Recent Gaming

DRCongo – This is the latest “big box” game from the Ragnars.  I have been exploring their game space lately.  The title is not “Dr. Congo”, but “Democratic Republic of Congo”.  The game is an economic game.  However, simulating reality, there are insurgents, who compromise or even prevent economic development.  So there are also Peacekeepers.  This makes for an interesting soup of factors to consider.  But there is more.  The government is almost a player faction.  However the economic development is handled by the “Interior Minister” while the peacekeeping efforts are handled by the “Defense Minister”.  There is also a “Finance Minister”, who can affect at what price commodities trade.  Cleverly, the ministers are auctioned off, so the government activities are fractured between three different players.

Our first play of DRCongo went pretty well.  I discovered a few mistakes made after re-reading the rules.  But we got the majority of the game correct, so I believe we got a good taste of what this game is about.  I am pretty high on this game, and will be keen to play more of it.  I just submitted a file to BGG which is a re-write of the rules.  The Ragnars wrote the rule book to cover four levels of game.  This means there are 4 different places to look for rules.  I removed all the introductory rules which were countermanded in the full game.  Steve Kendall gave me permission to post the file, which I think will be a big help to others trying to play the main game.

Steam Donkey – Another Ragnar Brothers game.  This is a small card game.  But it has a somewhat heavy feel.  I see a few folks on BGG have compared it to San Juan.  I can see that, as you send cards to build other cards.  The theme is about building a Victorian Seaside Resort, but with Steampunk trimmings.  I’m not sure if this really makes sense.  But the theme doesn’t really bother me – not does it really engage me.  Absent a strong connection with the theme, I need the game play itself to hold my attention.

The game play on our first look felt very mechanical.  Lots of card handling.  You play cards to build cards.  You need to attract cards to your resort locations, and then you can collect cards into your hand from your attractions.  Eventually someone triggers the end of the game by completing their resort.  Reading the forums on BGG I discovered we made a small mistake with the rules, which may help the game speed up.  I will likely keep this game.  I want to play more of it, but I suspect it falls into a “nice to own, and play occasionally” bucket.

De Vulgari Eloquentia – This is a game from Alex’s collection.  Quite heavy.  I have played twice in about a month’s span.  I am still unsure how to play well.  Both times I have gotten distracted from collecting lots of cubes.  Do not do this.  I have lost badly both times.  The theme is interesting, but you need to pause while you play and discuss what the events are to really experience the theme.  I suggested Alex add a roster of the events for easy reference.  For our game, Amy used her cellphone to explain the events as we played.

Duckomenta Art – This re-theme of Masters Gallery/Modern Art the Card Game continues to delight.  I am occasionally playing it both on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Um Reifenbreite – We finally got back to this game on a recent Monday night.  Chris ran away with the race.  In this case we really did have a runaway leader problem.  Oh well, the game is still a hoot to play.  I especially enjoy the team management aspect to this game.

Workshop of the World – An older Ragnar game.  I had this when it was new.  Played it once, and eventually traded it away.  I got it again while I was buying a few Ragnar games.  Alex hated it.  But I want to give it another chance.  It is more in their “Euro” design scope.  I still like Canalmania too.  But this “medium weight Euro” style isn’t for everyone.

Fresh Fish – Another older game.  I decided to try it again, after a decade.  I bought the lovely new edition.  This version has an easier to play version.  We gave it a try.  Zack figured it out right away.  Michael and I did much more poorly.  This is a clever game.  It plays fast, so I see this as a viable closer for when we have that odd hour left before shut down.

Game Day is tomorrow – I am excited for it!


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