RogerBW's Blog

Random Saturday Games Day 24 January 2022

A friend I don't see very often was able to visit, so in between the chat we played some games.

We started with Jaipur, a game I'd only previously played online: I picked up a physical copy second-hand a little while back. I don't play this one often (I'm usually in a gathering of gamers if I'm playing at all, and many people prefer to play fewer games which involve more people each) but I do enjoy it a great deal.

Then on to Terminator: Dark Fate – The Card Game, the first time I've tried this with multiple players. I think the core problem remains that 150-card market deck: sometimes after the initial shuffle you'll get a cluster of good stuff, sometimes you'll get a cluster of bad stuff, and there's no real way to compensate for such a "good" or "bad" deck. That said, I quite like the gameplay, and since I don't track win percentages and the game doesn't take very long I don't mind sometimes being handed an insoluble puzzle.

Next morning, on to Spirit Island; this time we were both fairly new to the game, rather than last time when I had two experienced players helping, and while we probably made more mistakes we still pulled off a win (just barely). I'm very much enjoying discovering this game (a few years after everyone else raved about it; as with Scythe and Terraforming Mars the first thing I heard about it was the hype, and that put me off).

With three players, on to Machi Koro 2, which tries to fix some of the problems with the original. I like the variable draw piles, and certainly this seems to solve some of the "buy up all the convenience stores and hope for the best" strategy, but I didn't love it enough to think about buying it for myself. (Nice plastic coins, but very… plasticky.)

On to A War of Whispers: I played a couple of times before the latest Kickstarter, but haven't got my physical copy out since it arrived. And… well, I still really enjoyed it, even though I'd let myself lose control of all the actual attack actions at the last moment. (And I have some 3d-printing to do.) Definitely good fun and I hope to try this more; it helps that it has a fixed length.

Unlike, I have to say, Star Trek: Ascendancy, which ended up taking something like four or five hours of playing time even without the Borg – admittedly, with distractions, such as the Federation player having to leave and their position being taken over by half of what had been Team Ferengi. This is definitely a game that benefits from players not prone to AP; I wonder whether a multi-way chess clock might be a good idea, presumably via app, though I'm not sure how one would penalise a player who ran out of time.

My major error as the Andorians, in spotting two players on the verge of winning while I was perhaps a turn behind, was not setting them against each other. (My minor error was not improving shields and weapons sooner to get the culture bonus. Also I locked myself out of the Production escalator for a couple of turns by building too many ships with my initial Production. In fact I made a lot of errors.)

[Buy Jaipur at Amazon] [Buy Terminator: Dark Fate at Amazon] [Buy Spirit Island at Amazon] [Buy A War of Whispers at Amazon] [Buy Star Trek Ascendancy at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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