I introduced five other people to Alien Frontiers on shabbat; two of the other "players" were actually teams. I had brought the game because I knew there would be a newbie, an up-until-now non-gamer who was nevertheless interested in trying out some games and who is particularly intelligent. I thought AF would be a good choice. It's actually a little dry as far as gateway games go; Settlers would have been better (as always).
AF is not a terribly long game, in theory, but my players tend to take a little longer than average. In this game, that little longer was a lot longer. Each turn took five minutes or more. Wow. I also made a few mistakes in the game explanation, having only played the game three times previously. These were corrected as the game went on with the occasional referral to the rulebook. The most egregious oversight was that players only receive 6 bases at the start; I had simply handed out all nine bases (we used the Kickstarter-supplied bonus rocket ships on the scoring track). After one player already had 4 bases settled we discovered the oversight and the end game was suddenly approaching a lot sooner.
Two of the players started the game with the force field card. That left the other two players, including me, the subject of all attacks for the first half of the game. Which left me, the only experienced player, the subject of all attacks for the first half of the game. By coincidence, the two of us without the force field cards started with the +1 VP cards, which are useless at the start of the game.
After the great oversight discovery, I sacrificed two of my cards to move bases around on the planet. This left all of the players within one point of each other, but could not prevent the newbie from winning the game on her next move, which I kind of expected from the beginning.
My BGG secret santa sent me two games: Castles of Burgundy and High Society, the first of which Nadine was able to bring back from the US for me (the other is still at her parents). (P.S. High Society is only $10.75 right now on Amazon.)
I also bought Thunderstone, which a local Raanana gamer has brought back for me from Toronto. I'm looking forward to playing it without the running score totals displayed as public knowledge, as they are while playing online at Yucata. Which are the best expansions?
Pre-order my Hanukkah board game on Kickstarter now!