Friday Oct 16, 2009 - Gamer's Inn and Llarry and Steph Amrose's
Something of a strange night logistically... The night started out over at Nielsen's Custard. Nathan Winchester and I met there for a bit to eat and played a game of Hive. I really like this game and won due in part to Nathan pointing out a sure loser play about halfway through the game. I play this strictly by feel - having not played enough to try an put together a strategy when I start. It is just a good abstract. I'm really thankful that Nathan seems to enjoy abstracts as well.
We headed over to the Gamer's Inn to hook up with Matthew and Amelia and Matt Longieliere after we finished up at Nielsen's. When we got there, nobody was in site, so I pulled out GIPF and Nathan explained it to me. This abstract is the father of the GIPF Series and one of the few I hadn't tried before this night. It is very much a good game and I think might be my new favorite of the series. I can't wait to see what the potentials (GIPF Project Set 1, GIPF Project Set 2, and/or GIPF Project Set 3) add to the game. This was fairly easy to pick up and was able to sneak out a win.
I had made plans with Mike Gingold to meet up at Llarry and Steph Amrose's place in Tempe, so I headed over that after a few minutes of chit chat with everyone. I was pretty much the last arrival so the group split up for games. I sat down to play Notre Dame with Steph Amrose, Bobby Warren and Dan Reilly. It has been a little while since I've played this, but I've enjoyed it each time. I never really got an engine going the way I wanted to while watching Bobby score a lot of points with his park. Surprisingly though, Steph was the winner by a point over Bobby: Steph-55, Bobby-54, Dan-26, me-43.
The other group wasn't done yet, so Steph suggested A Castle For All Seasons - one I had never heard of. As they setup and explained the game, my first two impressions were: "great art and bits" and "I have no chance of winning this first play". This is easily one of the best looking Rio Grande games I've seen - a gorgeous double sided board, lots of cardboard markers for the buildings, lots of different shaped wood bits, cards - the whole nine yards. The game is pretty straight forward - action selections somewhat similar to Race for the Galaxy (though each action is only done by whomever played the card), and building gathering tight resources to "buy" VPs and such. That is an over simplification of course. Despite the really nice wood bits, I think I'd have appreciated cardboard tokens for the goods. you see, each good has a value depending on its type: 1, 2, 4, 5, wild (which can be any of the others). To buy a building, you must pay using at least three different good types and with EXACT change. It is not intuitive to try and figure out the costs just looking at your goods and referencing the value card. To make it worse, no building is "odd" costing, so getting the right number can be a pain. Overlooking that - the mechanics and speed of the game make this fairly interesting and I'm surprised I have missed this one last year. the final scores were Bobby-57, Steph-46, Dan-45, me-26 (yeah, I sucked bad).
After getting my butt handed to me in A Castle For All Seasons, I pulled out Chaos in the Old World. Mike joined us as he and Bobby switched places. I ended up with Khorne and went over the rules. Overall, the game is very straight forward and really a good Ameritrash game. Each faction is unique and really must approach the game differently. After three turns I zeroed in on exactly what I needed to do - fight a lot. I didn't need to win, just kill people all over the board. This started to really pay off, though it looked like I may have started too late. Mike made a huge swing of points in the late-mid game and I thought he might hit 50 points and end the game before I could end the game with a dial victory. He came up just short and it was actually Dan who came out of nowhere to challenge for the win. Luckily, my victory condition (dials) was the first victory check and I just won the game. I look forward to another round of this too. Our initial game was a bit long due to setup and rules, but I can see this being a fairly decent 90 minute game.