Thursday, December 3, 2009

27th Nov 2009 Session Report: Public Holiday Gaming Redux

Had a good turnout this time round, with almost 10 different ones playing over the course of the day. Lost the scores yet again so will just jot down what comes to mind.

Ivan came over with Jerry who is a CCG/LCG enthusiast. Despite never having played A Game of Thrones LCG before, he picked it up fast. The game was played over 2 halves as Marcus came halfway and we decided to opt for a game all 5 of us could play. We also played till only 10 points in order to avoid dragging out the game overly. Ivan played his slightly modified Targaryen deck while Jerry used his Stark deck. I fiddled with my Stark deck somewhat the day before, adding in a couple of Intrigue characters and swapping some of the plot cards so decided to go with that too. As a result, the game was dominated by military and power challenges. The lead switched hands a couple of times but I ultimately took the game with a 5 power gain round. I won an unopposed military challenge against Jerry, before initiating a power challenge against Ivan which he decided not to defend against. My claim that round was 2 which allowed me to rob him of 2 power tokens. I gained an extra power token for the unopposed challenge plus a final power token due to Eddard Stark's Renown ability for the win.

While this was going on, Van introduced Battle Line to Marcus before we took a break from AGoT LCG to table El Grande. I hadn't had a chance to play El Grande for some time with the infrequency of gaming with 5, coupled with the fact that I tended to opt for Princes of Florence even with 5 around. It definitely did not disappoint and I made a mental note to table it more often. Ivan, Jerry and Marcus picked up the game quickly and scores ended up really close at the end with Van edging me and Ivan out by a point. There were a couple of 'wow' moments in the game, especially when the Caballeros (men) were released from the Castillo, which changed the board situation significantly. A worthy 9 in my book.

While Ivan, Jerry and I completed AGoT LCG, Van, FT and Marcus opted to play Glory to Rome. I didn't have much info about the game but apparently Marcus grabbed a speedy win with the help of a Craftsman strategy.

Ivan and Jerry had to make a move and Marcus introduced the rest of us including Lijie to Factory Manager. I had heard good things about the game but figured just like its predecessor Power Grid, it was unlikely to be my cup of tea. My gut feel was proven right as it was rather mathy, with the need to calculate your cost and income constantly to ensure you were eking out maximum profit each round. Power Grid while longer is definitely the superior game. Marcus won with me taking second place.

Marcus and Lijie had to make a move, but with Mun and Weilong joining the fray, I had an opportunity to try a 5-player game of Endeavor. Surprisingly, not all the regions opened up either as we opted to attack rather than merely sticking to peaceful options. Having a couple of 3-player games in the pocket, the game appears to scale rather well. However, while I can see why the game is rated highly, I'm still on the edge regarding it. I like its short play time and accessibility to non-gamers. However, the premise of the game doesn't encourage specialization as you really have to build up all tracks reasonably to do well. The paths to victory do not seem diverse enough for me and I'm waiting to see if Hansa Teutonica would be a better alternative. From what I heard, Marcus should be receiving his copy soon.

After dinner, FT, Joseph, Weilong and I played a game of China. Once again, house placements dominated the first half of the game and only when the majority of spots were filled that we started playing our emissaries. That seems to be the typical pattern of play and I wonder whether there is a place to focus on emissaries earlier in the game. I still enjoy the depth of the game for the time it takes, but offering alternative strategies would definitely take the game up a notch in my book. FT took the win over me by a point.

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