Sunday, January 28, 2007

New Games Played On Holiday

So here's why I've been so quiet since Scrabblette got back: we've been on holiday. We went down to the Blue Mountains to Euroka Homestead for a week with some other gamers. Not to say that Scrabblette is a gamer, but she can approximate one when she needs to. We did a couple of trips into Sydney to visit friends and do some of the tourist things including seeing an exceedingly dull exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Luckily, I played several new games during the week.

Flaschenteufel - this is a nasty little card game where one player gets screwed each hand. It's fun to plan for it to not be you. I think with experience it would be excellent.

Expedition - ho hum and double ho hum. This game reminds me a lot of Australia which I really don't like. Luckily the theme doesn't suck anywhere near so bad. I dislike both of them because some players can have long turns and get heaps of stuff, often leaving other players to have a boring turn and get nothing. Maybe that's because those players have skill, but maybe it's just because the games suck? Anyway, I wasn't excited by it at all.

- I'd heard good things about this so I was keen to try it, and as we went through the rules it sounded exciting. Soon I realised it sucked. My fundamental problem is that if 1s are trumps I can have a blue 1 and not be allowed to play it on a blue trick. I know why, I know it's the rules, it just sucks. If I wanted to play a game where some trumps changed suit I'd play 500.

Phoenix - I played half a game of Phoenix and quite liked it. I'll have to buy my own copy and play some more.

Carcassonne - Hunters and Gatherers- I like the idea of a different Carcassonne with nicer tiles, but as I played it I realised that the different tiles just made the board look busy and the bonus mechanism, although it encouraged people to complete forests, wasn't very exciting most of the time. The game seems to be a bit more complex than the original with not many advantages to compensate. Ho hum.

Mystery Rummy: Murders in the Rue Morgue - Not really a new game, as the kid and his mum and I have played this many times. However it was new to play 4 players which made the game a very interesting partnership game. We played against our usual Tichu opponents, and I liked it a lot.

Elefantenparade - I like the theme of this game, I liked the simplicity, but it has really failed to deliver both times I've played it. The first time I got by the world's biggest ever kingmaker move, and the second time we got stuck in analysis paralysis trying to figure out how to prevent people from winning. Scrabblette suggested playing in two teams of two so that you can validly choose to help your partner and avoid kingmaking. I hope to try that.

Take it Easy - This is a weird little game which is half solitaire puzzle and half solitaire puzzle. Umm, let's add that up. I don't know if it's actually very interesting.

My Word! - This is the sort of word game I'm very good at. Everyone else played for second place. That means I like it a lot but will rarely get it to the table.

The Battle of Lanka - Scrabblette brought me this from India. It's a simple card game and I was worried that it might not work at all. We played three games with CyberKev and Mrs CyberKev. The first two games were won after one turn when the first player felt they'd got lucky with the deal and were in a strong enough position to win. In both cases they were right. We then decided that it should be compulsory to play all the way through the deck, which rule change caused us to play the game we thought the designer probably wanted to design. It was OK - nothing super, but an interesting experience.

Maharaja: Palace Building in India - I've been looking forward to playing this for a while, but I was amazed as I heard the rules that you could do so little on a turn. It didn't seem right to me. It turned out that the rules work OK but I can't add 12 and 2 and managed to screw up my first turn. I struggled to find a strategy based on screwing up your first turn and lost interest as the players who were doing well took their time making moves. I'd like to play again, but maybe just with Scrabblette for a while. She liked and beat me in the 4 player game.

That's all the new games I played while on holiday, but some other things happened on the way back home. There's a shop called Mal's Toy Store on the highway in Taree so of course we pulled over and had a look. They had a copy of Batik for a good price, which my FLGS has not so far supplied, so I bought that. I was going to buy 50c worth of lollies but the nice lady gave them to me. Then she mentioned she hadn't learned Tantrix so she couldn't sell it, so I showed her how to play the solitaire version.

Later in the day we stopped at The Big Banana. There's a puzzle shop next door, so we took a look. I found two games I'd never heard of called Landlord and Spin and Trap, and it turns out that BGG hadn't heard of them either. So I bought them for $A30 each. Scrabblette and I tried to play Landlord while eating a banana split but we didn't really understand the rules and have to try it again with our improved understanding. At the same shop Scrabblette bought a word game called Snatch which leaves an opening for some pretty appalling double entendres which I won't go into here.

I had a good session of Batik with BIL this evening, and although it's not a brilliant game it works OK. It LOOKS beautiful. I love Gigamic games - I have 3 now and plan to acquire more. After watching BIL and I play, 6yo nephew demanded a game and played against Scrabblette... he kicked her butt. He's a gamer, that lad, you mark my words.

Anyway, that's most of the gaming news from the holidays. Maybe I could tell you the story about... nah, if I even tell you what the story's about Scrabblette will... er, better not say that either.

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