Thursday, September 01, 2005

August Gaming at the JSGC

August, 2005 will be remembered as one of the most painful months in Israel's history. And that is saying a lot. The game night was what I needed most each week. Luckily, we were able to hold the group together during the entire month, unlike last year.

We also got in a number of new games that I had traded for, bought with GeekGold, or bought really cheaply. This list, as usual, includes only those games played at the club, not my own personal list.

Amun Re - Now a staple game, the game with the "corrupt water official" is the best game that nobody doesn't like.

By Hook or By Crook x 3 - New. This was a bit of a departure for us. Three seems inherently unplayable, four seems about right, and five seems like there is too much competition. The game is lots and lots of blind bidding combined with rock paper scissors. Somehow it works, but just barely, as the game mechanics are annoyingly repetitive. Even with the repetition of the mechanics, the game feels like it changes somewhat as player's holdings and positions change. An occasional filler.

Dvonn x 2 - Dvonn is a perfect example of a game that leave you uninterested the first few times you play, and then grows on you. As you begin to understand the game, which is only possible after a few plays, it becomes a lot of fun - or at least as fun as an abstract can be.

Gin Rummy x 2 - I don't know how this got in here. Still a few bugs in the system.

Gobblet - New. Gobblet is a little abstract filler which I didn't get to play, about the size and weight of Quarto.

Louis XIV - The best game of the year, as far as my limited experience can tell. Little box, big game. I'm very happy to like it after not really liking Goa. It's hard to go against the flow, and I felt that Rudiger certainly deserved more respect.

My Game Prototype #1 x 4 - Still pimping it, although one company said they were willing to try playing it. Here's hoping.

Puerto Rico. Still the game, although less in rotation this month.

Saint Petersburg - New. Played now once two players, three players, and four players. If I had listened to the Geek, I would have thought that the game was solvable and has a limited lifespan. I'm happy to say after three plays that I think I may come to disagree with this - seems more like a Dvonn to me. I'll report back after twenty games.

San Juan x 2 - A good filler, hasn't gotten boring yet, but lord it could use an expansion set. I created a double set, but, unless I'm willing to write on the cards, it is harder to play a home created San Juan expansion than a PR expansion.

Settlers of Catan x 3 - Still used as an introductory game, probably because I don't have Ticket to Ride. Just kidding. It's still a really good game, but I do wish there was some balancing mechanism for screwy dice rolls. Hmmm. I think I'll make up a few right now ...

1. One player rolls 2N+1 dice where N equals the number of players. He selects 2 for himself and takes his turn. The next player selects two from those remaining, and so on. After all players have taken their turns, the player on the first player's left starts the next turn.

2. Record every die roll. If a player rolls a number where the next number further away from 7 has been rolled 2 less times, the results "roll down the hill". If a number closer to 7 has been rolled 1 less time, the results roll up the hill. If both, choose.

3. Every time you get nothing, collect a chip. Trade 3 chips for any one resource. You may also trade chips with other players.

Torres - Returned from Gilad's, I pulled off a squeaky victory. This game feels more like puzzle than a game, like Princes of Florence without the auction. Still very good, but definitely abstract.

Traders of Genoa - New. Borrowed from Gilad's. Played four players, we enjoyed it, but not quite as much as I enjoyed it at Gilad's. It was also too long. Next time I will cut off a turn or two and give each player a few bonus items to start.


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