Melissa and I got together with some friends from work and played a few games yesterday. We ended up with 7 players and decided to divide into two groups, which worked quite well.
A group of 4, which included Melissa, tried out my brand new copy of Cosmic Encounter (BGG). Melissa had played before, but it had been quite a while. The other three had never played, so it took them a little while to go through the rules, but the game flowed well once they got the hang of it. I heard many exclamations coming from the players at the table which leads me to believe that the proper amount of neighbor screwage was going on.
While the aliens were fighting each other, the remaining three of us tucked into first one, and then a second game of Acquire (BGG). It had been a very long time since I had played, and this was the first time for me to use my new Avalon Hill copy. I was the only one that had previously played, but the rules are so easy that it only took about 5 minutes to explain before we started.
The first game started slowly as everyone figured out what to do with tile placement and with money. I could not remember whether it was a good idea to run out of money or not, and we spent a little bit of time discussing the “best” thing to do. The game started to pick up after the first merger though, and through the next couple we continued to increase until we were moving at a good pace, and everyone felt they knew what was going on.
We ended up with one uber hotel chain that was taking over everything. I think all of the other chains were founded twice, typically to be taken over in a few turns by the uber chain. I had a respectable showing in this game, which ended with a 41 tile chain. I ended with 55, 000 but lost to the winner with 62,000.
The second game went the other way entirely. We ended up with a lot of tiles that made 4 medium sized chains. I ran out of money early in this game and never recovered. I bought heavily into two chains early on that never merged. Lets just say that I got stomped. The winner had almost 70,000 and I was in at a tiny 25,000.
I think it was pretty cool to have two totally different games as it showed the players how varied the game could be. I think all three of us enjoyed both games a lot.
Our second game of Acquire ended almost perfectly in time with the Cosmic Encounter game. We decided to try a seven player game of Red November (BGG). Let me start by saying that this is a much better game if a) you have less players and b) if you follow all of the rules (including the clarified rules from the designer). In this game I felt that having 7 players made for too much downtime, especially if a gnome passes out. I think that maybe this game would play best with 4 or 5 players. I also screwed up with that the symbols on the board meant in terms of drawing cards, and we ended up drawing more tiles than we should. All the extra tiles did allow us to win in the end, but we did lose two brave gnomes to flood waters due to way to many blocked hatches. I also think that generally the best way to play is to keep people spread out around the ship, and limit unneeded movements. I think it is also a good idea to use enough minutes to guarantee task success, failing in a task is about the worst thing that can happen. We did play with the following clarifications from the FAQ which I think helped compared with my first play.
- Q : Is it possible to move a disaster track which already passed the reset point back before this reset point?
A : It's possible, but you need some luck. You need to fix the problem once, to move the marker back to the reset point, and then to fix it again before any event moved it up again.
- Q : When a gnome faints, are event cards (and item tiles) drawn for all the spaces over which the ghost marker is moved due to his fainting?
A : Yes. It can be deadly.
- Q : Can a gnome with an intoxication level of 4 drink more grogs?
A : Yes. There's no limit to the number of grog you drink. Once your intoxication level is at 4, it can't move farther, but you still make a faint check every time you drink.
Designers FAQ for Red November