Tuesday, 23 December 2014

If you knew Zeusy like I know Zeusy

No big pre-Christmas event this year, but Sam and I got together for an evening of games before the big day. Sam’s first suggestion was Olympos. It required some specialised two-player rules to be introduced, but otherwise the game played out the same. So with Sam already familiar with the rules (of which there are surprisingly few) he talked me through it and we were away.

A slightly embarrassed Zeus keeps track of his game

The game was far quicker than before. With two players, the amount of analysis paralysis was greatly lessened. On the other hand, Zeus barely shut up, with Olympos cards being triggered every couple of turns. With only two players, this meant that one player was rewarded while the other was punished. There was no third option of just doing enough to avoid those cards by not being last. This, perhaps, robbed the game of a certain subtlety. Sam came out a confident winner.

Sam 48
Andrew 27

But on its second outing, it still didn’t really impress Sam. I have the same opinion as Ian – I’d like to try it again to see if perhaps I’d missed something. Maybe three players is the sweet spot? Despite it’s map and swords, it’s not a war game. The aggressor always wins – it just takes them more time. And with Sam having the most Zeus tokens, he could push the game on, without fearing the wrath of the gods in the slightest, leaving me at a bit of a disadvantage.

After this, we played Linkee. This quiz game is aimed at the family market and contains four easy questions per card. The difficult bit is working out how the four answers are connected. Like a dumbed-down version of Only Connect, it’s a fun diversion: easy enough to make you feel smug about yourself while still hard enough that victory isn’t guaranteed.

One "E" away from victory

Having said that, Sam won this time, and then again when we played it at the end of the night.

But it was still early, so there was more games to be had. Castles of Burgundy was brought out. In round one, I looked at the tiles available and I decided to go for animals, since no one ever goes after them, and it seemed to work. One herd of cows got me 43 points during the game. Plus, I got a couple of useful bonuses. I led throughout the game and Sam’s last round of spoiling tactics and his large collection of tiles for completing areas wasn’t enough to complete the gap. The game was also notable for the constant battle for going first, since that seemed to be advantageous to our plans.

Andrew 192
Sam 179

And then we played Biblios.

Has this game lost some of its mystery? Sam and I sped through a game, fully at home with the rules and the strategies. But halfway through the auction round, I realised I was in a fix. I couldn’t possibly win two dice (which added up to six) while I was certain to win the other three (which only added up to four).

Since we don’t shuffle the auction pile in GNN Towers (and Sam and I reinstated the tie-breaker rule of leftmost die wins since I do believe it makes for a better game) I knew that the last card to be auctioned was a church card that allowed you to change the value of the cards. I thought it was a card that let you change two dice. This would’ve given me the win, since I had the brown dice in the bag, but when it was unveiled, it only changed one. And that’s how I lost by a single point.

Sam 6
Andrew 5

And that’s also why our tie-breaker is better than the official one. You try having a strategic battle like that when the tie-breaker is only “who has most gold left over?” Yawners.

Then there was one last game of Linkee, which I already mentioned before that Sam won, before Sam sped off into the night, Christmas stretching out in front of us. Season’s greetings, everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I think in their efforts to make Olympos non-language dependent they've made it rulebook-dependent. The development cards - with some exceptions - don't really have an iconography that helps you during the game.

    It did flow a lot quicker with two though, and I haven't given up on it completely. I think because the Olympos cards are so (potentially) destructive and the stars so decisive when we're playing we need to be more confrontational about owning the Zeus tokens (that avoid the Olympos disasters) and the stars (that buy you wonders).

    Good fun thanks Andrew.