Things of No Interest: What Did I Play Last (week/month/months)?
Good Lord it has been a crazy busy start to the year. February was a bit hectic (like I knew it would be) with family in town for a week and being all short (because 2-3 days less in a month makes such a big difference). Being busy meant less time for painting, playing games, and of course writing and posting. So instead of a monthly look back, I'm going to try and look back at what I played in January AND February!
I started the year with an unofficial goal of playing each of the Ticket to Ride maps I have in my collection or on my iPad at least 5 times. My love, Alyson, prefers multiple plays to get a handle on the strategy for a map as opposed to jumping back and forth between maps all the time, so I thought maybe we'd play through what we have and we started with America and specifically 1910. I still enjoy the original map and like the options that are available to players through the 1910 routes. We played a couple of Big City and a bunch of "everything". Because of the huge variance in route locations and point values, it feels a little more luck based when you play with all the tickets. About the only other thing to note about this variant - I'd rather play 1910 on the table with the Anniversary Edition set than on my iPad.
Ticket to Ride: Pennsylvania
For those that are unfamiliar with this map, Pennsylvania adds the addition of stock to the game. When a player claims a route, they often have the choice of one or more stock certificates to claim along with the route. At the end of the game, points are awarded based on how much stock you own in each company compared to other players (ie there are payouts based on 1st place, 2nd place, etc). Grabbing stock before other players makes an interesting incentive to play early rather than trying to hide your route intentions and often times, you may grab a random route because you can, not because you are trying to get anywhere. The new mechanism doesn't completely overhaul the game, but it does add a nice little twist other than just a different set of routes on a map. With only two players, you "burn" stock by picking up a share for yourself and choosing one for a dummy player as well. It makes the two player game especially good I think. Alyson took a few close losses and they started handing me my butt me on this map. One of my favorite expansion maps boxes you can get.
Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper
This is my favorite of the Mystery Rummy games and I brought it to my office to teach my game friends there. It took a game or two for the group to become fully familiar with the cards, but I think we have some fun sessions ahead of us. I really like that we can play this with any number and the game is still a blast. It still may be best for two players, but the ins and outs of trying to hold out from laying down and getting caught with playable cards adds some nice tension to this game that isn't in the other MR versions for whatever reason.
Splendor with Cities of Splendor
One of the guys I work with had brought this in and so I finally got a chance to play (and see) the various expansion modules for Splendor. He mentioned that he thought that the additional things mostly were geared towards a slightly faster game and I think I agree - for experienced players, a faster game was the most likely outcome. We only added The Orient cards in order to keep the complexity down for the other non-gamers and I liked the new cards. While this alone wouldn't justify the cost of the expansion, it could have been a mini expansion and I'd have been utterly satisfied with just it. If you like Splendor and feel like you've played it to death, this is probably a must have to rejuvenate the game.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game
I finally got around to trying this out. I've had the base game for a while and even printed out an insert for the cards. All I managed was to sleeve the cards and read through the rules. When I finally sat down and played, I played one rule incorrectly, but I enjoyed it and need to sit down with it some more. In some ways, this felt a bit like Pathfinder Adventure Card Game in that I can see that the character deck tuning will take a little time to fully understand the cards and how to play what your character can do. This kind of game - a lot of enjoyment comes from playing and setting up a deck that makes your character awesome (instead of gimpy with random cards). Of course some of the enjoyment comes from the theme and I like the way FFG sets up the episodes and ongoing story. I'm totally soloing this game and I need to play through the base set to really know how much I want to put into it. Other people I know are very enthusiastic about the game, so I may be a bit more forgiving in my initial evaluation (though my initial thoughts were that this is going to be pretty good).
And that's it for the past couple of months. Sad, I know. Like I said, it has been busy busy. Hoping things settle down a little bit here this month, but I suspect not :(