What do you do on Australia Day? Well, if you’re me, you get together with your friends and play a few boardgames.
This was the first time we’d played at Craig’s place, which has advantage of being in a great position for me to get to, but the twin disadvantages of rarely being available… and needing a bigger table. Oh, the table was fine for all the games we played, but a game like Twilight Imperium wasn’t going to occur.
As Randy is still in the throes of renovation, all the games we played came from my collection. Unusually there was no debate about which game we’d play next – they just left it up to me. So, I used my judgement to choose a sequence of games that alternated between light and heavy. I really enjoyed myself, and Randy won a lot of games…
Here’s the playlist, and a few notes on the games:
Talisman 4th Edition: Neither Randy nor Craig had played the new edition of this game. It’s basically the same as 2nd edition, although there are a few minor updates. Unfortunately, the designers didn’t do a good job of developing it further, so there’s been some errata that really should have been included in the game, but when used makes the game a lot more fun.
Randy achieved the Crown of Command with his Warrior about half-way through the game, and then proceeded to demonstrate that he was awful at rolling 4 or higher on a die… the rest of us survived much, much longer than we should have. However, eventually my Wizard, Craig’s Assassin and Rich’s Dwarf all succumbed, and Randy was the winner.
This was a very even game, and lasted no more than 1 hour. I think 4 players is a great number for Talisman.
In the Shadow of the Emperor: It’s the Holy Roman Empire, and the players control noble families that aspire to become the Holy Roman Emperor. This is a very, very clever game for 2-4 players (best with 4), where your strong positions will become eroded by the passage of time. One of the cleverest mechanisms is how after each round (there are 5), each of your nobles ages!
I never became Holy Roman Emperor, though everyone got a go. Final scores: Randy 23, Craig 20, Merric 19, Rich 17. This game took about 90 minutes.
Drakon: Running through a maze, trying to acquire 10 gold before your friends do and you get eaten by the Dragon? Fantastic! As we get more experienced with this Tom Jolly game, the games have been getting longer, though they’re not much longer than an hour. 4 players is an excellent number for the game, and we almost used all the tiles. Randy won (continuing his streak today) with 11 coins, Craig had 9, Rich 6, and my so-called “friends” had stolen all my coins by the end of the game!
Shogun: A very, very clever area control and building game set in feudal Japan. The best innovation about this game is the dice tower – combat is determined by throwing coloured cubes into the tower, with those finding their way out of the tower showing final strengths. The game isn’t a traditional wargame or Eurogame by any means; you get a lot of points from buildings, but then you have to keep control of them!
Craig created a fantastically armoured island that he built up in this game, repulsing both Randy’s and my attacks on it. Randy was doing very well in the second half of the game, but an attack on Rich backfired badly, with all armies and buildings in the region being destroyed. The net result of that gave me building dominance in the province, and the victory.
Merric 50, Randy 48, Craig 43, Rich 40.
Three Dragon Ante: Much more addictive than Inn-Fighting, and a lot of fun. (Also a reason for all the money I’ve spent on poker chips…) We had one flight that went all the way to 6 cards, with Craig and I tying it on every round but the last… and then Randy sneaking it from us! Craig had his revenge in the end, taking the game with 126 chips. Randy had 65, I had 9, and Rich was the one to go out.
Power Grid – France: This was Craig’s first game of Power Grid, and he performed very well in it. The board we used was from one of the expansions, and was quite unusual. What was also unusual was the power plant distribution… we had real trouble getting powerful enough plants for the mid and end-game. Craig had enough money to connect up 17 buildings at the end of the game, but not enough capacity to power them all!
You might not think a game about electricity generation would be all that good, but I strongly recommend Power Grid; I find it a lot of fun. Again, it’s best with 4 players, and Randy took this game.