Friday, June 24, 2011

PGWJ Thursday Pre-Vacation Edition

What was originally going to be 5 was 3 (the same old story) for the Thursday Play Games With Josh night, before 2 weeks of vacation where my game partners will only be my wife and son (not a bad thing!).

One guest was someone who hasn't made it to "one of these" before, but is an old gaming friend, so it was awesome.

I just recently picked up the newest Dominion expansion, "Cornucopia", and Dominion works great with 3, so that was the first game we played.

Since Tree hadn't played before, but I wanted to try out the new cards, we used the "suggested" layout of 5 cards from Cornucopia and 5 from the base set.
Max got quite an engine going with Tournaments and the earliest Provinces; he ended up with 4 out of the 5 Prize Cards in his deck by the end (and collected a Duchy from an additional successful Tournament). He even managed to get a Horn of Plenty out that was worth more than $8. Yikes.
Suffice it to say, Max won that game, 48 to 41 (me) to 27-ish (a respectable total for a new player).

We debated playing a second game of Dominion, but it "wasn't in the cards" (har har har!!!)

Instead we moved on to the game that's been on my mind most lately: Power Grid.
I'm not incredibly experienced with this game, but I have to say, I think PG is less balanced at 3 players than it is at 2. With 2 players, the auction phase is usually uninteresting, but there is still competition for the lesser resources. With 3, it's too easy for one player to go off and "do his own thing" with garbage or uranium and take a big lead.
In early game, I lagged behind, partly on purpose to get the advantage of "last place". In mid-game, I was the garbage king; the only one collecting garbage, with 2 wind farms as well. I almost thought I had a chance of winning.
Then I made the mistake that cost me the game: In Phase 3, going first, I chose the big #50 to auction off... and I ended up paying $100 for it. That was just too much, which allowed another player (Max again) to purchase enough cities to end the game before I could dig myself out of the hole.
Oh well, live and learn.
I am seriously considering picking up some of the expansions for Grid, though; the alternate power grid deck might help, and the other maps look like they introduce interesting challenges. Also still haven't played with any of the promo cards, so I don't think Grid is ready to go back on the shelf yet. Maybe it will come with us on vacation.

Anyway, that's that for now. I hope to have some more interesting posts back on the blog again soon...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Session Report Catchup, in brief

Extended version might be coming soon, but this is catching up after blogger had some "issues".

Short reviews of what has been played recently:
Ticket to Ride: Big Cities seems to be the most interesting 2p variant, at least for me and my wife.

Dominion: is still a comfortable and fun game with high replay value.

Chaos in the Old World: I still feel like it is easy to feel Eliminated when you are in last place in mid-end-game and can mathematically Not Win. And it's a game that is more fun when you're winning, in my opinion. I'm still not sure why people think it is the Best Game Evar. Willing to play it more, but not rating it highly.

Illuminati: An unusual choice, pulling it out of cold storage after several years, it reminded me why the game isn't good. Aborted after it became "pure math + attack the leader," which is exactly what I remember. Maybe if we play it again, we'll include the oddball Brainwash expansion, or I'll go out and get the other 2 expansions that have surfaced in the last few years. Fat chance of playing it again at all, though.

Power Grid: Yay! I finally got to play this again. And I do like it very much. It has similarities to Chaos in the Old World in the fact that you can be losing and not be able to catch up, but for some reason it is still fun to play it out. Perhaps it's because it's simpler, I dunno. Want to play again!

More details soon, maybe.