Monday, April 27, 2009

A plethora of games

Welcome to my boardgame blog! Well, not really; it's just the only interesting thing that has been happening lately.

Over the weekend, Hillary and I visited a couple of friends that we don't get to see very often, so the four of us spent an afternoon hanging out and playing games.

First up was Betrayal at the House on the Hill, which our hosts had played but my wife and I were new to. I liked the house-building dynamic, and it seems like every game will go differently, which keeps things fresh. I did notice that until the haunting occurs, the players are pretty much on their own, and anything I did had no real effect on anyone else. The particular haunting we got seemed to be heavily skewed against the traitor (my lovely wife), but I'd have to play more to decide whether the game has real balance issues.

Our friends hadn't played Pandemic yet, and we'd been wanting to try a four-player game. Since we had two newbies, we decided to play the "easy" mode with only four Epidemics in the deck. The game plays a bit differently with more people, and we found that the individual Roles are much more important. As the Dispatcher, I spent most of my actions each turn shuttling people around the map. Likewise with the Researcher; most of his turns consisted of slinging cards out to the other players. We won pretty handily, and I kind of wish we'd started on the "normal" difficulty. The game seemed to be a hit, and we're looking forward to trying it with more Epidemics in the deck next time.

At this point we wanted to play a quick filler game or two, so next up was On the Dot, which I had picked up before the weekend. We were all new to this odd little puzzle-solving game, so it took a few rounds before we got the hang of it. Hillary wasn't a big fan of this one (she later complained that she had to play a logic game against three engineers), but at least the games are short. The rest of us enjoyed it for what it was -- a quick little time-waster with no real player interaction.

Since the group was divided over the previous game, we broke out one of my wife's favorites, Apples to Apples, for a bit. I am terrible at this game, but it's always fun either way. Something "Adorable"? How about "Chainsaws"! Our friends own several custom cards with lots of inside jokes (which we're mostly in on, fortunately) so the game generated a lot more laughs than usual.

We decided to continue our string of lighter games with a couple of rounds of Bausack Noir. Not much to say about it -- each player builds a tower out of a collection of differently-shaped blocks. We'd all played before, so we stacked up our towers and spent most of each game trying to screw over our fellow players with oddly shaped blocks. Always fun.

The girls both had things to do, so my friend Bill and I opted for a two-player game to finish off the night. He suggested BattleLore, which I'd never played before but was interested in trying. It was about what I expected: a very light wargame with simple combat. We played a starter campaign (Battle of Agincourt) and didn't add in any of the expansion elements. I took on the role of the English, and managed to eke out a very close win by being incredibly lucky with my archers' attack rolls in the first couple of rounds, taking out most of my opponent's cavalry before they could get in range. I enjoyed our battle, but it didn't seem deep enough with just the basic rules -- at least with something like Heroscape, each unit has unique stats and special abilities. It sounds like the game will be more interesting if we try it with the more advanced rules and start adding in magic and expansions.

Everyone had a great time overall (excepting Hillary's distinct dislike for On the Dot), and it reminded me why I got into this hobby into the first place. Hopefully we'll get another chance to do this again soon!


At 10:51 PM, Blogger vo0do0chile said...

it's not that I "don't like" on the dot. it's that I get my ass kicked so seven ways to Sunday every time. And yes, I do have issues with losing and perfectionism such that poor old Freud would probably put a bullet through his head if he tried to psychoanalyze them. BUT, I have a rough time with every game at first, and it takes me a while to get the hang of it. In fact, there are lots of gaes that I like to play that I never get the way that you guys do.
The issue with on the dot is that everyone else was so much faster than me that I never got a chance to learn anything about the game while playing it with other people. In fact, if I had not insisted on sitting down by myself with the cards, I would still know absolutely nothing about how to pick out the right pieces or put them together. I'm sure I will still never win unless we somehow convince my mom to play this game (I got my abstract mechanical skills from her), but at elast i might sometimes get more than one tile down.
Sore loser issues aside, it's no fun to bang your head against a wall trying to play something you never have a chance of understanding. At least now that I "practiced", I get what I am supposed to be doing and kind of how it can potentially be done at least in theory.


Post a Comment

<< Home