Alec Chapman(ALGO)United Kingdom
Day 2 - Today's Front Page Headlines: Junkie Babies and "Anya"
So after a very agreeable breakfast in the company of our misled, but increasingly aware hotelier we returned for our first full day of gaming. Chris went off with others to play Robinson Crusoe, and I got some other games played.
Innovation is a game I've wanted to try for ages. I'm a sucker for quick playing pseudo-civ games (such as URUK) and the splaying and the fact that the cards are all different made me very interested in it. I am pleased to report it lived up to my hopes, though the scoring system and achievements are a bit beyond my ken right now. The various cards symbols and dogma probably don't really call to mind the sorts of things that the titles do e.g. "Archery", but one game isn't enough to know for sure. The process was fun (and that is the main thing) and I only lost by two points thanks to the aforementioned Archery scaring Martin a bit - but it was all luck at this early stage.
I would be happy to get this game in a trade or for Christmas, say, but I don't think I would play it enough to make paying cash money for it worthwhile - even if the 10:100 stuff didn't ban me from that anyway.
Next up, Martin had picked up an astonishing bargain in the form of Extrablatt at Essen and this game was great fun. You build sections of colour giving "stories" various sizes and trying to get the largest area of each colour and largest story of each headline. It is also possible to double up on a headline if there is a photo token available. There is a system for hurting your opponents by, wait for it, placing adverts for prostitutes (both male and female, ladies) in their papers.
A reprint was supposedly on the cards, but is in development hell apparently - though I would expect the prostitutes to be replaced with other adverts (for boring things like chocolate bars and oranges) which I think would ruin most of the jokes we came up with, but people are very sensitive on some subjects.
Again, this is a game I would play again but I would not want to own it - even a reprint.
I believe this is the point I went off and had some lunch. Not sure I can remember the main course, after the enormous chocolate sundae I ate immediately afterwards.
Today was the day I got my first couple of plays of Cosmic in. The main game today was extremely long (c. 2 hours I think) thanks to the presence of the Pygmy, the Poison and the Filth flare that kicks people off planets making points scoring very difficult. It also featured the first of JonD's wins (he won 100% of his Cosmic games, the b-----d!) when he stabbed Martin for the win while pretending to negotiate "just to get it over with". Great play.
I think this day also featured the game where the Winner got ripped to pieces and where we all decided that the Dictator is a terrible alien. He wasn't fun to play against and according to Jon wasn't fun to play as, either.
Obviously I adore Cosmic so I won't indulge my propensity to waffle on about how amazing it is.
Indigo was one we tried after coming back from Pizza. It is not very good, being a sort of alternative to Tsuro but with shared points scoring areas for board pieces rather than relying on last man standing rules. Essentially it is very average and is definitely the worst game I played all weekend.
Villa Paletti was my most played game (6 plays!) and was also played by lots of people over the weekend. I would say it was a huge success. Essentially a tower building game where you want your colour of pillars to get as high as possible, it has a pretty neat set of considerations that start with redistributing weight to free up your pieces at the bottom, continue with placing them somewhere they will not get trapped in future, all the while considering not only the balance of the structure, but which pieces contribute to its centre of gravity. I am not sure about the way it chooses a winner and there is a sort of first player advantage. Add to that the various different rule sets meant I had to come up with a middle way on challenging new floors being played (i.e. I'm pretty sure you can only move your own pieces, but at some point only other players' pieces can be moved). Despite its possible shortcomings as a deep strategy game(!) the dexterity element is compelling.
Only one game (one in which I was not involved, of course) made it to the top level, only to collapse when one player tried to place the final piece on top of another piece. Kudos to those players - though I doubt you were being as cruel as my games were!
Libertalia is, however, a game I can't see the attraction of. Ostensibly a game of pirate ships it seems more of a bidding game with an extremely irritating tiebreak mechanism. I don't want to be to judgemental since with only three hours sleep due to hail storms(!) i was pretty much collapsing with exhaustion during this one. I think I came last, but I don't really mind. Didn't like it - not looking to play it again. Oddly Indigo was less inspiring but that'll be because it had zero impact on me rather than a negative one.
However, as you can see, the attraction of a big get together like this is all the different games you can play and all the different people you can play with. Every single opponent was fun to play against (even the Zendo master from hell was a fun person) and great company. I only saw the good side of the hobby all weekend. Partly perhaps because of this particular group, maybe because of the games I chose to play - I like to think however I got a fair representation of the group actually.
The night ended with a fateful agreement - Soren, Chris and I would fulfil our commitment to play Die Macher, the 5 hour game of German elections, starting at 10:30 the following morning. To see how we got on (considering another 2am finish) check out my next blog post!