Wednesday night monthly meetup
5 Tiny Epic Galaxies NEW!
8 A Study in Emerald (second edition) NEW!
7 Loot NEW!
7 BraveRats x5
Having missed the previous month's meetup (and potentially missing the upcoming one), I made sure to make it to this one! Things started off with a small little moment that left a sour taste in my mouth -- a player who was less flexible with what our small group might play jettisoned during the rules explanation of a game he *would* play. Being halfway through the rules explanation (from the host, who would not be playing), we all stayed the course but the game we played was *not* the best fit: Tiny Epic Galaxies was neither incredibly friendly to new players, fast moving for five, or choice-light for the computational player (nor worth putting that level of analysis in considering how player dependent and dice dependent the game is). It took almost two hours (for what should have taken at most one, considering the depth of the choices, as well as the stakes of the game). Thoughts (inevitably shaped by how poor the experience was):
Tiny Epic Galaxies is, in my opinion, nothing terribly innovative. Nonetheless things are generally pretty slick in this package -- I simply think that the game doesn't encourage multiple players very well as there are far too many actions to be taken by each and every player. This can mean that turns can draw out indefinitely if playing with a table that doesn't play fast and loose. While the option to follow is also present, having to go around the table to verify if folks are following or not (for each action, 4-7 of them) can drag the game out. I know that the game is meant to be at once tiny and epic -- but I'm not sure who the target audience is accordingly. Things picked up from there with a match of A Study in Emerald (second edition). New-to-me thoughts:
Incredibly cool game that takes its inspiration in an interesting direction. Now I know that the second edition loses a lot of its quirks and charms (e.g., fighting off zombies and vampires?), but I've also heard that it is also a glorious hot mess (the question being if it is a brillian hot mess or just a hot mess). I haven't played it so I can't say much on the subject.I couldn't quite figure out who was who until it was way too late in the game. I ended the game but didn't consider the rule that a potential partner could drag the whole team down! I went from a tied first to third! Also, players brought an appropriate level of analysis to the game (i.e., "good enough" decisions knowing that you don't know what you wish you did).
However, the second edition creates this great paranoia as restorationists and loyalists dance around each other on the board attempting to claim points for both themselves *and* their team without disclosing who they are (as to invite getting murdered by opposing agents!) -- this double(d) winning criteria is important as you want to get the most points but if you win and your teammate is in last, the whole team loses five points (often enough to be the difference between winning and losing). The deck building creates interesting and emerging choices as your deck evolves (but you need to have majority in an area to get new cards!) -- and the neutral points become a hot commodity that every fights over (points for you, as an individual, that don't reveal your team). However, one must eventually make actions that reveal your leaning: whether fending of Ancient Ones (as restorationists) or Restorationists (as loyalists). Like with the mythos, there are also sanity checks to make if you play with fire.
Incredibly playable take on deck-building, deduction, and hidden roles. I can't think of anything quite like it.
Three of us from ASiE and one of the hosts played a rousing game of Pueblo, in which the quietest player took the win partially by doling out less points to others than those around him! (i.e., playing the social-psychological game!). This was followed by a round of Loot. I must have learned my lesson from the other game, taking the win through quiet subversive play! Also, new to me thoughts:
While there is nothing earth-shattering about this game, like with other Knizia games it has really effective bare-bones to create an exciting pirate-themed tug-of-war. In short, players take turns drawing cards, playing loot on the table, or fighting over loot (won when they have the largest total at the beginning of their turn - or yours if you played the loot and no one else played on it!). Because everything is face up and delayed (minus your hand) means that you know who you're messing with and who is messing with you. The small constraints (such as first-come-first-serve on the four suits) means that the game does not simply come down to the accumulation of power (through lucky draws), as there is a lot of room for small but devious plays (e.g., dropping a low loot ship when everyone else is fighting over one worth twice as much). Fast and fun.I finished the night off teaching Allyson (one of the hosts) R which she promptly proceeded to beating me in a first to 3 hands. Crowning moments included: Princessing my prince, and turning a 3-0 lead one hand into a quagmire of held off rounds, into a big win.
Saturday night at Patrick's
8 Food Chain Magnate
Patrick's partner J joined us on this. Patrick started his own little cola empire in another neighbourhood while J and I were in an attrition war over two pizza-guzzling households. J locked up a key card for Patrick at the expense of staying competitive with me. I don't remember what exactly how the rest of the game went, but that was the big early turning point. I was safely playing the long game at which point my engine exploded (especially since I was doing the bare minimum to keep up with key milestones for me).