Night of the flailing empires

ageofempires

This week’s regular session saw Yehuda welcome Ben, David, Laurie, and me.

We started with the Reiner Knizia filler game For Sale. David won this, with most of the rest of us grouped together several points behind.

We then moved on to the much meatier, and challenging, Age of Empires. David was the only newcomer, but quickly got to grips with it. This is a worker placement game, the theme being the discovery of the New World.

I was doing OK until the last turn, but knew I would not be winning. My income was the lowest. My buildings were not powerful. My supply of goods was low. My colonies were under threat from Yehuda. Not good.

David was also doing quite well, but I suspect he knew he would not be winning, too. However, credit to him for mastering the game and putting up a good show. He will probably want to play this one again, soon, to try out his theories of how to win.

Ben looked to have a monster set of combinations going for him, but you could have knocked me over with a copy of the rulebook when we sorted out the scores and he was, er, last. He did say he could not understand why he loves a game that he so consistently underperforms in. My theory is that Ben likes the mechanics, but hasn’t cracked the most efficient combinations.

Laurie was quietly stacking up potential points, and it was no surprise to most of us that she did well, finishing second. Laurie probably needed to compete for more territory and income, though, to threaten the winner.

And it was no surprise that Yehuda crushed us with by a  big margin. He did add insult to my injury with a triple war action against my peace loving colonists, when I was no threat to him. But it did him plenty of good! Well done that man.

And so another fun filled session ended.

Thanks to Yehuda for hosting.

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.

taj1

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.]