Friday, February 02, 2007

January Gaming at the JSGC

These games were played at the Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club last month. As usual, the list does not include games that I personally played outside the club.

Amun Re - While I no longer have a copy, some of the members do. This remains a favorite of the group. I also enjoy it, although as a second tier, not a first tier, gaming experience.

Bridge - The classic card game. We'll still be playing this, probably unchanged, in a hundred years.

Caylus x 3 - I finally hit my limit with this one. It was always annoyingly too long for me, but this time I got fed up with its length and fiddliness. Others still enjoy it.

Children of Fire: the Board Game x 2 - A nice blind-bidding area control game with pretty design and elegant play, but with a few end-game flaws. The game needs a turn limit, and possibly some changes to the scoring structure.

Cosmic Encounter - A classic game of alliances and wild mind-bending fun.

El Grande - An excellent area-control bidding game.

Feurio - An awful excuse for a game, with one good mechanism. I apologize to the designer, but that's our experience.

For Sale - Bugs me, but I will bring this out as a very quick light introductory game for any group of 3 to 6. A bit more luck than I like in a game, but no denying its elegance and appeal.

Go - The best two-player abstract game for four thousand years, and for a reason.

Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - A Stratego-like game that is thematic and fun.

Lost Cities - Many other groups seem to think this is a great two-player intro card game, but so far our reaction has been "eh."

Magic: The Gathering - A modern classic game design, the collectible card game. Always enjoyable.

The Menorah Game x 3 - My own game design, we tried a few variants to the tile distribution for more players and weren't happy with it. Still best 3 to 4 players. I have a few copies of the prototype left to sell.

Metro - A light game which I didn't get to play, but understand that it's ok.

Mykerinos x 2 - A nice mid-length area-control game. Remains to be seen how it holds up.

Netrunner x 2 - The second CCG I've played (the first was Magic). I've played twice so far, still don't fully grasp the rules, and I love it.

Palazzo - Supposed to be a better version of Alhambra, which doesn't say much, and it isn't much. It's ok.

Poker - Those who like this sort of thing already know what it is.

Power Grid - A great heavy game, even for new players, although a bit high on the math at the end-game. Also sometimes hard to catch up. But always interesting. Five players may be too many, six definitely is.

Princes of Florence x 2 - An excellent sedate game of calculations, auctions, and planning. Our quietest heavy game. Seems to get better with time, oddly enough, although it could use an expansion (I created one on BGG).

Puerto Rico x 2 - Still the number one board game, a great experience every time (except with five very slow players).

Saboteur - a light filler game for 3 to 10, it seems fun. The game is unbalanced with too many or too few saboteurs, however.

San Juan - A nice mid length filler for 2 to 4, although not much new after a hundred plays.

Santiago x 2 - Still an excellent auction game, very elegant with a bit of math near the end (but less than Power Grid).

Settlers of Catan - The best introductory game, still. People sometimes outgrow it, but that's fine.

Tichu x 4 - A very nice partnership game alternative to Bridge, much less deep.

Wall of China - I didn't see this, so I can't comment. It was well received.

Wildlife x 3 - A nice heavy mid-to-heavy game, but five or six players is too many.

Yinsh - A very nice two-player abstract.



Simon J said...

I'm with you on Caylus. I had to sit through a 4 1/2 hour game over Christmas!

Some of the mechanisms just seem unnecessary. For example I'm sure the game could be made to work with "takes turns clockwise, start player rotates each round", rather than the mechanism used.

I'd almost say the favour tracks could be removed as well, so that everytime you earn a favour you just get some fixed amount of gold or points or cubes, except that would remove the building track.

I really hope that Caylus Magna Carta can do for Caylus what San Juan did for Puerto Rico, because at its heart Caylus has some good ideas.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Caylus has some excellent ideas. I particularly like the way that the entire game can shift between a castle oriented game or building oriented game, depending on how the players take it and what buildings get built.

In this way, it's similar to Puerto Rico.