Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Robber Barons & Pirate Kings

Last night at Bruce's we played two games by Days of Wonder, a game company I had never heard of before. Apparently these folks are putting out some german games. The first one we played was Ticket to Ride, a train game which I found to have some neat little mechanics and a breakneck pace. Unsurprisingly, I came in fourth out of players. What was surprising was that by the end of the game I had a clear idea what I had done wrong: My plans were not ambitious enough and I took too many face-up wild cards, unnecessarily limiting my hand size. Had we played Ticket to Ride again, I think I would have done better. Maybe I'd still be in last place, but my score wouldn't trail so far behind the rest of the pack. So of course we put that one away and got out another game.

The second game of the night was Pirate's Cove. Arr, matey! Pirates are a theme I'm more easily drawn to than train games, to be sure. This game puts players in direct conflict whether they like it or not. If you and another player both sail to the same island (which island you go to is determined simultaneously) then you are required to fight. I'm not a huge fan of that kind of boardgame. I prefer games in which everyone can do their own thing or intentionally choose to pimp each other over or cooperate for a joint win. This game's core mechanic thrusts you into a world where everyone is always an enemy. The only question is when you fight, not if. Oh yeah, I came in last in this one too.

Still, I had a really good time. Bruce, Carl, and Jim are great guys. My only concern is that in addition to being boardgame geeks they are all sports geeks. Bruce was watching a baseball game when I arrived and the TV was tuned to a college football game as we played. It's like if I really want to fit in I need to start following a sport and memorize player's names and statistics and league histories and crap like that. Maybe I should resume my fledgling interest in following sumo wrestling...

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