AGN – April 2006

We had a very small group tonight. Gus was swamped at work and Mat and Tim couldn’t make it. Keith was busy building a set for a play with his kids so that left Paul, Ken, Rich, and me. It worked out pretty well though since I got a chance to play all three of my new games!

We started out with For Sale designed by Stefan Dorra. I’ve recently reviewed the game and I’m still enamored by the simplicity of it yet the amount of angst that goes through your brain. It’s not heavy by any means but still feels like there’s more to it than say, 6-Nimmt, or God forbid, Fluxx. Unfortunately, my pictures pretty much sucked of us playing this game so I apologize for not having one. Card games are really hard to frame a useful shot. If anyone has any tips, please leave a comment. I’d appreciate it.

Next up was China designed by Michael Schacht (Coloretto, Hansa, Fist of Dragonstones, …). I really liked this quick area influence game. The game plays extremely fast and I really like the different scoring mechanisms. Using emissaries and their cross region alliances was a nice touch. The point allotments for the completed regions (house placement) seems a relatively rare form of scoring. I enjoyed the tension caused by wanting to keep building more houses to get more points for a continuous road but at the same time you don’t want to blow away your opponents in a region since that decreases the point spread between first and second.

Ken found it hard to get past the fact that the map didn’t appear to resemble any China he’d ever visited. Having been to China for adoption reasons he should know. But, alas, we ignored him anyway and kept playing.

Next up was Mesopotamia designed by Klaus-J├╝rgen Wrede (Carcassonne). When I blogged about Amun Re I felt it was the most photogenic game I’d ever played but I may have found a contender for the title. Mesopotamia is simply a gorgeous looking game with a good game inside too. Phalanx and Mayfair have produced a very nice looking and high quality product. The interlocking tiles are an excellent hedge against accidental table-quakes, the wooden bits are top notch, and the real rocks are just darn cool.

The entire game was very enjoyable in that we all felt like everyone was in the running. I thought Ken didn’t have a chance but he ended up winning. However, had Ken not been able to win on his move, then I would have won. And the same went for Paul and Rich. There’s nothing more sweet than feeling like you needed just one more move to win…well besides winning that is. We did play with the correct rules that when you bring rock to the temple, the rocks go back in the supply. The written rules state that the rock should be taken out of the game. However, this was shown to be a translation error. It was not the intent of the designer to make rock such a highly prized commodity that it would dominate the strategy.

There is a downside to the game though. At least in our playing, the game brought out the worst in us in that there are more innuendos in this game than even Settlers of Catan. Having ‘wood for sheep’ ain’t got nothin’ on this game. In Mesopotamia, you need two tribesmen with rock for a holy erection. Two tribesmen and a stick allows you to go ‘hut yourself’ but that’s okay because you can then give birth in that hut as long as two guys guard the door (and one of them wears the offering token as a hat). It goes on and on but I’ll leave it at that.

It was a quite enjoyable evening even though it was a small crowd. Thanks guys for coming and see you next month.


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