October games day

07 Oct

Bad news. We did not win $15 million in the lottery on Thursday night. I am sure that the lottery people have made a mistake, as winning that $15 million (or at least a part of it – I can share) was an important part of my plan to get to Essen this year.

Putting our shock and amazement at not winning aside, we went Eurogamesfest yesterday. It seemed like quite a few of the regulars were missing this month – although that could be because we arrived later than usual, and when all tables were already in play. Also, fewer people seemed to bring games – so there was less choice. It made for an interesting day, although next time I will line up a proper bigger game ahead of time.


Because everyone was busy with long games, Fraser and I sat down for a game of Gheos, from Z-Man Games. We’ve played this before – twice, in fact – once when we bought it in January, and once at the Australian Games Expo in June. Both times, I was resoundingly defeated – whipped, even. I blame it on the relatively abstract nature of the game. It’s also extremely dynamic, which I don’t do so well with. I am more a planner and long-term thinker (hence my love for games like Princes of Florence, Louis XIV and – very soon – Agricola).  There was much joking about why I had wanted to bring the game, and speculation (mostly from me) about how much Fraser would beat me by.

I played my first scoring marker early – too early, in retrospect. Despite its having been 4 months since we played, and our having to check the rulebook several times for clarifications, it didn’t feel as strange this time. Apparently being an Elder Goddess suits me 🙂

Due mostly to the right tiles coming up at the right times, I scraped in a win: 112 to 111. I had to check my arithmetic, it was such a surprise 😉 Gloating was done.

Funny moment: I had the rule book, and checked who started, then began a staring match with Fraser, without telling him why.

Fraser: “Who starts this thing, anyway?”
Me: “The person who can go the longest without laughing.”
Fraser: (snicker) “Really?”
Me: “Yes. So it’s me.”

A game of Age of Steam was starting up at the next table as we finished. I’ve never played AoS and would like to try, but this one seemed likely to run loooooong. I passed, and so did F.

Factory Fun

I’d seen this out on a table when we arrived and wanted to try it.

“Really?” asked Fraser, with a  puzzled look.

We didn’t play it, but he explained it and I played with the pretty pieces. I think I would quite enjoy this as a puzzle, but not so much as a game. It seems like it would have a steep learning curve and really reward experienced players with more knowledge and understanding of the different pieces. Not that that is always a bad thing, just that this is not really likely to be something I crave.


This one was Fraser’s choice. It’s a game I always enjoy and rarely, if ever, choose. We needed something quick as other games were about to finish, so we decided pirates would be a good way to go.

Fraser took red, I took yellow. He won by 4 moves (1.3 turns). I had too many cards in my hand at the end – I took too many backward moves.

Next, we chatted with Gregor for a while. I have a note that the AoS game still hadn’t actually started at this point.

Gregor: So tell me about this new Essen game then.
Me: *rave rave rave rave rave*

St Petersburg 

Kim had finished his game (Rails, I think), so we convinced him to sit down with us and try St Petersburg, which he had only played once before. He warned us that he might need to go, and we said it was OK to start and not finish. In the end, he had to leave after about Round 3.

Fraser had the jump on me this game – he had many more workers (having taken both observatories and consistently used them for workers). I had a slight advantage in VP – I got my Mistress a turn before he did, and  had more blue and orange VP-generating cards than he did, although very few upgrades.

Fraser accidentally triggered the end of the game by getting greedy with upgrades. He thinks he would have improved his position in the last round but I think I was far enough ahead in VP to keep ahead, especially as I would have been able to buy the extra  aristocrat(s) to match his 10. (In the end, he had 9 and I had 8).

Result: Melissa 99, Fraser 92. Low-scoring game, I think.

Long chat with Rob: Do roleplaying cons and boardgames mix?

Igloo Pop

By now, there was quite a group looking to play something, but no-one could decide what. Fraser wanted to play Power Grid, Doug wanted to play Sleuth, no-one wanted to commit to anything. In the end, Fraser got up and fetched the only 6-player game in our game box – Igloo Pop.

No-one else had played this before.

Fraser left the room while I read the Very Special background story. We still think this game is really about Ice Cannibals eating the baby eskimo children.

Amid much laughter, we discovered that some people really have a knack for this game. We also discovered that a 6-player game goes really quickly, and you don’t have to be too worried about actually getting things right. The game will end when the cards run out, and you are unlikely to run out of betting tokens before then.


Melissa 2
Fraser 5
Michael 10 (!!!)
Doug 3
Cathy 2
Ian 0

It made us wonder about which other games actually take less time with more players.

More looong discussion. Synopsis:

Fraser: Power Grid
Doug: Sleuth
Fraser: Power Grid
Me: Um, not Power Grid
Doug: Sleuth
Everyone else: [silence]


Still with the “not Power Grid,” I said that I’d like to try Sleuth.

Fraser: Doug wins. There, we played it.
Me: Ummm,
Doug: I played Cluedo the other day, but I didn’t find it as easy to keep track of things as Sleuth
Me, Fraser: ??

Sleuth was interesting, although I found it a bit too long for its depth. I went out first, excited because I had eliminated 4 people from 1 jewel, so I knew that it had to be the hidden one. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that we were playing with six players. ooops.

Fraser went out next, then Ian, followed by Cathy. Eventually, we established that both Doug and Michael had crossed off the hidden jewel so we were never going to solve the game. Everyone loses.

An interesting question came up – there was a yellow pearl in the face-up ‘dummy’ hand, and I had 2 in my hand. I also had the ‘yellow pearl’ question card (and made sure that I hung onto it). When I was eliminated, it wasn’t clear whether I should have discarded my question cards, or whether they stay face-up on the table until the game is over.

More chatting.

Fraser: Power Grid!

AoS game finishes. (I think they called it)
Fraser: Power Grid!
Me:  Um, no thanks.
Fraser: Power Grid!
Me: Why don’t you see if some of the other children will play with you while Mummy does her work? Um, I mean, you play Power Grid, I have stuff here that I want to proof-read, happy to sit and do that.

So Power Grid was played after all 🙂

Power Grid

I didn’t play it. I don’t really get the driving urge to play PG that others do – I don’t dislike it, but nor do I love love love it. This was a good compromise, though, and I had suspected that Fraser would push for it which was why I brought other stuff to do.

Home late. Kids at my parents’ – this is only the second time that Otto has slept over. They didn’t ring overnight. That has to be good, right? She’s staying there again in 2 weeks …


Posted by on October 7, 2007 in games


2 responses to “October games day

  1. friendlessfarrell

    October 9, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    I played Gheos twice, and decided that there was too much screwage and not enough fun. I like to be able to build a long-term plan and have some assets which last more than about 30 seconds. I traded it away for Ido which has its own problems, but it seemed to me that at any time I was playing Gheos I’d prefer to be playing Trias or Domaine or something.

    Cartagena is a great game and Cartagena II is really quite different, and somewhat prettier. I recommend it.

    I like Sleuth though both times I’ve played someone has stumbled upon the right gem and won the game before I’d made many deductions. I know I’m not that stupid.

    I don’t understand why people like Power Grid either.

  2. karlsenau

    October 9, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Because Power Grid is an excellent game!!!!

    I am sure Doug is one of two people on the planet who thinks that Cluedo is harder than Sleuth, but I am not entirely sure who the other one is 🙂


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