Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why I Hate Euros / Why I Love Euros

Somehow I've been able to get out of the house on two consecutive Tuesday nights to play games at Mike's. Good thing, too, as it was just Alex, myself, and Mike last night. We played two games which pretty much sum up how I currently feel about Euros.

First up was Thurn & Taxis: Power and Postboxes. Or whatever the expansion to the original game is. Play is mostly like the original, but set in Prussia rather than Bavaria, and with the carriages removed in exchange for a "play a card to allow for longer routes" mechanism that effectively gives players an out if they find themselves without a legal card play on their route. I'm not a huge fan of this game, it always feels like so much of how your game goes depends rather strongly on what cards show up in the draft pool when you are starting a route, and I don't know that the expansion made the game better at all.

I've knocked the Discovery mechanism in AoE3, mostly because it a) is necessary to move the game along, and b) the cards can throw the game at the end of play. In T&T, though, you were encouraged to always have a play ready in hand, and if you didn't you could always punt and cash in the route or gamble and hope a useful card showed up next turn. This is the classic definition of managable luck, where you can choose to take a shot or play it safe. AoE3 doesn't have that, at least unless you are willing to devote five colonists, a full turn's worth, to ensure a successful discovery, and then you get a crappy turnout.

Unfortunately, it's gone in the expansion. And I wasn't that hot on the original, to be frank. After a few games, it just felt like you were playing to see what the draft looked like.

A bad sign, as I won the game.

On the other hand, I was not at all prepared to enjoy playing Midgard, but found a 30 minute game that feels a lot deeper than it looks at first blush. The start of the game, where you draft cards from hands going around the table, means that you have knowlege of *almost* all of the cards in play. Then, how you sequence your plays is another brain burner, although it goes by fairly quickly. While I can't say I loved the theme and it felt like there were a *lot* of components for what the game was, I think this may be the first Euro that I've seen in a while where I wanted to play again right away. And I came in last.

And that, in a nutshell, is why Euros drive me crazy these days.

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