Weekly Game Report: 2/1-2/7/16

Good news and bad news everybody. The good news is that I got a job! The bad news is that it is in the opposite direction from the regular game night I’ve been going to… so until I can find another game night somewhere along my commute, I’ll be a little lighter on the weekly updates. But heck, that just means that the articles will be a little easier for me to write, right?

At game night this week I was able to jump into a game of Steampunk Rally, and play a prototype Kickstarter game called Ultimate Scheme. Aside from that Jan and I met our friends Emily and Adam in San Francisco for some “Big Game” events (but not the game itself), as well as some celebration for Emily’s birthday. While there we were able to get in a couple of games, of course.

Almost as soon as we walked in the door Joey noticed that I had a copy of Steampunk Rally (Brief Overview) with me, and asked if I could help the group that was just starting to learn the game. Having played it several times I agreed to jump in and help Jack explain the game, and I got to play as well. Steampunk Rally is one of the best games that I received last year, so I was very happy to get to play it again. It is interesting to note that when teaching the game, not everyone involved know what “drafting” is. Honestly, with all of the drafting games out there, some of them being very popular like 7 Wonders, it is kind of surprising, but in the end they just don’t know, so we have to teach them right? Our game had a total of seven players including Jack and myself. Unfortunately I’m horrible with names and didn’t get everyone’s. This was a learning game for sure, and we ran the gamut from the player who nearly destroyed their machine every turn to the player who had the monstrosity machine with a plethora of parts… which could do a lot of things, but couldn’t move very much as a result… a nearly perfect Rube Goldberg device if I may say so. I built up a fairly large machine and in the next-to-last turn I took it down to just two parts in order to be first across the finish line. Sadly I was only able to move a few spaces on the last turn and Al (I think that was his name) was able to pass me by for the win. Still, second place isn’t too shabby and the play-through reminded me how much I enjoy the game.

After steaming through the races we moved on to scheming against the planet in Ultimate Scheme (Brief Overview). The creators were there teaching the game and gathering support for their Kickstarter campaign which is currently live. As you can tell from my overview, I had some reservations about the game which means that I won’t be backing, but once again, if taking over the world in the form of a strategic euro-game is your cup-o-tea, then by all means check out and back the campaign. This was also a learning game in which we had four players, with the two creators teaching the game for us. Aside from the lighting issues as mentioned in the overview, I did enjoy playing the game. I was frustrated sometimes from the fact that you can really get hosed if all of your minions are sharing spaces with those of an opponent, and they get to activate the space for resources first. Another nuisance was the ninja who is required to complete certain schemes, but who can be stolen away before you have the chance to complete the schemes. I had multiple turns where I thought I had the ninja and was ready to complete a scheme when he was snagged out from under me by an action card. In the end I was able to activate my ultimate scheme for the win. One of the opponents was also able to activate their ultimate scheme, but I won on the tie-breaker.

Two things happened last week… It was my friend Emily’s birthday, and thanks to my wife’s work connections she was able to score us some invited to various “big game” events, so Jan and I met Emily and her husband Adam in San Francisco for a weekend of celebration! The partying was fun, but you are here for the games, and you know I packed some just in case. As it turned out our last night was relatively free so we were able to sit down and play Codenames followed by Concept. In Codenames (Brief Overview) Jan and Emily teamed up against Adam and I and we played several rounds. Codenames is one of those games where people start off timid, giving clues for one or maybe two words at a time, but as more experience is gained they start making bigger and bigger stretches for which words go together. By the end of the last game everybody was making relatively crazy stretches. While the ladies dominated the game as a whole the play of the game was when Adam have me a four-word clue… And I got them all! My copy of Codenames is a print-and-play that I made just to test the game out with my family before buying it. I think it went over quite well and I’m sure I will be picking it up in short order.

After Codenames we decided to try a few rounds of Concept (Brief Overview). As I said in the overview, Concept is harder than it seems like it should be. We played through with each of us giving clues twice and in the end Jan guessed correctly twice. Nobody else guessed correctly at all. I think that we could have fun with this one, but there has to be some a-ha moment where it just clicks. We’ll see, but my guess is one or two more times and if it doesn’t click, then we’ll probably get rid of it.

 

So this would be the end of my gaming, but I happened to get in two games of Ticket to Ride with Jan on the plane home from San Francisco. Normally I don’t bring up digital versions of games, but in this case I’ll make an exception… because completely out of character, I decimated her both games! I was ahead by at least thirty points in each game. I’m not normally one who would gloat about winning, but in this case it is necessary because I almost never beat Jan at Ticket to Ride. With that moment of victory I closed out my week of gaming.

Until next time, get some friends and play some games!

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