Saturday, September 10, 2005

Weekend Gaming

Friday night we were invited out. I stood around looking at my (meager) game collection to figure out what to bring. As happens so often, a game that I would not normally suggest in my group, or even want to play myself, takes on a new light when I think about bringing it to a non-gamer's house.

I wasn't sure if I would be playing with the adults, the children, or anyone at all, but I figured For Sale would fit the bill. I don't really like For Sale - I don't hate it, but it is not on my request list. I just don't feel that I have enough control to make it interesting.

So if I don't like it, why would it make a good game to bring? Because it is light, quick, and clever, and if people don't know any better, it gives them a look into the idea that there are other neat games around. Also, not having to think too hard gives the game a low entry barrier for play.

I ended up showing four of the boys how to play; they liked it, but didn't immediately ask to play again. Then two of the girls took the cards and looked through all of the houses on them.

I am also always ready to play Zendo, using any available household objects, and Opposites, a word game. I should build up a wider array of games to play on the spur of the moment.

Saturday Nadine finally got to play St Petersburg with us, and Rachel won again. I am solidifying my opinion that St Petersburg has some problems.

The first biggie is that the workers are almost always bought up - economically it makes sense, since they almost all go for 4 or less, so they are totally worth it. This means that ALL 8 buildings are flipped over, and the game ends in 4 rounds. That is ridiculous, and I'm sure not the intention. Either I have to figure out why other people who play this game are not buying all of the workers, or I have to limit the number of blue cards flipped.

The second biggie is the inelegant end of the game. Usually keeping the rules simple is best, but in some situations, like this one, it doesn't translate to a complete success.

I don't mind that you have to buy duplicate aristocrats in order to replace them, but if you don't have any, the last few phases are a big bore. In fact, about half the cards that flip up in the last round are a bore, and the lack of useful cards significantly favors the person going first on the last round. I would like to see a final bonus for all victory points one more time, so that items bought on the last round score. Did I miss that rule somewhere? Also, money left over should be something like 5 or even 3 per VP, not 10 per VP, which is effectively useless.

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