Monday, April 17, 2017

What Did I Play This Week - April 10-16

Happy Monday! No "Case of the Mondays" here (so far). Just a quick look at WDIPTW

Last week Alyson and I got in a couple of games of Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper. This is easily our favorite of the series (though we don't play with the vote, as I've always found it cumbersome). I did some counting and we are pretty much dead even in our playings, splitting the wins. We played two games of this with my winning the first 117-110 and Alyson winning the second game 110-104. She went first in both games (which I only just started to track out of random curiosity to see if it makes a darn bit of difference). The first game, she started out with a Ripper Escapes! and had a big lead (39-2), but I kept getting big doubled melds and pulled off the upset. In the second game, she came from behind and in the last hand scored a ridiculous number of points to leap past me for the win (oddly with the same score both games).

Over the weekend, I decided that I should break out Quarriors! for my "Play It!" monthly challenge (the idea being I play something in my collection at least five times to decide whether or not it should stay or go). Quarriors! (of which I have the base game and three of the expansions) is a deck-builder (but with dice not cards). Players buy from a common pool of available dice and use the result to summon a die, or buy a new die. If summoned, the die or dice are creatures that attack the other players. Then the other players take their turns and try and do the same to you. If your dice survive, they are sent back to the main market to become available for everyone and they score for you. The first player to reach a set number of points wins. Now, the game isn't special per-se, but there are a lot of special dice and it plays pretty quickly. Each game gets seven different creature dice and three spell dice available. In head-to-head play (like my son and I do), the reality is that we usually only buy 2-3 of the creature types and maybe one spell. Not a lot of thought has to go into it - the costly dice are typically much much better than the cheaper ones. And there is usually one medium priced one that is obviously better. At any rate, I won our first best of three match 2-1 and my son swept me in the second 2-0. I'm not making any decisions on this yet (even though I hit five games). I want to revisit WizKids s Avengers vs X-Men, which I felt had a similar flavor, but I kind of liked better. Quarriors! is simpler in that setup is just random, but I don't think I need to keep both.

Lastly, Alyson and I finished the weekend with a playing of Viticulture. I have the Complete Collectors Edition, which is one of my Top 10 games. I won* (there was slight confusion in the early part of the game from Alyson's setup we both thought she started with a medium cellar, but it was supposed to be a cottage, so she missed out on a few extra cards before we realized the mistake and thus the asterisk). We played with a lot of expansions - Mammas and Poppas (a must for variable setup), Properties (I like it because it gives you a way to get early money and I think evens the early game out a bit and speeds things up), Advanced Visitors and New Visitors (we always have all the visitor cards mixed in thus they are always in play. The extra visitor cards help to make more powerful cards more available to all players and feels more balanced to me), Extended Board (I can see why people might think this overwhelming, but I really think all the extra options open up the game and keep everyone from doing the same thing every game - lots of options and lots of ways to score points), Special Workers (I don't think these change the game dramatically, but they keep it interesting by giving players an extra option or two), and Structures (I can go either way on these. My biggest complaint of the original base game by itself was card draw luck for vineyards - you could get really lucky or hosed. Same thing now happens with Structures, some are really good and others are just ok).

We had the mafia special worker (he lets you take a non-bonus action twice), so I was able to use him on the yoke to harvest two different fields to get 3 grapes each round without any interference. I got pretty lucky with a structure that let me get three points for two grapes whenever I played a blue or yellow card (once a round) - I only had to make a couple of wines and fulfill two orders coupled with turning in a bunch of grapes to hit 25 points. While I like this game a lot, it is a little funny - I've found with all the expansions, I rarely actually make wine. For me, it feels like it takes too much time to build up my cellars, harvest grapes, make a bunch of wine, and find the right orders to score enough points. I've played this a lot two-players, so my view might be skewed slightly, but I know that once we throw in Arboriculture and/or Frommagio, my wine making days might be over. It doesn't make the game bad, it is just ironic.

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