This year, I had a couple of fellow gamers over to my place for a few games. In between a quick baked ziti dinner and answering the door a few times, we snaked in a few games. Joining me were Amelia Boli, Matthew Frederick, Dion Garner, and Rob Smolka. We started the night with a new game that Rob brought over - New World: A Carcassonne Game. This is one that I had heard panned a number of times, but was willing to play since Carc games are not terribly long regardless. This one has a couple of differences in the scoring and adds a twist with the two explorer meeples, but in the end, its still just Carc - which to me is take it or leave it. I'll still happily play Carcassonne: The Castle, but just don't crave the rest. I did manage a win here, despite that I never thought it was possible. Charles:82, Dion: 80, Rob: 72, Amelia:81, Matthew: 64
Since it was Halloween, we moved on to a more thematically appropriate game - Ghost Party. This is basically a roll and move / push your luck game. You move around a track until the Hugo the Ghost makes his way to the top of the stairs, where he starts chasing you around the hallway. Each roll is either a number (you move on of your pawns) or a ghost (Hugo moves three spaces). I have no luck and Hugo managed to catch two of my three people nearly every round and I managed a very low score. Matthew managed an easy win here. Matthew:-14, Dion: -17, Amelia: -20, Rob: -26, Charles: -40
Next up, we stayed with the "spooky" theme and pulled out Betrayal at House on the Hill
. This is one of the AH/Hasbro games that is out of print and currently sells for a good amount of money. It has been unplayed in my collection now for a while, because I haven't had the right time / place / combination of people that would play. Basically, its like playing a B horror movie. A group of people are exploring a spooky mansion - does it matter why? As you explore the house, you find things and different things happen which test your character's mental and physical health. At a random point in the game, someone (again randomly) turns traitor. At that point, the combination of things that caused the traitor event indicate which of 50 scenarios you finish the game with. The traitor gets one booklet to read over and the rest of the players get another. Each side then has secret objectives to winning the game. Our particular game had Rob as the traitor. He found a "Spirit Board" and summoned a Banshee. He then set about trying to kill us all. We had to find a set of rooms and / or artifacts to do 5 exorcisms (skill rolls). At the time the haunt started, we had one of the rooms in play (and you could use each only once, so we were not looking good). To our luck, the Banshee was pretty much retarded and Rob had no real control over it to try and kill us. He did manage to get the banshee to kill Matthew, who had bad luck all night. In the first room he had looked in he managed to get caught on fire. Despite Matthew not having any luck for this game, we as a team we discovered a lot of the rooms fairly quickly and in short order won the game. Now, this isn't a great game, but if you like a cooperative horror themed game, its ok. Its A LOT shorter than Arkham, but I think you really have to have the 4-6 players to make it interesting. Also, the scenario we played wasn't that interesting and my readings indicate that some scenarios are better than others. I had the latest revisions to the scenarios printed out, so some of the issues that others have talked about with confusing scenarios wasn't an issue for us. It was a nice light ameri-trashy romp, but I don't see this coming out very often - even though it is short.
Amelia decided to head out, so with about another hours worth of gaming in us, Rob suggested we try Master Labyrinth. Getting to get in yet another new game was fine by me, so we set it up and started in. I predicited it taking a couple turns for this to grok, and at least for me, that was true. Dion seemed to hit his stride early on and grabbed tokens quickly. Matthew grabbed a couple and screwed me early, while Rob struggled and hated it the whole time. It finally clicked for me and I really hit stride grabbing a lot of points and one bonus. This game is a puzzle game and one that you'll like or hate. I liked it (winning helped). Final scores were - Charles: 105, Matthew: 93, Dion: 74, Rob: 41