Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What Did I Play This Week: May 23-29

In a change of pace, I actually got to play a fair number of things AT THE TABLE in the last week. Finally settling in a bit from moving earlier this month. I really hate moving. I still have boxes of games and stacks not put away, but it is getting better. On with the rewind!

Kingdom Builder: Marshlands
I wrote about this playing previously The long and the short of it - I love Kingdom Builder, so another expansion is, in my mind, a good thing. This one, like the first expansion for Kingdom Builder, has some good points and some less interesting ones. Its hard to pin an exact thumbs up or down on this one without a bunch more plays. I also need to mix it in with the rest of the game that I have (we played with only this expansion) before I can tell if the new bits are just more of the same or special in some way (I suspect the former). That isn't bad to me since I like the game so much.


I finished yet another online game of Carc with my buddy Robert. He only lost by a little over 100 this time. He immediately sent me another game request, and insists he won't lose by 100 the next time. He definitely is learning (despite the scores). I don't mind Carc, but I think we need to limit the expansions to make the games faster. I like all the parts, but the games just take too long to finish when you have 150 tiles in play. Even if you are using the builder. And for online play, the dragon makes it slower too. So while I like being able to try and get back pieces and so on, the game length is dragging down my enjoyment of playing this.

Race for the Galaxy
More online play! I snuck in another win over a friend online. Very close game. There are still a couple of things I don't love about Race, and I wish the notifications were better in the application (and that it told you when your opponent was online, so you didn't take your turn and leave). That being said, I still can't beat the hard AI on a regular basis. Not exactly sure where my decision making weakness lies, but I haven't yet felt like I need to purchase any IAP (i.e. the expansions). I'm sure this will keep showing on my weekly lists for a bit, but it isn't consuming my free time, more like it is just there.

Though I didn't intend it to be, Memorial Day turned into something of a family game day for me. It was nice to get in a bunch of different games with just about everyone in the house.

7 Wonders Duel
While dinking around BGG the other day, I ran into a thread on 7 Wonders Duel that clarified a rule about the cards that have a good with a 1 coin on them. I've been mi-understanding this card. It means you can buy one of those goods for exactly 1 coin (regardless of whether your opponent has some or not). This was a revelation that I shared with my daughter (my main opponent). I asked if she wanted to give the game a go and she agreed. We went back and forth, and as we entered the third age, I realized she only needed one new type of science card to win the game. The top two cards of the tableau were exactly the same - a symbol she didn't have. I had to figure out how to beat her before she could get either card, which meant I started planning how to get multiple actions (I had a couple of those kind of wonders) at just the right time. Then I realized that she had The Messe wonder (which allows you to build - for free - a top row card, covered or not). Thankfully, she couldn't afford it, so I started working on slowing her down and hitting her with a ton of military. It came down to luck of the flip. I flipped a card that had three shields on it and was able to hit her for a military win right before she was going to build her wonder and win. This was the third time I've stolen a win from her right before she could beat me. She may never play this with me again.

My son wanted to play something, so I grabbed Splendor, which my daughter also joined us in playing. Both kids started slowly (for a change - they usually have great engines going while I flounder around) and I built up a good enough engine to grab good cards and then finally a bonus that gave me 15 while the closest the kids could manage was 8 or 9 points. Splendor is a fun game, but I need to play it more in order to play better. Normally one of the kids really smokes me in this game, so I was happy to sneak in a win over them.

Las Vegas
My daughter wandered off to make hamburgers for everyone for lunch, so I pulled out Las Vegas to play with my son and my love's son. I like this little dice game. It is generally quick and has a little push your luck. We always play with the optional "ghost player" using an extra set of dice, which adds just enough to the game to kick it up a notch while not making it longer or more than it should be. Me and the boys managed to get two games of this in. Through nothing more than shear luck, I won both games. My son somehow managed to score the exact same thing in both games and was last in both games (he, like many gamers, claim that dice hate him and that he never wins at dice games).

I finally got this to the table! Over the years, I've really stopped doing "flyers" on games. I tend to wait until the buzz is really big and I know more about the game before I jump. The few times I do, it generally works well (the only recent exceptions I can think of that didn't? Between Two Cities and Lanterns: The Harvest Festival). The flip side of that has been great games like Euphoria, Splendor, Orleans and now Yokohama.   I wanted the TMG "Deluxified" version of Yokohama based on two things - how much I enjoyed Orleans and how well I think they pulled off the deluxe version (and since these are one and done printings, I wanted to get a copy before the prices got stupid like we did with Orleans).

So I received my copy and reviewed the rules and watched the how to play rules. And then didn't get to play and didn't get to play. And then finally we sat down to play. And I had to go through the rules again. Thankfully, the game isn't too bad rules-wise. No, this game is pretty straight forward as far as rules go. The game is about running a shipping company in Japan and is your medium weight euro game. It is definitely Feld-esque in the number of different ways you can score (point salad for the win!). On your turn, you optionally do some stuff, take your required movement and related action stuff, then once again you optionally can do stuff (and by "do stuff", you might have the ability to take an additional board action or you can fulfill an order). In other words, your turns should be fairly quick. If the action is to take an order card or a technology card, it might take an extra minute to review your choices, but really it feels pretty quick paced.

Where it gets meaty is the number of options you have and the number of things you have to keep track of on each little short burst of a turn you get. There are a dozen ways to score points and you can score often. Because of this, its hard to know if getting 3 points and a couple goods is worth the same or less than an option of just 8 points. The game is fluid and quick enough, you can't really math that out beyond a turn anyway. Which is how I like games of this kind. We liked this game a good amount, though I think I forgot to collect points or coins from my technology or trade buildings about a dozen times during our game. The game setup supports a good amount of variability to each game and I'm excited to see if that also means you can take a number of different approaches to the game to do well.

Ticket to Ride: The Card Game
The last game I played on Memorial Day was a head-to-head game of TtR:The Card Game with my daughter. I like this little memory game, though it is definitely better with 3-4 players instead of two. We both should have been much more aggressive with taking tickets as we had huge stacks of train cards at our disposal. I managed to have most of the tickets with cities, so got a huge amount of bonus points. I also just flat out had more tickets, so scored a lot more than she did.

Have a great week everyone and be sure to check us out at PunchBoard Media!

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