We transitioned from epic gaming to shorter games on Thursday with the remaining guests arriving throughout the day.
In the morning, I taught Clash of Cultures to David and KC. I played earlier in the week with Chris and Jeff providing a helpful refresh before I needed to explain it to a couple of new players. As with earlier plays, Clash is a nicely streamlined civ game with little down time. Our play lasted 5 hours, including setup and explanation. Experienced players should finish in under 3 hours. Virgin Queen finished early so Chris, David and I were able to play Maria much earlier than expected. Maria is a direct descendent of Friedrich, a game I own but have not yet played. It uses the same point to point style map and cards to resolve battles. Maria was over relatively quickly (little over a quarter of the potential number of turns) due to our (namely, mine) novice mistakes. That said, Maria is a great experience. The mechanics combine to create a wonderfully themed and playable war game about the War of Austrian Succession. As our closer, we played the great (and much lighter than anything else so far this week!) Ra with 3 players. Puerto Rico, Power Grid, 18AL and Texas Hold’em were going on throughout the evening.
Friday began with a play of Puerto Rico with Alex, Katie, Greg and myself. Others played Volldampf and Tigris & Euphrates. In the middle of the day, a game of Wallenstein broke out. Wally continues to be a favorite. It’s a great blend of several game styles and the cube tower just rocks for resolving combat! After dinner, we started playing Formula De with 10 players on the Belgium map. Eight of the ten cars finished. Formula De is very fun with the right group of gamers and this was one of those groups. Everyone played quickly and kept the game moving which is a key to a successful play of Formula De. I closed out the night in a game of Tichu with David, Matt and Bryann. After a rough start, Matt and I pulled out a win over David and Bryann.
First up was a 4 player Settlers of Catan with the Cities and Knights expansion. This is my favorite version of Catan although I like it best with 3 players. I stopped playing 5 and 6 player Catan several years ago because it ends up being longer than is desirable for what it is. Next up was Alan Moon’s Union Pacific. Alan has many great designs and Union Pacific ranks among them. Since you don’t quite know when the scoring rounds will be or when the game will end, Union Pacific packs an amazing level of tension in a game with the simplicity of Ticket to Ride. KC and Rita introduced David and me to the quick, cute game of Pool Position. Pool Position is a blind bidding game where you receive the points of the next lowest bidder to spend on where you place your towel at the pool. Since the lowest bidder wraps around and receives the points of the highest bidder, it becomes a cat and mouse game of timing when to play your lowest bid card to catch a high bidder’s points. It’s quick, light and fun. You can easily play this multiple times in under an hour.
KC and I learned MarraCash from David. We rushed all the shoppers into the mall and ended the game in about 30 minutes rather than the stated 60 minutes on the box. We might’ve been doing it wrong. 😀 We moved on to Knizia’s Stephensons Rocket before spending the evening in a Magic booster draft tournament using Conspiracy boosters for multiplayer matches.