Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mamma Mia!, No Thanks!, and Mmm... Brains! - What I've been Playing

It's been a while since I ran through what I've been playing lately and what I thought of them:

I was recently introduced to Mamma Mia! by a friend of mine at her birthday party. I very much enjoyed it, and so picked it up. Despite the English rulebook leaving out a critical rule (you should pull toppings out if you're playing with less than five players), the game is a great deal of fun.

I was able to play it two-player last week - it was pretty flat (due to the missing rule), so each of us grabbed two colors, which made the game more interesting.

Selena (one of the regulars on Wednesdays) didn't play, but she watched. She noticed the designer's signature - "Is this by the same people who did Bohnanza?" I hadn't even noticed - it's got some definite commonalities, however.

I'm thinking about tracking down a copy of Sole Mio, a standalone expansion - I'm just not sure if the card quality will be the same (I have the Rio Grande version of Mamma Mia, and RGG hasn't released Sole Mio in English).

After hearing a fair amount of discussion on the Geek about No Thanks!, I figured I'd pick it up, as well. I was expecting a light filler - and I got that, but this game has a lethal edge to it. The rules are simple: Either pick the available card (and all tokens on the card) up, or play a token on the card. If you manage to have a run, it's worth the lowest card in the run. Low total wins.

It lends itself to situations where (in four player), you wind up paying an opponent a chip in order to take a card they wanted anyhow. When we played, Sammy picked up the "31" card and three chips, and dropped her score by 32 in the process (she had 30 and 32, and none of the rest of us were willing to take the hit). Brutal. Evil. Wonderful.

I've been a fan of Reiner Knizia's games for a while. They tend to be among my favorites. At the same time, I have not liked most of the games published by Twilight Creations. Mmm... Brains sat on my FLGS shelf for several weeks before I noticed Knizia's name on it. I bought it the same day. It's another light filler, but (again) tends towards the cutthroat.

I also picked up Vexation. I like it a lot. It takes two mediocre games with not a lot of strategy to them and gives them an edge. While I occasionally enjoy playing TransAmerica or TransEuropa, they're not very strategy-intensive. Vexation allows you to slow your opponents down by a turn or two, which usually makes all the difference in the world.


  1. I never liked Mamma Mia... lousy game with too much memory involved.

  2. It was described to me as a game of "card guestimation." Since you can play out of hand to complete orders, you don't need perfect memory.