Friday Night Fun returned on the final Friday in April, and we had
another fine turnout. Some gamers show up at every session, and others
come only every fifth session or so, yet we always have at least ten
players on hand. Perhaps they schedule such things amongst themselves in
Role call: Brian, Craig, Gregg, Val, Stephanie, Jeremy, Ryan, Brent,
Ticket to Ride Europe (Brian, Craig, Eric)
The clock neared 7, and only two people had arrived by then, so we gave
up waiting and started the new version of TtR. Craig was new to the game
but had played the original a lot, so we started quickly.
There was heated competition in the Alps and in southern Europe, yet
even with one side of the double routes closed off, I think only one
player used one station by game's end. We managed to worm through each
other's lines and almost always get where we needed to go. I tried to
save cards for the huge tunnel to Siberia, yet had to bail as Brian
started running low on trains. Instead I had to complete 4, 4, and
3-train routes to stretch my line to Petrograd; that's 18 points vs 21
for the long tunnel, but spending three turns playing cards gave Brian
plenty of time to do everything he wanted. He beat me by a dozen or so
points, with Craig lagging in third at 100 points thanks to a missed
Coloretto (Jeremy, Stephanie, Linda)
Two others showed up during TtR, so Linda joined them in a quick game of
Coloretto. Chameleons were revealed and points were scored.
Diamant (everyone but Brent and Ryan)
I've been playing Diamant a lot recently as it scales well from 3-8
players and the game lasts about 10 minutes. Some have complained about
the price based on the components that come with the game, but I've
definitely gotten my money's worth out of the game. Two quick games,
then we were into the pizza-slicing portion of game night.
Ostrakon (everyone but Brent and Ryan)
Craig gave me this "philosophical party game" for my birthday, and since
it scales from 5-12 we decided to try it out. To set up the game, you
lay out a track of cards and a few subject cards; each player takes two
character cards, one with a white stone on one side and a black stone on
During a round, players take turns asking one question (on a subject
determined by the subject cards) that has exactly two answers; a player
declares which answer equals a white stone and which equals black.
(Example: "Do you sing out loud while taking a shower? White equals yes,
black no.") Players all hide their answer cards under their hands, while
the asker secretly places face-up whichever color stone he thinks will
be most popular.
Everyone reveals their cards; if the majority of answers matches the
asker, he then moves his character card forward a number of spaces equal
to how many people DISAGREED with him. So to move forward, you try to
ask questions that divide the group as evenly as possible, then guess
which answer will have an edge. An interesting idea, although it's only
as philosophical as you make it with your questions.
We called the game after two rounds (out of the five we should play with
eight players) because more people showed up.
Apples to Apples (everyone but Val and Eric)
Nouns were selected; groans were issued. Jeremy won.
Durch die Wüste (Val, Eric)
We opted for something other than the party game, and Val said DdW
sounded like something she'd like. I taught her the rules, gave pointers
during the game (like placing a camel slightly differently to enclose
more area or making sure she knew about the endgame condition and
majority scoring), then beat her anyway by 50 points or so. The first
game of DdW is usually rough, but I think she enjoyed it anyway,
especially since she's played Go previously.
Ave Caesar (Gregg, Stephanie, Craig, Brian, Eric, Jeremy)
Gregg asked to play this racing game, and I happily agreed as I love the
screwage that always results -- and boy, did Stephanie do a fine job in
While going counter-clockwise on the yellow trail, she blocked four
riders by stopping in the space immediately past Caesar's alley; then
she stopped in the single space just past the alley, blocking them
again; then she grabbed the single space in the turn, forcing others the
long way; then she played a 1 to stop in the bottleneck, again hosing
everyone! Good times, especially since I was the only one she wasn't
blocking, so I grabbed a fine lead during the second lap while she held
Stephanie and I had to see Caesar on that second lap, but I managed to
keep a slight lead over everyone. Coming into the final turn, I had a
1,2, and 6, yet couldn't play the 6 as I was in the lead. I played the
1, hoping for someone to pass me; Stephanie did, as she was (rightly)
afraid of being blocked if she didn't overtake me, so I was able to fly
past her for the win.
She came in second, and everyone else finished shortly afterward, except
for Jeremy who ran out of oats one space shy of the finish line. He
started in the number six spot and had been hosed all game, always
having exactly the wrong card so that he had to take the long route.
Next time, Jeremy!
Louis XIV (Craig, Eric)
Everyone else took off, but Craig is a big fan of Goa, so I taught him
this new Rüdiger Dorn game. This was my first time playing with only two
players, and the game had a much different feel. To create competition
on certain tiles, you use eight pieces of a third color, two placed with
Louis and the other six placed on three random spots as determined by
influence cards you flip over.
In the first two rounds, four neutral pieces ended up on Louis, so we
avoided those tiles almost completely. I managed to win several tiles
with a 1-0 advantage, while Craig generally won tiles with a 2-1 or 3-2
edge; this sent many more of his influence markers into the general
supply, so I had an edge almost the entire game. He did complete two
mission cards that gave him an edge on influence cards, but he had to
spend the extra ones just getting back markers, so he had no real advantage.
During the final round, I won Louis' favor, bought one crown and netted
another; three crowns along with three other mission chips (one won with
a mission card that lets you win a tie) allowed me to finish three
missions. In the end, I completed nine missions and had 12 shields,
netting three more during the bonus round for a final score of 60. Craig
completed seven missions and ended up with 11 shields.
The small wins I squeeked out again and again during the game allowed me
to keep building momentum and winning shields. The game works well with
only two players, but you have to approach everything differently since
you can reasonably compete on many more tiles.
Thus endeth FNF for April 29. We'll put another one together in only one
week on May 6. Hope to see some more of you then!
W. Eric Martin - TwoWriters.net
"We all pretend to ourselves that we are more simple-minded than we are:
that is how we get a rest from our fellow men." - Nietzsche