Monday, September 14, 2009

10th Sept 2009 Session Report: New Games Galore!

Marcus came over for games and I had an opportunity to get couple of my new games to the table.

First up was Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery. I was initially concerned that this would be another redundant 'worker-placement' game especially with my acquisition of Le Havre which I rate highly. Verdict? I was pleasantly surprised. While the mechanics aren't exactly elegant, the game isn't like anything I've played. Sure the mechanics are tried and tested such as worker placement, area majority, buildings with special powers, etc. but as a package, it is unique as compared to other worker placement games I've tried such as Agricola, Stone Age and even Le Havre. I especially like its confrontational nature in the jostling for position on the various tracks and how the different specialist roles adds a twist into the various spots on the board where you need to gain majority control. The tension was there even with 3 players, although admittedly more so with the first few placements rather than the final few. I agree with the criticisms that the bonuses of the capital buildings do add a dose of luck and have the potential of swinging the game but I don't think it overly detracts from the enjoyment of the game. I like that its easy to pick up and while the game runs slightly longer than I would prefer, it does sustain interest throughout. Marcus came in first in our inaugural game, benefitting from the massive wealth accumulated with the help of his capital buildings and suitably purchased Age III buildings to score the relevant bonuses. Van took 2nd while I 3rd, as I failed to line up enough of my missionaries on the colonist dock due to fierce competition for spots. While somewhat preliminary, it's definitely a keeper in my book. The big plus is that Van actually had a favourable opinion of the game when asked after our first play. That basically seals the deal...

Van suggested a go at Glory to Rome after dinner. It occurred to me that I hadn't played it for some time when it used to hit the table previously every gaming session. Still a fav in our books nonetheless! Unfortunately, the game didn't allow us to savour it for long as Marcus rushed the end of the game by clearing the remaining sites and pipped us to the win by being the only one who managed a single stash in the vault, which was enough to give him a 6 VP advantage.

Next, I brought out China which I was eager to try after acquiring it recently. Marcus played it sometime ago and promptly sold his set, clearly indicating that he wasn't adequately impressed. The rules were exceptionally easy to pick up (I can see it as a successful gateway game) and the card mechanics were reminiscent of Ticket to Ride. However, the game blew past quickly without allowing me to grasp the full nuances of the scoring. We focused on the placement of houses with the only 4 emissary points scored by me at the end. Marcus took the victory with a 2 point edge over me, having scored nice points for his road, while successfully blocking my attempts at extending mine. While clearly abstract, I thought the game possessed potential especially with its short playtime. Van probably found it too short so much so that there didn't seem much game at all. I learnt that the house scoring meant that all one needed was half of the houses in each district and if you are aiming for 2nd, minimal houses were required as your points increase with a greater majority. Still probably need another game or two to figure out how to best leverage the emissary scoring...

We then tried Fairy Tale. We didn't fully understand the rules and ended up getting a few of them wrong. Nonetheless, Van got the win but my first impression is that there isn't as much interaction in the game as I first assumed.

To end the night we had a quick go at Sorry! Sliders which went to the wire - Marcus clinched it at the death...

All in all, a good day of gaming - been awhile since I got 5 games to the table in one session.

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