Two new games have taken off: Yinsh and Havoc.
Yinsh seems like a more accessible game than Dvonn to some people. I think this is an illusion. It's just that the game starts off with less chaos and then proceeds towards more, which is easier to deal with than the reverse. Anyway, both Tal and Saarya played me at least once, with Saarya winning his game.
Tal initially wasn't too sure about Havoc, but decided to play again and now likes it a lot. Something about it prevents me from seeing it as a "great" game - something about poker hands just irks my sensibility of the elegant.However, I can't argue that people, including me, enjoy playing it. I played with Saarya, Tal, and a guest on Friday night. The guest was a complete newbie whom I managed to convince to try a game. He enjoyed it very much, and asked me where he could buy it (I told him). Hopefully he will join us on Wed nights.
In our game, Saarya took a very long time for each round, and I had to cut out two of the battles just so we could finish within a respectable length of time. In the end, I won 28 to 24/24/18.
Sat night I played my first game of PR with Rachel in what must have been many weeks. Still the best new game in the world (by new I mean post-1970). We played with my usual buildings plus a few others that don't get much play: a 3/1 building that lets you place up to three colonists onto empty plantation spaces, and under which you can place new plantations (also useful to control the end game); Irrigation, 4/2, which gives you an extra barrel while producing; a modified Exchange House which attempted to correct the slight bug in the building; etc...
I started off the game looking like I was probably coasting to a narrow victory. Rachel, however, pulled a lovely play about 2/3 of the way through the game, crafting at a point when the boats and trading house were all almost full, and she had Discretionary Hold (allowing her to store barrels and ship some onto full boats). She ended up moving ahead in both shipping and money, and I ended up losing by a few points.
Maybe she should join the international competition instead of me.