Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Week-ending Empires

Post-Rushay, I (Joe) almost - almost - felt gamed out. But our friends Henry and Rachel arrived on Halloween for the weekend, and that could only mean one thing - more gaming. Henry is a joy to play with - he's super-keen to try out anything new I might have acquired since his last visit, is a very gracious loser and gloats delightedly over each and every win. The perfect gamer!

Though he brought 1989, Dawn of Freedom with him, which we had played in the summer at his, the gaming ops points this weekend weren't really long enough to delve back in to anything that lengthy. That didn't stop Henry suggesting Julius Caesar, Hammer of the Scots and Warriors of God at various points. We also had Lost Valley out of the box several times, which Henry loved the look of; but without Martin to untangle the rules (particularly the two-player variant, which requires each player to control two prospectors), it also fell by the wayside.
Here's some gaming snacks, against a background
of the game of 1989 we played in the summer 

We did play was a lot of Machi Koro - which remains a current favourite of mine. We played in the garden, as this was the unseasonably warm Halloween - but as dusk fell and the kids all went off to the annual Bristol zombie march, we attempted a 2 player game of 1944: Race for the Rhine.

The circumstances weren't ideal, as I had to go upstairs and answer the door to trick-or-treaters every 90 seconds, but even so it didn't feel any less arbitrary than the 3 player game Martin, Sam and I played a few weeks ago. It's going on the next BGG Math Trade . . .

On Saturday we all went on a long walk in the Cotswolds, but in the evening we found a sizeable gaming window while waiting for supper to cook. First up was Razzia, with Flo and Matilda.
Razzia is the gangster-themed card-only version of Ra, with no disasters. Henry and I have splayed a lot of the iPad version, and I guess it's only real USP is the portability, but I really like it as a quick alternative version of its big brother. Not sure anyone else was that enamoured . . . though Flo won.

Henry and I then played a quick game of Race for the Galaxy, including the Alien Artifacts expansion, which is always a pleasure. Then we opted for Russian Railroads. Half way through explaining it I panicked that I'd over-reached; we were playing on the kitchen table and supper was not far off. But Henry's a quick learner, and we knocked out the game in little over half an hour. It was really good to play it again, actually - it's a very neat game, if a little one-dimensional.

Once the kids were abed Henry and I tried to entice Cha and Rachel to play a game. Neither were terribly enthusiastic, but agreed to play Long Shot, which I'd recently played at Rushay. Charlotte said that hearing us play a few days before had reminded her how much she doesn't like it, but graciously agreed to give it another try; and Flo joined in to make five. In fact Flo won. Next day Charlotte said she was now convinced she actively dislikes the game, but I think it's great, and in fact is particularly good for a late night session where you don't want to have to think.

The ladies left us to it at this point - it had gone midnight, after all. But Henry was still willing, and I, hapless dolt that I am, couldn't resist the chance to play another old favourite that he hadn't tried: Ascending Empires! It wasn't great with two; despite the relative simplicity of the rules, it's easy for a player to exploit a given strategy if the other doesn't know the way to combat it. But it reminded me what a great game it can be with three or four, and I'd really like to get it to the table again soon.
Just take an action and it's the next player's turn; the play is super fast and really interesting, despite my inept flicking.

Sunday morning we gazed longingly at Lost Valley, and then confusedly at the rules, before packing it away and playing Russian Railroads again. We both tried for the Trans-Siberian this time, but Henry spread his energies amongst the other three tracks as well and I was allowed an easy win.

After lunch another three rounds of Machi Koro, and our good friends had to hit the road. I hope Henry does pick up Lost Valley, so that when we next get together, around Christmas, we can have another game. Martin, your special trays are now secured with rubber bands - I'll bring it to the next games night I'm able to make. Hey perhaps we could even play it!!

1 comment:

  1. Every time I look at that photo of pizza and beer, it makes me hungry.