I visited my mom at Jyväskylä with Nooa. Thanks to Easter, we stayed for three days, which — of course! — presented us with more opportunities for games (two evenings and Nooa’s nap time on Saturday). That in mind, I brought some new games to try.
Black Vienna was a major hit. It went down so well I’m surprised I haven’t tried it before. We ended up playing ten games during the weekend, averaging about 20-30 minutes per round I think, so it was a rather huge chunk of time, too.
It’s just that good. Iain played it recently and was disappointed, but I don’t have a problem with the game. We didn’t make a single mistake, and to be honest, I think Black Vienna is not particularly prone for these kinds of mistakes. There are other deduction games where information mistakes are easier to make.
What Black Vienna has is a healthy dose of luck: the question cards (each lists three suspects, and player who receives the card must mark how many of the suspects she knows are innocent) limit your play and there are times when you don’t have a good question to ask (and the game will break down soon if the three members of the Black Vienna criminal gang appear on single question card, but that’s fortunately very rare). However, the question cards make the note-taking a lot easier, making Black Vienna a pleasantly challenging game — not too hard, not too easy.
So yeah, I enjoyed it a lot. It was fun to have some actual repeat plays: in five years or so, I’ve played Black Vienna four times. Now I got ten plays in two days. That was very nice, especially as I won six or so… It actually takes some gambling to play Black Vienna. In one of the games, I had sorted out two of the criminals and had some clue who the third one might be. When I realized none of the questions available would increase the amount of information I had and the game was coming to a close, I decided to make a guess. If I remember it correctly, I even got it right.
This weekend certainly increased my appreciation of Black Vienna. Oh, and Iain — The Third Man was shown on Finnish TV yesterday and I got my wife to record it.
Cuba was another new game I introduced last weekend. I was pretty sure about this one and indeed, they enjoyed it. We played two games and I’m glad to report both were quite fast. First one took us 80 minutes — sure, not particularly quick but much faster than 2.5 hours — and the second one took just 50 minutes.
Ismo was particularly good in this one, he beat us in both games. In the first one, he crushed us with the water subsidy, hoarding the water and collecting tons of points each round (we initially missed the rule that limits the points to seven per round, but that didn’t matter much). In the second game… I don’t know exactly what he did, but it was a success. I’m not very good in this game, all I see is the get sugar/tobacco, produce rum/cigars, convert them to points strategy.
Anyway, it was decent fun, even though Cuba is definitely not my favourite game. I still rate it as eight. I recently went through my ratings at Geek and dropped quite a few nines to eights and eights to sevens, but with these two games, Cuba stays as an eight. It is a very good game, but not something I’d list as a personal favourite of mine. However, I’m interested in exploring the game a bit more, preferably with three quick players to keep the play time around one hour.
Agricola is a regular favourite at Jyväskylä nowadays and of course I brought it with me. However, with the new games, we only played one game. Since I’ve noticed Raija and Ismo take one game to warm up after taking a break from the game, I was able to win the game pretty easily (I played a good game myself). Once the English-language edition comes out, I should probably either buy them the game or push them to buy it…
Anyway, what’s interesting about the game is the new updates I tried for the first time. As we played family game with three, we had the new day labourer (one food and either stone, wood, clay or reed), the new bake bread and/or build stables action and the three-player card “get one stone” changed to “get one stone, wood, clay or reed”.
The card wasn’t used, because the day labourer is obviously better. However, having at least one of them is good, because the extra reed is necessary in three-player games. The day labourer was used often. The new baking action was good, too, there was at least one or two rounds where both baking actions were used. That’s one part of the game that could use opening up. So, I’d say both are good additions.
I played an interesting game of Flix Mix with my brother: we got the game to lock up. In the first round, I got to one card left faster than he did, but then lost because I couldn’t place the card anywhere. In the second round, we both were left holding one card we couldn’t play (the cards were as identical as they come, which explains a lot). Funny thing, and certainly something I didn’t expect! Lesson learnt: Flix Mix is probably best with at least three players.