Two games of Dvonn with Saarya. The first game I cornered Saarya into a forced move and then captured his last piece. The second game I cornered Saarya into a forced move and jumped one of his last pieces, but his remaining pieces were still two disks higher than mine. 1 - 1
Dvonn continues to baffle me. As my friend David complained about a few of my own game designs, there are just too many options at certain points during the game. The worst case of this is while laying pieces. Yeah, ok, try to ensure control of the red pieces, try to have the most liberties. Is there really anything more to it? About halfway through the laying phase we just dump the rest of our pieces on the board.
The capture phase is much more interesting, primarily due to the sequence of capturing a red piece and then jumping it across the board, thereby eliminating half of the pieces on the board. If this gives you the most remaining stacks, there are good odds that you will then win. My basic strategy is to ensure that this is so.
One game of Puerto Rico with Rachel. What a fiasco. I took Hacienda on my first move, and drew 3 corns and a tobacco. There I was, producing coffee, tobacco and five corns, with Wharf, while she was producing 2 indigos, 2 sugars and a corn. I thought this game was so wrapped up in my favor that I offered to start again, midgame. She obstinately decided to continue.
Somehow, I still don't know how, she managed to buy two big buildings while I bought none. She finagled, forced my goods onto ships, left the trading house blocked, etc. Everything. Perfectly. And she beat me, not by a few points, but 62 to 50. Youch!
I was going to say that I am starting to get tired of Hacienda, since, whether it gives you good luck or bad luck, it is still luck, and therefore not so interesting. However, even with the good luck in this game I still didn't win, so perhaps its influence isn't as strong as I thought. I'll leave it in a while longer.
I borrowed the game Starfarers of Catan from a neighbor, and am waiting to play if the opportunity arises. Chris Farrel gives it a 10, while most others think of it as overly long and finicky. It certainly is odd looking, but interesting looking nonetheless.
What makes me most nervous about the game is the "encounter" that occurs every two turns, which seems like a) it will slow the game down to excruciating speed, both by interrupting the game play and by draining players of resource cards, b) gives needlessly random results, no matter what you do, and c) always pits you against the player on your left, which seems to be a poor design (random, in this case, would actually make more sense).
We'll just have to see.