A guest post by Yehuda in which he reports on one new game, and recounts a session of the highly rated Agricola.
Quest Adventure Cards
I promised the company to give this a review. I had tried it once before and found it lacking, so I was determined to try it one more time. It was still lacking.
Abraham and I gamely gave it a go. We drew random cards and played them whenever we could. We ran into some rules questions, which didn’t matter too much.
And then, simply by luck, the game ended before we could score the last quest, which resulted in a tie. Even though I was winning by a great number of points. Even if Abraham could have ended it, he had no incentive to do so.
[Raanana Gamer: I watched Yehuda and Abraham play this. It did not look like it was fun. Neither did it look like it was involving them. I’m not surprised Yehuda said it was “lacking”.]
Abraham 39, Jon 24, Ellis 24, Peleg 21
First plays for Ellis and Peleg, something like third or fourth play for Abraham.
I found it a challenge to explain the game as simply as possible, even though Ellis and Peleg are both pretty smart gamers. But we started without too much trouble and everything ran pretty smoothly. Still, a few finer points of the scoring rules tripped at least Ellis up around the game’s end.
[Raanana Gamer: Yehuda did an outstanding job in explaining the rules. Really. My shortcomings in the scoringa t the end of the game were probably because I was trying to take in what the successful players had done to put them into that position. I knew before we started that I would not win. I’m just surprised Peleg did not beat me as well!]
Since it was the first play for two out of the four players, we simply dealt 7 occupations and minor improvements to each player, rather than do any kind of draft, which is what we would normally (and really must) do. As a result, everyone but Abraham had one or two good cards and the rest mediocre of useless cards. Abraham ended up with god-like cards, including a free early family member, lots of free early food (and the Well, nearly for free), and bonus points up the wazoo.
[Raanana Gamer: next time we draft cards. But, it would have been painfully slow and a waste for me as a first time player. Now I know what I am doing. Well, sort of.]
Abraham scored more bonus points than I’ve ever seen in a game – 19, but we all really thought he would be scoring even more than that. As we watched them pile up, I was sure that he was at least 10 to 20 points ahead of the nearest competitor, who I was pretty sure was me. (In fact, he would have scored another 5 bonus points if everyone didn’t allow me to take back a play I made on the last round in favor of a better play that blocked him.)
Abraham’s board was complete, but mostly minimum, and he scored only 12 points for people and nothing for buildings. Ellis also had an even, mostly minimum board with a full people count but only 1 bonus point. Peleg also had an even, minimum board, but he had 8 empty board spaces, which counteracted his 4 room stone house. And only 1 bonus point. I had minimum in most things, maximum vegetables, a full board, a clay house, full people, and 8 bonus points.
Ellis wasn’t looking terribly impressed, mostly because Abraham had a good early lead from his cards and there wasn’t much we could do about it. However, the prospect of drafting cards appeared to spark his interest in giving the game another go.
[Raanana Gamer: It wasn’t that I was not impressed; I was taken aback by how much the game had suffered from an uneven distribution of the damn cards. (Minor improvements and professions?) I would play it again, but do not expect to do much better. It’s the type of game that takes a long time for me to absorb. But it was fun as well as being a real challenge. Thanks again to Yehuda for the report.]