We were visiting my parents in Jyväskylä this weekend (my grandfather’s 85th birthday party was Saturday). We did play some games, as well.
Ismo and Raija joined me for a game of Dawn Under. I sold them my English copy, now I have the Finnish edition. I wanted to try my brand new Frische Luft für die Gruft expansion, so we added the bats and the Count Rucola.
Count Rucola is a very pretty wooden two-piece. There’s a column and a black figure. First player to place three vampires on one round gets him. When you get Count Rucola, you get to place him in the end of your turn. He’s placed on a grave, locking it — nobody can open it under any circumstances.
When the turn comes back to the player who controls Rucola, the grave is checked. If it’s empty, a vampire is placed in (colour of the vampire doesn’t matter) and Rucola is moved to another grave. If the grave was occupied, there’s no penalty except the turn is over and Count Rucola moves to the next player.
He’s a pretty good addition to the game, I think. He’s especially great when you get him and can place him in the end of your round, when you bump into a wrong-coloured grave. Rucola is better than garlic.
The bats are another thing. Each player gets two bats, that can be used as guesses. You place a bat on grave, thus claiming the grave is empty. Everybody gets to doubt or not, then the grave is checked. If nobody doubts, the bat guy wins — if there’s garlic or a vampire, it’s even better. If someone doubts and the grave is occupied, the batman loses. Doubting at wrong time gets a stake.
I used my bats early in the game, in a situation where I had only white vampires available. As all the graves were empty, nobody doubted me so I was able to place my vampires in graves (like with Rucola, colour doesn’t matter). Later in the game bats can be pretty good, too, if you get lucky and nobody doubts you when the grave is occupied.
Overall, I find Frische Luft a breath of fresh air. Rucola is good, bats are ok, and while the box is way too big for its contents, the pieces (particularly Rucola) are wooden and pretty.
We also played St. Petersburg. My game was tragic: in the last turn, I had something like 60 rubles, but nothing to do with them — I hadn’t realised the blue buildings had run out. I lost, obviously. That was pretty weird, usually you can do something if you have lots of money.
I noticed there’s an expansion coming up! It’s just a small thing, 12 new cards, with the Spielbox-magazine. Read more at Spielbox-online. There’s an order form, too, if you want it. The magazine costs 5.30 euros plus shipping.
Ismo and Raija had bought the pretty Heidelberger card games Korsar and Thor. I’ve played Korsar before, and didn’t like it much. A new attempt had the same results, I even downgraded my rating from six to four. It just isn’t fun, just very frustrating.
Thor, in the other hand, was much better. It’s a good filler, short and to the point. It’s very luck-dependent, though — scores swing wildly and there’s often little one can do about it — at least with five players. Four player game had more control (as you get more god cards) and more enjoyment, three might be even better.
Pretty nice session, I’d say. New games (I’ve got 122 different games already this year!) and good experiences with old ones.