Very little gaming today, as I decided to go outside and enjoy the weather. I opened the day with another game of CGE’s word-game prototype. It is still in the early stages, so I am limited in what I can say. I enjoy it a lot, however, and it is getting a lot of play and buzz here. After that, I watched a group of players try one of the shorter combinations in Friedemann Freese’s 504.
This one was pick-up-and-deliver, race, and majorities. It seemed decent, but probably less involved than some of the other combinations. Still, it was interesting to watch unfold. 504 is a likely purchase for me when it comes out.
After that, a group of us took a road trip to a cidery on Lake Ontario.
We stopped for a bite on the way, sampled (and then purchased) lots of delicious hard cider, and just generally enjoyed a beautiful day in upstate New York. On the way home, we stopped to put our feet in the water and skip rocks. We also grabbed a frozen custard before returning to Niagara.
One of the best parts of this event is its length. As a 10-day event, we can take several hours away from gaming to just enjoy the vacation without feeling like we’ve missed out on anything.
When we returned to the game room, I taught Mombasa to a new table.
This was my third game, and my third victory. It was also the first time that I felt like I really had a plan from the outset and executed it well, although my score did not show it as much as I expected. It’s still a bit of a brain-burner, but I think it will be very popular among the heavy games crowd at this year’s Spiel.
Afterwards, I learned Cacao, which most players agreed was a cute little game. It’s the sort of thing that will be considered for the SdJ: short, easy to teach, interesting decisions. For me, it lacks the addictive quality of some of the previous year’s nominees. I’d be happy to play it, but would be surprised if I suggested it.
We moved on to a few titles that we could play while drinking our cider. The first game was Evolution.
Although the game accommodates six players, it turns out that was probably not an ideal number for us. The game was over very quickly and the simultaneous card play made it hard to plan our decisions. I would play it again with fewer.
I was not a fan of getting attacked by carnivores, which happened on the first turn, and so I checked out a bit after that. I think I owe an apology to our rules explainer, who did a great job of teaching the game only for me to spend most of the session with my face in a glass of cider rather than in the game. Pros: the adaptation in our game was pretty thematic. After the early carnivore attacks, most of us went defensive (by the end of the game, my only species was fat, hard, and horny). Cons: could not compete with alcohol for my attention; does not smell of declicious cider.
As a larger group, we ended the night with a fantastic party game, Guess The Mess.
This is a new favorite for silly occasions, and I’m tempted to pick up a copy. My only concern is that some of us are really good at both guessing and messing, particularly when paired with each other *coughlauriejonescough*, which seems unfair to the other players.
A couple of us stayed up a few more hours for Tichu and Ping Pong, before eventually collapsing in the wee morning hours. All-in-all, the best day of the Gathering so far!