The Game’s Afoot!

What a gametastic weekend! Man, where do I start?

First off, I’ve been reading a lot (too much, probably) of BoardGameGeek (BGG) lately, and as a result there’s a whole pile of games I want to try out now. The list as it currently stands is:

Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix     Medina
Blokus Lost Cities *
Return of the Heroes Tigris and Euphrates
Runebound For Sale
Fjords * ZooSim
Starfarers of Catan Goa
Pirate’s Cove Dungeon Twister
Evo Inka
Fearsome Floors * San Marco
El Caballero Samurai
Clans Boomtown

Yeah, that’s a lot of games. I sent this list to Mike and Dan and it turns out Mike has some of them and Dan as well, so I was able to play Fearsome Floors and borrow Lost Cities and Fjords. I’ll talk more about Fearsome Floors later (it deserves another playing).

Lost Cities is a two-player game and Becky and I were hooked on it almost immediately. Even in these times of carefully watching my geek dollars we ordered our own copy of this one right away. We’ve been playing a lot of this lately. It’s out of print, so if you’re interested in it and see one, you should grab it!

Fjords is another two-player game that again, after borrowing a copy, we ordered our own. It’s got a nice elegance to it; the first part you build the board, setting yourself up to claim territory, and in the second part you try and grab the territory. It’s quick and fun.

Those are the two that Becky and I have been busying ourselves with.

Meanwhile, on Friday night, we had dinner with Mark and Kristin at Cafe Lebanon (and yes, there was a belly dancer!) Afterwards we went to their place and I brought the game used to seduce more innocent victims into becoming boardgamers than any other game: The Settlers of Catan.

What is it about Settlers that makes it so appealing? It’s hard to explain the rules without making it sound far more complicated than it is. It uses tiles in a weird way, playing along the edges of them rather than the centers. It’s difficult to see at a glance who’s in the lead since there’s no scoring track. And yet, I’ve never brought it out for newer gamers and been disappointed. People love it. Mark and Kristin were no exception.

However, on this occasion, Catan experienced a disaster, or perhaps a surfeit of blessing, depending upon your point of view. excited over finally getting some bricks, a certain person we won’t identify knocked half a glass of red wine onto the card area. Grain, Ore, and the Development Cards were soaked. Fortunately, the mess cleaned up well enough, with the cards emerging more or less intact. Also, it’s an old and well-played set — the tiles themselves were all warped and were the old versions with the really unclear pictures on them — so it’s no big deal if we have to replace this one eventually.

Saturday, after running some errands (more on this later!) we went over to Dan’s, where first we sat down to experience the newest, hottest videogame sensation, We ♥ Katamari! A sequel to the wonderful PS2 game Katamari Damacy, it boasts a ton of new levels, some interesting new twists, and better two-player co-op and versus play. Dan was nice enough to loan it to us to make sure it played on our machine and we’re pleased to see that it does! Hooray! We DO heart Katamari!

And then, game-related disaster struck again! When grabbing games to bring over, I had picked up Gloom and the box flipped open, spilling cards onto the floor. I picked them up, put them back in the box, and moved on. But when I got to Dan’s and took them out again, I noticed some of the semi-stiff plastic cards had actually cracked and split upon impact with the floor! Consarn it! So a word of advice to Gloom buyers out there: store the game in something sturdier than its box or be very careful with it.

We recovered from this, though, and played some Bohnanza (a really great multi-player card game) and Corruption, a card game I was not familiar with. We’d played the former before and really enjoyed it, and the latter was also interesting, though it would probably improve with more than three players.

Sunday Dan came over here and we played Ticket to Ride, a game with gets very high praise on BGG, and which I like, but I just don’t love as much as it seems I should. There seems to be a ton of downtime in the game, turn after turn of nothing but “draw card, draw card, done. draw card, draw card, done. draw card, draw card, done.” If it had an element of trading to it that would improve it, I think, allowing more player interaction and speeding things up a little. I’m proud to say that I played the one (and, I think, only) completely “screw you” move in the game, trying to block one of Dan’s routes.

Afterwards Becky went to grade, so Dan and I played a couple of two-player games. I showed him Fjords, which he really enjoyed, and he had brought Jambo, which I really enjoyed. He left Jambo for me to show to Becky, and I think, given its similarity to San Juan and Puerto Rico, I think she’ll dig it as well.

I’ve also borrowed, from Dan or Mike (but haven’t played yet), Balloon Cup, Hive, and Battle Line, all of which are two-player games. We’re ready for a long winter.

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6 Responses to The Game’s Afoot!

  1. Mrs. Mancer says:

    Okay–I confess. The she-who’ll-remain-nameless is ME. I’m usually pretty graceful in movements (at least, compared to Beebo), and I hold my liquor okay, so I don’t know what happened with the wine. But Kristin and Mark were completely gracious about having red wine spill on their white dining room chair cushions! And we could use a new version of Catan, anyway (if not the $300 version–yes, there is such a thing).

  2. John M says:

    I just got April Blokus for her birthday yesterday and we gave it its first test spin. We really liked it. It is similar to Cathedral, another game we have but it is different enough and can be played with 2-4 people so it’s a good addition for us. There is essentially only one rule to learn before you are ready to start playing.

  3. CounterProductive says:

    A new Settlers game or cards never hurts. After Rob got all my cards greasy from eating McD’s and not washing his hands, I was set to get more cards at GenCon. Then I saw the newer Die Siedlers, and with the nice looking roads that have tiny cobblestones on them to buildings that look like buildings, I spent a wad and don’t regret it. The neat thing about this version is you create an outlying hex border with interlocking sea zones, so the internal land tiles don’t shift around. I think Becky should accidentally spill wine on yours – you might have to buy new. ;)

    There’s some nice games on your list. I do like Ticket to Ride. Even with the card draws and nothing else, our group had a good time with it and it went quickly.

    I have to get a Formula De expansion myself. I already bought some hand-painted car minis cheap off ebay, and it makes the game better.

    Citadels is still among my current faves. We rotate a random 2 expansion characters into each game, and that adds some nice variety, even with a couple of the expansion characters being less than optimal.

  4. Dave says:

    Although we will replace the game, I do kind of like now having a crummy version I don’t have to worry about. Since it’s brought out largely for newer players, in social situations, I’d rather have a fun game to play that I don’t have to worry about getting damaged than demand everyone drink out of sippy cups and move the robber with tongs. I’m actually pretty impressed with how well the cards cleaned up.

  5. Uncle Stewart says:

    This reminds me of the time that Rebecca got sloppy drunk and vomited all over the Jenga. True, the wooden pieces cleaned up surprisingly well, and you can just barely still smell the Rolling Rock on them.

  6. Mrs. Mancer says:

    Hey! I only did that a couple times, Uncle Stew!!!