|Is five gladiators too many?|
|Not our game...but don't they all look pretty much like this?|
|It's Mustache March!|
|Please don't ask me to explain what's happening here.|
So...that was it for regular Tuesday night gaming. On Wednesday, I took a "staycation" day in order to get in some gaming with Tom. First game we broke out was Arkham Horror. I'd heard good things about this game, but had never had the chance to play. Tom and I played a "4" player game, with each of use controlling 2 characters. For those unaware, this game is set in the "Cthulu" universe, and your job as "investigators" is to go around town and try to prevent the "Ancient One" from awakening. If the Ancient One awakens, you have to fight it to win, and Tom tells me that that is not a likely proposition. The Ancient One is just a generic name for the final "boss monster", which you pick randomly from a deck of monster sheets...and the different Ancient One's can have different effects on the game. Meanwhile, during the game portals to other dimensions will open...and the main way to win the game is to close a certain amount of portals. These portals bring with them "minor" monsters which you may have to fight and defeat. You can also pick up various items, spells, NPCs and such at the various locations around the town. The characters appear to be stereotypes from different genre's...in our game, I was playing the film-noir type Private Eye, and a Professor - Tom had an Indiana Jones clone, and Traveling Salesman.
|Yeah...there's a lot of bits & pieces in this game...|
We got a good start, closing 2 portals early on, and were getting lucky in that new portal cards listed sealed areas or areas where there were already portals...so no new ones were opening. Unfortunately that didn't last, and at one point we were one new portal away from losing the game...but got fortunate, and were able to close the 6th portal to win. Of course, we then discovered that we had been "cheating", and the Ancient One that we had draw had supposed to have been making it harder to close portals. Oh well...perhaps he was feeling "off" that day...it happens to the best of us. All in all, I liked this game very much, and would definitely play again. The one drawback is the length of the game...which should be no surprise, I had heard that it can stretch on. Our game lasted about 4 hours...and we were playing at a fairly quick pace. It felt about an hour or 45 minutes too long. With more players (and if we'd been playing properly), it would have stretched longer. So, set aside several hours for this one... According to BGG, there's no less than 8 expansions for this game! And with the sheer number of different Ancient Ones, and player characters, there's a lot of replay value here. There are a lot of bits and pieces to this game...mainly cards. There's probably 12 different card decks...but once you get the game going, it doesn't feel overly fiddly.
|Melf Pelts appear to be in demand|
After a lunch break, we decided to break out the one game that might have more components than Arkham Horror - Fantasy Flight's recent re-print of Merchant of Venus. As mentioned, this game has a boatload of bits - mainly because this is 2 games packed in one - FF's revised rules (called the "standard game") and a reprint of the "classic game". I had only played the classic edition at various conventions, so that's what I taught Tom. I like this game quite a bit, and the graphic design of the board is great - but I'm not so sure it's at it's best with just 2 players. I ran away with the game, but I was getting pretty lucky...it seemed as if every civilization I discovered was buying what I had just picked up. With 2 players, you are essentially getting 2 turns in a row every time because of the 1st player card passing. This somewhat negates the whole "having to wait for unlimited trades" aspect of landing on a planet. Also, with only 2 there's not as many people buying up resources, so there is not a ton of player interaction. Tom made the observation that there was no way to really affect the other players money...it was obvious that I was getting way ahead...but he had no way to knock down my net worth. So...I'm not sure I would recommend this with only 2 players, maybe not even with 3. It likely plays best with 4 (and if you provide your own bits,you can play with up to 6, I think - the old version you could). I will have to try Fantasy Flight's new "standard game" to see how that stacks up - there appears to be more dials (literally and figuratively) to play with....
|The galaxy of Merchants of Venus|
|Watch out for the trolls!!|
After dinner, and getting the kids to bed, Mike S. came over and joined Tom, Becky and I for a game of Lords of Waterdeep. I drew the lord that wanted piety and commerce quests. On the first turn, I went to Cliffwatch Inn and drew the 25 point commerce quest. I thought I was in good shape, and would complete it by the end of the 2nd round...and then Becky put a mandatory quest on me, which screwed me up for a few rounds. Later in the game, there was a building which gave you extra points if you drew a quest and completed it immediately. I got frustrated by collecting the adventurers and gold needed for certain quests, only to see someone else grab it or sweep the Inn. In the end, I completed two more high value quests - an 18 pointer, and a 20 pointer, but I only had 2 other lesser quests...and I came in dead last. I never built any buildings, and I probably should have gone after more lower value piety and commerce quests. I also never completed any "plot quests", which give recurring advantages. So, all in all, I had some bad luck, but I made bad decisions as well...I should have abandoned that 25 point quest when it became obvious I wasn't completing it quickly. Oh well.
|My farm, with my yellow farmers|