My friend Amelia Boli had something of a long day down in Tucson and after she finally got back in town, she and Matthew Frederick stopped by for a bit of late night gaming. We had discussed playing Agricola since it hadn't gotten played recently due to Le Havre being the game of choice so I pulled this out for us to play. We did a quick draft of I deck only items and occupations and got started. Matthew managed to expand his home very early and had his family growing rapidly. I managed to get a food engine in place only after a couple of harvests and didn't get an expanded family until WAY too late in the game. With his extra family members, the outcome was decided pretty early in the game and Matthew had no trouble whooping Amelia and I. At this point, I can't say that I prefer Agricola or Le Havre over the other. Both are similar feeling, but different. If I only had one of the two, I wouldn't be terribly disappointed that I didn't have the other.
We felt like we had another game in us, so Matthew taught us Yspahan. This Ystari game is one I have wanted to try for a while now (plus there is a single player computer version available). Basically, its is a tactical luck management game - the options each player has on a turn are based on the roll of a number of dice. The first player gets first pick and then the next player gets to choose from the remaining actions and so forth, then the turns rotate. After 7 rounds, the board is scored then cleared and you repeat twice more. In the end, luck is certainly a factor, but this is pretty short and was enjoyable enough (though I probably took too long deciding my actions). Matthew's first roll of the game netted him a load of camels which he bankrolled into a couple of buildings which gave him an early advantage. After the second round, we had zero chance of catching him. In fact, I scored only enough in the last round to tie his second round score.