Thursday, 18 August 2016

Schticking to My Guns

Last Blaugust, I made a collection of the games that I was bringing with me to England, and now that we're almost a year into our visit, I thought it would be fun to revisit the collection and see how our choices stacked up.

I take my set of cards to pretty much everything as you never know when people are keen to crack out a little Dixit. I don't play it a whole heap personally, considering how many times I take it places, but I've had a couple of games since I've been here, and more importantly I've taught a few people that have either borrowed my copy for an extended period or even gone out and bought their own, so that's a definite recommendation. After all this time, I still don't recognise all the cards, which probably says more about my terrible memory than anything about the game. 

I'm strongly considering augmenting this set with an expansion if I can find out going cheap, but to give a teeny bit more replayabililty for people with better memories than me.

In my first few months here I played quite a few games of Finca, but most of the board games club people that are my major audience for the slightly heavier games in my arsenal just....really don't like Finca, which has put a bit of a dampener on it for me lately. 

I hope that with a new university year starting up soon I'll be able to trick some new folks into playing with me and hopefully find a more receptive audience. I should also try to crack it out around home more often if Mrs. Owl is looking for a study break, as it works well with two and we could definitely do with a two-player game that she doesn't murder me at.

Seven Wonders
We play a LOT of Seven Wonders here. We have three or four copies floating around the club, and have even had multiple game going at once, but thanks to the Wonder Pack my copy is the go-to copy, even if only because of the pre-game fight that erupts between the players wanting to play the game 'hard mode' by using the memetically terrible Stonehenge board. 

I recently augmented my copy with the Leaders expansion, which I have wanted to do since I first played with it. Folks here are still getting used to Leaders, and I find they make the game that tiny bit long compared the time we generally allocate for the game, which often causes us to run late, so we might have to work on that, as I generally have a bus home that I have to run to catch as it is.

Settlers of Catan
Everyone has a copy of Catan, so I didn't really need to bring mine. It came in handy when I took it to a convention and they were running short of sets to run the tournament, but apart from that I think I've only cracked it out a few times, so I wonder if it was worth the effort. That said, I have had the pleasure of teaching a couple of gamer types that had never played, so it was nice to be there to fill in that crucial gap in their gaming educations.

The college just invested in a new copy (and the 5-6 player expansion), so I suspect that I'll be playing a bit more Catan in the near future whether I like it or not, but I don't see my copy getting a whole lot more play unless there's some more conventions that need it coming up.

Carcassonne still gets a lot of love among the college crowd, so I've pull this one out a few times, and it's now linked in my mind with late night hot chips, salt and vinegar and grated cheese. In fact, we've pulled it out so many times that I ended up taking the river tiles completely out of the set so that we can't be forced to use them, which makes the game a lot more palatable for me. I've started to notice that some of my tiles are going missing, which is a bit sad, especially since the ones that I apparently no longer own include some of my favourite screw-you pieces like the bridge, but I guess that's one of the risks of taking your games out of your own house and letting them run free in the world.

Ticket to Ride: Germany
Undoubtedly the game that I brought from home that I pull out the most, it's been great to have Marklin TTR with me, as just like at home most people haven't played the German map and make all the appropraite ohh and ahh noises and the pretty cards, even if my cards are getting on a bit and really starting to show their age. 

I've also been able to pull out of the old Team Asia rules and played in on the German map with a bunch of different groups of players and it's been a real hit. I've not yet pulled out the one-player-two-communal-colours variant, but it's really only a matter of time.

Ticket to Ride: Africa
The African map for TTR has come out a couple of times for a little bit of variety, but I'm yet to meet anyone that prefers it to the German one. We've played a couple of tight, cruel games on it, but instead of coming out of it feeling like it was a close game people just came out frustrated by the map. I don't think I'm going to be pulling this one out again any time soon without some homebrew rules, and I'm thinking the answer might be using the three-of-one-colour-is-wild rule to overcome some of the card starvation, which gives character to the map, but just isn't very much fun.

San Juan
I just haven't gotten San Juan to the table very often. Partly I suspect it's just because it's so small that it's often missed, but also I find that most of the board games crowd don't want to play it because they think it's too light, and most of the casual crowd don't want to play it because it looks to involved.

This is a bit of a pity, because I still rate San Juan right up there amongst my favourites, so I probably need to make a little more of an effort to get it to table. Maybe once I've instilled a little more confidence in the college crowd we'll give it another whirl there.

When I showed the packing of the games last year, I showed that I'd packed my poker chips to play Veritas with, but it turned out that they were too heavy to take, so they got ditched, leaving me without the stackable counters needed to play the game. It took me a long time to source a replacement, but I now have a working Veritas set again (that's probably a whole post by itself, actually...) and am hoping to get it out there a couple of times in the near future. One test run with the board game club suggested that it's a little too random for some of them, but I'm hopeful that if I continue to take it along that people will come.

King of Tokyo
I haven't pull out my King of Tokyo set once. I took it along to the first meeting of the club to see that they already owned a copy (which gets some sporadic play), then took it home and put it on the shelf where it has languished ever since. I like KoT, but not so much that I feel the need to take it anywhere, but I'm thinking that if regular games nights at college keep attracting 5-6 players that this one is going to have to turn up there, and it's probably a perfect fit for the college gaming crowd, who definitely go in for the 'punching each other repeatedly' vibe of the game.

Samurai Sword
This one gets a lot of love, much to my surprise. The first week I pulled it out I thought it had flopped, but week after week people kept requesting it and there's been a lot of table time for it, and it often ends up with multiple plays with the same group, which is good for vendetta building and people feeling hard done by, which just makes this game even funnier. Given the vindictiveness, I think this one works in the gaming crowd that we have here a long better than BANG! would have.

I'd hoped to speak a little about the new games that I've added to the collection since I got here, but I'm running short on time and a boy's gotta have something to blog about next week, after all. See you then.

Blaugust Writing Prompts
1) What games have you lost the pieces to? What do you use to replace them?
2) Do you have a favourite gaming meal?
3) Learnt any new games you want to teach me?

1 comment:

Hans 'Pichy' Stockmann said...

Samurai Sword's lack of elimination makes for a much more involving hidden role experience than the original BANG!, a game I only allow to be played once a year and left as a looming threat the rest of the time.