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Top 10 February Games - A Retrospective

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  • Craig Massey
    It s been a dull week on the UG list so maybe this will spice things up and then again, maybe this won t pass the necessary muster to be used as bird cage
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 28, 2002
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      It's been a dull week on the UG list so maybe this
      will spice things up and then again, maybe this won't
      pass the necessary muster to be used as bird cage
      lining.

      Regardless, here's my view of the month of February in
      terms of the top 10 games I played. For those new to
      our program, this doesn't represent my all time
      favorite games or even my current top 10 favorite
      games, but rather these are the 10 games that I found
      to be interesting and entertaining in the last month
      of play.

      10. Hick Hack im Gackelwack: This has made the list
      before. Twice as a matter of fact. It seems that
      back in November when the game was shiny and new, I
      was playing with the wrong rules. So we amended the
      error of our ways in December and lo and behold I
      liked the game even more. Well, lightning struck
      twice because rules were still muddled and according
      to Pitt, we are now playing the right way and the game
      is still a delight.

      9. Spades: Another game with a monthly T10 pedigree.
      It finally overtook Titan on my all time games played
      list (est. 1996) and stands at #4. It's not my
      favorite trick taking game or partnership game, but
      it's damn enjoyable.

      8. Jumbo Grand Prix: This is a Knizia card game that
      start on my shelf like a misfit toy for a long time.
      I played it 3 player a few weekends back and was
      surpisingly impressed. The theme is meaningless (big
      surprise there), but it moved quick, had some
      interesting decisions and was a hit with non gamers.

      7. 5ive Straight: If you spent a weekend at your
      great aunt's house and were rummaging around in a
      cupboard, this game looks like it would fit in with
      some musty old jigsaw puzzles and a deck of 51 cards.
      It's kind of ugly in a 60's kind of way and even
      sounds lame upon description - play cards to put pegs
      on a 10x10 grid and be the first to get 5 in a row.
      Played with 2 players and the game works well. Played
      with partners and the game was a lot of fun for
      something so simple.

      6. Mexica: The latest in the Kramer/Kiesling action
      point series. I enjoyed my first two playings and
      expect that I'll play this more than Java, but not as
      much as Tikal on a yearly basis. Well worth a look if
      you are a fan of either of those or Torres.

      5. Settlers Card Game: Now that the expansions are
      out in English, I gave this one another go and was
      glad I did. I thought I'd like the game when I tried
      the German version, but there was too much text. If
      you tried this long ago, give it another shot.

      4. Marrakesh: Not this isn't Marracash. This is a
      fairly simple backgammon variant with cards. Pitt's
      been teaching it and getting beat by everyone.

      3. Krakatoa: It's a dice rolling, dexterity game.
      Using 12 sided dice you try to roll certain combos,
      but each turn you only roll 3 of the dice and must
      change the face of one on the table by striking it
      with one of the dice you are throwing. At first it
      seems like a whole lot of luck, but after a few games
      you can get good at it.

      2. Wongar: The oft maligned and much misunderstood
      game from Alan. I've tried all the variants and I'm
      now convinced the game is best as is. The first few
      times I played I did a very poor job of planning ahead
      and so the luck aspect of the scorpions felt very
      random, but after 4 plays, you can do a lot to mitgate
      that and plan for big scoring moves. This game
      deserves more play.

      1. Adel Verpflichtet: One of the "original" German
      games to make it big and another that seems completely
      random after you second guess yourself right of the
      game. It's not. I've played it enough now to see
      different strategies used to win or at least remain
      competitve in a game and I've seen several people do
      well at this game consistantly. It might not be
      everyone's cup of tea, but if you like Basari or games
      similar, then this is worth a try.

      31 days until the March list. The suspense is already
      killing me.

      Craig

      =====
      Craig W. Massey
      cwmassey@...

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    • Pitt Crandlemire
      ... It s all part of my nefarious plan. See, I get you all hooked on the game and let you think I m easy pickings. Then, we start playing for money and I
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 28, 2002
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        At 06:20 PM 2/28/02 -0800, Craig Massey wrote:
        >
        >4. Marrakesh: Not this isn't Marracash. This is a
        >fairly simple backgammon variant with cards. Pitt's
        >been teaching it and getting beat by everyone.

        It's all part of my nefarious plan. See, I get you all hooked on the game
        and let you think I'm easy pickings. Then, we start playing for money and
        I play for real. Yeah, that's it...

        >1. Adel Verpflichtet:
        [...]
        >if you like Basari or games
        >similar, then this is worth a try.

        Interesting. I hate Basari but Adel is one of all time favorites. I can
        sort of see the connection (simultaneous blind selection of options) but
        Basari feels really random to me while Adel is (to me) almost a pure
        strategy game. Yet, I've heard people (who don't get it) say that Adel is
        essentially random. Am I missing something with Basari?

        -Pitt
      • Walter Hunt
        ... I believe that the most important part of Basari is to figure out what other people are going to pick. It s sort of like an SAT question - you can usually
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 28, 2002
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          Pitt Crandlemire wrote:

          >
          > Interesting. I hate Basari but Adel is one of all time favorites. I can
          > sort of see the connection (simultaneous blind selection of options) but
          > Basari feels really random to me while Adel is (to me) almost a pure
          > strategy game. Yet, I've heard people (who don't get it) say that Adel is
          > essentially random. Am I missing something with Basari?
          >
          > -Pitt

          I believe that the most important part of Basari is to figure out what
          other people are going to pick. It's sort of like an SAT question - you
          can usually rule out one or even two choices based on board position or
          jewels held. It's a guessing game, and there is the
          groupthink/anti-groupthink thing going on, but I reallly like it. Adel
          is a pretty cool game too, but I prefer Basari. I know it's not one of
          your favorites, but it's one of mine - and thanks to Dave Cousins I
          finally have one!

          Walter.
        • cwmassey
          A correction. Wongar is a much maligned game from Alan and Richard Borg. But if you want to complain about it send your comments to Alan. He ll gladly take
          Message 4 of 11 , Mar 1, 2002
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            A correction. Wongar is a much maligned game from Alan and Richard
            Borg. But if you want to complain about it send your comments to
            Alan. He'll gladly take them.

            --- In Unity_Games@y..., Craig Massey <cwmassey@y...> wrote:
            > 2. Wongar: The oft maligned and much misunderstood
            > game from Alan. I've tried all the variants and I'm
            > now convinced the game is best as is. The first few
            > times I played I did a very poor job of planning ahead
            > and so the luck aspect of the scorpions felt very
            > random, but after 4 plays, you can do a lot to mitgate
            > that and plan for big scoring moves. This game
            > deserves more play.
          • Matthew Horn
            Craig, what is the most recent change to the interpretation of Hick Hack rules? [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            Message 5 of 11 , Mar 1, 2002
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              Craig, what is the most recent change to the interpretation of Hick Hack rules?





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • cwmassey
              ... Hack rules? Here is the history of the rules that I was taught November version - game is a shiny new penny 1. Final score is the value of your corn. 2.
              Message 6 of 11 , Mar 1, 2002
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                --- In Unity_Games@y..., Matthew Horn <mhorn@m...> wrote:
                > Craig, what is the most recent change to the interpretation of Hick
                Hack rules?

                Here is the history of the rules that I was taught

                November version - game is a shiny new penny
                1. Final score is the value of your corn.
                2. Foxes steal chickens which go into your hand and can be played.

                December Version
                1. Final Score is the value of your corn and the remaining bird cards
                in your hand. Foxes don't score anything
                2. Foxes still steal chickens birds which go into your hand

                February Version (no guarantee this is final or right, but I'm
                following Pitt's lead)
                1. Final score is the value of your corn and the remain bird cards in
                your hand and in your score pile
                2. Birds captured by foxes go into your score pile - not your hand
                3. shy birds (poo piles) can be captured by foxes

                Pitt can you confirm or deny?

                So this is the latest and I hope final version. Each time I thought
                the game actually got better and was more enjoyable. Who knows, we
                still are probably playing something wrong.

                Craig
              • cwmassey
                ... what ... you ... or ... Adel ... of ... I like both games and will gladly play either. As Walter mentioned, in Basari you are trying to put your best
                Message 7 of 11 , Mar 1, 2002
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                  --- In Unity_Games@y..., Walter Hunt <hotc@a...> wrote:
                  > I believe that the most important part of Basari is to figure out
                  what
                  > other people are going to pick. It's sort of like an SAT question -
                  you
                  > can usually rule out one or even two choices based on board position
                  or
                  > jewels held. It's a guessing game, and there is the
                  > groupthink/anti-groupthink thing going on, but I reallly like it.
                  Adel
                  > is a pretty cool game too, but I prefer Basari. I know it's not one
                  of
                  > your favorites, but it's one of mine - and thanks to Dave Cousins I
                  > finally have one!

                  I like both games and will gladly play either. As Walter mentioned,
                  in Basari you are trying to put your best guess on what opponents will
                  do. I think the same is true of Adel. I don't think Basari has the
                  same tension level that Adel has, but what I like about it is the
                  bidding mechanism so everyone in theory has a chance to get something.
                  I also think the bidding mechanism where the players involved must up
                  the bid or drop and cannot state what they would like, but instead
                  must state what they will give works very well.

                  What I think makes the games different is Basari has one level of out
                  guessing. You try to figure out what you want verses what opponents
                  want and go for it. In Adel, you do this twice - deciding on the
                  Auction House verses Castle and then again at the respective location
                  depending on who else shows up.

                  I also think both games have multiple paths to victory - no one
                  strategy dominates.

                  Craig
                • Richard Spoonts
                  ... The most recent rules I have played by state that birds in the hand score nothing. Only birds captured by a fox and placed in the score pile score any
                  Message 8 of 11 , Mar 1, 2002
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                    --- cwmassey <cwmassey@...> wrote:
                    > February Version (no guarantee this is final or
                    > right, but I'm
                    > following Pitt's lead)
                    > 1. Final score is the value of your corn and the
                    > remain bird cards in
                    > your hand and in your score pile
                    > 2. Birds captured by foxes go into your score pile
                    > - not your hand
                    > 3. shy birds (poo piles) can be captured by foxes

                    The most recent rules I have played by state that
                    birds in the hand score nothing. Only birds captured
                    by a fox and placed in the score pile score any
                    points.

                    Richard

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                  • Pitt Crandlemire
                    ... That s the correct version. -Pitt
                    Message 9 of 11 , Mar 2, 2002
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                      At 08:59 PM 3/1/02 -0000, cwmassey wrote:
                      >
                      >February Version (no guarantee this is final or right, but I'm
                      >following Pitt's lead)
                      >1. Final score is the value of your corn and the remain bird cards in
                      >your hand and in your score pile
                      >2. Birds captured by foxes go into your score pile - not your hand
                      >3. shy birds (poo piles) can be captured by foxes
                      >
                      >Pitt can you confirm or deny?

                      That's the correct version.

                      -Pitt
                    • karlvonl.geo
                      ... But a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush . Assuming that the foxes are hiding the chicken carcasses in a bush, which is the score pile, then this
                      Message 10 of 11 , Mar 2, 2002
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                        --- In Unity_Games@y..., Richard Spoonts <Richard_BOS@y...> wrote:
                        >
                        > The most recent rules I have played by state that
                        > birds in the hand score nothing. Only birds captured
                        > by a fox and placed in the score pile score any
                        > points.

                        But "a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush". Assuming that the
                        foxes are hiding the chicken carcasses in a bush, which is the score
                        pile, then this either means that chickens in the score pile are
                        worth double their face value, or they are worth exactly 2 points
                        each. We need some clarification on this.
                      • Matthew Gray
                        ... Both the funagain translation and the BGG translation claim you don t count cards in your hand toward your score. The German is a little ambiguous: Nun
                        Message 11 of 11 , Mar 2, 2002
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                          > >February Version (no guarantee this is final or right, but I'm
                          > >following Pitt's lead)
                          > >1. Final score is the value of your corn and the remain bird cards in
                          > >your hand and in your score pile
                          > >2. Birds captured by foxes go into your score pile - not your hand
                          > >3. shy birds (poo piles) can be captured by foxes
                          > >
                          > >Pitt can you confirm or deny?
                          >
                          > That's the correct version.

                          Both the funagain translation and the BGG translation claim you don't
                          count cards in your hand toward your score.

                          The German is a little ambiguous:

                          "Nun zahlt jeder seine gesammelten Korner (unterschiedliche Werte je
                          Farbe beachten!) und Geflugel (je nach Kartenwert) zusammen."

                          which basically says "Now each player totals his grain (different
                          colors are worth different values) and fowl (the worth of each card)
                          together."

                          It doesn't explicitly exclude cards in your hand, but it doesn't
                          explicitly include them. Further, the rules state that you put grain
                          and fowl your foxes eat in your "Nahrungsvorrat" or "nutrition
                          supply". Then, after the rule about totaling up points: "Der Spieler
                          mit den meisten Siegpunkten hat seinent Hunger am dauerhaftesten
                          gestillt..." which is "The player with the most points has satiated
                          his hunger the best..." implying that only "eaten" cards/grain count
                          toward your points.

                          ...Matthew
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