OzGamer came along to BookRealm last night with a box of games, and probably felt a bit like the new dog at the dog park - we all ran up to him and sniffed his... oh hang on, that's a bad analogy. I mean I wanted to play all his games. There were 6 of us, and the best I could offer was Citadels but OzGamer had Fist of Dragonstones which I hadn't played, so we played that first. As it turns out, it plays a lot like Citadels anyway with those annoying auction thingies. Plugh. It took a couple of rounds to know what to expect from the standard characters, and by that time we understood the value of the black coin as well. Then we got serious.
Trevor had managed to score 2 points in the first round (before we figured out why the black coin was vital), so I was way behind. Then coming second in a bid for the thief cost me a stone, and I wasn't looking good at all. I started by setting small goals - get a red stone this round, convert 3 different coloured stones to a point. RealmKeeper liked taking the black coin, and could be trusted to prevent Trevor from winning the game. I went in hard on the character which allows you to buy stones, and got myself a decent stock at the expense of my bank. I was able to get to 2 points, but then had no stones left. With multiple players on 2 points, and several with stones, those of us who couldn't win needed to be on top of our game to prevent anyone else from winning. However we blinked and OzGamer managed to defeat us all.
Next game we played was Lowenherz. I'm a big fan of Domaine, so I was interested in trying it out. Trevor had played Domaine, and OzGamer had played Lowenherz, so only Walter was really new to the game. We used the quick set-up, which felt like cheating, but since so many things were different in this game we at least were granted decent start positions. It's sort of different - the mines work significantly differently, the cities are more valuable - but it's also very much the same. I made a big move towards the end which put me a mile in front, and made me a huge target. So I got shot down. Trevor couldn't catch up so just made life miserable for people (mostly me). I was pinning my hopes on 12 victory points in political cards in my hand, but after being raped pillaged and plundered by Trevor and Walter I could only manage to come equal second with Walter, both of us behind OzGamer.
I didn't really like the auction phase - I don't know how much things are worth, and I can't tell whether I'm making a decent move. In Domaine you just need to assess the risk of someone taking a card you sell and using it against you. I find Domaine less lucky and more analytical, so it's more my style.