(Another catch-up post… this meeting was nearly 3 weeks ago…)
Games played this time:
It was good to play this again (I actually picked up a copy of this for myself earlier in the year, but it’s mostly sat around unplayed due to a less-than-auspicious first game against Mrs Shep, in which we pulled out a really bad selection of robot tiles, and played an incredibly unforgiving game). This copy belonged to Les & James, but I don’t think they’ve played it much and/or haven’t played for a long time, as everybody at the table seemed to have a similar level of experience. It was a bit of an odd session – Olly suddenly pulled away with a racing lead – mostly because the rest of us had been squabbling over cheap east coast towns, and we’d managed to leave the western map wide open for him to exploit – ending the game way sooner than expected (I don’t think we managed to start stage 3?) with a bit of a blitzkrieg victory on his part. Oops. Got to watch out for that next time!
Dominion (with Hinterlands expansion)
I really like Dominion; it’s a deckbuilding game that I know really well, and am pretty heavily invested in (I own 5 expansions… and I’ll inevitably get round to completing the collection one day). This was the first time I’ve played it at Newcastle gamers but… for some reason… it felt like a really flat game. I guess it was due to the mixture of cards we had on this particular outing… surprising, as it was one of the “recommended” sets from the Hinterlands rule book, and (despite not being familiar with THAT particular expansion) I’ve always found the recommended sets to play really well. Alas, not this time. IIRC, there was NO attack cards in the set at all, essentially leaving us with a 4-hand game of solitaire. Ugh.
Non-confrontational Dominion plays well with 2 players (because you have a very good sense of who is in the lead, points-wise, and what you need to do to catch up… so it plays like a race game)… but with 4 players? No.
Note to self: remember to break out the attack/reaction cards in any future 4-player games!
Olly’s winning streak has finally been broken! … admittedly, it wasn’t quite as sweet a victory as it would’ve been if I’d won with maximum points, but I’m not complaining. 😉
This is the game that I picked up in the Maths Trade that I was telling you about the other day. I like it… it’s a quick-playing area-control game, with euro-leaning tendencies. Players take turns adding archaeologists to a randomly-jumbled egyptian landscape, and at the end of each round the players who are dominant in each quadrant of the map score points and get special powers for later rounds. Scoring is made a little deeper by the fact that you need to book rooms in a museum to display your finds, with points being awarded depending on the prestige of a particular room and how many appropriate treasures you collect for that particular spot. The game manages to pack a surprising amount of crunchy decisions into about 40 minutes of play time (and a small box). Good stuff! 🙂
This was the first time I’d played with more than 2 people. I don’t think I played particularly well – (I rarely do while I’m teaching; I think I concentrate too much on making sure everything is running smoothly, at the expense of my own play experience!) – but it was still an enjoyable session. Hopefully the other guys thought so too.
This was the third time I’ve played Oregon… I’m still not sure how much I like it. The game involves placing settlers and buildings on a wild west map, with points being scored based on your placement… e.g. place a settler in an open field, score nothing. Place a settler next to a gold mine and a village store, score points and get gold.
The problem: When playing Oregon I seem to sway between two different states:
(1) Total Confusion.. the game map relies on a strange pictorial (rather than numeric) co-ordinate system – presumably to make it more accessible to children – but I find it a bit of a brain scrambler. Somehow it seemed even more baffling than normal this time – perhaps because I was looking at the board upside-down. Once I’ve finally figured out which locations I’m actually allowed to influence in a turn, confusion gives way to..
(2) Analysis Paralysis. Ugh. Too many options… probably only a few of which are particularly good, but it can take a LONG time to figure out where the optimal position to play is.
It’s an OK game, and I don’t mind playing it when there’s nothing better on offer… but it’s not something I’d pro-actively suggest playing.
Archaeology (The Card Game)
I only had about 15 minutes before I had to head off home, so pulled this one out of my bag. It’s a pretty simple set-collection/push-your-luck rummy-style game, and an unashamed filler title… but quite good for what it is. It filled the gap and rounded off the night nicely.
So… SIX games played this week – none of them were particularly heavy titles, but I’d had a pretty hectic weekend, was suffering from partial brain-failure, and it was a bit of a relief to not have to play anything too complex. Apparently the next meeting – May 12th – was the group’s 3rd AGM (and a freebie session!), but I missed it due to a clash with wicker man burning/general summer madness (see previous post). Shame … would’ve been interesting to see what went on.
Never mind… maybe next year! 😉
CREDITS: Session pics gratuitously stolen from the Newcastle Gamers web site. Newcastle Gamers meets on the second and last Saturday of the month… usual cost is £3, but your first visit is free. More details here.