Geezaloo! This is ridiculously late. So to catch up, I’m going to make it quick and simple with minimal actual report and a little commentary on what I can remember from playing the games…
I basically walked right into a game of Archipelago as I entered game night a few weeks ago. They had begun the rules teach, but backtracked a bit to catch me up, and from there it went pretty well. We played the “Short Game”, which ammounted to something like 4 or 5 turns total, and while I came close, Stacy still managed to get the win after my scoring card (the one that triggers with 2 empty resource banks) ended the game.
Time: 68 minutes
Score: Stacy 12, James E* 9, Norton* 9, James D 8, Chris* 3
Ratings: Stacy 7.5, James E ?, Norton 6, James D 8, Chris 6
First of all, I really like the theme and general concept of Archipelago. The exploration theme and mechanics are pretty cool, and really, I think that more or less, everything you’re doing in the game is really interesting and solid. But the game has some significant issues that bothered me even from just this first play.
Mostly, the problem comes from the hidden scoring conditions. At the beginning of the game, every player is dealt a card that has both a game-end trigger and a scoring condition. But the thing is, this card isn’t a “private” goal just for you, it actually applies to everyone in the game. So effectively, players don’t have any real certainty about either when the game will end or what things will score points when it does.
Now, I’m cool with some uncertainty in a game. And I can appreciate the desire to create a complex game that wants to diverge from the popular “points salad” approach of having a ton of different VP values on almost everything you do in a game. But while I respect the intention, I just can’t imagine that keeping the general “points salad” format but then hiding which conditions are in effect is a really good solution to it.
Again, I’d love to give this game some more attention to explore more about it, but I can’t justify spending either the money or the time investing in it when such a foundational element of it seems so flawed to me. Can anyone out there change my mind with some brilliant and persuasive argument?
Timeline: Diversity [BGG]
From there, I jumped into a relatively quick game of Timeline using Kenny’s “Diversity” set (which I hadn’t tried before). It’s a great little game.
Time: 20 minutes
Score: Kenny 1st, Norton 2nd, Keith 3rd, Steve* 4th, Britt 5th
Ratings: All 7’s
And then, we swung back to the heavy end of the gaming spectrum and pulled out Agricola. I like Agricola. But as we were setting up, I looked up my records on BGG and found that it had been about 2 and a half years since I last played it (on December 17, 2010 to be exact). Needless to say, I was pretty rusty.
It’s a little sketchy in my memory, but I basically remember going with the grain/Clay Oven route to feed my family. But it took me forever to get that nailed down, and even longer to add to my house and have some babies, so I wasn’t happy at all with how I played. But with building a last-turn pasture (which remained empty when we decided to keep Lammie in the house with us), I at least managed to avoid most of the negative points from unused spaces and limped into second place.
Time: 89 minutes
Score: Steve 38, Norton 35, Kenny 34, Keith 23
Ratings: Steve 8, Norton 7, Kenny 7.5, Keith 6
As I mentioned on my last podcast, however, I recently picked up the brand-spankin’-new Agricola app for my iPad (which is totally awesome, by the way). And since then, I’ve played quite a bit more against AI opponents and in a solo series. Hopefully, I’ll be a little more prepared for the next live-person, tabletop session that I play.
Fairy Tale [BGG]
And then to wrap up the evening, I pulled out Fairy Tale and we played it a couple of times. I suck at it, but it’s fun and very unique.
Time: 23 and 19 minutes
Game 1: Steve* 47, Kenny 44, Norton 43, Keith* 38
Game 2: Keith* 38, Kenny 36, Norton 31, Steve 31
Ratings: Steve 8, Kenny 7.5, Keith 7, Norton 7.5
Other Games Played
Ascension: Rise of Vigil
Time: 30 minutes
Score: Shawn 72, Sean 63
Ratings: Shawn 10, Sean 10
Castles of Burgundy
Time: 96 minutes
Score: Chris 238, Shawn 214, Ken 204, Steve 199
Ratings: Chris 9
Time: 117 minutes
Score: Keith 43, Ken 33, Britt 30, Steve 27
Ratings: All 8’s
Race for the Galaxy
Time: 20 and 19 minutes
Game 1: Chris 58, James E 30
Game 2: James E 59, Chris 42
Score: Sean 6400, Darren 4600, James K 4000
Ratings: Sean 7, Darren 8, James K 7
Unnamed Game (nothing written on the “Game” line… maybe Alien Frontiers?)
Time: 87 minutes
Score: Darren* 8+, Shawn 8-, James K* 5, Sean 4
Ratings: Darren 7, Shawn 10, James K ?, Sean 10
* First play for that Person