Friday, September 30, 2011

Ketchup (Vikings, China, Clans, King of Tokyo, TransEuropa)

We thought we'd be five players this week, but then, before I knew it, we were back to three.

Pablo, Shemp and I gathered around a large bag of games. Our dictator was absent, but ordered us to play a very specific sequence of games in his absence. Then, the sequence was revoked. In our confusion, we ignored all instructions and chose to play a large number of short games so that Pablo could rip through his unplayed list that much faster.

We started with Vikings, which is a game I like very much. It packs a lot of game in a small package. Unlike a lot of games that try to insert a random factor in the hopes of making each game "different", Vikings succeeds at forcing you to consider each new round carefully once the tiles and Viking combinations are out. I was rocking this game, and built a very efficient set of manned islands. I started the evening with a win.

We followed with China. Another game that feels like a big game in a slim package, China never fails to conclude in approximately 1/2 hour and still provide a nice strategic experience. Shemp was gunning for me, and prevented me from completing any chains but a misunderstanding of the rules regarding emissaries caused him to fail his blocking strategies there. Pablo did manage a long chain, but ultimately I had enough majorities to pull win #2.

Clans followed. In my mind, anyone who enjoys China should also enjoy Clans. The games are completely different from a gameplay perspective, but they have a similar strategic weight, play length and semi-abstract nature. I goofed a few too many times during the game, and ultimately kept setting up the wrong colours. Shemp dominated this one.

Next up was King of Tokyo, the first repeat play for Pablo. I went first, and snagged the tentacles. Shemp stayed in Tokyo most of the game, but I was rolling lots of 3s and made it to 15 points without spending much time in the city. Shemp knocked us down with the -5 vp card but it wasn't enough... I used the tentacles to steal the jet pack from Shemp, forcing him to step down and I gathered the last few points required for the win. Pablo was yearning for hearts throughout the game but he couldn't roll them to save his life. On the other hand, he managed huge smack downs of 5 attacks on at let two occasions... This is a very fun game that achieves exactly was it's going for. Bravo.

Lastly, we played TransEuropa. In our first round, Pablo, in his first time ever playing the game, ended while Shemp still needed 8 links and I needed 5! Shemp managed to hang on a few rounds with his 3 lives before succumbing. In the last round, Pablo and I ended up tying so it was a shared victory for the final game of the evening.

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