Monday, April 19

Weekend Gaming: For Sale, BSG, ME2, &tc.

Some friends were in town for a wedding, and we got a fair amount of gaming done. Here are some capsule highlights:

In a blaze of foresight, I brought Guillotine along on our trip to Providence to see the Circle finale. We had about an hour to kill after dinner, so we got in three games. Guillotine was ideal because we had played it at PAX East last month, so there was no learning curve. Nevertheless, I’m starting to slightly sour on the game. I wish there was either more strategy or more of a “take that” element to the mechanics. With four players, you certainly can’t plan ahead to your next turn. It’s also pretty hard to set up an opponent to get a bad noble, since the chances that they’ll have a card that weasels out of it is pretty high.

On Sunday, I introduced the King of Fillers, For Sale, to universally positive reactions. I had only played it once before, but now I’m definitely going to push it harder. For such a short, simple game there’s a ton going on. I love how the property buying in the first round has such a direct, intense consequence for how the second round will play out, but, with clever play and good reading of your opponents, you can still overcome your previous mistakes. This keeps everyone fully engaged through the selling phase.

We played our first game of Battlestar Galactica, a game that both couples had sitting on a shelf for a long time, waiting for enough people and enough time. It’s a game that certainly looks more complicated than it ends up being, so I feel good about introducing others to it, especially if they’re hooked by the theme. We didn’t have too much in the way of accusations, as we uncovered the Cylon pretty quickly. Unfortunately, that Cylon was president Baltar, who held on to his office from the Brig, and was able to do quite a bit of damage before we were able to elect the VP to take over. BSG seems like it will only get better with more plays and more familiarity. I also can see how a fifth person would add a lot.

In the realm of video games, we played a bit of 4-player New Super Mario Brothers Wii. The getting in each others’ way was both amusing and annoying, but what was really frustrating was getting through castle levels with anyone surviving. I remember this game got universally positive reviews, especially with four people, but it’s clear to me that those reviewers were all much better at Mario than we were.

On my own I’ve been playing Mass Effect 2. Its siren song pulled me away from my resolve to finish Dragon Age: Origins, and I couldn’t be happier. ME2’s improvements as a shooter are more than welcome, and I love getting back into role-playing my character.