Three weeks in gaming at Scimitar

I’ve been a bit remiss in updating this blog with gaming session reports recently – mainly because I keep forgetting to take my camera with me to games nights!

So, what have I been up to over the past few weeks?

pic43663_mdWell, two weeks ago saw me getting roped into playing Memoir ’44 – Tony had been out on a spending spree and bought the latest Overlord expansion, along with the new scenario map “Hedgerow Hell” – and so eight players were required to play the game.

pic361890It wasn’t quite what I had in mind for the evening, but I did actually rather enjoy it.

The scenario is a tough one for the Allies, as it covers the breakout towards St. Lo though the Normandy Bocage.

The new Overlord expansion works well – though it has been observed that it would have been better from a game design point of view if the two packs of Command cards were different colours, so that they could be told apart…just in case someone comes along and shuffles them all together (now who would do that?).

pic19276_mdLast week saw us back in the realm of Middle Earth, this time playing the Lord Of The Rings co-operative game, by Reiner Knizia.

pic318391_md
This was played by 6 of us, as we played with both the Sauron and Battlefields expansions.

Well, we ended up playing the game twice, as the first game has got to go down as one of the quickest games in LOTR history – I think it took us longer to set the game up than it did to play. Basically, due to some horrendous tile choice, we ended up selecting all the encounter tiles out of the bag first, and so the quest was over at Weathertop – which was quite appropriate really…it just indicated that the Witch King corrupted Frodo in their first attack.

pic359643_mdSo, we set up to play again – this time getting somewhat further. One of the part died in Moria, I died on the Isenguard board and the game finally ended during Helms Deep.

So, what did I think? Well, I hate to say it, but I was a little underwhelmed. I own this game (though we didn’t play my copy) and after this evening, I am seriously considering trading or selling it.

Why?

Well, I don’t like the player elimination aspect – though this is an issue we have to deal with in several co-op games. But the game as a whole just didn’t grab me. I will reserve judgement until I play it again, but currently, I’m not too keen on playing this too often in the future.

pic259085_mdFinally, last night saw my first play of Agricola – the game that has sent the boardgame community into various states of ectstacy in the last year. I was keen to know what all the fuss has been about.

Hmm.

OK, I can understand why many people like it. My own feelings towards it are somewhat less enthusiastic. It immediately strikes me that it is a game that does not mix newbies and experienced players well, and I freely admit that if I hadn’t watched the Boardgames With Scott video on the game prior to playing , I would have been totally lost for a while.

This is a critisim you can level at any game, but given that roles/resources are so scarce, you need to have a firm idea of what you need to aiming at doing before you start playing Agricola.

Game play is, in essence, very simple – but I think that was very much hindered by the selection of Minor Improvements and Occupations that I had in my hand. OK, it didn’t break the game, but it was obvious that my selection of cards was far worse than a couple of my opponents. You would imagine that within a 14 card selection that you would find a useful selection of cards – I had 2 or 3 – so that ‘luck’ factor did not impress me.

But, I ended up 3rd of 5 players, which surprised me. Agricola is definitely a game that rewards multiple plays, and a game that may very well grow on you over time. At the moment, the jury is out on whether I really like this game or not – however, it’s definately NOT the No.1 game in my opinion…but then again, I didn’t like Puerto Rico either.

pic134519_mdI finished off playing two other new games – Buccaneer and Metro – both from Queen games (and Metro designed by Dirk Henn…he of Rosenkonig, Shogn and Wallenstein fame).

Buccaneer is a game about Pirates boarding ships and getting booty. The game mechanics revolve around lots of player interaction as you ‘recruit’ crew from other players in order to board ships. A light game – ideal for the pub.

pic166782_mdMetro, on the other hand, is a slightly deeper game. It’s a tile laying game with a train theme based around building the Paris Metro. It’s all about connecting track and stations – you gain points for long tracks whilst at the same time attempting to hinder your opponents with short tracks. Surprisingly deep and strategic, and possibly not the best game to be played at the end of an evening, this was still my favourite game of the night (Yes, I think I enjoyed it more than Agricola).

Scimitar Wargames Club meets every Wednesday night  – you are very welcome to come along. You can find out more details here.

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