Monday, March 17, 2008

Games At Mark's, March Edition

My friend Mark has been hosting some semi-regularly board game gatherings for a while now. Recently, though, he and his fiancee moved into much larger place that's more conducive to these types of gatherings, so he decided they should be a regular event. The first (or second, depending on how you count them) of these every-other-month gatherings was the weekend before last, and while I wasn't there for the whole thing, I did get some good gaming in.

Gwen and I showed up after the first game was already in progress, so we played a pair of two-player games of Taluva, which I'd not played before. It definitely took me a game to get my brain around, but I learned it sufficiently well to win the second game. I liked it two-player, but I don't think I'd like it with more than that. We own it, so I suspect it will come out for some after-dinner play in the near future.

After that we got a quick introduction to Race for the Galaxy, which I'd heard good things about. Its heritage as a possible design for the Puerto Rico card game is evident, though I can see why the design that became San Juan was chosen instead. This is much meatier (which I like) and fixes a few design warts inherited from Puerto Rico (which I also like), but it pushes further toward solitaire-style play, which I'm not a huge fan of. It also didn't help that we were taught the game by two players who had played it a lot and that the glare off the card protectors made it nearly impossible to see the other players' cards. Still, the design is intriguing and it plays fast. I'm not going to pick it up yet, but I'll see about playing it again.

After that we broke out Mike's copy of Arkadia, which Gwen and I hadn't played since the West Coast Meeple Fest. This was my third play, and I'd definitely learned a lot from the first two. The game ended 99-99-98-73, with me in that heartbreaking third-place slot. Gwen and I both agreed that we should probably pick this up, as it's meaty game that we both like (which is moderately rare).

I sat out the next round of games, and we finished up our evening with two plays of Clans. I've liked this game for a quite a while, but I like it even more now that I've learned the correct rules. (This is not an uncommon occurrence for me, with Bang! being the most notable example.) It's quick, it's tactical, and it's got just enough hidden information to keep the game from bogging down and to keep things interesting. I like it more than Gwen does, but it's a filler that we're not likely to trade away any time soon.


Blogger linnaeus said...

I think it's fair to characterize Race for the Galaxy as a "try four or five times before you buy" game :) There's a real learning curve, and it takes a few games before you get past concentrating just on your own position. My game group has been enjoying it a lot, but we all like resource management games, too.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Paul Tevis said...

Agreed. It does have the advantage of playing so quickly that you can get those four or five plays in without too much trouble.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Asa said...

Ironically Taluva is much better with 3 or 4 player than with 2. With 2 there is very little player conflict, becuase you have lots of space to expand. I hope you get a chance to play it with more players, where the competition can get more cutthroat.

12:23 PM  

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