Wednesday, March 18, 2015

One Good Day

Sometimes, all you really need is one good day.

One of my online friends is in town for a few months, and can't make most of our regular Wednesday game nights.  So I decided to host it on a Sunday, instead.

Over the course of about nine hours, I played eight different games.

I started with Sun Tzu against Brian (who owns the FLGS). I really like this one, and dig it out as often as I can. After the first turn, I had zero armies on the board, but I still managed to win this one.

We then played Age of War. Three-player. Dice hate me, so I didn't win.  As we drew near to the end, everything was "locked" except for that one green castle. I had 10 points, Brian had 13 points, and Joseph had 12 points. The green one was worth three. If I got it, Brian and I would tie for the win.  If anyone else got it, they would win outright.  But dice hate me.  Brian won.

We then set up Argent: the Consortium, but, before we got through explanation, the shop got busy and so Brian had to break away to help some customers, so Joseph and I went and played another couple of games.

We started with Province which he described as "the tiniest Eurogame."  I dug it, even though I did crazy-poorly.  I think I'd do better if we played again, but I'm not sure how much better. I think this was the weakest of the games we played that day - but I don't know how colored that perspective is by my loss. Since there is little or no randomness, I can see this game getting stale, too.

That was followed by Star Realms, which I enjoy. The more I play it, the more random it seems to be, though.  Especially once you stir in the expansions.  There are broad sweeps of strategy that you can try to adopt, but, if the cards you are looking for don't come up, you won't get anywhere.  I won big, but that was because I saw that the initial set of cards included a bunch of red, so I whittled my deck down to only about seven or eight cards, most of them red. And that meant I had a lot of firepower (and not a lot of purchasing power) every turn.

While we were in the middle of Star Realms, my wife arrived.

Stephanie, Joseph, and I payed a quick couple of games of Murder of Crows.  I won the first one, Joseph won the second.  It's pretty random but also pretty quick. It's a set-collection game with some screw-your-neighbor elements.  It was fun, and I'm thinking about getting a copy for myself.

We then moved back over to Argent: the Consortium, and actually managed to play a (three-player) game.

Worker Placement as a mechanism has been done almost to death, so I hadn't expected to like this one. Especially given how crazy-busy the board is and the huge number of components that need to be used. With that said, however, I loved this game. Players are competing for votes, but we don't know at the beginning of the game what will earn us the votes. During the game, there are ways to peek at who the voters are and what will get their votes, but I ignored these and, instead, pursued a strategy of getting as much of everything as I could. At the end, Joseph had five votes and I had four votes. Stephanie had one.  But a bunch of Joseph's votes came down to a tiebreak, so even though Steph had a low score, it wasn't due to poor play.  My second place finish was a surprise to most of us, I think.

I've already placed an order with Brian for my own copy of this one.

While we were in the last round of play, Crissy arrived.

We followed Argent with a four-player game of Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension, a favorite of mine that doesn't hit the table often enough. It sits in an odd position for me - it's too thinky to be pure filler, but it's too random to be pure strategy. And there are two random elements. The first is the deal. Players get to draft cards, but you only know what half of the cards you are drafting are. Then there's the movement - your turn order is based on the cards everyone has played, and movement is based on the current position of everyone on the board. So it's possible that what would have been a very good move early in the round becomes a very bad move later in the round. Admittedly, this isn't necessarily randomness - but it's beyond your control and involves guessing, so I tend to treat it as randomness.

And then we wrapped the evening up with a game of Musketeers. Remember how dice hate me?  Cards are ambivalent towards me.  This is a semicooperative card game, where the players are working together to beat opposition cards. But they're also competing - the best card gets a bonus when you beat the opposition, and the worst card takes a penalty when the opposition beats the players. I barely squeaked out a win by managing to Not Be Worst at any point during the last round. Steph was only three or four points behind me.

Eight games, no duds.  For me, that is an ideal day. And it was an excellent way to acclimatize to the time change that always comes with Daylight Savings.

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