Analog Game Night – February 2007

We only had four able to attend last night’s AGN Feb 2007 at my house but that did give us the opportunity to play a four player game later in the evening that we usually can’t accommodate with the normal group.

Ken brought his copy of Kahuna and I forced him to teach me the game. Several images of the game have popped up on BGG and I’m always on the lookout for nice two-player games that Lisa and I can play. Kahuna fits the bill pretty nicely by wrapping a larger game around three smaller ’rounds’. Although the ‘three and done’ flavor is common in two-player games, Kahuna requires you to play all three rounds since the scoring mechanism it slightly different each round and the board layout is retained from one round to the next.

I like Kahuna because it gave me the impression that I was stretching some gaming brain muscles that I hadn’t used with other games. The ability to cause a ripple effect across the board when bridges are built on adjacent islands is a nice touch.

Since Ken taught me Kahuna, I figured I’d reciprocate and teach him Fjords. It’s another nice two-player game that has the common ‘three and done’ structure but with Fjords, you can easily play only one or two rounds if you’re really pressed for time. The game is composed of three completely independent subgames and the winner is the player with the highest sum across all three subgames but I don’t see why you couldn’t easily play one or two ’rounds’ and call it a day if you wanted to get in a quick game or two over lunch at the office.

I’ll be posting a full review of Fjords in the coming weeks so I don’t want to spill all the beans quite yet.

The final game of the evening was Bison: Thunder on the Prairie. I had only scanned the rules once the night before and I felt hesitant to play it. I don’t enjoy teaching a game by reading the rules aloud. I would rather learn the game on my own by playing a few sample rounds, consulting BGG for answers to questions etc. but the group seemed genuinely excited to play it so we gave it a go.

It took us quite awhile to get through the rules but as usual, within a round or two it was like riding a bicycle. Bison is a simple area influence game with a few quirky mechanics and some unique scoring techniques thrown in but like Fjords. I’ll be giving a full review in a few weeks so I’m hesitant to say much more. However, even after only one game I have to say I was impressed. Bison doesn’t have a lot of novel features but the theme is unique and it has a nice ‘thinky’ feel that warms up the skull quite nicely.

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