FinDipCon V: Friday

I’m back from FinDipCon! It was a splendid weekend of games, even though I’m getting a bit tired of con environment. I guess I just appreciate good food and good sleep too much… Eating too little and randomly and not sleeping well (I slept a grand total of about 12 hours of mediocre sleep during the weekend, and that’s not enough for me) is not my thing.

But the games! Diplomacy tournament was surprisingly small, only two boards on every round. Three players came from Sweden, one from France. The winner was Vesa Virri, the chairman of the Finnish Diplomacy Association.

My weekend started with a fast game of Web of Power which I won. I planned to participate in the tournament, but missed it. It was a bit of a failure anyway. Then I met Phil Schwarzmann, who I’ve been e-mailing with lately. He turned out to be a decent guy and also caused that I spent the whole weekend speaking English. Which is, of course, good practise but I think around Saturday I began thinking in English… Many times Finnish players were speaking English to each other even though Phil wasn’t even near.

Phil and Tommy introduced me to Capitol, which was quite an interesting experience. I enjoyed the game, but wasn’t thrilled about it. I’d rate it 8 — good, but not worth buying. I’ll play it any time, without a doubt. I liked the bits and the board. I’m going to Rome in just few weeks and it was fun to look for the locations on the map.

Flowerpower was the game I played most during the weekend. Tommy introduced it to me and beat me in it twice — he boasts he hasn’t lost a single game. Flowerpower is a game I could actually consider buying: it plays fast, has an appropriate luck/skill balance, looks pretty and is fun. And don’t be fooled by the flowers — this game can get a bit cruel, too.

I had few quite close situations during the weekend. Our game of Taj Mahal was definitely the high point of excitement. I was a bit left behind in the early game and I had given up the hope of winning the game. Around round seven or so I started collecting orange cards, hoping to score big time with them in the end. Before the last round I had a dozen. But, I also had managed to build a five-area chain of temples on one side of the last area and one temple on the other side. I decided to use my orange cards, as winning two temples would make it possible for me to score seven points, and thus if I could do it with less than seven cards, I would benefit. Well, that did happen. But that’s not all: using only about four or five cards I actually won four temples, scoring a whopping 19 points on the last round (my total score was 44). I came second and lost by only two points! That was surprising and exciting!

After three games I think Taj Mahal is a brilliant game. The Poker mechanic is excellent. It’s a bit complicated game at the first, but should make sense after playing it for a while. It’s another Knizia masterpiece I highly recommend to just about anyone.

The Friday evening was then finished with a five-player game of Wildlife. I’ve now played the game with four, five and six players and have won the game every time. I think it’s best with four or five, with six the downtime becomes a bit of a problem but I still don’t think Wildlife is that bad. I’ve seen worse offenders.

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