Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Central Tuesday Session, 3/14/06

A bit thin this week, with only Matt, Dave, and myself attending. On the table, Candamir (so that Dave can refresh on play for Gamestorm) and Attila.

Candamir got played several months ago by Jake, Mike, Chris, and myself. I had an early copy of the Mayfair edition that had the misprinted tileset, so our initial four-player game took nearly three hours, way too long for what this game is. Dave had the newer tileset, and we were playing with three, so I had high hopes that it would improve the game.

I got out to an early lead, but got Meaded so much that I only had 2 stamina to work with in any given turn. After Dave took the lead in events, he was pretty much unstoppable and the game just ground on. Even with new tiles and three players, two hours is about twice as long as the game should be. It’s really too bad, as the game seems to have the right mix of elements, but in practice they just don’t pan out. I will try the game once more with two players, but to be frank I think it’s simply multi-player solitaire. Only made worse by the fact that we could have been playing Reef Encounter instead...

With less than an hour left, we pulled out Attila, the underrated area/faction control game. This is a gem with three players, and in fact there were several turns of fortune in our game that made it at least 10 times as interesting as the previous two hours. Matt and Dave got off to a small lead after the first scoring round, with four of the six colors in any abundance, and two in particular. By the second scoring, I passed on a clear ending to the round, hoping that Matt would place a yellow meeple and shut Dave out of that particular color, which he did. A good thing, as I ended up moving into second.

The third round saw a four-color race, with a fourth color in play because of the large number of meeples but not so many provinces. This time, I did play the double card chit to enable scoring, and in fact ended up in first place by a few points, with Dave close behind. The game ended with Matt ringing the bell on the Blue meeples, which turned out to not be that great of an idea even though we all had no idea who was going to win going into the final scoring. When the dust cleared, Dave had won over me by two points, with Matt another eight points back. A very close game, and I spent the first half not having the vaguest idea of what I was doing.

The game was unusual in that two colors never really got started - I think there were a total of four green and red meeples on the board at game end. I believe that what happened was yellow and blue had a lot of pieces placed on the board early, then everyone felt they needed to be in the game for those two as we got to the last couple of rounds. Even Matt’s huge round 2 lead in black was eroded quickly when I drew four black cards late in the round, jumping ahead quickly to catch up in that particular color.

Like I say, this is a great three player game that doesn’t work so well with more. A lot like another favorite of mine, Ra.

Thanks to Matt for hosting, and to Dave for coming (although I think I might have requested Descent for two had Dave not shown).

With any luck, I’ll make our Third Saturday Of The Month session and get the chance to pull out Reef Encounter then. With a 7:15am call to sing at a Choral Music conference in the area, though, I don’t know how awake I’ll be...

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