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Thinking Out Loud

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Game Session Recap for 6/29/05

Another good night of gaming all around. Michael Silbey (armadi from the Geek) invited me to join his regular gaming group when their usual 4th player had to miss the session. I had a great time, and got to meet two more of my fellow St. Louis area BoardGameGeek members, Chris Darden (cbdarden) and Trey something-something (sorry, I can't remember the last name or username!).

While we were waiting for Chris Darden to show up, Armadi and I played a game of Lord of the Rings: Confrontation. I wasn't sure if I had ever played before, but after setting it up and seeing it, recall playing once a little over a year ago. I was the Dark player, Armadi was Light. He won easily, getting Frodo to Mount Doom as I staggered about without really knowing what I was doing. The game reminded me why it had been so long since my first play -- I'm not a big fan of the game.

My Rating: 6

My Take: Easy to learn, but has some depth and nuance to keep it from being simple. That said, it features an element I dislike in many games -- the need to know everything about every piece in the game to be competitive. Not only do you need to understand all the powers and abilities of each of your units, but you need to be equally knowledgable about every single unit/ability of your opponent. This increases the learning/entertainment curve quite a bit for me, although I can see that it would reward long term commitment to the game.

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Once Chris showed up, we switched to one of my current obsessions, Tichu. Team A was Chris and Trey, Team B was Jay and Michael. All 3 games were to 1000 points.

Game 1
Chris & Trey: 100-something (several failed Tichus)
Michael & Jay: 1000+ (a few Tichus, but several 1st/2nd finishes)

Game 2
Chris & Trey: 1000+ (Several strong Tichu and one Grand Tichu hand)
Michael & Jay: 200-something (A failed Tichu and some poor teamwork)

Game 3:
Chris & Trey: 1000+
Michael & Jay: 300-something
... The third game was actually fairly close until the last and second-last hands, where Trey pulled out a Tichu and their team really lit into us with some stellar plays.

Great fun. I was a little concerned Tichu might be a bit stagnant face to face, as opposed to the wonderful interface and autmation from the BrettSpielWelt servers, but it was still face paced and very enjoyable.

My Rating: 9.5

My Take: My goodness, what a fabulous game. The online version of BSW hasn't spoiled me after all -- the manual shuffling and shifting of cards isn't so bad. It may take a few hands for new players to get the hang of the hand types and the four wild cards, but it is a stellar game and a must-own title for any serious card playing gamer.

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Next we moved on to my all-time favorite card game, Wizard. This was the first time any of the others had played, so I had a distinct advantage... knowing the approximate value of the Wizards and Jesters and the impact they can have on the game is the key to bidding, and my experience paid off. Still, I think the others enjoyed it, and would probably play again.

Chris: 120
Mike: 290
Trey: 300
Jay: 390

My Rating: 10.0

My Take: Simply the best pure trick-taking card game there is. A slight tweak to the deck by introducing Wizards (super-trump) and Jesters (less than trump) creates an entirely new gameplay dynamic. This is truly a fantastic game for any level "card" game player.

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The group introduced me to another game I had never played before, Liar's Dice, also known as Perudo. Cute little bluffing/press-your-luck game. I can see why it's so appealing. We only played a very quick round, and I was out after about 2 turns around the table. A few more plays would help get into the mood, but I can see this being enjoyed by my inlaws, niece and nephew, and other "non gamers" I hang around with regularly.

Didn't play enough to form a long-term opinion or rating, but I'd wager it could end up in the 7-8 range, and be a quick, breezy filler game for a wide variety of people.

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Wrapping up the night, I was glad to finally get to try out Nexus Ops. I had picked this sci-fi board game up several weeks earlier, but never had the chance to get it to the table. I had rated it a 7 based on my expectations from reading the rules and fiddling around with it solo, and I was not disappointed.

Michael: 12 pts
Trey: 11
Chris: 8
Jay: 7

My Rating: 7.5

My Take: First impressions are quite favorable, and the first playing was a big hit. 4 player game took just about an hour, and while luck-heavy, there's a lot of action. Good mix of luck, expansion and combat. Awarding VPs for winning combat and Energize cards for losing combat keeps the pace brisk, and prevents turtling. Interesting blend of game elements, and nice production quality.


2 Comments:

  • Do not give up on Lord of the Rings - the Confrontation. Its a great game, that takes a few plays. Also, if memory serves, the game includes a list of each character.

    By Blogger Jeremy, at 3:55 PM  

  • True, it's just a game feature that I'm not a big fan of (ie, games where you need to fully know all aspects of the game to be competitive -- like Princes of the Renaissance or Louis XIV).

    Granted, the fact that this is a much shorter game helps mitigate that fact, or if you're playing against an opponent of equal skill and experience -- but a novice playing with an experienced player who won't (and shouldn't have to) "play down" to the novice will not fare well.

    By Blogger Jason Little, at 10:37 PM  

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