Monday, May 22, 2006

Friday Gaming Recap

When I arrived at Great Hall Friday, Dan, Kelly, Steve, and a fourth guy had started a game of Through the Desert (BGG, BUY ME!). I've played this once, and I think I won, but I oddly feel no real draw to play it again. I fully admit that its candy pastels could bias me, but I suspect that my feelings have more to do with the strategy itself. Perhaps I just didn't get the game, as I know that a lot of others really enjoy this one- it's the designer's favorite of his designs. Maybe I just haven't played it in long enough to have more than an observational reaction instead of my usual visceral response. Taking a closer look, I should like this sort of game- you're laying camels on a hex desert to connect oases and score points based on territory and routes. I really need to give it an honest go again.

Upon request from one of the Nicks from the Renegades, I brought
Deflexion (BGG, BUY ME!), the laser game. I played about three or four games with Steve, with a surprise visit from John. I like this game more and more as I play it. I can't say for certain that I'm getting better at playing it, but I kicked ass and got same handed to me on Imhotep, the alternate setup- it's vicious. Now that I've had the chance to drag the box around, I have to complain about its size- a shade too bulky, coming in just under 16" x 18" x 3". After Nick eventually showed up, this game did get played more without me, and I know it went over well. I still need to get a miniature smoke machine, or just some dry ice.

Now, the moment that some of you have been waiting for- the moment where I admit that I made a huge error in the rules and basically have been playing Colossal Arena (BGG, BUY ME!) wrong for ever- literally as long as I've been playing the game and through both editions. The game has a rule that allows only one bet per creature per round- so you can't double up bets. This completely changes the entire game. On the bright side, we've got a variant that I've never seen mentioned. On the other hand, the five new players (one four-player game with myself, Kelly and two new players, John and Steve; one five-player game with myself, John and Steve again plus and two more new players, Nick and Marc) I introduced the game to got to learn the importance of reading the rules. On the real bright side, now I have an excuse to keep bringing and playing the game. In my defense, Judson reports that the original rules for Titan are ambiguous.

Finally, I brought out a game I acquired via a trade through Board Game Geek: Cape Horn (BGG, BUY ME!), a clever little tile-laying game of racing around Cape Horn (in South America, as opposed to Cape Horn over on the Lower East Side). The tiles, aka "wind cards," all dictate the possible direction a ship can travel. You win in one of two ways: land on differently-colored nautical stations in two of the three different regions and cross the finish line, or hit three differently-colored nautical stations in all three zones. I like the balance between acting and reacting, between planning for unforeseen events and actively leader-bashing. The rules for tile-laying all but require that you interfere with the other players, so there's a good about of interaction. I didn't win, but I don't care. I'm glad I own this one.

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