Friday Nov. 13, 2009 - Gamer's Inn. I must be getting old. It used to be that I'd want to hit the game night as early as possible to get in as many games as I could. Now I'm satisfied with getting in a couple of new games, or a decent old favorite. This particular Friday started with Nathan Winchester and I grabbing some Indian food. That has nothing to do with gaming other than I wanted a decent dinner more than I wanted to go play something dumb. At any rate, once we got to the Gamer's Inn, there were a number of folks playing games, and one table where someone had setup Android and was waiting for folks to join her. That didn't hold much interest for us, so we sat down and Matthew Frederick, Matt Cullinan and Amelia Boli joined us. Since we had five and I'd heard that was the ideal number for Oasis, I pulled that out and Matthew and Matt explained the game. The game is pretty straight forward and along the lines of Ticket to Ride in terms of difficulty (not surprising as it is an Alan Moon game). Like TtR, there is a decent amount of subtle depth to the game, which meant of course that I was not going to come close to winning. Matt was the first to place his camels, and since I was the second person to do so, I chose to cut him off. Amelia and Matthew then followed suit and cut me off, which was the beginning of the end for me. As is also typical in games where everyone bashes me - Nathan quietly did his thing and ended up killing us by a wide margin.
After Oasis, Nathan bailed to join Dion Garner in some game that nobody had played or read the rules for before. And though I like playing with Dion, I do not enjoy trying to learn new games that he is explaining/reading the rules to - especially a new Wallace game. So, Noah Antwiller sat down in Nathan's place and we agreed to play Atlantic Star. Atlantic Star is a card game where you are picking cards to try and make 4 different "sets". There is a limit to the cards you can hold before you must turn in a set, and sets that are all the correct color earn a bonus. And of course, your sets are competing with the other player's sets - the higher valued sets of each color score more points. We screwed up early on and didn't take out the first couple of sets turned in, which I don't think had an overall effect on the game - it definitely helped me out by a factor of NONE. This was my first playing of this and it showed. Matthew was the only player behind me - because he screwed himself up thinking one of the routes had an 'F' component (when it did not), and he had to screw his longest route. I ended up with exactly half of Amelia's points when we totaled it all up and she was declared the winner. This is actually a bit lighter and is probably a good gateway game. If there was one universal complaint about the game, it was the theme. Everyone else at the table has played Showmanager before (Atlantic Star is the remake). Everyone also agrees that the Showmanager theme is vastly superior to the "making cruise ship routes" theme of Atlantic Star. I didn't really care, but I can certainly see where the Showmanager theme would be much more interesting, as I hardly noticed or thought about the theme here at all.
After our cruise lines game was finished, I pulled out Chaos in the Old World. I really wanted to give 4-players another go. Matthew, Noah, and I were joined by Greg Perschbacher. I explained the game in about 10 minutes and off we went. Matthew and I both chose to play factions we hadn't before and so Greg was Khorne, Noah was Slaanesh, Matthew was Nurgle, and I was Tzeentch. About halfway through the game I realized a couple of things. Tzeentch starts slow and the hits harder towards the end of the game with loads and loads of point - evidenced by the zero points I had through half the game. I was very near corrupting three zones, which would have scored an enormous number of points for me. Nurgle is an early game faction - they need to score early and often before their zones get corrupted. Khorne is Khorne - they need to hit everyone. Period. Slaanesh needs to avoid everyone. Noah managed to keep Khorn off his back and was making a killing on the dial. After he had double dial'd a couple of times, we ganged up on him to slow him down, but he finished the game off around the 5th turn with another double dial move that none of us could match. I really enjoy this tactical game. Despite the fact that the Old World cards can really turn the game in favor (or out of favor) for a faction really quickly, the game plays so quickly that it doesn't bother me at all. Our playing was a whopping 75 minutes including setup and rules explanation. I've found playing three different factions to be fun and didn't dislike any of the ones I've tried. I'd happily play any faction in a future playing.
After Noah whipped up on us, we finished the night with a quick game of No Thanks! I took a couple of low cards and teens early on, then got lucky and connected almost all the teens together. This was enough for me to pull out a win. Overall a good night, playing two more of my games I hadn't tried before and playing two other quick yet satisfying games.