Why, why, why?

Avri, Azriel, Sheer, and I played Caylus in this week’s regular gaming session. This is an old, but venerated game. (Avri calls the two player version ‘better than chess’ so he is clearly a fan.) It uses worker placement and a combination of different resources and converters (stuff that uses the resources to generate better resources, victory points, and so on) to give you a game where there are a lot of choices, but never enough time. And those pesky things called opponents keep getting in the way.

I had played the game a long, long time ago, and I wasn’t that taken with it. But Avri’s enthusiasm appealed to Azriel and Sheer, and I was willing to go along for the ride.

Avri’s explanation of the rules was good, as attested to by the fact we had very few questions during the game, and got just about everything right. Of course, the one thing I didn’t get right was my strategy, but no surprise there.

Avri’s familiarity with the game inevitably led to him winning. But Azriel’s ferocious building program gave him a wee fright, and Sheer came even closer by dint of his usual powerful analysis. Unsurprisingly, having made all the wrong choices, I was in last place. And I still didn’t like the game.

So, why don’t I like the game? That’s for another post.

Meantime, note that I still enjoyed the night. It gives me pleasure seeing gamers having a good time.

 

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Playing with palaces

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Laurie, Yehuda and I kicked off this week’s session with the filler game For Sale. It’s a bidding game that is light, easy and entertaining enough. It must have been divine intervention, because Yehuda – in a  helpful way – pointed out what he felt I was doing wrong. I won…  (Actually, his advice made sense in a world of even luck, but the cards fell in my favor, I guess.)

Rochelle arrived and we started playing the card version of Caylus. The original game is complex, deep, and very satisfying if you like that sort of thing. (I don’t.) The card game is supposed to be lighter (it is) faster (it is) and more fun (it isn’t). I was glad, therefore, to ditch it when Eyal turned up.

The five of us then played an intriguing game of Taj Mahal. This is a typical Reiner Knizia game involving a multi-layered, multi-level auction mechanism, with a very light Indian Palaces theme.  Yehuda and I had played it before, and I know he is very good at it.  Eyal, Laurie and Rochelle seemed to pick it up without too much difficulty, and by the second or third round (of twelve) everyone was in a highly competitive mode.

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By tracking Yehuda’s moves, I was able to keep his score down. Unfortunately, I wasn’t tracking Eyal’s moves, and he took advantage to claim the win by a few points. Well done, Eyal! The rest of us were grouped closely together, and I suppose I can take my second place finish as a reasonable outcome in all the circumstances.

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Eyal also claimed a win with the last game of the night, Yehuda’s own design It’s Alive. It’s another filler game that fairly rattles along. Collecting body parts makes for interesting table talk opportunities, but we were too tired by then to do much more than play!

As usual, a good night, and I left with my head buzzing. No wonder I found it difficult to get to sleep!

[Cross posted from Ra’anana Boardgames Group.]

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