(Later addition: this is entry #200! Neat!)
I just noticed I didn’t play a single real-time game during the whole May! Well, June started well: yesterday was the last meeting of board game club this Spring. Unfortunately I played only two games.
First thing I played was Mare Nostrum. It almost was the only thing I played: the game took about five hours! That’s ridiculous. The group of players did include Suvi, one of the more thorough thinkers of the club (legends mention a game of Princes of Florence that took over three hours). Still, faster players wouldn’t have made a big difference.
End game. That’s the problem. Of the five hours, at least three were end game. You know, the bloody fight. More than once Egypt was just about to win the game next turn, unless someone prevents it. That happened few times by military action and few times by economic blocking. Repeat that with my Carthage and Rome. Greece was never that close to winning. Babylon wasn’t either, except on the last round. Previous round had seen a surprise attack on Greece, taking over Athens/Sparta region. Babylon drew over 20 cards that round and was actually able to build either two other wonders or the Pyramids. Unfortunately Rome was able to win too and Egypt had the political leader card, thus by our agreement the game was declared a tie between Rome and Babylon.
The game was mostly reasonably entertaining before the end game battles began. Still, my previous game with Johanna was a much better experience. After that it really wasn’t worth it. If the game took two or three hours, it’d be great. Now I’m more than reluctant to play it. Perhaps some kind of time limit and a scoring mechanism could be devised: if the game isn’t over in three hours, it ends and the situation is scored to determine a winner.
That may sound like extreme measures, but if there’s something I hate in games, that’s games that go on and on without a definite end. That’s why I don’t like Cults Across America, which seems like such a charming game. It just doesn’t end when it should, but instead goes on for another few hours. That’s why I can’t love Mare Nostrum, even though I somehow want to. A game that takes that long a time to play cannot be played in the board game club and other than that, I have few opportunities to play long games and I have other long games to play (Die Macher being the best example).
So — I’ll try it again, hopefully with better results. If it still takes too long, I’ll either develop a time limit system or try to trade the game away for something better.
Then I played a game of Space Beans — the game I had always played wrong (circulating cards to left, when they should go right). Turns out it really isn’t any better if it’s played correctly. So, it’s a good game, when played real fast, but about 45 minutes our game took were a bit too much.
Reading what I’ve written, it seems like I’d like to whine about how long games take. I’m really not that impatient… Or what the heck, I am. Guilty as charged, but I want to play lots of games and only way to do that is to play fast.