Monday, May 26, 2008

Game Night

May 17, 2008
Took me a little while to get around to this session report, but oh well. I had a few guys over to play a few games. Mike Garrett (MG) and his buddy Mike Linder (ML) stopped by, as did my friend John Davis from work. We started out playing a couple of quick games of Bobbin' Bumblebee - which is essentially a Loopin Louie clone (they even rip off the stupid spelling by not spelling out -ing instead using ng' ). The Mikes and I played one game with my wife before John got over (in a rare moment, Mike G was early). We started another game with John, which I had to cut short to chase my dog around the neighborhood after he escaped our yard. I had never played this nor the original, but I can see how its a semi-interesting kids game. Is this one I need to play with adults? Probably not. Don't get me wrong - there is some skill involved, but there are other short dexterity games I'd rather drag out.
After finding my dog, we settled down to play In The Year of the Dragon. I wanted to try grabbing the double dragon note to start the game, and both ML and I did so. However, I picked persons first and didn't choose very intelligently and then ended up playing LAST in nearly every round of the game. Our game was interrupted briefly as john had to run home to help his wife with their infant twins, but when we resumed, it looked as if it would be between ML and I. Unfortunately for me, ML was able to steal away the 6 points for fireworks (while the rest of us got NADA) in the last fireworks event which was all he needed to best my by 4 points. This game is really great, and I'd like to understand the strategies a little better. However, I think this one is going to play out a lot like Puerto Rico in that the starting choices will drive the game, and players familiar with it will get into a rut. As long as there is no computer game, I won't know this for a while, so I'll try and enjoy the game until then.
As I had mentioned, John had to leave briefly, so I thought this would be a good time to try out Big Three - a card game I've been reading about on Mark Hamzy's blog. Its most easily described as a three-player Tichu game, pitting one player against the other two. Its a pretty good three player game that is fast enough to almost be filler while waiting for a 4th player. There is no true ending so to speak, but I think I'd play again with each player having 20 points to start and ending when one player loses all their points. MG was leading in points after 3-4 hands when we stopped IIRC.
So, after our ItYotD game (that is annoying to type no matter what), we decided to play Race For the Galaxy something we had all played before. My enthusiasm for this game is waning a bit. As was typical, I got no synergy going with my cards early while MG did and after he'd played his third card I was already screwed. I hope the expansions offer some new playability to this game, but I'm not gung-ho like I was when this came out. Now, there is nothing wrong with this game (and it is still better than San Juan), but I think I'd really like to try out Glory to Rome because of the interactions between the players.
We then moved onto Wabash Cannonball. I have a love hate relationship with this game. I love it, but it is never good to me. It probably has something to do with playing with Mike Garrett, as we have played this together so often we just screw each other out the gate. This time, I was on the receiving end of most of that and I knew I was done before the first payout. STUPID GAME! I have started this game with nearly every company - the starting company seems to matter very little. The real action is what happens the first handful of actions. It is very easy to screw or be screwed right away. I think the biggest problem I've had thus far is that MG and I are usually the only two with experience, so we hose each other and the other players don't know enough to get in on the action, so one of us comes away pretty clean or we end up letting someone else get out in front of us. BAH!


sourwyrm said...

i think i'd like to play UP, as i suspect it's better than Wabash Cannonball (but it's been a long time since i've played it)

Jaybird said...

Not to beat a dead horse, but Glory to Rome is a very good game. Not only is there more interaction than Race, but if you are not paying attention to what other people are doing, and reacting accordingly, you will get smoked. For every strategy there is a counter strategy. 20 plays in, and I see no signs of it wearing thin (although man does my wife routinely figure out new ways to win this game seemingly every time...).

Long story short, it is incredibly interactive, sometimes maddeningly so.