I was in Jyväskylä meeting my parents last weekend and games were played, as usual. The boys weren’t home this time, so I chose more adult games that would work with three. Well, youngest of the boys was around enough so a game of 6 Nimmt! got played.
Another fairly typical game choice was Puerto Rico. I can’t meet Ismo without playing some PR, it seems. We played three games during the weekend. I won two and Ismo got one. Most of the time I focused on money, taking the roles with most money involved. That seems to work just fine. Before our games have been dominated by Factory-strategies, but nobody took Factory even once during the three games. Also some popular buildings like Hospice and Hacienda are not used anymore — I bought Hacienda once, and that was already pretty late in the game. Guild Hall is the building number one, there’s always some kind of race for that.
In the second game I got corn in the early game and decided to try to score big by shipping it. That was a bad decision. I think the strategy forced me to make some suboptimal role decisions and the money simply didn’t flow my way. I did manage to get 35 shipping points and came second, but Ismo beat me with a five-point margin. Too bad.
The biggest hit of the weekend was Gang of Four. I had brought several card games, but we played Gang of Four first and then focused on that. It is definitely a good three-player game, no matter what others might say. We played three games. Two of them were pretty short five-round matches, but one dragged to eleven rounds. What’s best, after the fourth round of that, the score was 0-53-90 (I had one Gang of Four and one Gang of Five and caught my mother holding 16 cards in her hand, thus her 90 points!), but after that my mother’s luck changed and she won the next four rounds. I managed to keep my score low, so in the end I won, even though I won only the first four rounds and then the last. It’s such a great game!
I’m heavily leaning towards playing for set number of rounds using zero-sum scoring. Playing for a score can take a long time, if nobody makes heavy mistakes (and even then, as witnessed in our 11-round game) and I like predictable game lengths. Also, the gambling-style zero-sum scoring works great with this game. It’s not about how many points you lose, it’s about how many points you can make your opponents lose!
We also tried Queen’s Necklace, where once again initial confusion changed into pleasant understanding during the game. I won, but probably wouldn’t have done it so easily, had my opponents understood the game perfectly in the beginning.
In my opinion, the best game of the weekend was Kogge. I’ll write a separate article on that, but I just want to say it’s a wonderful game. Ismo won our game, thanks to the large piles of salt he possessed when the Guild Master made the game end.