This past weekend was Memorial Day Weekend, a time for remembering those who fought in our country’s wars and did not come home. Pushing past all the hype, the free day off of work, and the excited commercialism, most of us celebrate the day by spending time with our families. And spending time with family is a great time to bring out the board games.
Anyways, I had a pretty game-filled weekend, so why not a little recap, starting all the way back last thursday?
Takenoko: Having a good friend over for dinner, we pulled out Takenoko. We’ve reviewed the game already but, you know, that’s okay. Takenoko is a very colorful, friendly game with little spite. Although there can be occassional accidental spite when your wife suddenly (and inadvertantly) targets 2 tiles you’ve been trying to set up for a big score and ruins everything you’ve been working towards. Also there is a fat panda.
Anyways, there are a couple rules I missed in previous iterations – first in the way the Gardener grows bamboo (he grows it in adjacent tiles of matching color, not just his own), second in how garden-tile-point-cards are scored (all tiles in the arrangement must be irrigated). When you have all the rules it certainly makes every element all the more important and a lot more irrigation happens. The game ended with a tie between my wife and I and a close second by our friend Blake.
Dominion:Not every Dominion setup results in the greatest game ever. We had a lot of interesting cards in play from almost every expansion, as well as the Colony and Platinum from Prosperity, but there wasn’t a whole lot in there to draw cards and thus the game bogged down and ended up going pretty slowly. Oh also there was the Mountebank, which proved especially effective. I spent a lot of time utilizing my Cartographers (I had waaaay too many) to set up my deck for use of the Native Village, as well as effective use of the Wishing Well (the only way to draw more than 1 card at a time). Finally I had a decent enough Native Village collection and I launched an epic turn to score 3 Colonies at once, and score a few points from Goons as well. After that it was just a matter of buying out two more Supply piles that were short in… supply… to end the game, because we just couldn’t get good hands to knock out provinces and colonies fast enough. It was a ridiculous game, and a little too slow for my tastes. Fortunately that sort of arrangement is very very rare.
Friday we finally got Battlestar Galactica to the table, with its freshly painted minis courtesy of my good buddy Blake. I think they turned out pretty sweet, especially considering how tiny those minis are. Here’s a few pictures:
We played with a full compliment of 6 players, and the game got started off a little slow – the Admiral played a card on his first turn that forced the President’s hand and she ended up in the brig right away. After that those two were totally against each other, and the President was stuck in the brig the whole time, so not as much could be accomplished. It also let me sit back and let them fight each other while I did what I could to help out the situation and seem more innocent.
But my wife was playing, and she had a strong suspicion that I was a Cylon. Fortunately, too many people were in the brig already and I managed to stay out of the brig when people decided that it would not be productive if the entire crew were imprisoned. I lasted long enough to reach the halfway point of the game, and I also intentionally held back my sabotage to ensure that everything was just over half full during the sleeper cylon phase (For those who haven’t played… there are 2 “you are a cylon” loyalty cards, but only half the loyalty cards are dealt out at the start of the game. Halfway through the game, the other half is dealt out. This means that at the start of the game, there could be 0, 1, or 2 Cylons, and at the halfway point there’s a good chance a previously loyal player will become a Cylon). One of the Loyalty cards is a “You are a sympathizer” which immediately becomes a Cylon player if the resources are more than half full – otherwise, he/she is automatically human (unless of course the original Loyalty card made them a Cylon). So, I effectively gained another member on my team, then I revealed myself as a Cylon shortly after that. About that time there was myself and my wife as the revealed Cylons (she was the sympathizer), 3 crewmembers in the brig, and the last crewmember piloting a viper.
Of course we somehow managed to drag down each resource equally – we just couldn’t hit a resource more than one time in a row. Still, with half the crew being trapped in the brig and our third Cylon player joining us, they just couldn’t pull it together and we wore down their resources until we at last emerged victorious. I think the Brig element is a great dynamic of the game, as it definitely limits Cylons when they’re stuck inside but it hurts if the prisoner is actually human.
Pro tip: try not to throw people in the brig too quickly. It’ll hurt way more if you keep a human player in the brig than if you don’t put in a Cylon right away; and that early you have absolutely no way of knowing.
In the end, the game ran a little long, but it was fun. And even @Farmerlenny will grudgingly admit he enjoyed himself, despite the FFG logo on the box.
We skip ahead to monday, where I spent all day with my family eating food, going mini-golf, and playing games.
Dixit: I’ve been trying to get this one out with my family for a while now. I actually borrowed it from @Farmerlenny but the stars have just not aligned. Fortunately monday was the opportune moment, as we had 7 adults and my sister was feeling sick from her pregnancy, and thus fairly confined to the couch. We whipped up a couple house rules to make the game work with 7 players (mostly just pen and paper instead of the voting tokens) and got underway. Though at first people were hesitant about their descriptions, everyone soon got into it and were coming up with some pretty clever stuff. Everyone had a lot of fun, and I even enjoyed the game more than I expected to. It was a blast, and now I’ll probably have to nab my own copy (perhaps of Dixit Odyssey with enough tokens for 12player).
Ticket to Ride: In a lull, my wife and I pulled out Ticket to Ride for a quick game before dinner. We decided to mix things up; instead of the standard way of dealing out tickets, we each just grabbed 6 tickets and had to keep all of them. It was an interesting dynamic; with 6 tickets you’re much more likely to get an even mix of long and short routes, but you may not even have enough trains to complete all the routes. You have to pick and choose your most valuable ones, or work really hard for the most efficient route if you’re going to hit them all. You can’t take lengthy detours to score on 6-length routes, and your opponent may take that one shortcut that you need to pull everything together. It was pretty fun, and we may try that variant again next time we play.