Saturday, December 15, 2007

Game Night

Friday Dec. 14, 2007 - Game Shoppe
I headed down to the Game Shoppe to get in a bit of gaming Friday night. Mike Garrett and my buddy Steve Wicklund were known to be coming, though who else might be around was not known. I had purchased Race For the Galaxy last time I was in the Shoppe, and had only just taken the shrink of it a couple nights ago. After reading through the rules and "playing" a few hands solo, I could see why this had been generating some good buzz and I really wanted to get a couple plays in. I got my wish. We started the night with my explaining the game to Mike G, Heath, and Mike's friend Mike. Essentially, the game is a card game, where the cards are everything - money, worlds, developments(improvements), and goods (ala San Juan). In fact the game has a very familiar feel to San Juan (which is not surprising after reading the designer notes). At any rate, we started with the predetermined hands as recommended in the rules. Steve walked in just as we started, and I explained the game as we began. I don't remember which world I started with, but I remember thinking that I'd probably be trying for lots of military worlds and such, but after 4-5 cards on the table, that wasn't apparently how things were going to happen for me. However, I got a few good cards to the table and managed two good bonus (6) cards that gave me the edge at the end. The scores were Mike 26, Mike G 30, Heath 30, Charles 36. Heath bowed out, and Steve sat down, so we started another game, this one with the starting hands being random. This time, the card draws were not going in my favor, and I couldn't get any worlds into play and ended up playing most of the game card poor (my initial cards seemed to be development heavy or bonus (6) cards). Mike started out getting a couple alien (yellow) worlds into play and a good development that made him card rich from the outset of the game and he had no problem cruising to the win when Mike G built 12 crappy cards. As with San Juan, just ending the game by building 12 cards means nothing in your score - bonus cards typically are what determines the winner (though not always). This game's scores: Mike 31, Mike G 25, Steve 26, Charles 20. With only about an hour left in the night, I got Mike to pull out Edel Stein and Richt again. Though its not my favorite game of all time or anything, it is a great game and Steve had been interested in trying it since I told him about my last playing. This game was fairly even through the first round, though the second round saw Mike G and I often picking the same action and thus losing position to Mike and Steve. In the last round, I had a pretty good gem collection going while Mike was down to a single red gem. However, Mike often choose the money action while the rest of us were fighting over other crap and he won handily. Final scores - Mike 90, Mike G 80, Steve 77, Charles 72. Still a fun night, though I got no closer to Nickel or Diming anything.


sourwyrm said...

i had a good time last night, race for the galaxy was a good game that i'm interested in playing again (even if i suck at it as you pointed out)

Matthew Frederick said...

I played Race for the third time last night. I quite like it, it's very enjoyable, and I'll happily play again, probably many times.

That said, man is it ever a multiplayer solitaire game. Yes, there's a little bit of interaction, in that you might not choose Develop or Settle if you think someone really needs it, but it won't stop you from picking it.

Wish it was a little more interactive, that's all.

Tatsu said...

I agree that in many ways it is multi player solitaire, but then in some ways so is PR and San Juan. I think that guessing what the other players are likely to do (since you can all pick the same action) is enough difference between this and SJ, but the worlds/developments also often have multiple abilities, which is also cool. Lastly, I've read that its possible that the expansions may also add some player interaction type cards.

sourwyrm said...

i agree that the simultaneous selection adds needed spice to the recipe, i always thought san juan was rather bland

Matthew Frederick said...

I find that there's a lot more interaction in Puerto Rico, precisely because only one person can choose each role, and the timing and availability of those choices can greatly affect other players. San Juan is less interactive than Puerto Rico, but I still find it more interactive than Race for the Galaxy.

I look forward to expansion cards that improve interaction, that would be great!