SR: BLAH 8/21/2002
- More of my usual overanalytical comments:
PUERTO RICO (Andrew, Scott, Dan, Chris)
Just my third game of this and the first time I have not been brutally
cash-poor (though I was able to win the previous game by going nuts
with shipping). This time I ended up with a corn / both markets /
three quarries strategy, and it worked quite well. I also managed to
land the Town Hall (the large building that gives you a VP per purple
building), and since I hardly had to manufacture anything (all I had
was a small indigo and a tobacco plant) I got 9 VPs from it (though I
only claimed 8 at the time since I didn't realize that the Town Hall
itself counts as 1 until I just looked it up now).
The game was very different from the others I've played in that there
seemed to be a lot of money around. We theorized that it might be
because in a 4 player game (as opposed to a 5-player one) there is
more gold being introduced into the economy per turn, and there are
also more quarries, markets, factories etc. per person. In any case,
the large buildings all got bought around halfway through the game.
I thought Chris was running away with things - he had a factory and 5
types of goods, and he seemed to be rich in both doubloons and VPs -
but at the end I tied for first with Andrew, who also had a well-run
factory and got a VP boost from picking up two large buildings to each
of our one. I would have squeezed out a one-point victory if I knew
to take credit for the Town Hall's own VP.
TRAUMFABRIK (Andrew, Scott, Dan, Chris)
Chris was pushing this and the rest of us were all amenable. It was my
second time playing it, and I was just as confused as the first time.
It just seems really hard to decide how much anything is worth until
the very end of the game. I spent the first round doing nothing but
collecting contracts and the second round sprinting for the first movie
of the remaining color, which turned out by chance to be the best movie
of that round and the next. At the end I had nothing to do but collect
contracts from other players again, and ended up tied with Chris (who
really deserved the victory, but at the last moment overlooked Scott
making a move for Worst Movie). Still confusing, but I enjoyed it more
than my first time.
BLOKUS (Scott, Andrew, Chris, Dan)
Andrew and I were both pushing this after having a lot of fun with it
last week. I made an egregious mistake twice in a row; the first time
is understandable, but I really should have learned from my first
error and not done it again. (What I did was break into Chris's
territory in such a way that I only had one corner to build off of,
which made it very easy for him to block me.) That put me out of the
running, and Andrew cruised to a pretty easy victory. Lots of fun
again, and it remains my 4-player light game of choice.
LORD OF THE RINGS: THE CONFRONTATION (Andrew, Dan)
Scott and Chris took off, so we tried this, which Andrew had just
played for the first time against Scott earlier that evening. It's a
really interesting game; afterwards, we spent a while discussing the
game we just played, and strategies in general, and I think that
there's a lot there. I like the facts that 1) despite the two players
playing by pretty much the same rules, it's very asymmetrical in goals
and strategies; 2) the resources are limited, and cards and pieces are
placed in the open once removed in play, so you can actually deduce a
lot about what's left and not be as in the dark as in other
Stratego-like games; 3) the only-move-forward rule makes for very
interesting strategy that is not immediately obvious. Looks like all
the effort Andrew put into figuring out the rules from various sources
will be well worth it.
I was the Good player, had a couple of lucky confrontations early, and
then, when Andrew had slightly overcommitted himself to one side, was
able to have Frodo do an end-around with Gandalf as blocker and sprint
to victory. Good won in Andrew and Scott's game as well, but I have
the feeling the game is well balanced.
FLOWER POWER (Dan, Andrew)
I had not yet played this, so it seemed like a good evening-ender. I
spent around a third of the game trying to make my plots as big as
possible, and then realized that the math of the game (1 point for 3-5
square plots, 2 points for 6-9 square plots, 4 points for 10+ square
plots) actually seems to encourage you to make lots of 3 square plots
rather than aggregate them. I wonder how the game would play if bigger
plots were encouraged more. I won by 3 or so points, though I wasn't
paying enough attention to what Andrew was doing on his side to have a
good idea why.