What’s better than your regularly scheduled game night? Why, two game nights of course! Friday was our group’s bi-monthly game night. Dan hosted. We had seven people show and a truckload of games. The group settled on Railroad Tycoon (played at our previous game night) and Commands & Colors: Ancients.
I explained CC:A to Dan and Kieron while the rest of the group set up RRT. Dan and Kieron have played Memoir ‘44 and Battle Cry in the past so I focused on the differences between those games and CC:A. In particular, we discussed ranged combat (only light units can fire at range – 2 dice if they didn’t move, 1 if they did), leaders (chance of elimination whenever their unit is hit, units with a leader have greater chance of hitting targets and can ignore a retreat), support (a unit with 2 or more adjacent friendly units can ignore a retreat), retreats (units retreat their full movement allowance for each retreat rather than 1 hex for each retreat), evades (defender voluntarily retreating 2 hexes to potentially avoid retreats and wild card hits [swords and/or leader sides of the dice]) and battling back (defender surviving an attack and holding their ground can battle the attacking unit). They played the first two scenarios — Akragas (406BC) and Crimissos (341BC) — each winning a scenario. As a first impression, they liked CC:A better than M44 or BC. The additional unit types, complexity and subtlety of the game contribute to a more enjoyable experience. Each commented that M44 and BC are great casual plays but that CC:A would be great to break out when you’re looking for something with a little more depth. At the preorder price of $45, they thought it was a good value (as do I) but not at the current retail of $65.
The rest of us (George, Troy, Heather, Dave and me) played Railroad Tycoon. This was my 3rd full game and George and Troy’s 2nd. I spent 10-15 minutes explaining the game to Heather and Dave before we started. RRT is a very easy game to explain. The turn structure is simple: a) auction to determine start player, b) 3 rounds of player actions, and c) income. Rinse and repeat this cycle until enough cities are empty (of goods) to end the game. When it’s your turn to take an action, you can 1) build up to 4 hexes of track, 2) upgrade your engine, 3) deliver a good, 4) urbanize (upgrade) a city, 5) take an operation card, or 6) build a western link. This makes it easy to bring new players up to speed. Of course, while the game play is simple, it’s the choices people make during the game that keep it interesting. In this game, three of us started building routes along the east coast. Troy started in the midwest and Dave in the southeast. George got out to an early lead and I pushed hard to keep up. I was able to generate a lead with deliveries and by delivering the first good to Jacksonville. As in the previous game, I’d limited my track building (5 links) so goods were becoming scarce in the latter part of the game. Fortunately for me, enough cities were emptied to trigger the end game. If the game had been delayed for a few more turns I would’ve faded quickly. Between the lead and control of a couple of key links (generating a VP for me whenever someone else delivered a good), I was able to pull out a 2 point victory with George surging at the end. Everyone I’ve played with continues to have positive feelings about this game. I like it and feel it needs to be played with 4 or more. And more is generally better. I played a lot of rail games in the ’90s and I’d say I like RRT better than most of what was published at that time.
This evening we were invited to Kieron’s home for an evening of party games. There were 6 couples for this event and we played several games of Werewolf. About half the group had played before, either on-line or live. This game is a little tough when you first learn it because it is all about the interaction, trying to read others and ferret out the liars. In the first game, the werewolves eliminated the seer on the first night and went on to a relatively easy victory. In the 2nd game, the town found a werewolf on day one and the seer survived long enough to find the other werewolf and reveal herself on the 4th day to accuse the other werewolf. Score a win for the town. In the 3rd game, one of the werewolves had to sacrifice the other werewolf (by casting the deciding vote to lynch) in order to remain hidden and was able to notch a victory in the end. I had written “Not A Werewolf” on my cup to remind everyone of my status as a townie but they didn’t seem to believe me. Really, I wasn’t (ok, ‘cept for the last game).
After Werewolf, we moved on to Time’s Up. I had not played before. We were divided into 4 groups of three and Kieron explained the game. Essentially, a deck of about 40 cards is created. The cards have the name of a well known person or fictional character on them. The game consists of three rounds of guessing the names on the cards. In the first round, the person on your team with the cards can use words, gestures and sounds to describe who is on the card. In the 2nd round, you can only use one word plus gestures and sounds and in the 3rd round you can only use gestures and sounds. Any time your team correctly guesses the name, you keep the card. Your team has 30 seconds to collect as many cards as possible. Once your ‘time’s up,’ you pass the remaining cards to the next group. You continue to pass the unguessed cards to the next team until all of the cards have been correctly guessed. After the last card is taken, each team counts the cards they captured and that is their score for that round. The cards are collected, shuffled and the next round starts. The winner is the team with the most points after the 3rd round. This is a fun group/party game. Trying to come up with gesture/charade to get your team to guess names like Anne Frank or Hawkeye Pierce is tough.
We finished up the evening with a round of Perudo. Due to the large number of people, we only used 3 dice so the game would finish relatively quickly. The evening was very enjoyable and thanks to Kieron for hosting.