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SR: SOG in Maynard, 2/2

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  • Josh Bluestein
    Giddy from the post-Superbowl euphoria, intrepid SOGgers gathered in Maynard for the last SOG session prior to UG7 (yay!). In attendance: Chris, Josh, .chip,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2004
      Giddy from the post-Superbowl euphoria, intrepid SOGgers gathered in
      Maynard for the last SOG session prior to UG7 (yay!).

      In attendance: Chris, Josh, .chip, Sara, Marianne, Rob, Vitas, Joyce,
      Nancy, Lowell, Lewis (did I miss anyone?)

      Games played: Pick Picknic, Domaine, Medina, Vino, Medici, Alhambra

      Lowell, .chip, Marianne, Sara, Joyce and I were the earliest arrivals,
      and .chip pulled out Pick Picknic (aka Hick Hack im Gackelwack). AS
      I've never played this before, I was anxious to give it a try,

      It's a very light bluffing game -- everyone plays a card
      simultaneously and cards of matching colors compete to take
      points -- chickens grab feed, foxes grab chickens.

      Last week, we played Nobody But Us Chickens, and there were several
      comments that it strongly resembled this game. After playing them
      both, I have to agree that they're similar, but gameplay manages to be
      fairly different.

      For one thing, Pick Picknic breaks up the action into six different
      fields, and you're only competing with other chickens/foxes in the
      field of the color you play that turn. In NBUC, all competition takes
      place in the same location -- everyone competes against everyone
      else, all the time.

      For another, Pick Picknic has a very strong random factor -- the cards
      you get dealt, the feed that gets distributed around the fields. In
      NBUC, everyone has identical hands for each night (round) of the game.

      In short, I enjoyed playing Pick Picknic, but found it a little
      frustrating. Such is the way of card games. I liked the mechanic,
      and would play it again.

      Regroup and redistribute: Vitas, .chip, Lowell and Sara played
      Domaine, the watered-down remake of Lowenherz. Rob, Nancy and Joyce
      played Medina. Marianne, Chris and I played Medici.

      Medici is a great little game, mostly because even including the time
      it takes to explain it, it plays in about 45 minutes. As it did
      here. I don't remember the final scores, but Chris won, I was in
      second place, and Marianne was in third.

      Everyone else was still in the middle of stuff, so we pulled out
      Vino, a recent acquisition from a store's going-out-of-business sale.
      (Hey, at $20, most of these big box games are hard to pass up.)

      After some time going over the rules, we got started. This is a
      pretty interesting game -- the board is Italy, divided up into nine
      regions, each containing somewhere between 3 and 21 vineyards. Each
      region can support somewhere between 2 and 5 varieties of wine (Pinot
      Grigio, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, Trebbiano, and Barbera...or, as you
      may prefer, P, N, M, T, and B).

      The game play is pretty straightforward -- each turn you can buy
      vineyards in up to two regions, and then you may sell one variety of
      wine. Each vineyard you own increases your supply of a particular
      vintage, and the more wine you have, the more money you make...but
      also the more negative consequences you incur -- driving the price of
      your chosen vintage down (and correspondingly raising the prices of
      other vintages) and being forced to give up vineyards.

      With all of this, it might seem like the object of the game is to make
      money, but that's really a tertiary concern. The main object is to
      control the most vineyards at the end of the game.

      The game ends when all regions that are able to have held a
      'government giveaway'. Six of the nine regions have
      'government-owned' vineyards. When all of the privately-owned
      vineyards in a region are purchased, there's an immediate government
      giveaway of all unpurchased government-owned vineyards. The trick is
      that the person who is best represented in the region generally gets
      the rawest deal in terms of the giveaway. The person in first place
      gets one vineyard, the person in second gets two, and the person in
      third gets *all the rest* (this can be quite a large number).

      It took a while to get a feel for the game, and all of the bits are
      pretty much the definition of fiddly (moving 40 vineyard chips around
      the board, marking your vineyards using grape counters which are
      basically just asking to roll off the table and into a hole in the
      floor, etc.), but the mechanisms of the game work together
      surprisingly well, and the game has some very tough decisions in it.

      I give it a thumbs up and would definitely play it again.

      (While we were playing, people regrouped, played Alhambra, and then
      went home.)

      See you all at UG7!

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