Friday, December 04, 2009

December 02, 2009

Participants: David K, Jon, Gili, Nadine, Emily, Eitan, Abraham

I'm back, with many games from BGG.con. I wanted to break out two of them, but David insisted that I wait, since I would have to do all the explaining for both.

Dominion: Intrigue

Nadine 16, Eitan 10, Jon 9, David 8

Breaking out the new Dominion expansions didn't count, because we already knew how to play Dominion. I'd played with a few cards here and there, but the others hadn't.

Intrigue make planning harder, since a number of cards cycle or trash cards out of other player's hands. That may be more fun for people who like chaos, but it's a bit negative to those who like planning. Still, only a bit, since Dominion's usual chaos outweighs the chaos from those cards.

Many of the cards give nice choices and combos.

We played only with Intrigue cards, including ... oh ... whatever. Suffice to say, the most frequently heard statement was not "Damn, I've got seven", but "Damn, I've got four". And four wasn't much use.

It took me forever to get to five or higher. I think, in the entire game, I got to 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 each exactly once. No one is quite sure how Nadine won, including Nadine. But she got two Provinces well before anyone else could.

Dominion: Seaside

Abraham 36, Gili 28, Emily 26

I think Eitan and Emily had both played with Seaside cards online. Gili hadn't. I didn't see the game.


David/Eitan 200, Jon/Nadine 155

We played this while we waited for Seaside to finish. David and Eitan both went out first on the first hand. On the second hand, I called and made Tichu.

Le Havre

Jon 109, Abraham 96, Gili 59, Nadine 42

I may have the bottom two scores mixed up, but whatever. First play for everyone except me, second play for me. We played the short game, which was around 3.5 hours long, including setup (first time for me) and explanation. Second game should go somewhat shorter.

Abraham and I love the game. Nadine complained starting around mid-way through until the end that the game is too complicated and not enough fun. I said that, like Agricola, you have to know the flow of the game and all the cards and how they can work before you can possibly understand what to do during the game. When Nadine got home, she emailed me that she thinks the longer game with the special buildings and more time to pay off ships will be a better game.

I think the only thing we got wrong was that Abraham sorted the buildings by build value instead of card number. That made the wharves come out fairly late.

Abraham bought or built buildings at every opportunity. Even when they didn't help his VP value, he gained by not having to pay for the building, or having others pay him for them. He also smartly bought the buildings which produced the most food, and these were used the most often. But he had to sell a building once or twice.

My first game I ignored the ships and just sent my goods over to the bridge at the end of the game (netting 19 points). This time I tried to do the ships, but I'm fairly sure I did something wrong with the approach, and I was only able to use my ship once, at the end of the game. Of course, that may be because I built the last two available buildings, which net me 40 points in the process (so was probably worth it).

Gili and Nadine both struggled with debt, and they also couldn't see all the cards and so missed some opportunities, as well as some rules, being their first game.

Pillars of the Earth

David, Emily, Eitan

David agreed to play one of the previous games, so as not to have to wait for my explanation. But it was the first play of this for both Eitan and Emily.

I didn't see the results, but I assume David won.

San Juan

Eitan, Emily

First play for both, the game ended in a tie.


nijoos said...

Glad you enjoyed Le Harve! It speeds up with a couple of plays under your belt. My gaming group is able to get the full game done under 2 hours with 3. And it's really the better option, as you get a sense of developing your strategy. I find with the short game, it seems more tactical due to the limited rounds available. But still a good romp if your time is limited. The game also seems to shine with 3 as each player gets more actions.

Chris said...

I played Le Havre earlier this year and fell in love with it, buying my own copy last month.

I recommend the short game over the long game (unless *everyone* is equally experienced) since disparities in performance become even more greatly exaggerated in the long game i.e. the short game is less one sided.

However, I strongly recommend the following change to the short game for your enjoyment. Rather than doing without special buildings, deal 6 as normal and then have the two build a special building every time it builds a normal building.

The special buildings are vital to the game as they throw the balance around in unexpected ways making each game differently.

My wife and I have settled into playing the short game this way and are enormously happy with it.

Regarding the endgame, 24 points over 3 actions is the approximate "pass mark" for the major endgame actions - more than this (possible, I think, only with the Shipping Office) is big points, less than this (like your 19 over the bridge) is acceptable provided you're not dropping too many points.

Have fun!