Archive for November, 2011

Awful Green

November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Day my niece and I played The Awful Green Things from Outer Space.  We had so much fun, that we played it twice.  We played on a never-before used 1980 TSR big box edition.  We punched the counters and had a great time.  The next day she showed me how she had redrawn the comic characters into her iPad.  So that was gratifying.  She really enjoyed it!

I was tempted to leave the game with her.  But I knew there was a nice newer edition, and so I decided to take the old game home and buy a new copy to give to her.  While the TSR edition I brought was unpunched, and never played before – it still showed some signs of its age (31 years old!).  It is musty, I see a bit of mildew, and the rules have yellowed.

So now I will buy the reputedly wonderful 8th edition of the game, now from Steve Jackson Games.  And that means placing an order…  So now I am wondering what else should I buy?

1830 has a nice new edition.  But two other players here in ABQ already have it…

There are a couple Columbia block games that entice, but the ones I already own are not seeing much action…

I could consider the anniversary edition of Puerto Rico.  But honestly, I’m not so sure the new edition is as wonderful as the original edition…

Of all the newer games that I’ve seen come to game night Navegador is the most enticing.  But again two other players already have it…

So I haven’t yet solved this.  I seem to not be too enticed by new games indeed.

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Re-Discovering Columbus

November 18, 2011

Tuesday evening we had a group of 6, and we wanted something different.  Sensing an opportunity to get something unfamiliar on the table I proposed we play Columbus, a game by Wolfgang Kramer from 1991.  Of course, as we learn in school, “In 1492 Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue”.  Which is why at least a couple of games about Columbus were released prior to the 500th anniversary.

Turns out the Kramer game is beautifully produced, works well with a full load of six, and really quite charming.  I had an excellent time playing the game again, and at least one other player was quite impressed.  Everyone gave it at least a “Good” rating, with me and one other giving it an “Excellent” rating.

One special attraction to this game, is that Rob Derrick chromed me out by giving me a custom player aid, and a wonderful custom English rules manual (the game is in German, but the play materials are language neutral).

A wonderful game event!

A Slow Learner

November 13, 2011

I’ve had confirmation over this past weekend that I am relatively weak at learning new 18xx train games.  Chester had a train game party on Friday and Saturday.  I played 4 games, all of which I had never played before.  My performance in most of these games was a bit weak…

1844: Austria – This is a large game that took about 7 hours to play, including instructions.  There are a lot of special rules around tunnels and mountain mines, special decaying of the trains, and other features.

1889: Japan – This was a much shorter game.  It did not have many special rules, basically being 1830 on a different map.

1880: China – Another large game, taking about 8 hours, including teaching.  This game has so many different features from normal 1830 style games that we had to be careful to do things right.

18EU (Europe) – A medium length (4-5 hour) game which features a special early game auction of 15 minor companies.  The result of this initial auction has a huge effect on the shape of the game.

Of these 4 games, the only game I felt competitive in was the 1889 game.  And of course that one was the one at least variance to the games I am familiar with.  My lesson from this weekend is that I would prefer to start replaying some of the newer games I’ve tried.  I believe I can be competitive in 18xx games.  I have won an occassional game.  But usually I need some time on a game to grok how to play efficiently.  I believe my usual opponents are swifter learners, more apt at winning initial games on a new title.

Here is a roster of 18xx games I have played since 2001:

1824 – Once

1825 – Five times in various configurations of Units.

1829 – Played once as an 1830 variant.  I’ve never played with the Survey Parties.

1829 Mainline – Three plays with others, and several solitaire sessions.

1830 – Ten plays

1844 – Once

1846 – Five plays, all since 2009 on.

1848 – Once

1853 – Once

1856 – Once

1860 – Once

1861 – Once

1880 – Once

1889 – Once

18AL – Once

18EU – Once

18EZ – Once

18GA – Once

18NEB – Twice

2038 – Once (since 2001.  I used to play this somewhat frequently back in the 90’s.)

I am generally willing to play the game being requested.  But I will begin asking if we can revisit some of the titles above.  I think I will be a better opponent, if I can just apply some of the lessons learned on early sessions.