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Subject: A couple of games of Golem rss

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Alexander Belyakov
Russia
Moscow
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Today I have come across the rules for Golem, and it intrigued me enough to print out the cards and sit down and play it a couple of times with a colleague after a day's work.

The first game was a bit botched as we tried to understand the tactics (there isn't any long-term strategy, really, only on-the-spot decisions), but we enjoyed it enough to scoop the stuff up at the end and have another go at it. The second game was a lot more enjoyable and a bit of a brain-burner as we tried to outcalculate and outguess each other.

On the one hand, the game doesn't have much luck - at least in the sense that it favors one of the players over the other. On the other hand, there is a lot of bluffing and blind-guessing involved, which gives you a feeling of rock-paper-scissors on a more complex level. Granted, decisions aren't as simple as they are in rock-paper-scissors, but since in the end both players are usually in exactly the same situation, you are usually pretty certain that your opponent is thinking about the same options that you are, and whoever outjuggles the other with the available action points scoops up the victory points.

The game becomes rather tense closer to the 30-point winning score, as you may understand that the 5-point tile may bring victory to you but not your opponent, or vice versa, which changes your options slightly. Also, you have to pay a lot of attention to your opponent's reactions - much like in poker, you have to control your emotions and try to fool your opponent in order to outsmart him.

I can't say that I like the 'voids' mechanic, as it tends to make games end abruptly and in a somewhat random manner (this is the way the first game ended), and we didn't care much about the artifacts. Otherwise, it was a quick (takes less than an hour to play one game) and fun game for 2 players.

The only question that we had was what happens if the golem is standing in a row with all tiles face-down, and has to move somewhere (but there's nowhere to move). We decided that it stays where it is, without moving, and there's nothing to harvest on that turn. There can also arise a rare situation in which the golem has nowhere to go at all, surrounded by face-down tiles on all sides, across both the row and the column it stands on. Nothing in the (English) rules saying how to handle that.
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