Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Game Night - 13 August 2005 and other random thoughts

I finally got to rejoin the gang for a pleasant evening of the company of friends and some good gaming. I came armed with my most recent haul from Singapore - FFG's Through the Desert reprint, RGG's Samurai reprint, and Louis XIV. I liked the bunch of games - they were of the lightish variety, and that was what I was in the mood for. We've been playing lighter games like Ingenious and Doom: The Boardgame (not me for the latter) lately and my new acquisitions fit the bill. I was still sort of tired from a 70-hour workweek but really needed to game to relax.

Frog was the only one around when I arrived, so I set up TtD. The candy camels got the usual comments about their cuteness. After a quick rules explanation, I promptly began cordoning off the corners. Rick 140-something, Frog 100-something. Learning game.

After the customary excellent dinner courtesy of our hosts, I pulled out Samurai. Nix, Erik and Jay John joined me in conquest of the Japanese Isles. First game feeling-out process took hold, but play rapidly improved. I thought I was way behind, but I had almost total control in Hokkaido while everyone was attracted to Edo. The two Swap tiles were quickly christened as "the Ninja tiles" for their sneakiness, and everyone recognized the power of the Ronin. In the end, the game was pretty damned close.

Jay John: Buddha Majority, 6 others
Rick: Rice Paddy Majorty, 5 others
Erik: High Hat Majority, 4 others
Nix: No majorities.

Yep, Samurai lived up to its reputation. Everyone thought it was a good game, and that the random tile draw wasn't a big deal since you had a 5-tile hand. Sort of like E&T.

I showed the rest of the crew TtD, and George kicked all our asses by squeaking in two long caravans.

Frog wanted to play Samurai or Louis, but it was 12:30am and too late to learn a new game that I knew was on the complex side for teaching, so Samurai it was again. Frog, George, Nix and Jay John prepared to visit the Land of the Rising Run once more as I joined Erik and Annie in saying goodnight.

It was good to be back in the saddle.

My ratings:
Samurai: 8/10 - excellent light game with lots of decisions and a shrinking decision tree which makes play fairly fast. Certainly one of Reiner's best.
Through the Desert: 8/10 - I'd played this a lot on Ludagora with my BGG buddies, so finally getting to use the real candy camels was a treat. I would consider this game one of the poster children for Euros - fast, easy to teach, simple to play, no randomness or luck involved. Yet another excellent Reiner gem.

Louis will have to wait until next week.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Gone gaming

Koldie's started a new blog, and he's brought some friends along (including my buddies Mary and Joe). The new boardgaming blog, Gone Gaming, has kicked off with Robert "GROGnads" Wesley and Mary taking the first two turns.

Joe, I dare you to serialize "Fear of Gaming". :)

Paradigm Infinitum, Singapore

Those of you who read my main blog, Everyday Insight, know that I've been flying in and out of Singapore a lot lately. While all this travel tires me out (Sing is a 3-hour flight, which is a 5 to 6 hour journey from my home to the hotel), it allows me to visit what's perhaps the best-stocked boardgame store in Southeast Asia - Paradigm Infinitum or simply PI.

PI is located at the Midpoint Orchard mall on the well-known Orchard Road. Its proprietor is a friendly fellow named David. The shop carries miniatures, CCGs, roleplaying manuals and boardgames. It's got tables for playing, which are usually occupied by minis. On the boardgame front, David carries a pretty good selection of games from all the major US publishers - Rio Grande, Days of Wonder, Z-Man, Fantasy Flight and Avalon Hill/WOTC/Hasborg. He also has a lot of the niche games from smaller publishers, like the Zombies! line, Lunch Money, Return of the Heroes, and so on.

There are usually people browsing the games on the shelves, and turnover seems to be pretty good. Singapore is lucky to have such a place to shop for games. On this trip (I'm in Sing right now) I picked up Samurai, Through the Desert and Louis XIV. I was looking hard at Tower of Babel and In the Shadow of the Emperor, but ultimately I left them behind. Titus asked me to look out for Shadows over Camelot but it's out of stock (pity, there were copies around last trip).

I hope I don't get the game boxes dinged on the way home.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


It's been a very lean past two months. I've actually bought more boardgames in that period than the number of games I actually got to play, which is really weak. Oh well, things should pick up in September when I anticipate the New Job to start being kinder. (Although I have to admit that I love my new job.)

Anyway, last Saturday I got to pop over to Frog's. After Nix appeared and dinner was done, we set up Santiago and started to go over the rules. Titus and Mars arrived at that point, and instead of Santiago, we elected to set up Ingenious instead. (My idea; I wanted to try Einfach F2F and I really wasn't feeling up to a negotiation game.) From BSW play, I knew that Einfach would be lighter and less strenuous.

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The FFG edition is excellent. Everything's made out of sturdy plastic. The only quibble mone might make would be about the thin boards used for scoring, but that's so minor that it's not worth it.

The rulex explanation took all of five minutes. I attempted by BSW strategy of balanced progression in all colors thoroughout the game. The Frog/George team and the Nix/Mars team both went for INGENIOUS and quickly outdistanced myself and the Titus. The two ouf us were completely shut off from the conglomeration of orange that accumulated early in the game. With very little in the way of orange tiles left, we struggled to catch up. The early leaders, Nix and Mars, found that they had INGENIOUSed all but one color in the homestretch. However, it was that shortage of blue that ultimately cost them the game as I prevented them from scoring that color again. In the end, the Frog/George team won the game.

Frog/George: 12
Nix/Mars: 11-11
Rick: 11-7
Titus: 10

Ingenious is a nice, inoffensive game that is easy to learn and play and is a pleasant way to pass an evening. I don't think that I'd ever look for a game, but it shouldn't take too much to get me to play. I might even call for it once in a while.