Sunday, April 08, 2007

Critical Mass All Day Gaming

The kid and I went along to the Critical Mass all-day meeting yesterday and played a few games. We played from 10am till 10pm, in fact. It was a long day! How do those Gathered Friends do it for day after day? I took along a few older games which didn't get played and some of the newer ones which did. Here's what we played and my impressions.

TransEuropa - Even though I got fairly badly beaten, I still like this game a lot. In fact, the previous time we played Scrabblette beat me. It's always an interesting puzzle.

Portable Adventures: Lair of the Rat King - This one seems to be more luck-based than its sibling, Battle of the Bands. In BotB, quiet but steady play can sometimes win the game for you. When you venture into the Rat King's lair you can win 2, 3 or 4 of the required victory points in one adventure, so if someone gets lucky they can win by mistake. I claim that's exactly what Mikey did. But still, it's not a game to take seriously.

Hey! That's My Fish! - What a good game this is! I taught it to half a dozen people or so through the course of the day, and in most cases I beat them soundly in the first game and then played a second game where they knew What Sort Of Game It Was. I particularly enjoyed the second game against the Evil Count von Walduck where I knew I was up against a particularly cunning opponent, and the game started to feel very abstract indeed.

Give Me The Brain - A stupid game, yes, but there were a couple of kids playing.

On the Underground - It's quite hard work to play this with an upside-down map! Nevertheless, Daniel was upside down and he won. It seemed his line up to the north-west was useful enough to win for him. I'd like to play more to see if I can see any strategy.

Under Cover - (This is also called Heimlich & Co.) A simple and fun game for the 6 players we had. It's very simple, and I notice there's an Advanced section in the rules so I'll have to look to see what that's about.

Mystery Rummy: Al Capone - I've liked all the Mystery Rummy games so far, but this one left me cold. With two players there were going to be 20-something cards in play, but there are 10 different gangsters to be melded. It could well be that some of them never turn up during a game. A lot of the gavel cards which involve taking other cards in play were totally useless. Did we play this right?

For Sale - An oldie but an almost goodie.

Set - I love this brain-burner! Almost nobody else does though :-(.

Villa Paletti - Brought along by Bertie Beetle who likes dexterity games he went to funagain and bought all of them. This is a game I need to play a lot more of because I did such a crappy job this time! I'll have to give it as a present to somebody. Or else hang out with Bertie a lot more.

Unpublished Prototype - The Evil Count showed me the game he's working on. He has some very cool ideas! I hope it continues to prosper.

San Marco - I've wanted to play this for a long time because of the divide-and-choose mechanism, but after you get past that it's still an area majority game. There's a lot to like about this game, e.g. the surreal illustrations on the board, but I'm not sure I want to play it particularly often.

Anyway, the kid is having chocolate for breakfast. I'd better prepare myself.


Maria said...

I like playing Set myself. I've played it with Mr Coffee, and I've played it without Mr Coffee, just to improve my skills. I seem to do better without Mr Coffee around.

I think there should be definite penalties imposed for people who yell out things such as "That's mine!" or "Got One" or similar and think it's the same as "SET"

Also - a trivia question for gamers - if a person yells out "Se-" but doesn't finish of by pronouncing the consonant "T" and they don't have a set, are they penalised, or does it not count because they didn't finish off the word? And if you don't finish off the consonant, does it mean you haven't called out "SET"?

(A point of controversy with Mr Coffee who claims no penalty when he says "SE-E-E-E -" but then changes his mind because he realises it's not a set!)

Friendless said...

The rules we play are that you must say "SET", nothing else counts. If you say "SE..." then that's the same as saying "SET" and you must show a set or lose a set. Also, if you claim a set, you must point to the cards first, NOT pick them up, because some people associate the cards with their locations and moving the cards confuses them. I think the score was 9 to me, 5 to the evil count, and 4 to the kid, and nobody else scored anything.