Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Gaming Delight

I have to blame Will Ferrell's new vehicle (pardon the pun), Talledega Nights, for getting the damn song Afternoon Delight stuck in my head. The local art house/movie house/restaurant joint, the Alamo Drafthouse, runs custom clips for each movie instead of the mind-numbingly dull usual psuedo-entertisements for Coke, celebrity culture, and bad new movies.

But on to games.

Last game night at Great Hall had a few new people show up. As it happened, some of the regular rail gamers didn't show on time, so one of their number played a round of FBI (BGG, BUY ME ON BGG) as a filler/opener game. Our local crime-solving agency was staffed by myself, Bryon, the rail player Castro, and Norman and Katelyn. I taught this a little better for this, my second play of the game, but not one hundred percent. Players still had questions crop up during play, and I thought I had gone over them already; once again proving how critical it is to teach a game well. Of course, you can only teach a game you know. FBI played well, but it felt a little dry, despite the theme. It's possible that with three strangers out of five total players, there wasn't simply the group dynamic for a large fun factor. I won with about fifteen more points than second place, though all of the new players seemed to cluster together. It's a simple game for about a half-hour, and not bad as a warmer. Bryon found it a little too dry.

Next, Mutiny (BGG, BUY ME!) hit the table. By this time, the rail player had gone to play a different game, and the inimitable Brian had shown up, with his secret masters allowing him to leave the restaurant on a Friday evening.

Mutiny is a blind bidding game as the players try to bribe crewmen for control of the ship. Interestingly, you have two kinds of currencies (notice a theme, anyone?), doubloons and rum. Doubloons last from round to round, but rum goes away after you use it. The five crewmen have various powers awarded to first and second place, most notably the Lookout and his spyglass (demonstrated by Brian), which grants the power to break ties. Brian complained that he never got to really know the games that get played, since he only gets to play them once before something new hits the table. Mutiny passed Andrew Looney's tenth rule of game design, "Let's Play Again!" We wound up playing two games of Mutiny, due to popular outcry for more pirates. Things went much more smoothly the second time round, and I suspect this will come out again.

Ever-popular Villa Paletti (BGG, BUY ME!) went on over at the next table. I don't recall who won, but Signore Paletti's tower fell at least twice that night. It's such a visual draw- everyone wants to play, and it often becomes the center of attention in a crowd. I only have the University Games version, and even though I still want the super-large edition, (perhaps for the solarium, library, parlour, or study). I'd settle for the Zoch edition, which reminds us all that Villa Paletti (WP) won the Spiel des Jahres in 2002, which I have forgotten.

From a special request by Ian, I pulled out Viktory 2 (BGG, BUY ME!). He, his pal Eric, Norman, and I got in a "quick taste of Viktory". Remembering my time with too large a board, I set up a four-player game on a three-player board. We played several rounds in the last hour before the store closed. The game was fairly close overall, but both I and Norman captured some cities at the very end that would've turned the tide for the rest of the game had we continued. Overall, I felt I ran a very good demo- everyone would like to have played a full game. One of these days, I'll have to make some color play aids, though. Ian in particular expressed surprise at the relative depth of strategy available, though he termed it not a Wargame but an area control game.

At some point over the weekend, Cat and I played a quick game of Tony and Tino (BGG, BUY ME!). Like most gamer dudes, we have a soft spot for two-player games that our girls will play. The mob theme is still a plus, since Cat's been watching the Sopranos recently. Unfortunately for me, this is one of those games where a quick head at adding the various scores at a given moment give an advantage. I have to play a little more intuitively. All in all, it's pretty clever, and I finally won a game. Interestingly, the designer, Bruno Cathala, has a couple of forthcoming games I want to play: Cleopatra and the Society of Architects, and Mission: Red Planet.

That's all for now; So many games, so little time!

EDIT: Two name corrections; I extend my apologies.

1 comment:

quantum-mechanic said...

Hey Mischa, cool blog, and for future reference my wife's name is Katelyn.

Viktory 2 was fun, we'll have to do it again!

See you Friday night,
Norm