Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pathfinder (The Board Game, not the RPG)

I played an old Milton Bradley board game Pathfinder with one of the kids of a family that had invited me for dinner on Mon night.

Pathfinder is a game that looks like Battleship and plays a lot like Battleship, though it seems like it shouldn't. Each player has a hidden 6x6 grid. A player sets up a given number of walls between squares or along the left side and then sets a goal in one of the squares. So you start the game with a maze for your opponent to navigate and a target location for your opponent to reach. There must be at least one path from the left side of the board to the goal.

On your turn, if your hunting ship is off the board, you choose one of the squares on the left side to enter your opponent's grid. If you are already on the grid, you can choose one square orthogonal from your current position to which to travel (or one square orthogonal from any location along your current path). After any successful movement that does not hit a wall, you get to try to move again. First player to reach his opponent's goal wins.

It's cute, with about the same depth as Battleship, or perhaps a little closer to Stratego. However, it eventually comes down to a series of blind guessing with no real information (other than your opponent's placement style). Of course, it's long out of print, but you can pick up a copy at the above link.

I also played (at lunch) a game of Homesteaders with Laurie and Abraham. I was pretty confident that I was winning, and so was surprised that Abraham beat me by a few points. Usually, when I think I'm losing in Homesteaders I'm actually winning, and when I think I'm winning I'm winning. I'm still not sure where I went wrong. Laurie thinks it's because Abraham was pulling in more trade chips per round than I was (3 to 1). But Laurie wasn't pulling in any, and so her progress was quite hobbled.

Happy new year.
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