Saturday, April 15, 2006

Friday Games Recap

Yesterday, open gaming, Great Hall Games.

A lot of folks in my regular boardgaming group didn't make it, but as it happened, I met up with another couple, Steven and Lisa, and Cat showed up as an unexpected surprise bonus.

The evening began by my setting up Carabande (BGG, OOP GOOD LUCK), a first for my travels to Great Hall. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, this is a great game. Sadly long out of print, for no reason that I know of- Spiel Des Jahres games should never go out of print. I don't need to restate the many things that I've said about Carabande. It's got broad appeal, it's teachable in less than a minute, it looks good. This time we played it, I learned that it's a good litmus test for sportsmanship. Like the recently seen article on the Waiter Rule, I could make a case for the Carabande Rule: Take a game with fast and loose rules and see who takes advantage of them. It really speaks to one's sportsmanship and sense of honor. I played three games during the course of the night- one with five, one with eight, and one nearer to the end of the night with four. Most spectacular of all, GHG provides some large flat pieces of pressboard for miniatures gamers to set up their escapades and fields and units, so we had the luxury of a flat surface for the track. It makes a great difference.

Next, I encouraged a four-player game of Wheedle (BGG, BUY ME!), based on (as I understand it) Pit (BGG, BUY ME!). Wheedle is a fast, intense, simultaneous stock-trading game of begging, pleading, and (you guessed it) wheedling to get the cards you want to make scoring sets. Wheedle has a kicker, as expected from Reiner Knizia- the center holds a single card for open trading, but whatever leftover card remains there at the end of the round goes bankrupt and scores negative points. It plays well with four and six; I haven't tried with five yet.

Next, I had the opportunity to play a four-player version of Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle (BGG , OOP - SORRY), a game that has seen many names, including its currently published name of The Great Dalmuti (BGG, BUY ME!) and the standard playing-card semi-drinking game variation known as Presidents and Assholes. This is a game about getting rid of cards in sets, sort of like Bullshit without the bluffing. There's a significant social aspect to the game, as the winner of each round is the "Big Boss" and the loser of each round is the "Junior Intern." Seats change with the roles; you tend to stay on top once you get on top. Overall, I felt the game was a little lacking, but I'd very likely give it a go again or Dalmuti an honest shot.

After this, Cat took off and I got to pull out the requested Wiz-War (BGG, OOP - COMPLAIN TO CHESSEX) and got in a three-player game, which surprisingly turned into a knock-down-drag-down bloody violent last-wizard-standing situation with some very clever maneuverings at the end before we were kicked out by closing time. I cast Walking Dead on Steven, causing him to lose a half hit point per space walked, he countered by casing Lock In Place on me for a few turns, and started manipulating Lisa's treasures around my home base such that he could cast Swap Home Base after using a Warp Wand to pop through a wall before I could get him back and thereby have two treasures very near to his (newly moved) home base and grant him the win in sight in less than two turns. I came out of Lock In Place with Disease, Dispell Creationed his Create Door to keep me away from him, walked up to him, damaged him with Disease and then punched him to death. Most exciting! I love the interactions between the cards in Wiz-War, and I truly barely care about winning some times, as long as the play was interesting and clever and a surprise.

More soon!

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