Monday, February 04, 2008

Eugene Games Gala Recap - Day 2

Day 2 dawned dark and rainy, a perfect day to sit in a basement and game!

Here I Stand - First up was the touted game of Here I Stand, where six people fight the Reformation, from the Hapsburgs to the Ottomans. Every side has it's own juju and a little different take on the game, but no one as much as the Protestants. I played the French, helping out the English player with tips and such, only to get steamrolled during turn 3 by a combined English/Hapsburg assault. Had we progressed into turn 4 (and we were a good six hours, yes, hours, into the game at this point), I would have been pretty uninvolved for that turn, with three keys to get back and few cards to play with (two tops in addition to my home card). Hapsburgs were doing well, but had little hope of holding what he'd taken, with the Ottomans making trouble for him in the Med and them knocking on the gates of Vienna at last.

A great game, but I don't think I can do another "teaching" game. Just too long for the amount of game you get in. Perhaps another three-player game, this time from the top...

Phoenicia A great civ-building game marred only by a teacher who focuses on nothing but mechanisms and some of the worst bookkeeping methods/graphics I've seen (in terms of usefulness - the images were very nice otherwise). Chris and I somehow got off to a good start, but his superior income production in the late game combined with the expensive City Walls advance on the final turn killed me. Otherwise I got the game quite quickly, despite a first turn with no idea of what was going on. The income/point producing advances used the last man placed to determine what you got, making computing the value of a particular move a bit on the aggrevating side. Too bad, because I really liked the game but the human factors may just kill it for me.

Cheeky Monkey - A great push your luck game. Important note: That giraffe is f*cking Death, man. Draw after him at your peril. Same for the wild dogs. Otherwise, a really cool, really portable, really easy to teach and play game that is going on my to-buy list. Now. Scott spanked us with a very nice stack of about 3/4's of the tiles.

Incan Gold - Great fun, with KC and I having roughly the same tolerance for uncertainty. I *think* I pulled out a win on this one, although Rita pulled in a *ton* of points in the last round (we played six rounds with an extra level and artifact). Awesome game, one I could have sold a dozen copies of for Jesse's store over the holidays.

Ticket to Ride:Switzerland - Last game of the evening, and I was very happy to get this one in. I have the expansion, but it's been maligned for having too much luck in the ticket draws. My solution (which we implemented in part): you can't score a route twice, but the card doesn't hurt you either. There is some potential here to allow the cards t be much more useful and minimize the luck factor. I came in last *only* because I couldn't get the six cards of one color needed to finish my last route - a 23 point swing!

I'll finish up the recap (which will be short) tomorrow.


Greg W said...

Here I Stand sounds interesting.

Phoenicia falls a little flat for me thematically. After you've played it a few times you mainly focus on the production and score tracks so the cards seem to lose all meaning once you've acquired them. The game becomes a race, manipulating pawns and scoring markers.

I think they would have done well to use custom figures for each type of worker. It would have cost more but it really would have made some of the tiles mean something more.

The bookkeeping is awkward at first, but makes sense once you're used to it. It also flows by really fast once you've played it a few times. What human factors were you referring to? Perhaps you mean how auctions and discounts can drastically effect the game.

In a game of Cheeky Monkey this weekend the elephant ended several turns as did the warthog. A lot of fun none the less. Coming up empty has never been so fun.

Mike said...

My dislike of HIS is well documented, so I'll leave it alone.

Cheeky Monkey is a great game, and after a single play I bought it retail. Yep, that good.

Phoenicia is another game I bought after a first play. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to play it since.

Greg W said...

All my complaints aside, I would like to play Phoenicia more. I think it really starts to shine when you play with experienced players. The auctions are more interesting and the game moves faster.