By Jim Reed:
Jeff and I recently attended a game day in our area hosted by Chad Mekash. Chad is Grimnir on Board Game Geek where you've probably downloaded at least one of his great rules summaries. He has also done reviews on the Point 2 Point Podcast.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Mulder and Scully (Chad's beautiful dogs). We quickly jumped into a game with of Lost Temple, the new Bruno Faidutti game from Stronghold Games. Playing in the game was none other that Stephen Buonocore, owner of Stronghold Games.
Now I have to admit, we had just played Lost Temple a week earlier and in all honesty, I didn't like it very much. But, this is a great example of why you should always give games another shot. Why didn't I like it the first time? I had missed a glaring rule in the rulebook! This rule gives each player a gem every turn. The reason I didn't like the game the first time was because I thought it was stupid how there was hardly any ways to get gems yet many cards had you spending gems to gain their benefits. Ooops! I ended up really enjoying this game and will be talking about it more soon.
Next, I knew the day wouldn't be complete without getting one of my new favorite games to the table, Lords of Waterdeep from Wizard of the Coast. We played with the same four of us. Me, Jeff, Stephen, and John P. (This was Jeff an Johns first play) I love this game! I have to say though, that now that I feel experienced in playing it, it's easy to win against new players. I finished with a score around 140 and the other players didn't break 100. One of these times I'll get dealt the builder. During the game, we broke for lunch as Chad provided hogies (that's a Sub or long roll Sandwich) from one of my favorite local delis and his wife presented cookies she baked in the form of Meeples and blocks from Hammer of the Scotts.
After LowD, all the other guest had arrived and were heavy into their own games so we decided to pick something light and short and we Agreed upon Nexus Ops. Jeff or I had never played before and this was with the original Avalon Hill version. I must say we immediately fell in love with this game. I started out doing very bad but wound up winning in the end with Stephen and Jeff only 1 point behind. Early on I got secret mission cards that I had no chance in completing but as the game progressed I drew some that were much simpler and played into what I had been doing with my units. I'm adding this to my "must buy" list.
Afterward we had a great interview with Stephen Buonocore that will be, or already is (depending on when you're reading this) in episode 19 of Not Just Another Gaming Podcast. (Stephen gives us the scoop on not one, not two, but three announcements from Stronghold Games)
Jeff had to take off as did I for a bit, but I returned to all of the dinner still being left out for me. I devoured some delicious lasagna and salad before taking over for Chad in a game of Eminent Domain from Tasty Minstrel Games. This game is also on my "must buy" list but I hadn't played it in a few months. Chad had played about 5 turns so I had to figure out what he was moving toward. He had dumped his Produce cards and was pushing for heavy colonization. This was the first time for the other three players and I quickly noticed they were also focusing on colonizing. As a back up, seeing that the colonize cards were about to run out, I focused a few turns on research and grabbed the research cards that contained the colonize ability. After that, with everyone having trouble settling planets, I was rolling through and ended the game with 7 planets for a huge margin of victory.
It takes a few plays of this game to really grasp the mechanics of Action / Roles Selection. I could see it was frustrating to the other players and because of this Bob S. didn't like the game very much. Hopefully he'll give it another try. From what I know of the guys I was playing with, they're big war gamers, so I can see this game not appealing to them.
But not to worry, because the next game to come out was 1812: The Invasion of Canada. I had actually seen a few things on this game and was pretty excited to play it! Chad joined the game, as well as , Bob, James and John B. (John and I drew the Americans) It was later that I realized John has designed many games for Victory Games, West End, and Decision Games.
Again, I'll be talking about this one more later but overall I really enjoyed it. It is incredibly light but highly tactical. Early on John and I were doing so bad, including losing one of our reinforcement locations, that he mentioned possibly conceding the win on turn 3. We were talked out of it and on turn 7 We had put ourselves in a good position but it was made better when John played a card allowing us to move 8 armies. On the final turn of the game, we made a bold push but came up just short. The British ended up winning 1-0. Not bad seeing as how it was 6-0 when we thought about throwing in the towel.
Everyone left and Chad and I ended the night with one final game, another game of Nexus Ops. The two player experience was just as fun as the four player, confirming my enjoyment of this game.
During the course of the day, I saw a wide variety of games being played. Sekigahara (which doesn't look like a game for me but who knows, I'm judging a book by its cover.), z-man games Feudality (I don't know much about but it looked interesting and worth me trying to find a game of it at some point. Plus it had Pumpkineeples!), Eclipse, Ascending Empires (which for some reason I have no desire to play), Conquest of Nerath, Merchants and Marauders (I hear it was a pirate victory!), and many more.
It was a great day! Getting a chance to play with a few guys I'd never gamed with and a few I only see once every couple months was the best part. Well, ok, the cookies were pretty good too!
Some photos courtesy Bob S.