I arrived at the Gathering late Friday afternoon. Often, as Chris and Dale have already noted, time at the Gathering is spent playing upcoming releases and prototypes, but I have done very little of that this year; my focus has been on playing some longer games that I don’t get a chance to get to the table or that are newer to me.
I got my 4th and 5th plays in of Terraforming Mars, and I still really like it. I haven’t seen the imbalance that I’ve heard other people talk about; all scores have been within 10 points or so from leader to last place. All of my games here have had at least one new player, so we’ve gone with the standard card deals; I am curious to try the drafting mechanism again (which I tried once pre-GoF), which I think I will prefer. I will also be curious to see how this plays with 2 or 3 players versus 5.
I’ve also played Viticulture twice; this is a game that I first played last year at the GoF and picked up almost immediately; it has only seen a couple of plays at home though, since there are always new and shiny games that our group wants to try. We played once with the base game and once with the Tuscany expansion. I really enjoyed both games and look forward to getting this out more often; there are a lot of interesting choices and paths in both games, although I might have a slight preference for Tuscany.
I also managed to get Ora & Labora to the table. This is an Uwe Rosenberg game that came out in 2012 and that I played a lot when it first came out; it has been gathering dust on a shelf since then. I brought it with me in my attempt to play all our games that haven’t been played in more than a year. I am glad to say it has held up well, and it was an interesting comparison to Uwe’s more recent games like Glass Road, Fields of Arle and A Feast for Odin.
Our most epic long games was yesterday- a 10 player, 2 board game of Eldritch Horror that we are calling “Eldritch Horror: Parallel Universes”. Each board had its own set of players/characters. We used one Mythos deck and one ancient one for both boards. Each group went through their own plans; once a player got devoured or lost in time and space they transported to the other, parallel board. It worked very well and was a good way to integrate everyone into one game. It didn’t make things any easier, though, and our rolls were pretty pathetic. The doom track moved right along at an alarming rate and Yog Sotthoth eventually got the better of us.
Now it’s time for a walk around Goat Island before another full day of games.