Sunday, November 11, 2007

Two days and ten plays

I had two separate alliterative requests for two dissimilar but tangentially related games this weekend- Ricochet Robots and Robo Rally. Yes, robots and mazes, but no, lasers and destruction versus competitive pathfinding.

We had an impressive turnout at the coffeeshop on Friday, and despite threats of bringing a camera, no such beast appeared.

Margaret (she requested), Double-T, Ben, and myself first played Ricochet Robots (BGG, BUY ME!), the mental robot maze game, and Mike jumped in partially through the game and managed to tie for first. Cat, Leslie, Jodie, and Allison ran away from the horrors of spatial-visual puzzles and cranked out several hands of the superior trick-taking game Die Sieben Siegel x1 (BGG, BUY ME!), with Ani joining in for some five-player action, killing Steven Seagal repeatedly.

Hot on the heels and primed for action, I introduced Vitrail (BGG, BUY FROM FRANCE), a color-matching puzzle game, which also went over pretty well. I still usually handicap myself, but Mike gave me a run for my money, nearly skunking Double-T and Margaret. The prevailing opinion holds that we need to separate the levels of skill so that everyone can enjoy. Some of the girls call it the "Euro-Trash game" due to the cartoon hipsters and beatniks on the box.

With five, we could play the colorful and hence aptly-named Coloretto (BGG, BUY ME!), a set-collecting game with a nice amount of play (and dirty, dirty backstabbing) packed into a single deck of cards. I think I lost both times we played, but the company enjoyed it enough for two games, so that's saying something.

Sheila and Phil showed late to the party, and looked a little restless to just watch play, so we made room for a six-player game of My Word! (BGG, BUY ME!). Honestly, I don't think I suggested it any more than "This will play six. It's a word game" and I promptly schooled everyone. I hear the new deck edition has a Ñ, so you can play with Spanish words. I know we accepted some Yiddish.

Sadly, our favorite coffee shop no longer stays open as late as I'd like since the storm. Many places have reduced hours even now.

Saturday's event-o-rama took place at Simon and Ariel's new digs, in a totally awesome time capsule of a hunting lodge from the sixties apartment. Lots of super huge ceilings and nearly-two story windows, dark wood, mirrors. Very very cool. The original plan was to play either Robo Rally or Fury of Dracula (BGG, BUY ME!), since both don't have the same general appeal and require smaller numbers.

Simon made fresh guacamole and served premade salsa, and we proceeded to play a few hands of the filler du mode, Die Sieben Siegel (BGG, BUY ME!). With five of us (Ben, Daniel, Simon, Cat and myself) familiar with the game, I had no need to teach and we jumped right in for the playing. It's a good feeling to have a regular game.

Bennett and Leslie showed moments later, presenting now an oft-encountered dilemma: a strange number of gamers (seven) for how many games? The gold-digging double-crossing team game of Saboteur (BGG, BUY ME!) hit the table- hey, it can take up to ten. People liked it, and Bennett and Daniel fought each other with cart accidents and broken lamps, even when they were on the same teach. After the proscribed three rounds, Leslie proved to be the best at both gold-digging and double-crossing.

Dylan called and said he had just gotten underway, so we played a few short hands of Oh Hell! (BGG, PLAY MY WAY) while waiting. Mad chaos with seven!

Now that we had eight the gang demanded strongly suggested we play Coach Ride to Devil's Castle (Die Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg) (BGG, BUY ME!). Neither Ben nor Dylan had played before, and wound up belonging to different teams, so it worked out. The vile Brotherhood of True Lies demanded the absolute subjugation of the Order of Open Secrets, and won. The best result of this round is that we'll probably finally play with the advanced items the next time. Too often, we've had new players as part of the crowd. I'm always amazed at the amount of postmortem discussion that happens at the end of the game, and I am totally looking forward to playing it at BGG.Con (in four days!).

Half the crew left, so we cracked our knuckles and played us four-player RoboRally (BGG, BUY ME!). It was a first play for Dylan, and Simon and Daniel only had played once, and I was still hoping for Fury of Dracula, so we played a shorter one-board three-flag race for supremacy. I almost always play with the house rule of two free Options at the start- it adds more fun. Less than two hours later, Simon danced the victory dance of joy at flag three with Dylan on his heels; meanwhile I was barely at two, and Daniel hadn't even hit flag one. I dearly love this game, but there is a delicate balance- if gameplay becomes too chaotic or frustrating, then nobody has fun.

The last game of the night for the lightweights who need sleep and wanted to call it: Blokus (BGG, BUY ME!), a abstract tile game I don't play nearly often enough. Amusingly, I still haven't opened my copy. Every time I bring mine out to play, it seems like someone else has their copy already open. I managed to find a home for all of my pieces and won handily.


Simon Dorfman said...

You are the official game scribe, I see.

Roborally rocks! I like the team variant you talked about. If we did that, we could make it a shorter game and get people from Friday night PJ's to try it, I bet.

Randy Shipp said...

I'm interested in playing Cootch Fart (I think I might be spelling that wrong) at the con, and Marissa would love a game of Blokus. No way there's enough time for everything, but we can hope!


Ben G. said...

I need to get some cheapass games into the mix. I seem to have lost my copy of Kill Doctor Lucky in the move from Massachusetts last year. The Big Idea is a fun one as well.