A bunch of regulars were out teaching games at some sort of other event. Avraham is a new guy who lives nearby and who's just getting into board games.
HavocJon 38, Nadine 29, Sergei 21, Max 18
Those scores are approximate, since I didn't write them down when the game ended. I've always found this game to be fairly enjoyable, if not stellar, but I enjoyed this session more than most. Maybe because I won.
Max and Sergei were first time players. Sergei emptied his hand fairly early, winning the first two battles, as well as the fourth, but then having and empty hand for the rest of the game. He tried to win one more battle with a five card hand that was full house; when he lost the battle, his hand was literally empty.
I came in second in some of these battles, and then won the key ones I needed. I remembered mid-game that the Dogs can be used to form a simple straight flush with low cards, which helped win one of them.
Power GridNadine 14, Jon 13 (142), Max 13 (130), Avraham 13 (86), Sergei 13 (74)
This was a first play for both Avraham and Sergei. They took to it well enough, although Avraham thought it was a bit too long. We played on France, without the northeast area.
I started alone in the south, Max in the east, and the others fighting around Paris and suburbs. I remained undisturbed until mid-game. The game eventually came down to who could buy the best plant capacity. Max started off with the most in the end-game, but and incremental plant I bought allowed Nadine to buy a better plant with which she was able to win the game.
It's AliveAvraham+, Nadine, Jon
I introduced Avraham to this game. We first tried the basic version, which I lost soundly. It's really quite different in strategy from the advanced version. It's slightly better in one sense, in that the lower cost tiles are also beneficial. But it lacks a certain depth.
Avraham 49. Jon 46, Nadine 41
And then we played the advanced version. I ended the game, but I couldn't beat Avraham's coffin laden board. I don't think I even pocked any coffins in the game.
We tried two variants: 1) Buying out of the graveyard for two coins instead of face value. This didn't work, as it made the Villager cards less useful. 2) Combine coins and cards for when you could use cards. This had the effect I knew it would, making cards simply feel like cash, which I don't like.
As far as I'm concerned, the game stays the way it is.