html> Friends Over Gaming: A few more games played...

Saturday, October 22


A few more games played...

During the last GamesDay Jonathan had graciously extended an invitation to me to join him and the other Left Coast Gamers at his home. Luckily my work load and travel schedule had me in town this week and available so I made the drive to the Valley for a weeknight of gaming. This was a rare treat for me as between work and familial duties games are hard to squeeze in on weeknights.

I arrived at 7:30, in time to join an opener of Taboo, with what grew to two teams of 5. We played two rounds. Dave quickly introduced the game to those who had not yet played before. It is actually quite simple. The object is to get your team to guess a word without you using any restricted words from a list of 5 on a a card. You have one minute to get your team to guess as many word cards within the time limit. With the house variant, correct guesses are +2 points, saying a restricted word clue is -1 point and passing on a card is -1 point (I think). Word restrictions include any portion or form of the restricted words or the word to be guessed. Dave ended his explanation by saying that some nights he is off and some nights he is spectacular. Well tonight he was spectacular, as he scored 12 points in 1 minute. Some memorable clue sets were:

(for 'green')
Kermit is... [a frog]
...and they are...[green]

(for 'rose')
This by any other name... [rose]

Those who know me know that my brain stagnates with words so, as you can guess, I did fairly poorly with providing clues. I was better at guessing. My best show for giving clues was 5 right, but with one word violation so I only netted 4 points for our team. Surprisingly, I enjoyed Taboo. Plus, I could probably do myself some good by playing more. It sure can't hurt! I'm picking this one up from a fellow BGG'er at BGG.Con in a couple weeks.
My Rating: 8

We next broke into two groups, one playing Riddles & Riches, a game Dave won from solving a contest at R & R games. I was looking forward to an opportunity to play something meaty and joined in for a 5 player game of Wallenstein. This was also a new play for me. Jonathan brushed up on the rules as he explained them to the group and we were set to go. Wallenstein is sometimes described as a blend between a EuroGame and a WarGame, though to me it still felt strongly like a EuroGame. Sure there are some battles and conflicts, but the action selection mechanics and goals of achieving majorities were the driving component of the game for me. I especially enjoyed the mechanic of having a collection of actions which players assign to their various regions and which are then executed in an order that is half known and half unknown. It seems to consolidate the analysis into a simultaneous event leaving a much smaller decision tree available should things change before a player gets to execute their action. The cube tower is just a novelty, but it works nicely. Our game did suffer from everyone bashing the leader of the first scoring round, and with only two scoring rounds, this was fatal for that player. Jonathan came up from behind (third) to win. Dave stopped by as we were finishing and commented that our experience highlighted the downfall of Wallenstein, that it's hard to win if you are in first place after the first scoring. Going in knowing that, I think players could use that as a component of their strategy, establishing a strong base in the first round and then maximizing scores in the second. I demand a rematch!
My rating: 7

Edel, Stein & Reich
We ended with a 4 player game of Edel, Stein & Reich, a gem bartering game in which the richest trader wins. At it's core Edel, Stein & Reich is a semi-blind bidding game in which players have the choice of three actions: take money, gems, or an event card. If only one person selects an action they get to take it freely. If two people select the same action however they must barter with their gems to determine who takes the action, with the other player receiving the gems offered. If three or more select the same action then none get it and they effectively lose their turn. Edel, Stein & Reich plays quickly and simply with two angst moments, the semi-blind bid and the gem bartering. At three points in the game the gem majorities are scored and bonus money is distributed. In the end only money matters but along the way players need gems to win majorities. In the semi-blind bidding each player is bidding on a different set of choices printed on a card delt to them face up prior to bidding. Players can then use this information to deduce which actions the others are likely to take and thus which are safe for them, if it weren't for doublethink and secondguessing. In this game I started with a solid gem collection but lost my majorities on the closing bid of the round. That left me in good position for round two in which I could concentrate more closely on money. In the end scores were close and I won by one point.
My rating: 7

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