As I mentioned last week, my brother Tony was back in town again on Saturday, and after playing with Samantha and eating dinner with us, we all had an evening positively filled with gaming!
While Gwen was still putting Samantha to sleep, Tony and I headed to the game room and perused our possibilities. We each grabbed an armload of games and headed to the table, where I first introduced him to one of my long-time favorites, Taluva. While it doesn’t see as much play with my game group as it did back when it was Game of the Month!, I still enjoy this elegant little tile-laying game every time it hits the table.
In all, we ended up playing it 4 times straight. I won all of ‘em; 2 by getting out all of my Temples and Towers and the other 2 from Towers and Huts. Tony picked it up pretty quickly, but my arsenal of efficient play tricks were just too much for him. Taluva has a lot of subtle strategy that a lot of people just don’t give it credit for. Doing well is all about setting yourself up both in building out your settlements and in placing the tile each turn; because both the placement and orientation of your tile can be very important at different points in the game. But by this time, Gwen was ready to join us, so we moved on to another game.
Since it doesn’t get any love at Hypermind on boardgame night, I decided to introduce them next to Dominion. It did just win the SdJ, and I also wanted to get a little better perspective from them on how good of a family game they thought it might be.
They seemed to pick up quickly on the rules and figured out how the cards in the “first game” setup worked. In our first play, I went mostly for Smithys, Moats (since Tony and Gwen picked up a few Militias), and treasure cards. I rounded it out with a handful of Mines, Villages, and a Cellar or two, and ended up with 9 of the 12 Province cards by the end of the game.
We “reshuffled” (which, in this case, actually means unshuffling and rebuilding all of the separated stacks) and started again immediately. This time, Tony pretty much copied my strategy from before, but he did continue to include a little different flavor from picking up some Markets, Militias, and a few other assorted kingdom cards. Gwen went with heavy Villages and Smithys, and was having a lot of fun drawing most of her deck each turn. If she had put a little more effort into upgrading her treasure cards, she would have done very well. As it was, I ran into a string of turns when I came up 1 treasure short to get a Province card while Tony ramped up and managed to wind up with one more than me to take the game.
True to its universal popularity, Dominion definitely turned out to be the biggest hit of the evening for Gwen and Tony. I figured that Tony, with his M:tG and other CCG’s background, would like it a lot, but I was a little surprised at how much fun Gwen had with it. I think that the ability to put together an “engine” of some sort and see it run (even if not well enough to win the game) was really exciting to her. So hopefully, Dominion will become a game that even just the two of us will play from time to time.
Next, I suggested either Stone Age (since it’s the current Game of the Month! for my game group), Pillars of the Earth (a game that Gwen likes but we haven’t played for a while), or Metropolys (which I recently wrote a review about). Mainly for time/depth reasons, we decided to go with Metropolys.
Tony, in a slightly uncharacteristic move, played the game with a flair of chaotic randomness. Gwen was frustrated by not being able to understand or predict his actions at all, which added to her frustration with the game in general. Despite how she felt about the game, she gave me a decent run for my money, but I still managed to get in control and force the end by playing out my last 5 buildings unopposed, therefore taking the win as well.
Gwen’s main gripe with Metropolys was that she felt it was entirely too chaotic to get an auction/proposal to go towards a neighborhood that she wanted. Since other players can take it wherever they want, she never felt like she was getting to bid on spaces that she wanted. To me, this is one of the coolest things about it, because it makes you stay flexible with your bids and choices. But unfortunately, her opinion probably doesn’t bode well for Metropolys seeing much play here at home.
Before Tony headed back to our Mom and Dad’s for the night, we also got in a game of Cartagena. Gwen and I play this pretty often (where she usually kicks my butt), but this time, everything fell in place for Tony. Any time that Gwen or I would leave a good setup, Tony seemed to always have the cards he needed to take advantage of it. So by the end, only 1 of Gwen’s pirates and 3 of mine joined Tony’s full contingent when the boat pulled out of the harbor.
When we walked Tony to the door, we noticed that in the 6 or so hours he had been with us, a spider had been terribly productive and built a huge web all across the entrance to our porch. I don’t know if the little arachnid was ambitious enough to think that it could catch one of us, but we still felt bad about tearing down all of its hard work. So in the end, we only dislodged a couple of its anchors, hoping that the spider would be able to somehow salvage at least some part of it, as long as that part didn’t cross directly in front of the entrance.
Despite it then being after midnight, Gwen still wanted to play something else just between the two of us. So after getting ready for bed, we played 3 games of 10 Days in the USA in bed (which required some careful setup but worked out really well in the end). She beat me 2 games to 1, and was able to go to sleep satisfied with her evening of gaming. I, too, was quite satisfied with getting in 11 plays of 5 different games, which has already put July on the same level as some previous months in terms of total plays. And I’ve still got two weeks of Game Night left!