The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Saturday Gaming

A Session Report is on the SABG site, which has some mechanics.

First up — a homemade set of Haste Worte. Basically, you get a minute to write down a list of things that meet the category (“Articles of clothing.”) After the minute, everyone secretly bids a number (1-21). The lowest number reads first … if, when it’s your turn to read you can’t come up with enough (previously un-named) items you get zero points, otherwise you get your bid (You only name as many items as you need). You play until someone reaches 20 points.

We used a home-made set, so I’ve no idea how the categories are in the original german. You could easily play this without buying a game. (I’ve told you everything you need to know). A reasonable party game.

Two high-larious games of Cash N Guns Yakuzas. I died in both. Apart from the fact that the Yakuzas have swords and shuriken (with their differences) and other special abilities, the game is completely changed by the introduction of teams. Teams get to discuss strategy after the opening deal (a team might get 3 special powers, and keep two) and at the halfway point. My partner and I used baseball signals to show/request specific targets (although we didn’t think about how to show loading states until later). The Yakuza are fairly chaotic. They basically point in a direction (left or right) and, if they’ve played a “Bang” (“Clang”) card, hit the next player in that direction. Of course, if people have dropped, that may be a Yakuza. As a compromise, they don’t get cowardice tokens from dropping (they just get a “cut off your own finger” token … every other finger is a wound!) Balanced? Who cares.

I enjoyed this, but I love Cash N Guns. Still, it felt quite different … and took longer. (Maybe 30 minutes a game instead of 20).

Our second game of Kutschfahrt (with 8 players) pushed this solidly into the “interesting keeper” category. First of all, it handles 6-10 players (awkward numbers) and its novel. We may need a variant to prevent the situation where one player starts with their item (and never really wants to trade it then), but I’m not sure. (Perhaps deal out two items per player, keep one … and you must keep a bag, if dealt). Still, not willing to make this a variant yet. What was interesting is that I don’t think we went around the table 3-4 times before there was a certain declaration. If it hadn’t been made, I was probably willing to make an 80% shot on my turn (fearing that I’d never get another turn).

This does feel like a flaw, in that if a player has a sure thing then other players will likely recognize this, and take a “decent odds” shot. Still, that keeps the game short.

Finally, we played World of Warcraft. I thought it was OK, although long (5 hours — normal for a first game with six players, I hear). Like most RPG games, WoW is a race at heart … level up faster, beat the bad guy. One interesting part (to me) is that you have two teams. That’s nice … if you invest 5 hours there will be multiple winners. It also allows for collaboration, planning, trading, and all that fun. Our game timed out, so we had a massive “Team vs Team” fight. It was fine.

The core mechanism is a “Every player gets 2 actions a turn.” With the actions being “Move, fight, rest, train (get new spells/powers), or Explore the Town.” [Town gives a small rest, the possibility for training, and maybe buying stuff. But, you have to be at a town.” Each team has a few quests, which involve throwing a ton of dice. The combat system looked interesting enough. And, like many FFG games, there were a ton of cards so each game will be different (you have all the various characters, final bad guys, and random events).

One glaring flaw — there are wandering monsters that are just as tough as the quests (tougher, actually). If they appear on you (or block your path) you have to fight them at the cost of 1 (or more) actions and potential death. And for this you get … nothing.

I mean, why not just have a card that says “Lose a turn.” It would be faster. Jacqui and I (on the same team) got killed by one of those that we should have beaten. So instead of losing 2 actions (each of us fighting) we lost about 8 (since we had to heal, move back, and then spend another action fighting them). Since a 3-player team only has 90 actions, that was basically a 10% penalty. I’m told the first expansions fixed this.

I actually like the fact that I could leave when it wasn’t my turn. In a five hour game, that’s not necessarily a downside. Still, there’s some fixed-fun issues, and I think this would be better with 4. I’d play again … but honestly, I was just as impressed with Talisman.


Written by taogaming

November 3, 2007 at 8:26 pm

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