After about six hours of mediocre sleep and an hours walk in early morning Helsinki before the doors opened, the Saturday games started. After some quick two-players (Lost Cities and Flowerpower), we played the New England Phil had bought Friday.
I studied the rules quickly and teached the others. It took a while to digest but I think it’s a very logical and clean set of rules and it was very easy to learn just by reading the rules.
The components of the game look quite nice (with the exception of very cheap-looking plastic coins), with big cards and tiles. The game is an interesting bidding and tile placement game. There’s some tight maneuvering, as the board is quite small. I like the bidding system a lot: players choose numbers from 1-10, one for each. The number indicates the order of buying stuff (numbers in descending order, so 10 starts) and the price. So, if you want to be the first, you can always take the ten, but it’ll cost you. In practise, most of time we used just numbers from one to four, the whole 10-point scale seems like a bit of an overkill.
Still, New England was a fun game. I played another game of it later that evening. I lost the first game by one coin (coins are used as a tiebreakers, so I lost by the smallest amount possible) and the second game I would’ve won if I hadn’t made a very silly mistake on the last round. I got a feeling that it’s not unusual, the games might often be that close. New England didn’t jump on my must-buy list, but I wish someone in our board game club would buy it so I could play it more often.
Then Tommy suggested something quite strange: Kill Doctor Lucky, which I haven’t played in three years. It was about time! Especially as I was able to finish off the good doctor. Fun, but I’m not surprised why I haven’t played the game more often. The idea is nice and the game can be fun, but repeat value is limited.
Then came some good games I don’t own and thus haven’t played that much: Royal Turf, Fabrik der Träume and Adel Verpflichtet. Horse racing was fun, but not as much as last time (which was the first time I played it). It’s probably a good thing I don’t own Royal Turf — I’m not sure how long it’s appeal would last. My second game of Fabrik was a bit better than the previous (which was, by the way, in FinDipCon IV a year ago), I had a better grasp of what I should be doing. I even managed to make the worst movie (featuring the good old Reiner Knizia as a guest star). I’m still not thrilled by the game play, but I like the mechanism of distributing the payments to other players.
I could’ve listed Acquire on the previous list, but I received my copy today. Once again, I came last. I just don’t get it! I don’t know what I should be doing in the game to win it. Despite that it was fun, I like trying to figure it out. One day I’ll get it, and then I’ll be a happier man.
The most important game of the weekend, I suppose, was the mandatory Die Macher. Phil and Olli (from Tampere) were anxious to try it out. Tommy and Markus (who won the game in Helcon six months ago) joined. As usual, I took the charge of PDS. It was an exciting match. Markus won, as usual, and Tommy was close second, I think, losing only with few points. Tommy played his best game I’ve ever witnessed, but the circumstances were against him. Phil and I were in the middle, Phil won me with few points and Olli was far behind. It was an exciting game and another reminder that Die Macher is one of the very best games ever. Phil thought it’s a bit fidgety, but I think it’s almost perfect the way it is. Once again we were pretty fast. The first round took about 50 minutes, but we were still finished in about 3, 5 hours.
Evening was closed with a game of Ohne Furcht und Adel, which I haven’t been playing much since 2001, when I played a ton of it at the board game club. It was another refreshing moment, and our four player game went quite swiftly. We were joined by the friendly Frenchman William Attia, who was a pleasure to play games with.