Archive for December, 2015

Caverna, DRCongo, and Churchill

December 1, 2015

So I played Caverna at Fandango with Rob, Rowan and Melissa.  I liked it a lot, and bought a copy.  I’ve played it last Tuesday with Alex, and this Tuesday with Amy and Sally.  I am impressed.  It has been fun to play with all of these folks.  I even tried the solitaire game, which was pretty good, although I doubt I do much more of that.

I note there are enough player board to handle up to 7 players…  Seems like a bad idea to me.  But so far I give Caverna a thumbs up for 2, 3, or 4 players.  And it is nice to see a game well received.

Poor Alex taught DRCongo to Steve and Zack tonight.  The game crashed and burned.  It is pretty much predictable that any new complex game around here fails.  Alex and I played DRCongo with Michael a few weeks ago, and had a great time.  So I am hopeful for more fun with this game in the future.  But based on the ratings, I will have to find games without Steve or Zack in the mix.

We chatted a bit about Churchill, which I tried for the first time over the weekend.  I quite enjoyed my play of Churchill, but sadly had to leave before we finished it.  Turns out I was too far ahead, and therefore lost.  Yes, a bit hard to understand, but them’s the rules!  After reflecting on the game, I realized the game is weird.  The outcome is foreordained, the allies will win the war.  It’s about who gets the most prestige (?), by winning by no more than a certain gap (I think about 20 points).  Oddly, in our game, the USA did not want to cause D-Day.  Instead he wanted to lay off, using his resources in the Pacific.  Alex felt Russia should force him (USA) to do D-Day, as this would divert troops from the Eastern Front.  And Alex is correct – that would have been a great move for Russia.

So the game works, but all the motivations are inside out.  The USA doesn’t want to cause D-Day so they can be active in the Pacific.  The Brits would prefer a Mediterranean strategy, as they get extra points if they occupy northern italy before D-Day happens.  Oddly its the Russians want to cause D-Day, so they divert German troops away from the Russian Front.  A similar confusing net of objectives occurs in the Pacific.  Somehow all the actors will do the right things, but they will have to be forced by others to do so.  This means the players have to really understand the game, and slip outside of their historical objectives to make the game work out the best for them.  Quite confusing.  But I want to play again.  I’m unclear if this game is brilliant, or deeply flawed.