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Nov 14

Last Week In Games: 11/4/13-11/10/13

It was a good week for gaming once again, perhaps not in total amount, but certainly in quality.  I got to play some new games and some old classics while wrapping up my final game of the IGS season.  As it was the conclusion of the 2011-2013 edition of the IGS that seems like the best place to start this week’s re-cap.

This week’s game was the lesser known of Uwe Rosenberg’s classic worker placement games, Le Havre.  Yes that’s right, for those of you who thought the farming theme of Agricola was just a little too wild and crazy, he settles things down with a harbor building and shipping game!  All kidding aside, Le Havre is a great game that truly melts brains as well as any game you will play.

This was only my second play, having finished last when it was played during the regular season in a four player game.  As the league was down to Rich, Steve, and I, this session was limited to only three players.  Frankly, I MUCH prefered the three player game. With out going into too much detail, the way that the game is structured four players creates a situation where one player only get a single turn in each round and the others get two.  While it does rotate so that the same player is not always stuck, it just feels like every fourth round you are only surviving instead of prospering.  Regardless, the three player game was much better in my opinion, as was my finish.  Related?  Nah, I am far too principled a blogger to let my outcome color my opinion.  So…I won and this game is great!  Although the final score was a massive victory for me, I am such an inexperienced noob that I honestly was not sure I was going to win as the game was coming to an end.

Despite my victory, I was mathematically eliminated from the play-offs and as such my run for the title came to end.  Good luck to both Rich and Steve and may the best man win!  Until next year.

I recently received a copy of Titans Tactics from the designer, G. Kelly Toyama to review for its upcoming release.  I plan to publish a full review of the game early next week so stay tuned for a more in-depth exploration of Titans Tactics.

As part of the review process I taught the boy, Jarrett, to play and we got in a game last Thursday.  A brief description would be to say that each player controls and army of three champions chosen from one of the factions.  Players then engage in a no-randomess tactical battle in which they try to inflict the most damage in three rounds to the opponent’s champions or do enough total damage to win the game outright.

Anyway, the boy and I played the base recommended champions and although it was close, I prevailed.  However, even though he lost, he said that he really enjoyed the game and immediately started looking at all of the factions and considering what teams he could put together for our future games!

My old nemesis Eli came by on Friday to play both some Titans Tactics and my most recent attempt at game design, Legacy Wars.  We both liked Titans Tactics, and although we agreed that it was a little short for our liking, we both felt that it was a good game!

I then taught him Legacy Wars for its first live playtest to get a feel for how well the mechanics worked and see if any major structural changes were needed.  He did get a little disgruntled that I was beating him so handily, but hey, I did design the game and should have a better understanding of the strategies than a first timer.  Despite his grumbling he proceeded to discuss the game with great enthusiasm for the next 45 minutes, not something that one does about games that you are not interested in playing ever again.  All in all, it was a successful test run and I look forward to telling more about the game as it develops!

Once again, Eli and I finished the night out with a game of Agricola using the Farmers of the Moor expansion.  As usual, we drafted our occupations and minor improvements to take some of the luck out of the game.  I vowed before the game that it was my intention to try a wildly different strategy than normal.  In Agricola, it is taken almost as gospel that early family growth is the key to victory.  The extra actions that one gains from doing so are almost impossible to make up for and it is without a doubt a very important factor in any winning Agricola strategy.  I decided to fly right in the face of this “truth” managed to not grow my family until there were only 5 turns left in the game.  For those of you familiar with Agricola, you understand how unbelievably late this is.  Basically, my plan was to use cards I had drafted to make every action that I took vastly more efficient than Eli’s and invest in the future with a strong infrastructure.  Once this strong foundation was established, I would then proceed to grow may family and try to close the gap.  Much to both of our surprise, it worked!  Eli is a very good Agricola opponent, so this was not just me beating up on some noob who did not know any better, but rather a tough battle against a seasoned veteran.  We commented on what an unusual game it was and how shocking a win I pulled off.  Great win, at a great game, with an old friend.  Can a gamer ask for anymore?  I think not!

That is all for this week’s look back.  I was fortunate to win every game I played, but even more fortunate to be able to enjoy such awesome games with good friends and the boy.  I will make a full-blooded gamer out of him yet!

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