Sunday, December 04, 2005

November Gaming at the JSGC

First off, here is a course offered by Barnes and Nobles on learning to play D&D (link provided by Slashdot). Think we'll have one for board gaming any time soon?

A few sessions in November were missed since I was at BGG.con . As usual, these represent games played at the club, not my own personal playing. Session reports are always available at the JSGC website.

Alhambra - I enjoyed playing this game with Chris Brooks and the people at Sunriver Games. That might have deceived me into liking it more than it deserved. I hadn't realized just how little player interaction the game really has, not to mention how so much of the game is basically automatic. You always buy a tile if you can get it for exact change. In fact, the fact that the four tiles available are all bought with different currencies means that you don't even have to decide which tile to buy with your money. If you can buy it, you buy it. The only thinking occurs if you feel that you have to compete with someone for dominance in a certain color, in which case you choose which tile to overbuy - if you can. Urm. Have to play it a few more times, including at least once two player, to make up my mind.

Bridge - Played as a filler, occasionally. Lots of bridge clubs in Jerusalem.

Domaine - First play for all involved. I liked it, the group didn't. They didn't hate it, but they thought it was pretty dry. I don't know what to do with these guys.

Havoc x 2 - First plays. Everyone likes this game.

Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation x 1.5 - I played a game with a member and we enjoyed it, although it looks like white is going to have a tough time winning. I set up the game for two others and one of them was so appalled at the blind element that he refused to continue after the first move, calling it a terrible game. The other one didn't look too thrilled, but would have been willing to try it.

Modern Art - First play. Out of five players, three of us liked it; one didn't, but he doesn't like almost anything, so I won't count him; the other couldn't quite grasp the rules, but he is new to gaming. Will definitely hit the table again.

Puerto Rico x 2 - Still the king.

San Juan - Still a prince. Enjoyed as a filler by almost everyone.

Taj Mahal - Another club favorite.

The Menorah Game - People always enjoy it, but they don't request it as much as they request San Juan (other than my daughter and her friends). So it's hard to say, definitively.

Tigris and Euphrates - The club find this a little difficult, so they don't play it, But I love it, and a few of the members like it a lot.

Traders of Genoa - Most people find the game too long and wearying, even when we start the game with two less rounds. A few like it, and I'm one of them.

Yinsh x 6 - First plays. Everyone liked this a lot, more than Dvonn. I think that people felt that the initial set up of adding pieces to an empty board was less threatening than the Dvonn method of starting with a full board and narrowing (ignoring the setup phase of Dvonn which seems like a different game). Also, the "Othello" mechanism is more familiar.



Jelerak said...

I've stopped counting the times I've read this comment about Alhambra: 'You always buy a tile if you can get it for exact change'.
This is simply not true and for more than a reason. The most obvious being that not all the tiles are worth points to you, and if you spend your money buying a tile you don't need you may not be able to buy a tile you really need later.

Yehuda said...


OK, since I've only played the game twice, you may be right. In the first two games that I played, I could see no conceivable reason not to buy the tile. The situation you are describing, while theoretically possible, seems to be a very remote one.

Unless you are at least three tiles ahead of the next scorer, or three tiles behind the last scoring place, leaving a tile risks the wrong someone else taking it which may lose you points,

AND the next tile may not be able to be paid for exactly, losing you the ability to recoup your cash expense after buying it,

AND the extra tile almost always helps you with your wall, at the very least.

I just don't see it happening except in rare situations, as I said.


Jelerak said...

I've played more than 300 games of Alhambra on BSW and I can assure you that the situation is not at all rare.
You can't fight for first position on all colors so you must pick your battles carefully.
In games with 3 players, for example, I usually buy only one tower or garden tile forcing the other 2 players to buy al least 5 tiles to win the majority.
Sure the game has a fair amount of luck but the choices are far from trivial. Even choosing which money card to take can be tough: higher is not always better!


Yehuda said...

How many players? Maybe this is more common with fewer players?