Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The List: October 2011

I've made good progress on my games to play list so I thought I would post a quick update.

Games Off The List

  • Merlin's Company hit the table during our last game night, and was quite easy to pick up. Shadows Over Camelot is a fairly simple game and the expansion only added a little bit of complexity. I'm fairly confident this will get played again soon as Merlin's Company seems to add good things to the game.
  • Lord of the Rings: The Card Game looks very promising. It is a combination of the deck building in Magic: The Gathering, the co-operative game play of Ghost Stories, and a unique quest/adventure system that is very interesting and thematic. I played the first quest scenario in the game (Passage Through Mirkwood) partially with Abby's assistance. At first the game didn't seem to be all that difficult but near the end enemies really started to pile up and we won by a very slim margin. Looking forward to many more plays of this!
  • Memoir '44 I played with Mike several weeks ago. We both enjoyed it but I'm not sure if there will be many opportunities for use to play the game as usually there are 5 of us and not 2! We do at the very least need to replay the first scenario on opposite sides one of these days...
  • Say Anything we played three weeks ago at game night, and again with the in-laws more recently. It is a solid game, and fun, but I find I'm generally not that interested in party games this light anymore. Time's Up and hidden role games like Werewolf & The Resistance are much more substantial and satisfying in party situations.

Games Never Played

  • Shogun [Have yet to read the rules for this one.]
  • Battlestar Galactica [Read the rules almost twice through. I really need to play a solo walk through of the game before bringing it to the table, however, as it is quite complicated!]
  • Bang! [Read the rules to this and it looks quite simple. We will play it the next time we have 5-7 players.]

Games Not Yet Played This Year

  • Alhambra
  • Carcassonne
  • Carcassonne: The Castle
  • Metropolys
  • Wits & Wagers [Next party situation I'll try to get this to the table.]
  • Blokus
  • El Grande [Thinking of trying this one out with our 5 player family group.]
  • Puerto Rico
  • Scotland Yard [I feel like this one will work with the Mrs. & the kids.]

Monday, October 3, 2011

Game Night 10/1/11

Attendees: Nicole, Ivan, Jessica, Tom, the Mrs., and I

Game Played: Shadows Over Camelot (with the expansion, Merlin's Company)

This was our first play of the game in quite some time since it had become too easy for the loyalists to win and too difficult for the traitor to have an impact on the game outcome. We added Merlin's company for the first time which spiced up the game in a variety of ways, most significantly with the addition of the possibility of a second traitor. The expansion suggests only including a second traitor card with 7 or 8 players, but even with 6 this time we wanted the chance for 2 to liven things up a bit. We decided on 9 loyalty cards total, 7 loyal & 2 traitor--in retrospect we should have gone with 5 loyal & 2 traitor to guarantee one enemy player, since the resulting game had no traitors and thus was far too easy again!

This was Nicole's first play of the game and we at first suspected her as a traitor simply because she seemed overwhelmed. What we didn't really account for is getting thrown into a game of Shadows for the first time with experienced players and the expansion is in itself enough to have this result. The Mrs. and Tom also seemed to suspect me early, and it is true that my opening actions did fit into a high suspicion mold. I had a large hand of cards (after drawing for my two opening turns at Camelot) and still did not have any clear advantages to any quest, which is definitely a sign of a traitor. Also, the quest I did undertake first was that for Lancelot's Armor, which is a very beneficial quest for a traitor to win as it only adds one white sword to the round table and gives a traitor multiple opportunities to hurt the loyalists through stealthy black card play. In my defense, I think my early game moves were the most advantageous ones for me to make to help further our cause, but they did cast some doubt on my loyalty at the time.


The game was still enjoyable despite being another easy win, people seemed to like the new travel cards which injected some additional drama & uncertainty into game play, and some of the other new card additions (such as the variable value fight cards and the new witches black cards) were fun as well.

Thoughts On Our Next Play

Next time we will definitely guarantee one traitor and have the possibility of a second. Also, when we have a new player at the table it would be very helpful to simply deal them a face up loyal card so that they can concentrate on learning the game system without the confusion of trying to play the role of the spoiler! This is certainly what we should have done for Nicole this time, but we lucked out when she wasn't dealt the traitor card. Next time we play Shadows, keeping these thoughts in mind, plus the travel cards and other expansion additions, I feel like the game could vault back into heavy rotation on our play list. We shall see.