you can't win, so by bidding meekly you ensure someone else will have a strong move. Still, a minor foible that doesn't seem like it would appear too often, unless you're playing with exceptionally analytical players.


Oriente (1st time played)

Chester: 23
Jorge: 21
Eva: 18
Jay: 18

My Rating: 4.0

Wonderful art and neat concept. Unfortunately, a very confusing, lackluster execution. I just can't see this being fun for 4-6 players, as the distribution of roles creates a strong possibility that the weak Nofu (working class) will be working against each other instead of together against more powerful roles. Very, very luck driven, and felt like my decisions were either forced or only helped other people, and not myself. Disappointed.


David & Goliath (1st time played)
Chester: 136
Jorge: 116
Eva: 138
Jay: 132

My Rating: 7.0
I really like trick taking card games, especially ones with a little twist that adds a layer of nuance to conventional trick games. David & Goliath provides that twist, as the cards gained during a trick ebb and flow in value -- grabbing 1 or 2 powerful cards is great, until you get a few more dumped on you, crashing their value from the printed value on the card to 1 point per card. Rewards card counting and a bit more thoughtfulness/awareness of cards played than other games, keeping it from being lightning fast like, say, Wizard, but still a lot of fun.


N-1 Scoring For the Evening

For kicks, I decided to summarize how well everyone did based on the N-1 scoring system I've used from time to time. Since the same number of players participated in each game, it works fairly well, especially since we got a lot of games in. So coming in 1st gets you "N" points, where N= the total number of players in the game. Coming in 2nd then gets you N-1 points, 3rd place nets you N-2, and so on. So applying this metric, the final tally for the night was:

Chester: 20 pts
Jorge: 20 pts

Eva: 18 pts (for only winning 1 game, Eva did exceptionally well)
Jay: 14 pts

Not my best night... Jorge and Chester dominated, as you can see.


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