What an efficient session today! I brought four games, and all got played. That’s rare and pleasant. After a quick loss in Roll through the Ages (the shorter non-expansion game is certainly short), we moved to Charly.
Charly is a quick filler where there’s food and animals, and those need to be matched. It’s a game of improving your hand until somebody says “stop”, then the animals in hand are matched to food on table. There’s negative points for not feeding your animal and the game’s over when somebody runs out of points.
It’s very simple and there’s plenty of luck, but there’s some charm to it. You can hurt someone real bad by calling lunch time before they’re anywhere near ready (and that’s very much down to luck), which of course is most entertaining. It’s also very quick to play, 10 minutes or so.
Charly works as a quick filler — it’s not best of the bunch, but then again, you do need variety and Charly is entertaining for a while. It should work well as a family game with kids, too.
Next up was Skåne or Schweinebande. This game by Stefan Dorra boasts cute Doris Matthäus art (Charly has, despite some comments to contrary, fairly hideous artwork). It’s a nice game of set collection. Place farmers in market, collect tiles, make sets of four of the same or one of each kind and score points. It’s possible to store tiles from round to round, but that costs food (I’m starting to see a theme here).
It’s fairly random and as we had five players, there was a bit too much blocking involved. Then again, with three players folks seem to complain there’s not enough blocking and the first-player advantage is atrocious. Not in our game, most certainly. Perhaps four is the sweet spot?
I wouldn’t mind playing this one again, but it’s not an A-level game. Again, this is probably at least a decent family game, though the blocking may cause some hurt feelings.
Final game today was Innovation with Hannu. It was a good two-player game that didn’t end up as a runaway victory. Well, it almost did — after we both had a good start with a nicely-built table, I got into a bit of a lead and started gobbling up achievements. After I killed Hannu’s score pile with two runs of Vaccination, it was clear he wasn’t going to win with basic achievements — so he went after special achievements.
He did well and using Mass Media and Skyscrapers managed to hold me back for quite a while. Eventually he managed to kill my score pile enough to stop me from winning with achievements, but in 5-5 situation I finally managed to make the tens run out, achieved singularity and won the game thanks to my still superior score pile.
It was good game and highlighted the way Innovation works: you can always come back. There’s almost always something you can do to improve your situation. I did great things with my icon superiority in lightbulbs and leaves, then lost both of them, then regained leaves… Things shifted, and while most of the time it was Hannu stopping me from winning and not the other way around, I still think he could’ve won the game.