Sunday, November 16, 2008

The last few months have been an absolute disaster for gaming. Scrabblette and I spent probably 3 months being sick, during which time we were miserable as well. Being sick meant I couldn't go out to game with the guys, and being miserable meant I didn't even game with Scrabblette and the kid. I made a conscious decision to try out some PBEM gaming at so that I was at least playing something... and besides, I might find some interesting new games. Here's what I've been playing.

Conhex - Conhex is a proper abstract somewhat related to Hex. I'd like to tell you about the differences, but to be honest after about 10 games I don't really understand it. I think I might win one of my next 5, unless my opponent is getting better as well. I've improved a lot since my first embarrassing games.

Lambo - Lambo is one of Cameron Browne's new designs, and it's probably my favorite so far (though I like Mambo a lot too). One player is blue and one is white, and the aim is to complete a group of your colour (so blue won this game). When we first started playing people were losing games due to stupid mistakes. When we learnt what a stupid mistake was, people stopped losing, and very soon neither player could force a win. A couple of rule changes later, it seems to have settled into a very interesting game.

Superbo - This is the curiously attractive love child of Mambo and Lambo, i.e. it's a game Cam invented using the tiles from both games. One player plays red and one player plays blue. The objective this time is to complete a group of your colour containing an eye (a white hole), so blue has won this game. I don't really get the game yet (by which I mean Cam keeps beating me) so I'm not convinced it's as good as either of its parents.

Mutton - Mutton is a design from Cameron Browne and abstract game guru Stephen Tavener. It's a very curious asymmetric deduction game - one player is a team of wolves in sheeps' clothing, and the other is a farmer with a shotgun. As the wolves eat the sheep, the farmer blasts away trying to kill the wolves. The wolves' score is the number of sheep that die. Then the players switch sides and the new wolves try to get a better score.

I find Mutton to be quite a brain-burner, but it has a luck factor that can ruin your game - if the farmer has 6 options and guesses right, the wolves are in trouble. Nevertheless, there are few games which involve shameless ovine sacrifice, and it's an interesting game for that alone.

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