Monday, February 22, 2010

When the Mrs. Goes Away: RftG, Party Games, BSW

Race for the Galaxy

I taught David the game on Thursday, and it occurred to me that I'm really not very good at game explanation! I felt like I chose a very poor route to describing the game and realize now that I need to start coming up with a game plan before teaching any game. Luckily, David knows his board games and was able to stumble through the weak explanation and manage to learn the game well enough to beat me despite this being perhaps my 7th or 8th play to his 1st...

This experience also makes me wonder if I may let my guard down when teaching games. David also beat me in our first game of Agricola, though I suppose that was his second game overall, just his first in a year or two.

Race for the Galaxy is a space themed card game that uses similar mechanics to the legendary Puerto Rico board game--namely, that each player chooses a particular role at the start of the turn to determine which actual game phases occur that turn. For instance, if no one chooses the 'Settle' card, then the Settle phase doesn't happen this turn, and no one will have the chance to settle a new world.

Race involves lots of strategy, but is fairly quick playing. The cards are marked with a system of icons that take a little time getting used to, and the game explanation is a bit lengthy, but thus far I've been very impressed with the game and would love to start playing it more often.

Party Games (Friday)

We had a five person group over for more light-hearted games on Friday night. The glaring omission here would be Time's Up, which we still haven't managed to get to the table in 2010, though we love it so! The fact we had an odd number of players dissuaded us here, though there is a five player variant in the rules that we will have to try sometime.

  • Ca$h'N Gun$ People do seem to enjoy this one, though we have still only played with the basic rules which really do not interest me very much. Certainly next time we play we'll have to move up to one of the more advanced variants, either the one with the specialized player powers or the 'one of us is a cop' version.
  • Dixit I have enjoyed this game every time I've played it, but I'm still not fully sold. Dixit is creative, which I like, but it seems a little too subdued to be considered a party game. Not sure what niche it will ultimately fill, but I hope it does find a place because there is some potential here. Currently, however, I would reach for Time's Up, Say Anything, or Wits & Wagers before Dixit.
  • Dancing Eggs The kids' game that works better for grown ups made an appearance at the end of the night because it is just so simple to explain and quick to play. I even won this one because Sarah wasn't present and she always wins! The game is fun enough that I won't turn it down when people want to play it, but I certainly wouldn't suggest it myself...
Carcassonne (on BrettSpielWelt, Tuesday)

I've been playing a lot of Carcassonne lately, both in person with Abby and online with the likes of Ben, Trevor, and Tom. This session was with Ben and we played two games, each of us winning one of them. I really like the idea of playing this one online, but unfortunately it is hampered by the inability of players to look at their next tile during the downtime when other players are taking their turns. In face to face Carc this really helps the game move along at a brisk pace since you can plan most of your strategy between turns.

Pandemic (on BrettSpielWelt, Wednesday)

We've hit a bit of a rough patch with Pandemic as of late, probably because we haven't been playing it much recently. This time we played on Legendary difficulty (7 epidemics), players were Tom (Dispatcher), Trevor (Containment Specialist), and myself (Researcher). We were doing a pretty good job at keeping the diseases down, I dished cards to others to get the cures and we were able to construct several research stations. In the end we were two turns from victory when back to back epidemics hit and the second one landed in a city with a cube already in it next to a 3-cube city. Red ended with -15 cubes and we had probably 15 outbreaks as well...

Well, that just about does it for my week of gaming: 7 straight days of board games that helped me pass the time until my love returned from Las Vegas. Not mentioned were a number of games I played with the kids including Yahtzee, Heroscape, and Carcassonne: the Castle, all of which we enjoyed immensely. Here's to many more games in 2010!

1 comment:

Dave the Red said...

You're explanation wasn't bad at all. I actually prefer getting a basic, incomplete gist of the game, then asking whatever questions occur to me, then finally working out the details as I play. I often get irritated at people who work too much into their rules explanations, especially when they start adding caveats and strategy notes. As strange as this may sound, I prefer too little to too much.

I like Race more than I expected I would. The rate that the game can be completed is a definite plus for me.