Thursday, September 07, 2006

Zertz, At Last

Let me state first up that I am not going to put any silly accents on words that don't deserve them. It's OK to make silly names for games, but making them hard to type is unacceptable, so Zertz it is.

Anyway, I bought this game a long time ago, not coincidentally on the day my wife told me she wanted to leave me. As my life consequently changed a lot, it became very difficult to organise a time, an opponent, and a good mood to play this game, even though I'd been looking forward to it since reading Stephen Tavener's strategy article. But last night at BookRealm, while the other guys played Zombies 3, Walter and I had a good session of 2-player games.

All I could remember from the strategy article was "go for the white balls", and "use sacrifices to control your opponent". So indeed, I used sacrifices to control Walter, and I made him take a heap of black and gray balls to the point where he had almost won the game and I had maybe 2 white balls (we were playing 3/4/5/6 rules, not 2/3/4/5 Blitz). We weren't really clear on what we were doing, until I realised that the archipelago we'd created could easily be used to capture a white ball. I tried setting up some traps, i.e. if Walter didn't see what I was doing I could make gains, but it turned out that he did see what I was doing and that cost me big time. So I stopped doing that.

I managed to hold on to win the first game, and started to get into it more in the second. Walter was still thinking some moves didn't matter, but I found I could often set up a trap in one or two moves, so it was worth thinking every time to see how I could do that. I won the second game easily. In the third game, Walter could see what I was doing and started trying to do it himself. I got cocky and managed to give him a free white ball, but he made a mistake forcing me to capture and gave me three balls. I think he must have made another bad mistake as well, because I ended up winning the third game with 3 of each colour.

So I liked this game, and so did Walter. I can't imagine how hard it will become when my opponent knows what he is doing as well as I do - the required lookahead will do me in, I reckon. I want to play more.

I have now played all of the GIPF Project games, and I think my order of preference (best to worst) is Gipf, Zertz, Punct, Dvonn, Yinsh, Tamsk, with Tamsk a distant last. I want to play them all again. I hope my next wife will play them with me...


Shingo and Amelia said...

Hi John!!
I'm glad you got to try Zertz.. and yes I like the game very much, but like I said it's hard to get opponent for it. I wish I had chance to play you guys while there. Oh well.

PiB said...

"Lamentations of a board gamer with not enough opponents."
This is why I like computer games. I always have an opponent.

Friendless said...

I always have an opponent for computer games, but it looks just like the thing I work with. Plugh!

PiB said...

Poor Friendless, I can see how that is a disadvantage. As a side note, you've been added to my blog as yet another site of interest.