Monday, March 29, 2010

Geek Week Game Day

We went to our first board gaming day during Geek Week at Langdon Street Cafe yesterday. It was a little hard to be there so long because my knee gets sore if I stay in the kind of chairs they have there for a while, and we were there about five hours, so by the time we left it was throbbing a bit.

Games like the ones being played there (Ticket To Ride, Dominion, Carcassonne, Settlers of Cataan, Domaine, etc.) are great fun, but they also somehow always seem to slip off the bottom of my list. The reason is just that the only time you get to play them is when you have some time, a suitable place, and a group of people. Usually any time when I have those things, I'd rather be playing roleplaying games, which are an order of magnitude more fun for me. It's like comparing Dunkin Donuts to a New York cheesecake: I like donuts, but I'd always choose the cheesecake if I had the choice.

Sometimes I think two-player games might be a good option since it's easier to have an evening with two people (me and Siobhan) than three or four, but even those evenings tend to be pretty full.

Thus, for a veteran gamer, I've played very few of these kinds of games and don't know much of the standards of how they work, which makes it hard for people to teach them to me when they're used to people who've at least played Settlers of Cataan or Magic: The Gathering. Yesterday I only learned two new games, Carcassonne and Dominion.

Carcassonne resonated with me right away, and I won both games we played. A lot of that was just luck, but I think I glommed onto some of the strategy right off. There's a lot of visual thinking that worked well for me. It's definitely a game you can jump right in with. I'd added it to my Amazon wishlist before I even finished the first game.

Dominion didn't make as good an impression, but some of that is just that the way it was explained didn't really click with me because of a lot of unstated assumptions that come from lack of familiarity with other games of a similar type. My first time playing any game is usually considered a learning experience only and I try to brush aside any frustration, though this time, the frustration kept creeping back: my only goal I set for myself was to get one Province card before the game ended, but I only even got to one point short of it twice in the whole game, and never made it. Generally speaking, I think I could enjoy the game if I played it again, and I wouldn't mind another try at it, but I doubt it'll be something I'll seek out, or choose over other games.

Too many fun things to do and not enough time. I need to become independently wealthy. Work gobbles up way too much time.


Tyler said...

Dreaded Seven is a common issue in Dominion. Short of lots of Woodcutters, Militias and Markets, the only thing for is to buy gold frequently.

Well, that's my theory, but I don't often win, so take it with salt.

Hawthorn Thistleberry said...

The biggest thing I did wrong was load up too much with action cards instead of coin cards.

Tyler said...

That was my downfall in the beginning today. I got deeply, deeply addicted to stringing together Villages -- +1 Card, +2 Actions -- with Smithies -- +3 cards. You can draw half your deck, but if you're not buying gold, all you've got are too many actions and some coppers.