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SR: Global Powers, Kogge, Oasis, San Juan, Cribbage, & Traumfabrik

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  • Craig Massey
    Its been a few moons (the celestial kind, not the pants dropping kind or even the game designer kind) since I wrote a session report, but after a very
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2004
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      Its been a few moons (the celestial kind, not the
      pants dropping kind or even the game designer kind)
      since I wrote a session report, but after a very
      enjoyable day of games on Saturday in Topsfield, it
      feels like the thing to do.

      Global Powers (Alan, Mike S., Bob, Sean): This is one
      of the meaty games from Essen last year which has hit
      the table a few times. Bob and Sean were new to the
      game and the rest of us had't played in a while so the
      game was a little odd as a result. Somehow, Alan
      managed to get control of seven regions before the end
      of the first turn to win the game. If you've played
      the game, you know how wrong this is and we were all
      dopes for allowing it to happen. I'm ashamed.

      Kogge (Bob, Dan, Craig): Another new game for Bob and
      like many have experienced during their first play of
      Kogge - Bob was in a fog not knowing what was good,
      bad or otherwise when it came to his turn. Couple
      this with the fact that we botched a major rule, and
      Dan waltzed to victory by getting five development
      points - two bonus chips and three offices. The screw
      up was allowing Dan to build the two offices beyond
      his starting one by only paying goods while forgetting
      that he had to cough up a route marker for the city
      where he was building. If you have played the game,
      you know this is a very large constraint on where and
      when you build. My shame continues

      Cribbage (Jenn, Dave, Janet): Dave was teaching Janet
      how to play Cribbage so I filled in to make it a
      partnership game. Janet was a quick study despite
      getting goofy advice from Alan at the next table. The
      first game was close with Dave and I getting to the
      finish line largely because we counted first in the
      last hand. The second game was a stinker as Dave and
      I skunked Jenn and Janet. It seemed fitting since
      Janet told a story about Alan's car, a skunk, and a
      healthy dose of Fabreeze.

      Oasis (Jenn, Dave, Janet): We were surprised to learn
      that Janet had yet to try Alan and Aaron's latest so
      we set it up and off we went. There was much
      grovelling and wheedling - largely by Dave and myself.
      Janet and Jenn played a quieter game and ignored us
      which is clearly the smart thing to do. One of the
      things I like about Oasis is that you have a rough
      idea how peole are doing, but you never know exactly
      unless you are one of those nuts who memorizes
      everything and is counting tiles, scores, and pi to
      100 digits. While you can do this in Oasis, I would
      think it is really quite difficult to do so. So you
      get to the end game scoring and often times you can be
      surprised at how well or poorly someone is doing.
      This game was no different. Janet had a huge camel
      train which coupled with modest investments in the
      forests and plains gave her a whopping 177 points.
      Dave and I despite our whining had in the 140 range
      with Dave edging me by a handful of point. Jenn was
      at the back of the caravan.

      Ave Caesar (Richard, Dawn, Mike, Bass): A quick game
      saw Mike fail to finish the race because he neglected
      to pay tribute to Caesar after the second lap. Dawn
      also failed to finish running out of steam one spot
      short of the finish line. Bass and Richard screwed
      each other at every turn leaving my chariot unmolested
      to take the race.

      San Juan x2 (Alan, Mark, Tery): Alan had a just
      received a copy and had English rules in hand. After
      making a few copies of the building translations, we
      went over the rules and got started. It was pretty
      easy to pick up the rules if you have played Puerto
      Rico as the central mechanism of chosing a role is the
      same. Beyond that, everything is done with cards -
      buildings, money, and goods. So on your turn, you
      choose a role and take the action. Roles include the
      Builder (same function as in PR), Craftsman (same as
      PR), Prospector (same), Trader (different), and
      Councilor (new role). The goal is to have the most
      points when someone ends the game by building their
      12th building.

      Like Puerto Rico, you are trying to time things so you
      get the most benefit out of choosing a role while
      limited what your opponents can do, but it is harder
      to do. This gives the game a more fluid feel as you
      always seem to be able to do something useful to
      advance your position. Your hand of cards fluctuates
      between a fistful to none and back to a decent amount

      Alan won the first game narrowly edging out Mark by
      getting a big VP bonus from one of his buildings.
      After muddling through the first game where we spent
      lots of time going to the translations of the
      buidlings to figure out what they did, we decided to
      play it again. The second game went much quicker with
      less fiddling around with translations. We also had a
      better sense of how the game worked as well as how the
      buildings worked together which translated into higher
      scores in the second game. I edged Mark in game two.

      I enjoyed the game, but have no prediction on who else
      will enjoy it based on whether you like Puerto Rico or
      not. While it feels like Puerto Rico, the fluid
      nature of the game gives it a different feel. Also,
      there is the random element using a deck of cards, but
      I honestly didn't feel that it was overwhelming given
      the number of cards that cycle through your hand. The
      game played quickly and should see plenty of play as
      people explore how the various buildings work

      Traumfabrik (Alan, Matthew, Mike R): Matthew won, but
      what is worth noting is the spread of final scores
      which ranged from the low 80s to the upper 60s. I've
      played lots of Traumfabrik and final scores always
      seem to have a large spread with a couple of players
      running away from the pack and at least one player
      significantly off the pace. Our game was tightly
      bunched with all of us having a very good chance at
      winning going into the final party. If not for one
      star, the worst movie award would have shifted to me
      and the final scores would all have been within 3 or 4
      points of each other. This was one of the more
      satisfying games of Traumfabrik I have ever played,
      reminding me just how good games can be when they see
      repeated play and everyone is familiar with the game.

      That's all for now.

      Craig W. Massey

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