Friday, May 04, 2007

(Louis XIV, Tower of Babel, Dungeon Twister)

My pick this week.

Louis XIV

It's been a while since I've been able to play Louis XIV, so I was very happy to have the occasion to give it another go. This was my third game, but the first two were in the same evening a long, long time ago, so a solid refresher was in order. Meanwhile, Bharmer had never played.

This is a very good game! It's got all the usual Dorn signature elements (the tower movement, additional actions, end game bonus points, multiple paths to victory and a generally dense set of rules... despite not feeling too difficult in actual play).

Bharmer, in his first time out, managed to complete two missions per round for the whole game while the rest of us managed that only 50% of the time. He was very focused on winning the tile where Louis was present, and it seemed to be paying off. I decided to go for shields and managed to accumulate quite a bit while still managing 6 missions.

Ultimately, it seemed obvious that Bharmer was going to win. However, in the final calculation all those little endgame points really added up, giving me a surprise victory! I have to admit I got very lucky with the shields, netting me about half a dozen points for majorities.

Tower of Babel

Next, we played Tower of Babel. I'm planning on trading this, but before I did I thought I'd follow some recommendations I found on BGG and eliminate the bonus cards (supposedly, that was how Knizia designed it). As I never really liked those anyway, it didn't feel like much of a loss! In the end, I think I preferred the game without the bonus but not enough to want to keep it. Bharmer won the game, thanks to a set of 4 building disks in addition to winning his share of the wonders points.

Dungeon Twister

We didn't have an enourmous amount of time left, so we weren't sure whether we should attempt Dungeon Twister. Ultimately, a second game of Louis XIV might have been more wise, but we tried it anyway.

I discovered a few things:

1) I thought I was being really clever when I bought the game. I purchased only the 3/4 player and the Paladins and Dragons expansions... not the base set I thought that rather than getting the same set of characters 4 times, that this way I would get two sets of different characters and also have the flexibility of playing from 2-4 players. It seemed like I would only be missing the rulebook, and that wasn't a huge deal. Obviously, I overlooked something important: I only had 2 sets of Jump/Action/Combat cards! So, after having set up the game, we scrounged through Louis XIV and substituted other cards to compensate and played anyway. I'll have to make up my own for the next game, or cave and buy the base set.

2) It's hard to say since we played an incomplete game under unrealistic time pressures, but Dungeon Twister seemed to work better as a 2 player game. At 2 players, there is something very satisfying (for me) in figuring out a clever set of moves and making them happen. With 4 players, it's nearly impossible to plan ahead since so much could change by the time your turn comes around. Clever move combinations were possible, and I'd say there were a few, but you really can't think about it too long or else turns would take forever. I'd also say that the rather focused two player game feels more like a free-for-all with 4 players. This feels particularly apparent when revealing tiles: with 2 players, choosing the right location for your opponent's items can be crucial. In contrast, with 4 players the location you place things is less meaningful (SOMEONE can surely get to them...).

Anyway, although I think this has the potential to be fun with 3 or 4 players but Dungeon Twister's real strength seems to be 2 player.

I don't really know who won the game, but I think it was Kozure.

1 comment:

  1. Nope, wasn't me who won Dungeon Twister. Not sure who did. Ouch?

    Lessee... Louis XIV: really good game. Close, challenging, lots of options. Good game - I can't believe to what an extent Bharmer ran away with that one on his first game. Well done, sir!

    Dungeon Twister: probably a bad example/intro game - too many things missing to give it a proper review, and too short a time to play it in.

    Artwork is too gaudy and makes differentiation of board features difficult. Basic concept is OK. Maybe a two-player play through next time if there's an opportunity to play outside of WAGS night. I can't tell yet if the teams from the expansion are play-balanced - they don't seem to be.

    Otherwise, not knocking me out as something which I need to run out and buy (or even play again right away), but not terrible, either.