When I arrived at the Inn this week and there were already a few guys there. Jason Sato and Matt Cullinan were playing a Star Wars mini game and Dion Garner, Jerry George, and Rich were setting up for Cleopatra. I declined to join them and instead took a look around the store. I ended up grabbing the new Power Grid map of Benelux/Central Europe. Of course, I hadn't brought my copy of Power Grid, since Bobby Warren had said he'd bring his. Then Bobby canceled on us at the last minute. Luckily, Noah Antwiller showed up and had his copy. And so it was that Rob Smolka, Jason Sato, Noah and Miles Antwiller, Matt Cullinan and I all sat down and tried out the Central Europe map. I don't know that we got any kind of feel for the map though, as the order that the power plants came out was almost in reverse. Since people were not buying plants worth of resources each turn and because the nuke and garbage plants just hadn't shown much, the resource board was mostly full to start each turn. On the second turn of the game, the plants came out in poor enough order that I ended up having to take a plant I didn't want. This pretty much kept me out of the running for the rest of the game. I believe Miles pulled out another win.
Noah and I were then joined by Steve Bauer and Matthew Frederick for a game of A Game of Thrones: A Storm of Swords None of us had tried this out yet and so Matthew and Noah begin going over the rules as Steve and I attempted to sort out the cards and playing pieces. We managed to finally get started and about 3 turns in, we realized that we had mis-played a rule (as we inevitably do every time we play). This ruling went against me and the others decided that we should probably just start over, as it made a huge difference against me. And so it was that we started over, which is probably why we never finished the game - at 1:30AM we finally just decided that we'd all had enough and called the game a draw. So, how was this version of one of my favorite games? Very interesting, and quite balanced. There are a few new things (the allies and the strategy cards). I'd have to say that the new items add a bit of freshness to the game. The new four player version is very balanced - too balanced maybe, as nobody looked even close to winning at any point.