GenCon starts in the morning. The boys and I will spend time over the next several days checking out the vendors, playing some new games and meeting some fellow BGG’rs. But tonight was game night at Jeff’s. We had another good turn out with 9 gamers showing up to play. Part of the group chose to play Super Munchkin.
The rest of us sat down to learn how to play Taj Mahal from Denise. Taj Mahal is by Reiner Knizia and the players are vying for dominance in different areas (political, social, military, spiritual and economy) in each of 12 provinces. This is done by bidding with cards from your hand. Once you withdraw from the bidding process in the current province, you claim any of the tokens you hold as a majority based on the cards you’ve played. These tokens allow you to place palaces on the boards, take special cards or score points.
Every time you collect a token with some type of good on it, you score a point for every token in your possession with that good on it. Collecting sets of goods is a great way to score many points. You also score a point if you place at least one palace in a province. You score more points if the palace you place is connected by road to another of your palaces in one or more adjacent provinces. Creating a long string of connected palaces on the board is another great way to score lots of points.
I created a couple of palace networks in provinces on the outer edge of the board and was able to win a bid later in the game that connected them into one large network pushing me into a lead that was difficult to overcome. At the end, Troy finished a close second, trailing me by 2 points. This was the first time everyone had played except for Denise who brought and taught the game. The group felt it was a quality Knizia title. I liked it and would willingly play again.
Super Munchkin finished while we were still playing Taj Mahal and several at that table decided it was late enough to call it a night. After we finished Taj Mahal, Bob and I stuck around. Jeff joined us for a learning game of Domaine. I picked this up a couple of months ago and finally was able to get it to the table tonight. This is a very simple game to play. Everyone has 4 castles that are placed on the board at the beginning of the game and you spend the rest of game placing borders on the board and trying to isolate your castles from the others on the board in order to create an enclosed space (a Domaine) with only one of your castles in it. Whenever you do that, you score points for all the forest and village spaces within that Domaine. Your turn is simply play a card or sell a card. If you play a card, you pay the cost of the card and take the action represented on the card. This may be placing borders, adding knights, expanding a domain, etc. When a player reaches the victory point total for the game, they win. If you run out of cards before that happens, whoever is leading after the last card is played is the winner. We all liked this game too. It plays fast. There isn’t any real player interaction but there is almost no down time between turns so you are constantly involved in the game. It looked like there was a big disparity in the scores as we went into the end game but they tightened up right at the end. Bob won with 34. I had 30 and Jeff had 29. Domaine was designed by Klaus Teuber who is most well known for designing Settlers of Catan. I’ve played a few of his other games and I’d say Domaine was more enjoyable than some of the other games he has published.