SOG SR: 3/1 in Sudbury
- We had twelve (12!) people in attendance at SOG last night. This may
be something of a record.
Games played included: Bluff (aka Call My Bluff aka Perudo aka Liar's
Dice), Quintillions (?), Tongiaki, Oasis, Die Fugger, Cronberg, Lost
Cities, Industria, Tichu
In attendance were: Rob, myself, Chris, .chip, Marianne, Sara, Vitas,
Nancy, Mike, Lewis, Sue, and Teresa.
For starters, Rob, Nancy, Vitas, Teresa and I played a game of Bluff.
The game went quickly, and I was able to take advantage of the
trusting nature of the other players and propel myself to my first
ever Bluff victory! Ralph's not being at the table may have had
something to do with it as well.
We reconfigured at this point -- Rob, Vitas, Nancy and Teresa played
Quintillions (I think that's the name), which looked sort of like a
stacking game using three-dimensional Tetris-like wooden pieces.
.chip, Marianne, Sara, Mike and I played Oasis. This was my first
time playing (as well as for everyone else except for Mike). I had a
lot of fun with this game, even though I could tell that I was a dead
lock on last place by about halfway through the game. There's a
reasonable amount of luck of the draw in this, and that hurts at least
twice -- if you spend two or three cards to try to make an attractive
offer, then it costs you in what you can do in the following round,
you end up in a poor position to choose actions for the following
turn, and you have poor prospects for getting higher up in the turn
order. Still, balancing all this is presumably what the game is all
about. The choices are hard ones to make, Marianne achieved a
crushing victory here, and my predictions of last place were accurate
in spite of a reasonably healthy camel score. I like this game
because it's thematically similar to Durch die Wuste, but in game play
it's completely different. All we need is for Michael Schact to
release a camel-themed game for the trifecta.
During these games, Chris, Lewis and Sue showed up. Lewis and Sue
played Lost Cities while waiting for things to reconfigure.
Regroup, redistribute: Rob, Vitas, Nancy and Teresa played the 'Get
all the Quintillions pieces back in the box' game. I think the box
won this one.
.chip, Lewis, Sue and Sara played Industria.
Chris, Marianne, Mike and I played Tongiaki. This is a very light
game, but nevertheless I found it pretty enjoyable. You're trying to
expand to as many islands as possible, and it's something of a random
tile-laying game. There are a lot of opportunities for your boats to
get sunk by heading off on expeditions through dangerous waters, but
you never *really* run out of boats and the tiles are a pleasing
shape. This certainly isn't a highly cerebral game by any stretch of
the imagination, but it plays in about 45 minutes, certainly presents
some interesting choices, and has some amusing moments as you trace
the expeditions through the sea paths. Marianne and I tied for
highest score and most islands occupied, but Marianne won on the
second tiebreaker (fewest ships on the board), giving her the win. I
liked it, but I would note that this is one game that I would
definitely not want to play with fewer than four players, just because
of the way some of the water routes are laid out.
Everyone else was still doing other stuff, so out came Die Fugger.
This game was designed by 'Mr. Carcassonne', and I think it presents a
pretty solid design. The idea is that you're trying to accumulate
different commodities with the goal of selling them at the end of each
round. The play area is made up of a circle of cards, labeled 1-9.
Five different commodities move around the circle, possibly going up
by a lot, possibly going down by a little. However, if something goes
up too high in value, it wraps around to 1 again so there's a tendency
for there to be reasonable action on all five commodities.
Furthermore, there are 'royal seal' commodity cards, which are worth
double value as long as there aren't too many of that type of
commidity in play.
On your turn, your main choices are to either play a card face up in
front of you or draw a new card (as long as you have fewer than four
cards in your hand). When a fifth card of any commodity is played,
the round ends, prices are adjusted, and commodities are sold off.
This is repeated until someone accumulates 100 florins (points).
The game also allows you to place secret bets for the end of the game
during the first two rounds -- you can play a commodity face down and
that will pay double its value to you at the end of the game. You're
limited to a maximum of two face-down cards, one in each of the first
This game went pretty well for me, and I was able to get in on the
right commodities at the right time and achieve victory. I think this
game definitely bears replaying -- it has a little of the feel of
Modern Art. Some thought that it didn't allow much control, and
certainly any card game is susceptible to that accusation. Time will
tell, I suppose.
Vitas, Nancy, Teresa, and Rob played Tongiaki, give or take a rule or
Cronberg was next up for us. Designed by the same people who did Tom
Tube, and with a similar motif -- rhombus tiles placed on a grid.
However, the scoring mechanism in this game was more reminiscent of
Auf Heller und Pfennig -- each corner of a rhomb has a value, positive
or negative. On your turn, you can either draw and place a rhomb or
you can place a scoring marker. When a scoring marker is surrounded
by tiles, you add up all the values, score it, and retrieve your
marker. Furthermore, each space on the board has a special ability --
there are doublers, guards, and coats of arms. If a space is left
blank such that it can't be played upon, it affects the scoring of any
markers adjacent to it at the end of the game.
Well, this one played very quickly, but I think there may have been
something missing from our strategy. There seemed to be a huge amount
of opportunity for negative scoring, and very little opportunity for
positive scoring. The game was won by Mike, who had the highest score
with a score of -1. (I had -5, and Chris and Marianne were down in
the -30s or -40s. Ouch.) I'm going to reread the rules to this and
see if we missed anything, but all in all this was a pretty painful
experience. I liked the concept, and I really enjoy the other
Kronberger Spiele game (Tom Tube), but I'm less sold on this one.
Teresa, Vitas and Nancy went home.
Another game of Bluff for Marianne, Rob, Chris, Mike and I. This one
came down to Mike and me, with Mike the victor.
Marianne, .chip, Sara, Lewis and Sue went home.
Mike and I played Tichu against Rob and Chris. Mike and I managed to
maintain a reasonable lead for most of the game until Chris and Rob
got a 1-2 Tichu which put them within 50 points of us. Even so, we
maintained the upper hand. I was able to successfully goad Rob into
calling a Grand without looking at his cards, and fortunately we were
able to prevent it and secure victory for ourselves.
All in all, a very good evening. I got to play four games that I've
never played before, plus some Bluff and Tichu...quite enjoyed myself!