SOG SR: Westford 4/11
- It was a light yet exciting SOG session last night, with several
regular attendees otherwise engaged, travelling, laboring,
what-have-you. We did get a brief visit from the fire department,
though, and how many people can say that about *their* game nights?
In attendance were Mark T, Rob, Lowell and myself. Once the
formalities were attended to (lots of blah blah and me putting my son
to bed), we decided to start with a light game in case anyone else was
going to show up. I pulled out Fossil, and Lowell only vaguely
recalled it and Mark and Rob had never played it before.
The game is much-maligned because of the dreaded 'player to your
right' syndrome, where an unskilled or inattentive player on your
right can set you up for substantial gains. It's essentially a set
collection game, and after bringing it out again I have decided that I
still like it. It's never going to be a frequently-played game, but
it certainly isn't a bad one. (This was its trial run -- if I
couldn't muster enthusiasm after this play it was going on the
The board is a 9x9 grid, with a tile on each space. There are nine
fossils, with nine pieces each. Each piece of a fossil has a relative
importance to the whole: there are 6 1s, 2 2s and 1 3, signified by
the number of little symbols on the tile. These are important because
your score when a fossil is completed is the product of the symbols
you've collected and the number of tiles you've collected. So, if you
were to somehow manage to get all nine pieces of a fossil for
yourself, it would be worth 117 points, which is pretty darn good.
Additionally, any other player who has no pieces of a scored fossil
loses points equal to the number of tiles taken by the person who
scored the most points in that fossil. In any case, you can spend a
long time at the bottom of the score chart and suddenly shoot up when
a fossil you've been collecting gets scored.
As noted by Rob, the game is fun when played reasonably quickly, but
I would avoid playing with anyone who wanted to mathematically
optimize every move. At 45 minutes to an hour, it's enjoyable. Past
that, I would grow bored quickly. We had a photo finish when I zoomed
past Rob int he final scoring, only to lose to him by one point due to
not having collected any fossils of a particular type. Final scores
A certain honorable mention must be given to Mark who managed to
multiply 9 and 5 together and end up with 95. Find the marketing
At this point, it was clear we were on our own, so we pulled out
Medieval Merchant. I was just finishing going through the rules when
Rob looked out the window and said, "Hey, there's a fire out there!".
Now, I'm fairly used to Rob interrupting rules explanations with inane
nonsense, but this one really took the cake. Except, actually, as it
turned out, there was a fire. It was in the forest in front of my
neighbor's house, fortunately right next to a drainage easement
running through the area. I alerted the neighbors and they called the
fire department...and we spent a few minutes beating it down (it
wasn't a huge fire) until the pros got there and finished it off.
This took a small chunk out of the evening, though, so we decided to
go with something a little lighter instead, as Lowell was hoping to
make an early night of it.
So, we played Frank's Zoo. It's a lot less chaotic with four players,
but still a good bit of fun. Interestingly enough, the partnerships
never changed during the course of the game, although who was senior
and who was junior swapped around a bit.
Lowell headed home, and we decided to do one last short thing before
wrapping up. I suggested Vom Kap bis Kairo, as it had been sitting
unplayed in my collection for several years. I bought it some time ago
based on a recommendation from...somewhere...but in any case I had
never managed to get it to the table.
Well, I'm glad I finally got a chance to play it, but I am sad to
report that, well, we all hated it. It's not without an interesting
decision or two, but mostly it's a luck-of-the-draw, boring, clunky
game. In reexamining the rules translation, I believe we played a few
things incorrectly, mostly involving turn sequencing, but I don't
think anything significant was missed. All in all, a disappointing
experience. Rob won when I overbid on the final round and left myself
with very little chance of building over my eighth terrain. We were
all happy to be done.
And that was all for the night!
- Vom Kap bis Kairo is one of my favorite Adlung games,
and is one of the few auction-based games that I
thoroughly enjoy. I disagree that the game is largely
luck-driven. It is a game of careful timing and a bit
of risk-taking, and I find it enormously enjoyable. I
would be interested in playing it with you sometime to
see why you hated it so much.
--- Josh Bluestein <josh@...> wrote:
> I suggested Vom Kap bis Kairo, as it__________________________________________________
> had been sitting
> unplayed in my collection for several years. I
> bought it some time ago
> based on a recommendation from...somewhere...but in
> any case I had
> never managed to get it to the table.
> Well, I'm glad I finally got a chance to play it,
> but I am sad to
> report that, well, we all hated it. It's not
> without an interesting
> decision or two, but mostly it's a luck-of-the-draw,
> boring, clunky
> game. In reexamining the rules translation, I
> believe we played a few
> things incorrectly, mostly involving turn
> sequencing, but I don't
> think anything significant was missed. All in all,
> a disappointing
> experience. Rob won when I overbid on the final
> round and left myself
> with very little chance of building over my eighth
> terrain. We were
> all happy to be done.
> And that was all for the night!
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