A grande session

This week, I welcomed John, Peleg, and Sheer to the regular games session.

John was running slightly behind schedule, so Peleg, Sheer, and I played R-Eco. This short, filler game of card management, has hidden depths, and is a great example of simple and effective game design. It’s also easy, fun, and engaging. Although I was the only one who had played it before to any real extent, neither Peleg nor Sheer had any problems. Thirty minutes later, the game was over, Sheer winning by a small margin.

John joined us for a classic encounter of El Grande. I say classic, but I was the only one who had played it before, and that advantage was too big to prevent me winning. However, Peleg gave it a good go, and was pretty damn close.

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El Grande is a game of area control – you get VPs for controlling areas by having the most pieces there – with several great add-ons. For example, you each have a set of cards numbered 1-13 to determine turn order. But you lose each card after you play it, and no player can play the same card as another player in the same round. Getting the right turn order also affects how many pieces you can bring into your starting area. As for taking pieces from your starting area on to the board, that depends on the action card you choose. There are five of these, each with a special action and an allowance of 1-5 pieces to go from your starting area to the board.

There’s also the king piece that determines where you can play pieces, and where you cannot. (Moving the king – done by an action card – is one of the key skills in the game.) And finally, the castille, a wooden tower that scores as an area, and then allows you to send your pieces to one area on the board. Great fun.

Both Sheer and John were soaking up the atmosphere, and getting to grips with the nuances of the system. (Or, to put it another way, they were not always choosing the best scoring moves!) I expect we will play this again, as everyone enjoyed it, and seemed keen to try out a different approach next time around.

After that, we played Dominion. This was a random setup selection that included Militia, Spy, Moat, Market, Village, Library, Council Room, Chapel, and Chancellor (I think) and set up a good, even game.

Sheer got a great Village and Market deck. John and Peleg never seemed to settle on their strategy, and both suffered because some bastard – ie me – played  a lot of Militia.  In the end, my Militia and money strategy paid off, and I was the winner.

With Peleg’s departure, we finished with a three handed game of Take it Easy. Both Sheer and I thought we had done OK, and John was disappointed. Of course, John won… This is another neat filler game. It does not have the depth of others, but is a really fast game, and keeps you involved with every turn.

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Thanks to all who came for making another great games night.

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