The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Recent Gaming & Runaway Leaders

The last few games I’ve played shared the common theme of having obvious winners before the game ended. I’m torn on this. If you can predict the winner, the games have more skill than luck (or you’ve just witnessed an amazing run), and it’s probably hard to pick on a player. Both admirable traits, but anti-climatic. I suppose it depends on how early you know the ending…

First, La Citta. It’s not bad. I certainly remember why I sold it … it didn’t excite me. I knew the outcome before the end of turn 3 (of 6). It ended up closer than I thought (with final scores of 45, 38, 25 and 20-something), but that fourty five is a huge score. The runaway leader problem didn’t bother me too much (we were all rusty); the game lacks zing. Much of the good buzz on this game revolves around the fact that it’s become a collector’s item. [There I go, being a curmudgeon again].

Last night saw another game of Power Grid. I knew the winner, but only on the penultimate turn (and I was worried about my position two turns prior). I don’t know if others could read the position (I was the winner). I’ve played over 25 times (counting a few games of Funkenschlag) … I don’t think there’s much left to explore; but I enjoy playing.

And I played a 2-player game of Struggle of Empires. Interesting. My opponent hadn’t played before, so it was a learning game. It took about 1.5 hours (with rules). Without the alliances, the auctions fade from view, and tactics dominate. It’s not a bad game; but different from the larger outings. I suspect that the game just won’t work with three players. Two-on-one would be brutal. (Even three-on-two in the five player games hurt). The game was close through two wars, but I had excellent board position going into the 3rd war, so the ending was (again) known well in advance. Of course, if I’d had that position at the end of the second war in a 4+ player game, I would have gotten a beat down.

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Written by taogaming

May 11, 2005 at 4:12 pm

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