December was another fine month of gaming at the Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club. We received a number of new games and books, and had attendance at around 10 each night. The following is a look at what was played (only in the group, not outside of it):
6 Nimmt x 1
We played this one more time because I had constructed Geschenkt out of these cards (having constructed 6 Nimmt out of an old Flinch deck). We still don't really like it much. But we really like Geschenkt.
Amun Re x 2
Our group really likes this game, a bit more than I do. After the infamous discussion on BGG, it's kind of ironic. It can be a bit on the long side (close to three hours with five people).
Geschenkt x 8
A huge hit with all but one person. I like to call this "Ra-lite", since the tiles flip up and, as the game progresses, become of differing value to different people. It's hard to tell if the lower cards are better, since there will be competition for them, or the higher cards, which, if you can get them and form a straight and get a lot of tokens in the process, you will win. Enough luck but not too much. A game of daring. Fun. Of course, I constructed the deck out of other cards. I can't see why one would buy the game unless you have lots of disposable income. (This would have made a fine entry in last year's shared pieces competition on about.com, for instance.)
Goa x 1
No matter how much I diss this game, the game group continues to like it. Even I'm willing to come around a bit, after I made one significant change: no flipping for colonies, just add four to your attempt. It still sucks in three player, because of the auction dynamics, but it can be fun(nish) in two or four player. Seems more like work than fun, though. And the luck from which cards you get is still a huge problem.
Magic: the Gathering x 2
THE game for many years before board gaming, and still fun to play, but I can't remember when I last won a game against my friend David K. We play by pulling out random cards and Rochester drafting them.
San Juan x 5
It seems limited in potential, but after 30 (40? 50?) plays, it gets incrementally better each time. This is weird. The luck factor seems to reduce. In early games it's about getting the best cards. After a while, it just becomes working best with whatever you have. You still lose if you get less six point buildings than your opp, which is a drag. I eagerly await expansion sets for this (here's hoping!)
Settlers of Catan x 2
Many of our players are relative newbies, so this is always a good game for 3 or for with moderate time available.
Puerto Rico x 5
The king of our games, still, and no signs of stopping. Almost all of our games are played with random buildings from my expansion sets. Now that I've winnowed down some of the broken ones, it's pretty much the only way to play. Still play regular online, though.
Taj Mahal x 1
Always a great game when it hits the table. I try to play only every two sessions, to keep it fresh.
TCP 4 x 1
Another in my series of games for three colored pegs (blue, red, yellow). In this game, played on a 4 x 4 grid, there is a shared pile of 16 of each colored peg. Each player is dealt a card with one of the three secondary colors (orange, green, purple) which he keeps secret. Each player then takes a peg of his choice and places it on the board, such that he doesn't put the same colored peg into the same location. You win when either a) anyone creates three in a row of your color, or b) you place a piece such that it forms three browns in a row (brown = all three colors).
I was hoping that the secret of who was playing which color would hinder the usual problem of three player abstracts, which is always being able to block what the third player is doing. Unfortunately, it was rather easy to guess early on who was what, so it didn't really work out. Back to the drawing board.
Through the Desert x 1
Starting to flop, unfortunately. The very colorful pieces don't add up to enough color in the game. It is definitely an abstract game; you can't pretend unlike, say Tigris and Euphrates. And it is quick to play, but long to set up. Doesn't hold enough interest anymore. Too bad, because I like it more than my group does, and it makes a nice introduction to gaming.
Tikal x 2
A new game for the group, and very rich. Love it. Just starting to try to figure it out.
Torres x 2
Also new to the group, and the vp acquisition is pretty easy to figure out. Now looking at the other facets of the experience, such as player interaction. Love it, but not as much as Tikal. Actually, the five action points in Torres take longer to play than the ten action points in Tikal, because there is less to do in Torres so you have to think deeper.
That's it. I'll send the yearly summary when I get a chance.