Monday, October 03, 2005

A trip to the Game Store and Game night - 1 October 2005

I haven't had the chance to drop by the local game store in over a month (but have dropped by game stores in two other countries - go figure). I was hoping that they'd have something new. Well, they did. Manila. At around US$60.

You have to be kidding. I know it's cool to have the name of your city on a nice looking boardgame, but $60? You'd think they were selling Traumfabrik - a German published, OOP game that's really really good.

I look around the store and there's nothing new other than the latest trivia games and Monopoly flavors. No one's bitten on the other Ravensburger Torres they had left (they marked it down 5% from the ~$60 I paid for the other copy). On the interesting side, they marked down slightly shelfworn copied of the RGG Bucket King (around $18) and the Eurogames Clippers with the much-maligned components (around $25). Bucket King isn't a game I'd keep in my collection, but it would make a nice gift to a casual gaming family, or one with kids. Clippers is intriguing, being perhaps the only Alan Moon game with no luck or randomness. There's the component issue that Alan himself was complaining about, and which Greg Scholesser panned. Still, some of the comments on the Geek say that the problems are solvable, and the game itself isn't bad.

I may go back for either or both of those sometime later this month. I'm pretty sure they'll sell out their Crainium before anyone else even picks up either of those Euros.


Game night had Traumfabrik returning to the table. This time, I had Noel Tiangco's modern english paste-ups on the tiles using weak sticker paper. I'm hoping that they won't do any permanent damage to the tiles. I tested them on the tile frames, leaving them stuck for close to a week before peeling them off. No problems.

Anyway, there were too many laugh out loud moments during the game. My first film had Samuel L. Jackson, Shaft, Mace Windu, Jules the Assassin... playing Peter Parker in Spider-Man. With Tim Burton at the helm (over $100 million at the box office). The most awful film of the night had Dana Carvey and Ben Stiller starring in Braveheart, with John Carpenter directing. Its box office take was as awful as that sounded ($30 million). The night's best film was Paramount's Raiders of the Lost Ark, raking in a cool $200 million at the box office, plus another $100 million after its Academy Award wins. That big film was powered by Tom Cruise and Halle Berry. My best film was the $120 million box office hit The Sixth Sense with Cameron Diaz and Toby Maguire. No, I don't know who saw dead people. Ask Ang Lee, he directed the thing.

Nix, who was heading Paramount, blew us away with $890 million in earnings at the end of all four sweeps. I came far behind in second place with $600 million. We agreed that Nix was able to time his forays into the market well, conserving resources and striking when the other four studios had depleted their finances. Traumfabrik is definitely not as light as its reputation portrays. While it's pretty simple at first blush, there's a lot going on in terms of timing, the composition of the lots, the closed economic system, and the way players try to complete their film projects. I'm sure we'll continue to play this every game night.

Next, we had a choice between playing a game new to the group (In the Shadow of the Emperor, Louis XIV, or Maharaja) or playing an old favorite. The old favorite won out so Puerto Rico returned to the table after an unusually lengthy absence.

Five player PR is not one of my favorite games. There's a noticeable lack of control, and the trading house timing can seriously whack you several times sending you to the back of the pack. This is exactly what happened to me, and I got locked out of the trading house for the first four trading cycles. Ouch. To catch up I did the only thing I could - craft repeatedly until the coffee boat (I had a coffee monopoly) cleared. From there the building timing was against me so I skipped the factory-harbor-wharf segment of the game and proceeded directly to the large buildings. Tala had the same idea. We each ended up with two of the big ones, while Nix was milking his factory/harbor setup on the boats. The game was very painful, as is usual for 5P PR, but the scores were close. Tala won, with myself and Nix right behind, a single point separating the first three places.

Next week: More Traumfabrik, and the Princes of Florence. It'll be a short night for me as I'm flying back to Singapore on Sunday morning. On the good side, I'll get to collect La Citta from Wilson and see what new stuff Damien has. Oh goody, more games, no increase in gaming hours. Sigh.


At Saturday, October 08, 2005 9:39:00 AM, Blogger Joe Gola said...

The component problem with Clippers is the small tokens. No, no, no, think smaller. Nope, you're still too big. Smaller. Okay, a little smaller than that. Bingo.

Still not sure? Fine. Pick up a pencil. Now look at it end-wise, so you're either just seeing the point or just the eraser. A circle of that diameter--that's the ballpark size of your your player tokens. Seriously.

It's small.


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