Last night 6 of us gathered for some gaming.  I will admit that 6 is not my favorite number.  Many games cannot handle 6 players, and several games that do handles 6 players, shouldn’t.  Last week we had six players as well, and we played Power Grid.  That was good, but I wasn’t interested in playing Power Grid two weeks in a row.  I asked a leading question, would anyone be opposed to a racing game?  One player, John, said he wasn’t  especially keen on racing games, but he would up for trying one.  With no other objections, I proposed we play Turfmaster.

Turfmaster is an old favorite, but I play this game very infrequently.  The rules to this game are very easy.  But the positional stuff on the board is quite interesting.  The game alternates between playing cards to move and rolling dice.  There are just enough restrictions to the movement rules to keep the horses mostly bunched up.  So each race is usually tight.  I had us play the Steeplechase game, which adds some additional problems for players to cope with on the track.  We played our three heats, along with the rules explanation and some preliminary chit-chat, and still finished before 9:00 p.m.  I was pleased with how well the game was received, and have hope that I might be able to table Turfmaster again in the not too distant future.

Alex had brought a couple of games with him, and four of us were still up for another game, so he taught us how to play Ys.  Ys is a game I had played a couple of times before, but honestly it had never impressed me.  But with this play, I enjoyed the game more than ever before.  While there are some complications, especially with the cards, this game is sort of old school – a game built around a single cool idea.  Modern Euros don’t seem to do this much anymore.  Many new games have multiple mechanisms and sub-games you need to learn.  Ys is pretty clean.  You bid with two pawns.  One is visible, while the second one is placed with the value hidden.  (Pawns have values from 1 – 4.)  Otherwise it is an astute battle for majorities in various districts and cube colors all in the pursuit of having the highest VP value.  Ys ran a bit longer than advertised, but that was primarily due to the players.  A couple of us were really cogitating on what moves to take.  I raised my estimation of Ys by a couple of points last night.  I would happily play more of it.


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