Have I mentioned that I enjoy playing boardgames? I do, which is why on Saturday my friends (Matt, Al, James, Kiri, Rachel, Curtis, Michelle, Parnell, Eric S, Hoover Dave, Bob, Drew, and two of Bob’s friends) and I loaded up and headed to Woo-bin for Unity Games XV, an all-day boardgaming event!
“Now hang on,” you may say. “You guys play boardgames every freaking Sunday! Why do you need to drive nearly to Boston for more?” Ah, because this is a chance to play things that aren’t in any of our collections. We can try out stuff we’ve heard about, or stuff we’re thinking about getting but not sure on, or discover new things we didn’t know about. There’s usually a big Thoughthammer order we put in afterwards with all the new stuff everyone tried at Unity.
This was my first Unity in 18 months. There wasn’t one last Summer, and the one a year ago I missed because I was busy being curled up in pain. So I was especially looking forward to this one.
As usual there was a big game trade and auction on BoardGameGeek beforehand, and I managed to trade for a few interesting things, but the real gem of my trades was this:
The Pride and Prejudice boardgame! Can we get all of the useless aristocrats married off to each other? Expect a session report soon!
Bob did a little more trading than I did:
That’s only one of the two luggage carts he had to use to bring them all in.
We got settled in, claimed all our Pride and Prejudice board games, and then started playing.
Matt, Al, and I started with Neuroshima Hex!, an oddly named game that won the Best Polish Boardgame award in I think 2006. It’s an abstractish game in which gangs of post-apocalyptic warriors slug it out with fists and guns. We had a ball playing it and it’s now on all our want lists.
Then Matt and I played Vineta with Ben and Jen! (No, not THAT Ben and Jen. Or THAT one.) We all had a good time and I had been wanting to try this out. Matt squeaked out the win on this, based on the tiebreaker with Jen. Fun game, but not something I feel I need to get.
Matt, Bob, Drew, and I then played Timber Tom. The design and look of the game is stunning; the gameplay is less so. The rules are unclear on a lot of points and we had to make a judgment call on a few things, and it went on for far too long (and we were even playing a shortened game). We packed it up early. Lovely looking game, but the play still needs a fair amount of work.
After that, the four of us headed down to the hotel bar for drinks. I had a lovely martini with a gorgeous pink coloring that matched my purse and shoes.
When we came back, we were waiting for others to finish the game they were playing, so Rachel joined us for Cities, a game I’d heard a lot of buzz about. None of us were overly impressed by it. It was literally four-player solitaire.
Now it was dinner time, and we played a game where you tried to interpret incorrect directions to find your way to an Indian restaurant. Rachel’s team won; ours came in third because we picked the “Go directly to Nissan Dealership” card. However, we were all rewarded with tasty tasty Indian food and various alcoholic beverages.
Having fueled up, we were ready to tackle Galactic Emperor. I was only dimly aware of this “Puerto Rico in space” game, but Al, Bob, and Matt were really excited to try it. I’m up for anything that makes Puerto Rico more interesting. Drew and Sean brought us up to six players. About an hour and a half later we quit. What a boring and repetitive game! Ramp up to establish a position and then just slug it out until millions of victory points are handed out, practically one at a time. By this time we had the option of continuing to play this for another two hours or move on to something else that we actually might enjoy, and we chose the latter.
Interlude: while we were
playing enduring Galactic Emperor, I got distracted by an utterly gorgeous prototype of a game being shown off further down our table. I had noticed the game — Thrilling Tales of Adventure! — before on BGG and had been impressed with it, but seeing it in person is a whole different thing. Absolutely beautiful.
Even more impressive to me was finally connecting the dots on who the designer is: Jason Lutes. He’s also the creator of the comic series Berlin, which I recently finished the second volume of, and which utterly blew me away. I went over to him and made an embarrassing display of fawning adulation over his comics. I now have a gigantic man-crush on Mr. Lutes and I don’t care who knows it. Naturally, I didn’t take photos of any of this.
With only about an hour and a half left, we sought out something quick and light. Al and Matt and I were joined by a guy named Eric to learn Powerboats. It’s a pretty simple race game, but I think we all walked away from it going, “Huh. That’s it, then?” Honestly, if you have a sheet of hex paper handy, you’re halfway to owning this game. All you need are these nifty three-sided dice:
So far we hadn’t done well, and they were going to throw us out in 45 minutes. I sighted a copy of Flaschenteufel, a card game I (and, it turns out, Matt and Al) had been wanting to try out for some time. We read through the rules and played a few hands, with none of use really “getting” it at first. Finally it started to click with us and I think we all came away wanting our own copy. It was a nice way to end out the day.
So out of seven games played, only two really wowed me, but that’s fine. We had a great time anyway. I can’t wait for the next Unity Games and to be the sister who gets to marry the absolutely dreamy Mr. Darcy.