Monday, May 31, 2010

Gaming For The Week 22nd - 29th May 2010

Marcus came over early in the week with 2 new games - Innovation and American Rails. I've been dying to try Innovation as I'm a huge fan of Glory to Rome. Verdict? I like it and will be looking to acquire it. It does come across more abstract than Glory to Rome with a definite weaker theme. On the other hand, it feels more accessible than GtR despite its 100+ unique card powers. Perhaps it is due to the fact that only 5 card powers are in play for each player at any one time. Just like GtR, the strength is in the interaction which is a key element I look for in games. I enjoy the fact that not only are many of the card powers interactive in nature but you have to constantly 'compete' with other players to be ahead in card symbols to avoid sharing your powers with others. Van wasn't impressed even though she too is a fan of GtR. I suppose it's down to the theme or in this case, the lack of...

American Rails plays similar to Chicago Express which I own. And I have to admit, it's probably the better game. You get to start anywhere on the board unlike CE's fixed positions, which enhances replayability and offers more strategic options. Secondly, the action mechanism reminiscent of Steam also puts it above CE. I like the fact that each action can only be selected by one player each time round, and your choice of action will determine your turn order subsequently. It definitely adds more depth to the game. The game felt a lot more open, less predictable and many more options available with what you can and want to do with the different companies.

The sole advantage CE has over AR is perhaps its gateway potential. I like the fact that you reduce each player turn effectively down to only 3 options: Auction, Develop, or Expand. However, I find the whole Wabash addition once a company hits Chicago fiddly. Sure it adds an extra layer to the decision-making but new players tend to struggle wrapping their head around that part of the game. Nonetheless, the components of CE are far more attractive and I suppose that always serves as an important hook for casual/non-gamers.

Mid-week, the usual gang came over for our weekly fix of A Game of Thrones LCG. Can't remember much except that Jo (Greyjoy) and I (Lanni) took a close one from Ben (Bara) and Ivan (Martell). We ended off with Ra and Ivan took his first win in that, completely demolishing the rest of us. After Ben left, we managed to squeeze in a game of Dominion:Intrigue and a game of Citadels before calling it a day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gaming For The Week 9th-15th May 2010

The usual crowd at the mid-week session where we duked it out with AGoT. Two games were played. I paired with Ivan who played Greyjoy for the first and Ben the next who was playing Baratheon. Jo played Martell and Stark respectively for both games.

Ivan and my strategy was to ignore Jo and concentrate on Ben to garner power in lieu of Martell's characters with the Vengful mechanic (stand vengful characters when you lose as in defence) as well as triggered effects in the same vein. Ben was thumbed down most of the game with minimal characters and Ivan and I took advantage of that to make unopposed challenges.

Jo got off to a fast start in the second game with his Stark deck. My Lannister deck had limited attachments and he killed off my best characters each turn with Bear Island. Ben wasn't faring much better with good income but limited characters to play after being an Intrigue target of Ivan's.

Ivan had to leave after and the 3 of us ended off with Glory to Rome. Ben and Jo have not played the game much as compared to some of my other gaming partners, and seemed generally lukewarm towards it. I had a couple of good draws and managed to get an obscene combo going with Circus Maximus, Bridge, Collosseum and the Wall. Subsequently, I completed the Temple and Shrine and got my max hand size up to 11. I ended the game by using the remaining in-town sites.

With 3, the optimal strategy seems to be getting as many Craftsmen into your client as quickly as possible. Even if your opponents try to starve you of that action, each time you Craft can be a devastating turn, especially with good buildings available.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

OCTGN2: A Game of Thrones LCG

It ought to be rather apparent from my blog posts that I'm rather enamoured with A Game of Thrones LCG. So it was a real godsend when I discovered some enthusiast on the Fantasy Flight forums did some work for it to be played virtually over OCTGN2 (for free!).

I have clocked 5 plays so far and it worked better than expected. In fact it recreates the F2F experience satisfyingly , just without the actual F2F part. There is an in-client chat but I suppose Skype or Ventrilo could help further enhance the experience.

But the real kicker is that you get to build a tournament worthy deck and run it out against opponents from all over the world. The former is a boon since finances may hinder one from obtaining sufficient copies of each card while the latter is a boon since AGoT LCG players are far and few where I live.

I have so far only tried it with Ivan and Jo but hopefully I'll soon be able to play against enthusiasts from other parts. Leave a note if you are keen for a game.

Gaming For the Week 18th-24th April 2010

Had two new guests this week joining us at our mid-week session. Jo, JoGi, Ian, Ivan and myself started with a game of Battlestar Galactica. JoGi and I were Cylons from the start. In a bid to speed up the game, I probably made it easy on the Humans by selecting a 3 distance destination as Admiral. I figured the heavier penalty on resources was worth the risk but in the end the humans managed to eek out the victory. I noticed that on this shorter variant of BSG, there is a tendency for Cylons to reveal too late. JoGi and I made that mistake and weren't able to severely deter the Humans as revealed Cylons, especially when he was forced to reveal from the Brig. I suppose revealing too early does spoil the game for the Cylons somewhat since your options are limited, but revealing too late on the hand limits your opportunities to throw those nasty Super Crisis cards in the way of the Humans. Well, I was just happy to clock another play of the game. My fears that it would simply end up a white elephant due to its niche theme has proved somewhat premature so far but we'll see...

Due to the limited time remaining, we opted for Tribune. Can't believe I'm playing this game back-to-back weeks when it's on my WTS list. But I suppose the one thing going for it is that it packs decent game in a short time. Unfortunately, it just isn't the sort of 'game' I fancy. Predictably, Jo took us to the showers in the game (I called it at the start!), proving once again that he's the master of Tribune. My brain simply cannot wrap around the steps I need to take to obtain the objectives in as minimal steps as possible. Well clearly, Jo manages that. Ivan, Jo and I completed our objectives the same round but once we counted points, it was no contest.