Louis XIV, Luna and My Christmas Games 2011

Lisa and I played our first game of Luna last night. It was Lisa’s first time playing and my first full game having only played a few rounds at Origins this past summer. Lisa’s not one to go through the rules of a new game if I don’t know them pretty well, but she’s been a real trooper these last few days offering to slog through them with me. It’s been great having someone to share exploring the fun packed in the box.

We laid the game out on the table and got down to business and by the time we got to the description of the actions she was starting to get glassy-eyed. She persevered and we finally got under way and thankfully, our brains didn’t explode finishing it. I have to say, that first game was a brain burner. Deciding what action to take and how to order them can be painful. Sometimes it’s obvious what you’re going to do with some of your “guys” but other times, it’s really hard to know what’s best. At one point I moved the Apostate a few islands near the end of my turn and Lisa got penalized 5 points. She wasn’t expecting that move out of me and she was a good enough sport to not make me sleep on the couch last night 🙂

I like the game but I think I’d have to be in the right mood for it. It feels like another play or two would make it much easier to organize your thoughts decreasing play time. Unfortunately, getting to that point would be difficult in the amount of time I have in my life to play games. Lisa said she’d play it again but wouldn’t jump to play it if it’s been very long since she played it last. I think she felt pretty burned out mentally after that first play that it cut into the fun for her.

The day before, I ripped the shrink off Louis XIV. I haven’t played the game in about 5 years and I’ve owned a copy for several years (CABS Math Trade) and even tried to give the copy away at the last Great Lakes Games but as luck would have it, I took my copy back on the second round of drawing figuring, what the heck, it’s a good game, I might as well take it for a spin again for old times sake.

For such a simple game, the rules are a bit of a mess. Lisa and I struggled trying to keep the scoring rules for the Louis XIV “tile” in our head but we kept forgetting how to work out the ties in the different situations. In the end, I think we got it right but it took us a bit longer than I’d hoped. We learn slowly as a team but we did it and I think it’s safe to say Lisa had a good time, as did I. It’s a keeper and I’m glad I didn’t give it away.

This evening, Lisa and I were again, slogging through the disaster of a rule book for the game Lancaster. The English is obviously translated (e.g. “face open cards”, “the options are 3”, …) and you must consult an additional components/setup sheet included in the rules to understand what to do with one of the critical components (extension boards). These boards are only mentioned once in the rules during scoring but not described any where else. What a mess.

I sort of see how the game will play out after struggling and I’m still keen on playing but wow, surprising.

Christmas is always a great time for gaming in the Marquand house and this year has not disappointed. Lisa got me copies of Lancaster and also Kingdom Builder which I’ve played numerous times but wasn’t fortunate enough, until now, to own a copy. I have to plug Game Surplus and Thor’s customer service again. Kingdom Builder arrived with a bit of a crushed box corner (very minor). Lisa emailed Thor to just let him know in case he wanted to pack things better, talk to his shipper, etc. She wasn’t expecting anything from him but he said he’d ship out a new one and return postage for the damaged one or he just refund some of her money. She counter-offered to just get free shipping on another game and in turn made it a win/win situation. I got another game (Lancaster) and Thor got another sale and a very happy pair of customers. Thanks!

I’ve got an extended game day set up with the two most hard-core players in my group tomorrow and I’ll be blogging about that over the next couple of days. More gaming…man I love Christmas!

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