The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Games from last night

Black FridayInfuriating. Seems so close to a brilliant game, but off. The stock market is resolved by pulling tokens from a bag … and we ran out of tokens, so that you could perfectly predict the market. Friedemann expressed surprise that it could happen. This doesn’t inspire confidence; the rulebook actively kills it. (And to think that this is the revised, corrected version). In particular, the rules lead you down a dead end path. If you draw two or more black tokens, you “place them next to the board in the supply you are building.” Building for what, exactly? As near as we can tell, the correct phrase is “are removed from the game.” We had another game where the market was empty, a situation not covered in the rules. (In Friedemann’s defense, that game had an incorrect setup which greatly changed the market dynamics, so it may never happen in a real game). Perhaps we just got unlucky that the mid-game turned into a situation where the market was a guaranteed winner, but it wouldn’t be that rare.

Anyway, I think there’s a good core here, and maybe our one game was a fluke (see bottom of the thread linked above for details), but I’m inclined to write the game off for a simple reason:

The game is very flexible and allows players to make big mistakes and more important it is like a role-playing game.

If this had been said about Funny Friends, I’d shrug. When you say it about a financial game … is there anything I can do other than hope that this is some weird German to English translation thing? I’m playing this again to see if our second (correct) play suffers from another supposedly rare event or not.

In contrast, F.F.’s Famiglia is a solid little game that I enjoyed. Sure, it’s a 2-player filler but it works.

Merkator was also played, and I think it’s a good game but to play it well would require too much time. Carefully examining everyone’s position. So if I play it again (and I might) I’ll just wing that mother, like I did this time.  I like big complicated system games, but this one didn’t do much besides that.

So, 3 new games that I could play again, or I could just try some of the other new games that I missed (like Robber Barons, First Train to Load Up The Cheese, or whatever).

Update — It turns out that we got another rule wrong for Black Friday, so I have renewed hope that the game works.  After hearing what we did wrong, I think it will prevent both of our flukes (bag running out, multiple stock rounds with no black briefcases) from occurring.

Written by taogaming

February 8, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Posted in Session Reports

Tagged with , ,

5 Responses

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  1. Well, you know Friedemann, Brian–I imagine to him, MOST games are like role-playing games!

    It’s so strange when you’ve played a game as a prototype, know that it’s really good, then it’s released and you hear nothing but problems. It happened with Phoenicia and it’s happening now with Black Friday and I wonder if the reasons are the same: namely, a lousy rulebook. Not everyone liked the game at the Gathering, but most did and I never heard of a lockup or any of the other problems being cited. So I have to wonder.

    I’m still going to order the game, even though I’m a-fearing how it will turn out. I’ll also pick up Famiglia, which I keep hearing good things about. Haven’t had the chance to try Merkator yet–maybe this Saturday (when I should finally be able to try the Advanced version of another Friese game, Furstenfeld).


    February 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm

  2. Well, I discovered we had another rule wrong, which gives me hope.


    February 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm

  3. I really really enjoyed Familglia at the Gathering, I think I taught it to 4 or 5 people, but now I find the theme weird. It’s such a pure little 2 player game, it seems odd to hide its elegance under theme. That said, the in jokes seem clever.

    Lou W

    February 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm

  4. Interesting comment, Lou: “This game has too much theme!” I really enjoy Famiglia too.

    Eric Brosius

    February 10, 2011 at 7:11 am

  5. Famiglia is a really solid game, and I bought it at our FLGS for $12… really can’t go wrong there. It’s a 30 minute game the first time you play, and probably faster after that.

    I imagine we’ll get the rules right to Black Friday soon. The rule book is just so bad… If you’re going to play it, I recommend getting the file from BGG called “short rules”, or something like that. You’ll need the full rules to make sense of it, but the short rules give you a good framework to make sure you’ve gleaned everything from the rulebook.

    Sean Tompkins

    February 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

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