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.

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