As I mentioned a few days ago, last weekend was a really good one for gaming.
Two friends came over on Saturday night. We started with a quick 3-player game of Nelly (Andreas, Ueli & Lukas Frei, Queen Games). Reading reviews of this, I think that (a) I was missing some sticky bits that might have helped to prevent the turtles slipping off Nelly’s back quite so quickly and (b) I did not take the instruction to “hold your nose” quite literally enough. I will not make the second mistake again!
The meat for the evening, though, was Macao (Stefan Feld, Alea/Rio Grande). Feld is my hero of gaming at the moment because his games are just that good. We were all relatively familiar with this game so there was just a reminder stage rather than an actual rules explanation needed, which is always good.
This was my third play, I think, of Macao. It’s a clever game where you gain resources not for now but for later – and the later you get them, the more you get. Lots of planning and thought – but in micro stages, so the analysis paralysis never becomes overwhelming.There are some bonuses tiles that score at the end of the game, but this is not one of those games (cough Stone Age and Egizia I am looking at you) where you score 12 points during the game and then 5,000 points in Secret End-Game Bonuses. Because I am quite literal-minded, I like to call those, “The Games Melissa Does Not Like.”
Anyway, bonuses aside, I was pleased because I achieved my personal victory condition: Scoring More Than Fraser. I came second to Stefanie but you get quite used to that when you play with Stefanie. And she had THIRTY POINTS in end-game bonuses. (This was the OK kind though because we knew about them. And I had 17 or so.)
The other good thing about Saturday night, apart from Playing Games, was Getting Games. Ever since I heard about Die Burgen von Burgund / Castles of Burgundy (Stefan Feld, Alea), I have wanted to try it. (So has Fraser, not least because he calls it Burgen Burgen Burgen Burgen Burgen and giggles when he says it.) It was originally released in a three-language edition at Essen OMGYEARS ago, but was never picked up by Rio Grande Games for their Alea reprint editions. Now Ravensburger have finally released an English-language edition and I’d been waiting for it to reach Australia.
I had a message from MilSims that it should be in some time last week, so on Friday morning I rang them to find out whether it was in. “We’re just unpacking it now,” they told me – which was great, because the Bigster wanted a copy of Dominion to give her best friend for her birthday, and MilSims’ price on that is nearly half what others charge. The new game wasn’t on their website yet, so I couldn’t order it – so I asked them to put a copy of each aside and then begged a friend to collect them for me. Apparently when she got there they hadn’t even put it on their system yet. How was I so desperate for it! Gamers! *eyeroll*
We didn’t play this on Saturday because it would have been a learning game for us all, but Fraser and I broke it out for a two-player learning game on Sunday night – and it did not disappoint. Another very tight game about making the most of what is available and finding groups that work well together. I’m not very good at this type of game but I enjoy it a lot. We’re still pretty slow, because we’re learning what all the tiles do, but we managed a second play with a friend last night (which featured 37 points of chickens) and scored a lot more than we had before.
And then we played Kingdom Builder (Donald X Vaccarino, Queen Games) which is just fun on cardboard. With house placement. I think I like this more than Dominion.
And I think we’ll play them both again this weekend.