Quality Games Weekend: Attika, Puerto Rico

Attika boxI was in the Jyväskylä last weekend and as usual, played some games while there. The winner of the weekend was Attika, without a doubt. I expected it to sink in well and it certainly did. First time we played on Friday, my mother and Ismo wanted to play another game, and another game after that. Another four games followed on Saturday and Sunday we played twice and would’ve played more but we ran out of time.

After these nine games (of which I won four, which did wonders for my low Attika self-esteem) I’ve grown to love the game. I upped my rating at the Geek, it’s now very solid nine. The game is just so elegant and fun to play. That’s quite important part, the fun aspect, and I think I have a clue for the reasons as well. Attika is certainly not the only game with this, but I think it’s the sub-goals. Building the sets for amphoras offers satisfaction so you can enjoy the game immensely even if you don’t win. If the victory is the only satisfaction a game offers, people who don’t win won’t have as good time. In Attika you can always be satisfied for smaller reason, like having built your city group completely. Of course the victory is the ultimate goal, but these smaller sub-goals make the game experience so much better.

I also took notes about the victories in our games. Three of the games ended with shrine connections, six with 30 buildings. At least one shrine connection happened in the very end of the game. The best game, in my opinion, was the last. I won it, of course, but that’s not all. I got a relatively quick shrine victory: I started in the middle and started spreading thinly into two directions. Rather fast road placement got me a link to one of the shrines and soon I was one hex from another. That was blocked (hurting Ismo’s game) and I started moving towards the third corner. I reached towards it and got about two hexes away. I placed an new tile to make room for myself, but Ismo reached there blocking my access to the shrine. You can imagine my delight when during my next turn that board expansion turned out to be a clever decoy — I plonked down a fortress and two towers, which connected the fortress to the shrine and to my network of buildings. It was a pretty shrine connection victory, surprising and clever.

Of course, Puerto Rico couldn’t be avoided, but only one game was played. What’s interesting about Puerto Rico is that usually it’s very much a contest between me and Ismo and my mother just plays with us so that we get to play. However, even though she rarely wins, she likes the game — but here again we can see the sub-goals working. I think that might be one reason why she likes Puerto Rico. This time she did well, too, she won Ismo with a one-point difference. I was, however, five points ahead. Another victory for the money-oriented strategy, this time aided by the use of a Harbor.

We also played a game of Gang of Four, which they enjoyed earlier. I broke my habit of placing second by losing the game in a brutal way. Too bad.

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