Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Games in 2010

Thus far in 2010 I've had several opportunities to get board games to the table. I tried Pink Godzilla for the first time with Trevor, Ghost Stories online with Tom and in person with Sarah and Zach, and a bunch of party games with a group of eight.

Pink Godzilla

Trevor and I were able to meet up in Worcester, MA while I was attending a brief culinary conference at the College of the Holy Cross. He brought Carcassonne and Pink Godzilla, though we only had time for a play of the latter. The game pits players against one another as rival video game designers attempting to program the best and most elaborate titles. Although fairly light and quite random, there are a few interesting mechanics in Pink Godzilla, and enough strategy that I would gladly give it at least a few more plays. The powerful cards can certainly come up at times that makes it much easier for one player to gain the advantage, but there are tough decisions to be made as to which cards a player keeps in his hand and which he gives his opponent the opportunity to steal. An auction mechanic for the commonly available cards on the table also plays a part in reigning in the random aspects of the game.

Ghost Stories

I am up to perhaps 5 or 6 plays of this excellent cooperative title, yet have only been victorious once--last night with the Mrs. and Zachary. Though we seemed to be overwhelmed by ghosts fairly early in the game, we were somehow able to hold them off just long enough to get a chance to face Wu Feng, who happened to be the best possible incarnation for our situation at the time of his arrival. Zachary died just before the incarnation was drawn, but the Mrs. and I were both in ideal positions with the right mix of Tao tokens to secure victory. Tom and I have played several 2-player games of Ghost Stories but victory has thus far eluded us. I recently read that the 2-player game is the most difficult to win, so perhaps that is not that surprising. I feel that I've mastered most of the rules at this point, although there are still a couple of gray areas. Ghost Stories still feels like a very similar game to Pandemic, although very differently themed.

Party Games

The Mrs. and I hosted six guests last weekend for games. We played Bananagrams (the Mrs. and I for the first time), Pit, Time's Up: Title Recall, and Say Anything. I would say Zachary and Chris were the two best at Bananagrams (with Rosa close behind), and I was perhaps the worst, only really being in close competition for one of our 8-10 plays. Pit was frantic and fun, though very light on the strategy. We found that since the bear and the bull tend to pull scores down each round, that it actually takes quite a while for anyone to build up enough points to secure the victory. The rules suggested playing to 500 points, but since we were eager to play other games we cut that down to 150, which is a good thing since even that score took quite a while to achieve. Next was Time's Up which has become our favorite party game, although the Mrs. has proven to be much better at it than I, a fact further proven by her and Zachary mopping the floor with the rest of us at the game (although Zach himself is a theater professor, so he perhaps has a natural inclination to be good at charade style activities!) Say Anything rounded out our night and wasn't begun until past 11:30 pm, so people must have been having a good time to be up for yet another game that would take us into the new day to complete. As usual, the game did not disappoint. It is essentially Apples to Apples but with slightly deeper scoring and much more creativity.

Here's hoping for much more frequent boardgaming in 2010!