Thursday, September 10, 2009

Games I've Played Recently

I haven't made a post like this for a while.

Stone Age
Remember when I wrote about Agricola? We've taken to calling Stone Age, Agricola Lite. It has a very similar feeling to it, without the soul crushing difficulty. You have a tribe that has entered the age of agriculture. Each round you take your tribe members and set them to a number of tasks one task at a time (building tools, having children, gathering resources, using said resources to build huts or other advances in civilization) around the table until everyone is out of tribe members (Much like the family members in Agricola). Then each player takes a turn in which they resolve all of those actions in the order they choose, thus resetting the board back to the original state. Everyone then feeds each of their tribe members (Just like in Agricola) Empty Cards and Hut spaces are replaced and then the first player status moves to the next player and you all go at it again. The game ends when there are no more replacement huts available for the next round—at that point you count up victory points and the player with the most wins.

I like stone age, because it feels like Agricola (Which I find that I unwillingly enjoy as it beats me into submission)—but isn't hard like Agricola.

Dominion is a very unique card game. All the cards are divided into piles of identical cards, and the box is designed to keep all the cards in said piles. Then you have a pile of cards that has one of each type of card—you shuffle this deck and then deal ten cards off of it and pull those piles out and set them where every one can reach. There are three piles of treasure cards and three piles of victory point cards. Every one starts with three victory point cards and seven treasure cards.

Each round you deal yourself five cards from your deck and have one action and one buy. The first round you have no action cards so you buy one from one of the ten action card piles (or treasure from the three treasure card piles or victory points from the three victory card piles) based on how much treasure you have. Then you place all those cards in a personal discard pile. The second round you will also not have an action card so you will buy what you can afford with your treasure cards. At that point you've discarded all ten of the original cards you were dealt plus the two cards you purchased, then you shuffle your discard pile and deal again. Action cards allow things like more buys, more actions, bonus treasure etc. As you play your deck gets bigger and bigger. At the beginning of the game the trick is to amass money, and at some point in the game you want to switch to amassing victory points. The game ends when the six point victory point pile is gone, or three other piles are gone. Then you count victory points.

I like Dominion because once you understand the mechanics it is very fast. Each game is different because the available cards are different. There are a lot of different strategies you can try, and those will change from game to game based on the available action cards.

I only had one game of Dominion that I didn't enjoy. It was a two player game and at first I was doing okay. But my opponent found himself in a position where he was finding it difficult to amass treasure, but he had stumbled into an order of play that allowed him to use his entire deck every turn. This particular game had an action card that allowed the distribution of negative victory points (curses) to your opponent which he was doing so at an exponential rate. By the time I started to counter that it was too late. the round ended and though I had easily bested him at amassing victory points, he had decimated me with enough curses to negate almost all said points. The only reason I didn't like that game was that his turns were so long, and by the time I adjusted my tactics to counter his strategy it was too late.

That game just emphasized how different the game plays based on the random ten action card piles you end up using.

Acquire is a business building/stock buying game. You win by having the most money. You have a grid and tiles that have specific places that they belong on the grid that you draw randomly. Each turn you place one of the tiles in your hand onto the grid. If you place two tiles next to each other then you can start a business and purchase stock in that business (by creating a business you get a bonus stock in it). You have the opportunity to purchase up to three stocks in any active business each round. The business is represented by all the touching tiles. When two businesses come in contact with each other they merge and the smaller of the two is no more. If you have stock in the smaller business you can cash in or trade in your stock at a 2–1 rate.

This is a tricky game, the trick is to be one of the top two stockholders of the smaller businesses when it gets absorbed by a bigger businesses. That way you can get more money to buy more stock with. At the end of the game you cash everything in and the player with the most money wins. The trick is to spend wisely and make good decisions as to whether you want to cash in or not when your smaller businesses are absorbed. Sometimes you want to hold onto that stock when the business is no more, because if you can recreate that business you are ahead of the curve when you do so. Sometimes it's more profitable to cash in, sometimes it is more profitable to trade your stocks. There's math involved—which I'm no good at in my head on the fly, so I just play by instinct (which drives my calculator headed friend a little nuts) and sometimes my gambling pays off and I win—like that last game we played. Yes I also like Acquire.

Is there a game I do not like? Why yes, yes there is.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy all 3 of these games. I'd say Stone Age is my favorite right now.