Monday, April 21, 2008

New Games Played at ConVic

ConVic is a weekend-long games convention hosted by in Melbourne twice a year. Scrabblette, the kid and I went down for the weekend - the third time that the kid and I have been. Every time we go we have a better time as we know more of the people from the previous time and are less stressed about dealing with Melbourne :-). This post is about the new games played on our trip, but I would like to mention what great guys brendanm, karlsen and aaronseeber are for giving us lifts around town.

Tier Auf Tier - For some reason I was enchanted by the pictures of this game and imagined it would be super fun. Instead, it was just a bit ho-hum. I tried my best to make life difficult for my opponents, but the structure seemed to be a bit more stable than made for a good game. However if a cute little kid asked me to play with them, I would.

Ingenious: Travel Edition - Scrabblette demanded that I buy this when we were visiting Mind Games in Swanston St. It is a lot more convenient than the big box of the standard game, and we played while waiting for dinner in an Italian restaurant. The scoring track could be better - sliders would have been much nicer.

Streetcar - I played a 6 player game of this which lasted a bit too long for my tastes, but with fewer players I think it would be OK. It seems to be very much my sort of game, but I found the other players interfered with every plan I tried to hatch, and I just got frustrated. Scrabblette says I should buy it, I say I might when I've learned to like it.

Flaschenteufel - I have played this before, but we used the wrong rules. We USED to play that whoever had the bottle scored all of their points negative, which meant people regularly spent the whole game negative. This time we played that only the kitty scored negative, which didn't scare Brendan at all as he manipulated the cards so as to claim the last 5 or so tricks, and the kitty was a minor inconvenience in comparison. THAT obviously wasn't right either. aaronseeber suggests that maybe the bottle means you score negative for the kitty and nothing for your tricks. We'll try that next time.

Himalaya - I've played this before as well - the first game I every played against CyberKev, and I remembered it fondly. This time I remembered that the other players kept ruining perfectly sensible plans, and my opinion of it dropped a little.

Axiom - aaronseeber was the brave man who tried to understand the rules of this game and explained it to me. It certainly is a brain-burner. We spent a few turns discussing what good and bad moves were. Then Darren came along and started discussing with Aaron how best to beat me. When they missed a potential attack by me I decided to win while I still could and claimed the victory to their shock. I'd like to play it again - it's quick and intriguing - but I might eventually end up disliking it.

Race For the Galaxy - Just like San Juan! Yeah, but with a crappy theme and more complicated. Yes, there was something interesting in there, but I'm not really a huge fan. I had the military starter hand and implemented a military strategy fairly effectively, but lost to aaronseeber's produce / consume / buy VPs strategy. Meh... I'd play it again.

Key Harvest - I really really wanted to play Key Harvest, so I put it on the table and as I hoped, some people came. This was a game I added to an order to get free shipping, and although I researched it pretty carefully I wasn't sure I was going to like it. It has strong connection elements, but I wasn't sure about the sales mechanism. It turned out I did like the sales mechanism (quick summary - I choose what's for sale and set a price, you can pay me that much for it, or I can pay the bank that much) as I set high prices which reflected what the field was worth to me, and when people paid it I felt I'd screwed them down. Brendan played a very good game and I think I beat him by a point. I like Key Harvest a lot.

Kingsburg - This is another I've done research on, and I suspected I'd like. I was right, and I like it even more than I expected to. I was taught by Neil from Albury. I was wary of the invasions, and pursued a defensive strategy which worked just well enough to win the game. I'm thinking about getting it - it's good, but is it good enough to be played regularly?

Pandemic - This was my number one priority to play, and when I had the chance I grabbed Randy and made him teach me. We played very quickly so as to finish before the Take It Easy tournament, and as Randy was the experienced player he made a lot of suggestions which I followed. He was the dispatcher and I was the researcher, and we won almost comfortably. I did like this, and will get my own copy if I can. It will be a good solitaire game, though I suspect as with most cooperative games it will suffer from the "do what the most experience guy says" syndrome.

Caylus Magna Carta - I didn't like Caylus much, but since Agricola came out I can see that it did some good things. I figured that if they could put the good things into a much shorter game it might work. Y'know... I really really hate the provost. If he just moved at a constant rate that would be OK, but I do not like the mechanism of being able to pay to move him backwards. That costs both games 2 or 3 rating points from me. Magna Carta was better than Caylus, but I think I still only rate it a 5.

Tri-Virsity - This is a rummy game with letter cards where your melds have to be words. Scrabblette suggested I buy it, and we've played three games of it already. It is a bit frustratingly random, as one player can go out on their first time and another player can have a fistful of consonants, but it's OK.


R. N. Dominick said...

aaronseeber is correct -- if you have the bottle at the end of a hand of Flaschenteufel, you only get negative points for the cards in the Imp's Trick.

I really like Key Harvest, and don't get to play it near enough.

I'm trying to learn how to play Pandemic without being that guy who tells everyone else what to do. This often leads to a loss, but even losing is pretty fun, so...

Merric said...

I was reading your reports and thought "Randy... that can't be my Randy... he hasn't played Pandemic!"

Talking to him today (and picking up the games he bought me)... oh, he played Pandemic three times before playing you. That makes sense!

Good lot of games played there, John. Thanks muchly for your thoughts on them. :)


Melissa said...


I was sorry we didn't get to play a game together. Maybe next time!