A nefarious night

[A guest post from Yehuda. Thanks!]

Sheer and I planned to play two player for the evening. Then Tal, back from the US, told me that she would join us for a second game, so we picked the well-loved Nefarious, a game that Sheer had never played. Then my roommate Oren came in and was willing to be roped in for a short game.

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Nefarious is the great game from Donald X. Vaccarino, designer of Dominion, in the same year that he came out with the mediocre game Kingdom Builder. I still find it difficult to understand why the game was ignored and has become hard to find. It is one of the most loved games in my collection. It is perfect as a gateway game, plays quickly, is dirt easy to understand, plays equally well from 2 to 6 players, has funny and cool graphics, plays differently every time you play, and is a perfect combination of luck, light interaction, and resource management.

Sheer loved the game, and he won the first game we played with Oren. Our twists in this game were straightforward: no cash for Research and 6 cash for Work. Tal joined us for the second game and Oren won. Our twists in this game were wackier: you have to pre-select the next invention after you play the last one, and all build effects are doubled.

Oren retired, and Sheer and Tal were up for something meaty, so I taught them Castles of Burgundy, which is both meaty and fiddly. I usually find the game to be confusing, but I must have explained it well enough for Sheer who never seemed confused (and we didn’t even forget the rule about two brown hexes of the same type in the same area). Tal never quite got the hang of it, but did very well anyway. I thought I was winning slightly right up until the final scoring. Sheer loved the game, too. He won by a small margin, with the final scores something like 209 to 202 to 201.