Friday, November 20, 2009

BGG.con Thurs

More info and pictures

My computer decided to start working again, so I'll write while I can. Games played today:

Russian Fish

This is Go Fish for six players (possibly more). The 8's are removed from a deck of cards, yielding 8 sets of 6 cards in each suit (high clubs, low clubs, etc). All cards are dealt out.

On your turn, IFF you have a card from one of the eight sets, you can ask any of your opponent's for a specific other card from that set IFF you don't have that specific card. For instance, if you hold the 9 of diamonds, you can ask opponent B for the jack of diamonds. You can't ask for the jack of diamonds if you already have it, and not if you don't have one of the top six diamonds. if you get the card, you get to ask one of your opponents for another card, using the same criteria. When you ask for a card and don't get one, the person whom you just asked gets to ask next.

Whenever it is your turn, you can score a set if you and your teammates have all six cards of the set AND you can name exactly in which hand each of the six cards of the set are. Which means that many of the questions you and your teammates ask will not be to acquire a card, but just to inform your teammates (indirectly) about which cards you don't hold (and therefore, which card you do hold).

It's pure memory, and very difficult. It's not my type of game, but I know a lot of kids and other families who would like it a lot.

Our team won.

Le Havre

I very much wanted to try this one, even though I know the game is priced somewhat higher than other games in this weight category. But it was supposed to be comparable to Agricola. I like Agricola, though I'm not as big a fan of it as some people are; Puerto Rico is still a better game, by a good margin,

Le Havre does have some elements that compare to Agricola, but it seems more like Caylus in certain regards. It's a fantastic game, and easily better than the somewhat awkward Agricola. I'll try to describe it at a different time. Suffice to say I think my group would absolutely love it. I may need to swallow and splurge.

I came in second out of four with 92 points (the winner had 108).


I head this was a nice light into game, and it turned out to be a nice light intro game. Too light and simplistic for my group: scoring is too direct. Feels a little like Thurn and Taxis, from which is borrows a few mechanisms. But not a bad time. Again, more description later.

I cam in third out of four. Don't remember the scores.

Power Grid: Special

I played on someone's original version of the power grid board. I forget the name of the designer and of the special version.

The rules were the same as the regular game, with the following exceptions: There are four "island" cities that only have spaces in rounds 2 and 3 (for 15 and 20, respectively). The cost to connect to them is high (between 27 and 42), but you MUST have a plant in one of them in order to win the game.

I inherited a position around turn 3 or so, and it wasn't a particularly good position. The game was pretty much going to my RHO, until the last round, when my LHO foolishly bought a plant, "just because", which gave me access to a much better plant, AND opposite opponent failed to block the locations I needed to win. I had 16 cities, compared to no more than 14 by anyone else, but it was more their loss than my victory.

Dominion: Intrigue

I squeezed in a game of this. I came in second with 28. Maybe I'll write more about this later (but I doubt it).

Greed Incorporated

This is a Splotter game, and anyone who knows Splotter knows that their games tend to be longish, very creative, but ultimately flawed (I heard this was not true of Indonesia, but I don't know). This game is no exception. The object is to take your personal money and buy doodads for points. But you can only get personal money as payoff for being fired from your job as executive of a company. And you can only get fired if your company makes less this year (round) than it did in some previous year. So your job is to build a company to make a lot of cash, then burn it out so you get fired and steal the money from the company on the way out.

It's not at all bad, but quite unintuitive. I was halfway through the game and I didn't understand the reasons for doing anything I was doing. It finally clicked somewhere. But that's where it breaks down.

Because in order to win, you have to buy production not for the profit it generates, but so that you're guaranteed most payout when the company collapses. And then, only the people blamed get fired, which is a bad dynamic, as you can't blame yourself [Update: see comments]. That leads to kingmaking decisions at various points in the game. It's filled with promising mechanics that don't seem like they get used very much, since they're not relevant to actual game success.

It could be that we were doing something wrong, or that further plays will elucidate our mistaken ideas of how the game is supposed to run. But it was already a long game, and the payoff wasn't big enough to warrant another play. Certainly not for a game costing over $100.

Though I was initially losing, I came in second due to some insights in the game flow during the last four rounds.


Anonymous said...

Actually, you can blame yourself ;-).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments. But I'm afraid you're playing with 1 important rule completely wrong: you can choose yourself as the scapegoat during a company crash. I think this makes our game very dull and uninspiring.

nijoos said...

Le Havre is worth it... I too found it superior to Agricola. While I enjoyed the latter, I found no need to own it, but Le Havre was a keeper from the first play. Not as fiddly and more routes to victory than Agricola.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

The rules clearly stated that you cannot blame yourself. If you can, it's a definite improvement, but I expect that then everyone will always blame themselves, of course.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Sorry, I mean that the CEO can only blame the CFO or COO, NOT himself (the CEO). I realize that the CEO can blame the COO, even if you are both CEO and COO.

Jeroen said...

No, the CEO can blame himself (as CEO) as well - it is stated explicitly in the rules.

Marco Wong said...

I'm afraid you've misread the rules. In the 2nd paragraph of page 8, the Greed INC rulebook stated that as a CEO you can choose to blame yourself or CFO or COO. So you're playing with the wrong rules.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

My misreading the rules is entirely possible. If that's the case, it certainly fixes one of the major problems.

I'm still concerned about the acquisition of technologies. Your success or failure in the game is highly related to whether or not someone takes your card, which is not entirely under your control. Admittedly, buying your own technology card at double the value is a great alleviation to this problem.