. Day after Christmas game night, and yet I didn't play any of my new games. That is not to say I didn't play plenty of new games, but my Christmas presents from my wife (A Game of Thrones LCG and Dominion remain un-played). So, I headed over to the Gamer's Inn to meet up with Bobby and Mike. There was a guy (Rich Irving) from California looking for a game or three who also joined us. Mike had wanted to play his new copy of Chicago Express, which I was happy to teach. Everyone was new to the game but me, which meant I had no clue how the game would play out. So what happened? Everyone just started trying to make their company more valuable to a crazy degree. Rich started with Red and I grabbed the second share hoping to pull down some cash as he made the company valuable. Rich was able to snag two of the three red shares pretty early though, and I couldn't close the game down fast enough to keep him from earning the win. My starting company, yellow, got no help from other players and I didn't get a chance to increase its value early enough to put me ahead. Final scores: Rich-47, Bobby-33, Mike-43, Charles-42.
Next, I pulled out Hare and Tortoise to get it played. This little family racing game was one of Jason Sato's favorites and I felt wrong owning and not having ever played it. Well, I finished 3rd behind the two experienced players (Bobby and Rich). The game was alright and probably needs a couple plays before I'll get it. Everyone claims it plays best with 5 or 6, so I may bring it along for a decent 5-6 player short game.
Noah Antwiller had arrived, so we got Bobby to pull out Funkenschlag - EnBW Edition (Power Grid), which had a couple of rules changes (if nobody buys a plant, two go out instead of one and you redo the turn order immediately after buying plants + a couple other minor changes). I don't know how much those effected the game (if at all), but the redoing turn order after the plants is weird after playing lots of regular Power Grid. Noah somehow managed to get into coal pretty much by himself the whole game as well as placing after me and cutting me off. I made a good run, but when he got his 5 and 6 plants (coal), we all knew it wasn't going to be long before he won. I managed a comeback of sorts to finish a nice distant 2nd - Noah, Charles(tie breaker), Bobby, Rich, Mike.
Rich had time for a short game before needing to head out, so Bobby pulled out Sushizock im Gockelwok - something of the next evolution of Pickomino, but better. This version is a fast playing and light press your luck game, with a much better playing time than Pickomino. Having played it, I'd get this and skip Pickomino forever :)
After Rich left, I pulled out both Aquaretto and Zooloretto for a combined game. I had not played Aquaretto before, so after getting the lowdown from Bobby and Mike, away we went. After just this playing, I can see a bit where I might like Aquaretto better than Zooloretto. I liked playing the two as a whole, though it makes for quite a bit longer game. If you only tolerate this series, you won't want to play the combined game. If you enjoy them, you'll enjoy the more gamer-y feel of playing both together.
We finished the night playing yet another new game for me - Control Nut!. I've had this little trick-taking game for years (since I love trick taking games), but have never had the chance to play. Basically, you score points by taking the 1s, 3s, and 7s (each has one or two stars on it) and multiplying the number of stars you get by the number of tricks you take. That part is pretty simple. The complicated part is that there are 4 special cards (out of 8) in play each hand. The hand starts with an auction for those cards - you bid three cards. If you win the card, you give one card from those three to each of the other players. So you have to balance your ability to take tricks with getting the specials. It sounds better on paper than it seemed to play. I never quite grokked it and Bobby and I got killed by Mike and Noah 135-318 - blech.