Boardgame club session: Doom, Cluzzle

Last month we had a record-breaking crowd, now just few players. Such is fortune, waxing and waning. Perhaps the international film festival had something to do with the smaller attendance.

We had enough people to play games, and that’s quite enough. We started the games with Bug Bluff. A deck of 64 bug cards (eight cards each of the eight bugs) is distributed between the players. Goal of the game is to accumulate four identical cards to one player — that player loses, everyone else wins.

Bug Bluff is, as the name reveals, a bluffing game. Cards are given face down, with a claim about the bug depicted. If recipient wants to face the card, they’ll have to say whether the the giver of the card lies or not. If they’re right, the card goes to the giver, otherwise they’ll take it. Received cards are kept face up. Instead of facing the card, players can pass them on to other players.

It’s decent fun, all right, but not quite my cup of tea. I could see it working with non-gamers, though. There’s a very popular Finnish card game called Paskahousu, which is also often played face down, giving the game a strong bluffing element. Anybody who likes Paskahousu should enjoy Bug Bluff. Both games also have a single loser, which works in more relaxed environment (for example loser pays the next round or so).

Anyway, I didn’t like it much, but I’ll have to give it another go some day. I certainly adore the cards, the art is just fantastic.

Next up was High Society, a new game for most of the players. I like it a lot, it’s Knizia’s best auction game, probably, and one of the better auction games all together. I tried to keep my eye on who’s the loser, and got it right even though I lost track at some point. I also tried to use the big cards more freely, because that’s what they’re for — if you’re going to pay over 25k for a card, why not start with the big one? I took the -5 card, though, which pretty much ruined my game. Still, it was a blast. High Society is a brilliant little game, and the Überplay edition is very nicely done. I’m looking forward for their rendition of For Sale.

Ville was eyeing Mogul, so that’s what we played next. Another small auction game, another favourite of mine. This time I played real bad — I dropped out of the shares too early and spent a too large portion of the game collecting money, afraid to buy shares because of the nearing crash. Antti took the game by storm (33 points, I was second with 19) because of a large array of shares, most of which he sold. I’m proud, though — in the end I had 21 money when there was a total of 30 money in the game. That was enough to beat everyone else but the super mogul Antti.

Monumento was one of the games I really wanted to try. We had one player too much, but that didn’t matter — there’s nothing in the game that limits it to four players, really. To shorten it up, we played only three rounds instead of four. It was great fun! Arranging the blocks is surprisingly entertaining, when you have such limited time to do it. We had some colour troubles, the colours of the blocks on the cards don’t match the blocks completely, but that’s fairly minor.

It’s a fun party game, and I’m certainly going to bring it to our club again. After all, it’s even fun to watch, and that’s something.

Ari joined us when we were starting a game of Cluzzle, so we had a full compliment of six players. Lots of neat sculptures were seen — Erkka was probably the best, his Oidipus was both very beautifully detailed and quite disturbing. Too bad nobody figured it out… Ville won with an amazing score, but not because of his sculptures. He just guessed lots of other people’s work.

My final game yesterday was Doom. Ville and Antti were the brave marines, who had to clear their way through maintenance base in Blood in the Shadows. They actually made it! I killed Antti twice and Ville once and the deck ran out for the fourth frag, but they got out before the critical fifth frag.

Lessons learned as the invader: save up the monster cards, there aren’t too many of them. I basically wasted two mancubuses and a hell knight, because I played them too early and they couldn’t follow the marines through the narrow corridors. I didn’t use my other cards enough, either.

We got one rule badly wrong, which made the game a bit easier for marines: we didn’t check for range when throwing grenades. That was a bit unclear in the rules. Now I know better. Anyway, it was a fun ride, but a bit too long (about two hours, maybe a little under) to be played regularly in the board game club.

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