This week’s session started with a four handed run at San Juan, followed by a five person shot of Notre Dame, hosted by Yehuda.
San Juan is a card game, beginning as a conversion from the same designer’s highly successful and popular Puerto Rico, but stripped down to its essentials and ending up – as other players commented – more like Race for the Galaxy. Apart from Yehuda, Ben, Laurie, and I played this. I think everyone but Ben had played it before, but it is not difficult to pick up and he had no trouble getting in the swing.
Like many of these games, card knowledge helps you make your choices – because you can never do everything you want. But while I had played the game before, I could not remember much about it. So much was this the case, that I was going on instinct rather than memory. Well, either my instinct is better than my memory, or I was lucky, because I managed to win this. Even if I had not won I would have liked it, and will certainly play it again. There is a fair bit of luck, but it is fast and involving. Good stuff.
David then arrived, and we moved on to Notre Dame. Only Yehuda had played this before, and he leveraged that knowledge to grab an early lead and hold on to it. It’s an interesting design with player actions restricted by cards. Everyone with starts with the same set of cards, but you draft your own actions by passing cards to your left. So, for example, you end up with three cards out of your nine for each round. Of these, you can use two. But one is yours, and two are from two of the other players. So you get the choice of your cards over the course of three rounds, but not the order they come up in. And if they come up in the wrong order, you may find yourself never getting the action choice you want. That having been said, perhaps it’s better thought of as a game where you have to make the best you can with what you are dealt, so to speak.
Laurie got the prize for looking like the worst player at the board, several times, but this truly disguised her firm grasp of the situation, because she was the runner up. David did not like it. Ben and I were OK about it, though he liked the card drafting and I didn’t. I would play it again, but the card drafting was a real turn off for me. It’s not a bad game, but the card drafting doesn’t do anything for me in this context. Did I mention the card drafting?
Thanks to Yehuda for hosting.