Recent Gaming

Last week Jay Tummelson visited the Game Bistro.  Jay is an old friend, operator of Rio Grande Games, and it was great to see him again.  He used to come to game night much more often, but in recent years he only appears once in a while.  Jay always has a new game under his arm when he comes.

The most recent one is 20th Century, Ltd.  This is a game by Jeff and Carla Horger.  This husband/wife duo authored Thunder Alley, a race game that has proven popular around here.  I also own Manoeuvre, a game by Jeff which I have found worthy.  Jay taught us how to play 20th Century, Ltd.  My initial reaction was that this looked a lot like TransAmerica.  There is a map of North America, divided by a triangle overlay of black lines connecting cities.

I seem to be a bit train-crazy.  As time has gone by I continually find train games of interest.  So this theme immediately interested me.  Players get two regional cards and 4 “normal” business cards.  On your turn you lay 3 sections of track to the board – this was very much like TransAmerica.  You try to establish service between all the cards listed on one of your cards.

Once you complete service you can turn in your card.  Or, if an opponent has an adjacent link, you can pay them a cube to use their link to complete the needed services.  If you complete a regional railroad, the track endures.  But if you complete a normal railroad all of your track (not opponent’s links) used to provide service is removed from the board.  I have no idea what this may be simulating in real life.  But it made for a lively game.  You might be one turn away from completing service on a card, when your opponent removes some track you were planning to link through.

The scoring is conducted through completion of both regional and normal railroad cards completed.  In the case of the regional railroads, once you complete a region, you draw a new region card.  There are 8 different regions on the board, and you only establish a single RR in each region.  If you complete all 8 regions, the game ends, and you get 100 pts.  There is a sliding scale down for completing fewer than 8 regions.  For the normal railroads, they can cross into several regions, and state how many points they are worth.  Once you complete a normal RR card, you can draw a new one from the 4 on display, or a blind draw from the top of the deck.

For our first play, with Jay, Zack and Alex were unimpressed.  But I had enjoyed it a fair bit.  So the next week I asked two other players to give it a whirl.  In this play, everyone enjoyed the game more – including me.  I am quite pleased with both plays of this game, and find my enthusiasm for further plays is still intact.

Roll for the Galaxy – This is another game that Jay brought.  He brought it last year, and it has seen a fair bit of play.  I played it again recently (right after the second play of 20th Century, Ltd.) and with this last play the game gained some stature for me.  I think the difference might have been that we played it 3 player.  I am not certain, but I suspect all of my prior plays were at least 4 player, if not 5 player.  With a 3-player game, the number of active phases are fewer.  This somehow made the game better for me.  We had a very entertaining game, and Amy and I tied for the victory – the best result either of us had ever had.  Our third opponent declared he loved this new game and was going to rush right out and buy a copy for himself!

Formula De – We recently finished our latest linked series of races on Monday night gaming.  We are not playing this as often as we once did, but we have continued to occasionally get sessions in.  Gary had a nice lead going into the final race.  But Chris came roaring through for a very strong victory, and nosed himself into a season points tie with Gary.  In case of a tie, we check for the most victories (still tied), then most 2nd places (still tied), and then 3rd places (Chris wins).  So based on a triple tie-breaker rule, Chris won the season competition.

Drunter & Drueber – One thing I really appreciate about the Monday night gamers is their willingness to try just about anything I bring over.  I played Drunter & Drueber a couple of times roughly a decade ago.  I eventually traded/sold it off after years of neglect.  But in the past year I got the desire to revisit it.  So I reacquired it.  And I was reminded, there are really two games in the box.  The standard game, the one most everyone usually plays, involves voting with special YAAA/NEEE cards about whether to build over an outhouse, or not.  But the second game eliminates the voting, and injects two secret objectives for each player to try to work towards.  So I asked if the boys on Monday night might be willing to play the game twice, back to back.  We would start with the voting game, and then move on to the variant.  This was entertaining.  While we found the voting game somewhat charming, everyone seemed to feel the variant was a stronger game.  Rick liked it so much I agreed to leave it with him so he could show it to other folks he games with.

Other games I have been playing recently include:

Siesta

Hansa Teutonica

7 Wonders

Pony Express

Daytona 500

Battle Beyond Space

Rallyman

1895: Namibia

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One Response to “Recent Gaming”

  1. rob derrick Says:

    “One thing I really appreciate about the Monday night gamers is their willingness to try just about anything I bring over.”

    I am occasionally playing with a new group recently. This is mainly a group of older player’s, couples, empty nesters. who have had a pot luck/gaming Saturday night going on for years. The big upside is that they are not just willing to try anything, but seem genuinely excited to do so, so much so that they now say, “Rob’s here — what new game did you bring for us this week?” Now, they are mainly casual gamers, so I try not to bury then with the deadliest of Gamer(tm) games, but they are willing to stretch.

    The downside is, they are just as likely to want to talk as to game many times, and getting a game started can be tricky.

    One of the most interesting things about this group is that the host of it is a woman named Marsha Falco, the designer of the old card game Set (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1198/set). I recently taught her and 4 other women to play Tichu. One hated it, but the rest were quite taken with it. This may be our repeater game for a while.

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