Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 25, 2009

Participants: Jon, Binyamin, Gili, Elijah, David, Avi

Game night on Tuesday night by request. Avi is David's son.

Jambo

Jon 60, Binyamin 46

First play for Binyamin. He almost learned this once from Gili, but didn't get it and they didn't have time to play it.

Jambo, like Odin's Ravens and I suspect all of the Kosmos two-player games, is light like an appetizer. It's nice enough, ok to kill time, nothing that can't be interrupted by a better game. But if time is short and there are only two players ... I'd probably play Magic.

Binyamin thought it was ok, too.

R-Eco

Gili, David, Avi, Elijah

I didn't see the results. They played this while waiting for us to finish Jambo.

Stone Age

Gili 254, Elijah 193, Avi 127

Gili brought this and likes it. I'm not enamored with dice, but I'll play it. First play for Avi.

Shame on Gili for beating up on the kids. :-)

Agricola

Jon 50, Binyamin 35, David 31

We drafted cards. I didn't get any cohesive strategy from this, but I always prefer the cards that give you an extra X when you take X or Y. For most of the game, I only played two of these. Then I dropped a bunch more, purely for their VP effect, ending with 7 bonus points (+3 from a card Binyamin played).

I thought farming and fencing is the better strategy than house building, but those extra actions are definitely nice. With a 6 room stone house and a middle amount of animals and an early fireplace, I spent the last several rounds simply picking up victory points for whatever I was missing: a grain here, a field there, a card here.

I thought David was really doing better than me for most of the game. He had early and powerful farming. But somehow he never got beyond that. He had food, fields, grains, and vegetables, but no pastures and few animals and bonus points. And no house.

Binyamin also had no animals or pastures, and also had to work at feeding his family on a few occasions. He had a larger house, though, and a few extra bonus points.

Greedy Greedy

Gili, David, Elijah, Jon, Binyamin

I was sent this game as a thank you for posting about it. It didn't look like our type of game, but I felt obligated to play it once. First play for all of us.

The game comes with a pack of card, six d6, and rules. I don't know if I was sent a prototype version or the real thing since my copy was free, but the quality of the cards was just awful. Worse than any quality you've ever seen. In fact, half of the thin cards were matte-faced and half were glossy. As a result, they were difficult to mix. Oog.

It's a push your luck dice game. Amazingly, the designers found a way to make a dice game even more luck-dependent by having each player flip over a card before starting his or her turn which gives additional bonuses or penalties for succeeding or failing in your rolls.

This card thing isn't necessarily a bad design decision. If all of the cards were positive, then this would color your tactical decisions on each turn, which would make a slightly more interesting game. Unfortunately, many of the cards were negative. Your round can simply be ruined by a card flip, which makes everyone else laugh, I guess, but basically sucks. Worse are the cards that make you lose a turn: nobody likes to lose a turn (play less), yet designers keep throwing that mechanic into games.

As far as push your luck dice games go, it's hard to see why this is a better game than any number of traditional games with dice or Can't Stop. But it's not bad for the genre either. We certainly laughed a lot at the ridiculous effects the card flips had, and, like any push your luck game, occasionally tried to work out whether or not is was better to continue or stop.

There was confusion in the rules as to what exactly happens when one "rolls through" (scores with all six dice). The game says you can flip another card and continue, but it doesn't say what happens to the previous card. And some cards say that if you "roll through twice on the card" then something happens, but how can you do that?

There was no convenient way to score, so I was constantly writing and crossing out on paper. Midway through, I realized that tracking the superfluous "00"s at the end of ever score was a waste of time, so I kept scores without them (100 points became 1 point). After twenty minutes, we had had enough. Not our type of game.

Elijah said that he would enjoy playing it as a filler.

Bridge Troll

Jon, Binyamin, David, Avi, Elijah

First play for Binyamin, David, and Avi. Avi was concerned that he didn't understand the rules when I explained them, but he was able to pick it up as the game started and ended up liking it.

We only got halfway through the game when Elijah had to leave, and we abandoned it. Like me, David was not thrilled with the cube mechanism, especially about taking cubes from other players. And none of us like the mechanism where cubes are redistributed at the end of each round. The first time I played this, I thought that all cubes go back to the supply, forcing you to close your bridge to get more. And I think that worked a LOT better.

It's a decent game, all the more-so for the nice artwork and up to six players for a filler, but it feels like an even better game is in there somewhere. If the cube mechanics were just a bit less fiddly. And maybe a tad less luck in the blind bidding.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, my name is bejnamin as well, oddly enough. Im just moved here from the states and am an avid magic player i was wondering if you could help put me in touch with anyone else in the country who does. Please get back to me.

thanks,

jamie sellouk

Yehuda said...

jamie/benjamin: try http://members.pundak.co.il/magic/

Yehuda