After a late Friday night playing games (Alhambra and Pillars of the Earth), where we had let the girls stay up because their friends were visiting, we had a slow start getting to Eurogamesfest on Saturday. Once more, mad props to my mother who gladly babysat both girls for us for the entire day.
I started with a couple of quick rounds of Beppo der Bock, with a family who were looking a little lost. This game won Kinderspiel des Jahres last year, and I suspect that Game Mechanic des Jahres would have been a more appropriate prize as I am dubious about the long-term prospects for the game. That said, everyone enjoyed it and the kids (I’d guess, 4 or 5 and 7) loved watching Beppo fly across the game board.
Real games started with Die, Steven Seagal! – I mean, Die Sieben Siegel. Fraser maintains that there should be an alternate name listing for this as everyone we plays with calls it Die, Steven Seagal! (with apologies to the real Steven Seagal, may he have a long and happy life). Players were Chris, Frank (Skeletor), Fraser and me. Frank went the Saboteur strategy which worked well twice and not so well the last time, and I ended up squeaking a victory with a 0 in the last round.
Final scores: Chris -18, Frank -16, Fraser -12, Me -9
Elsewhere, Cuba, Antike, Roads and Boats and Power Grid were still moving along, so we checked out the Crokinole board. This was the first time Fraser or I had seen or played this. I liked it, but wasn’t completely over the moon about it. The storage issues (as well as the high cost) mean that here is one game that I am not interested in buying. That said, it would make a great bar table, with a perspex cover that could be lifted off for gaming.
Final scores: Fraser 15, Melissa 0
With Antike about to finish, we sat down for a few hands of Tichu. Chris and I somehow managed to be partners against Fraser and JC, the Champion and Runner-up (Fraser says “the Loser”) in the inaugural Gamers@Dockers Tichu tournament. Things were not looking good, but luckily for my self-esteem the Antike game finished and we packed the game away.
Final scores: Melissa/Chris 15, Fraser/JC 285.
With Tom Lehmann in town, we had the opportunity to do something very rare – play a prototype. So of course that’s what we did. The game was CENSORED and we thought that the best part was CENSORED. Hee!
Final scores: JC 76, Tom 96, Fraser 73, Melissa 112. There may have been gloating involved at that point.
We chatted with Tom for a while about some other prototypes he had with him, as well as about books, games and various other things, then got some dinner at the noodle bar downstairs.
Back to games, and it was time for a game of Race for the Galaxy. As with playing a prototype, the opportunity to learn a game from its designer is really rare over here, so that was pretty cool. Julian had played 4 or so times before, Fraser once, me never. I felt that I had a good grasp of the mechanics of the game but not so much of the strategies – not unusual for one game. I’d like to settle in and read the rules and have a play with it, and could see this being a good game for me and Fraser. It’s sold out in Australia right now, so we’ll hope to see some more copies arrive soon.
Final scores: Tom 48, Julian 28, Melissa 27, Fraser 34.
Next, it was time for some light relief. We’d bought Trötofant for the girls (well, the family) for Christmas, and I took it along as experiments on Friday night suggested that it was just as fun for adults as it was for children. The Bridge players next door had left, so we settled in for two games. Participants were Doug, Julian, Noi, Tom and me, and I think Julian and Doug claimed the victories. This really was enormously fun and very very silly. The extra blower things are easy to wash, so it’s even relatively hygienic. I think if I ever took it to school, though, I’d just buy some bags of party tooters.
We followed that with Beppo der Bock – I think Doug and I won the two games. This game is much better with adults, but to me it’s still a novelty rather than a game that I would expect to play with any regularity.
Last game of the day was Agricola – the first 5-player family game we’d played for a while. This game was REALLY tight and there was competition for actions all the way – even for the starting player action (boo hiss). Chris was first to breed and first to 4 family members, and it showed.
Quotes of the game: “Get a room, Randall” – just about everyone, when he tried to breed before building his 3rd room and “4 is a walk in the cake park, compared to this” – Fraser, talking about the tightness of the 5-player game.
New proposed game expansion: An additional Action space: WHINGE. Any number of players may select this action. If they want to (or if they do) whinge (about not being first, not ploughing, not knowing a rule, having a crappy hand, etc etc etc), they MUST use one of their family members to take it. It solves those extreme pirate cursing championship problems.
Final results: Tom 27, Chris 33, Fraser 27, Melissa 30, Randall 14.
Then we picked the kids up (they were still awake – “It was too hot to send them to bed” – sigh) and came home.
In the car, Otto (who we had thought might be asleep) piped up.
“Did you play Agricola, Mummy?”