Oregon, Fresh Fish, Age of Steam

by Mikko on March 30, 2012

in Session reports

I missed yesterday’s games, thanks to a 39-degree fever. Nasty.

Last week Petri wasn’t present, so we took the opportunity to play games Petri doesn’t care about that much. Unfortunately that list includes Age of Steam… So, of course, that was the first thing on the list. We played the Poland map from Winsome Games. It was fun, but a bit easy with just three players. The map has some interesting features, nothing particularly earth-shaking.

We also played another game of Fresh Fish. This time we had correct expropriation rules and a right-sized playing area. It was much better than the week before, but still it wasn’t much of a success. Too bad. I like it, but for some reason my fellow gamers don’t.

Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper, on the other hand, was more successful. It took a hand for my opponents to figure out the game, then it went down smooth. One of the guys already bought his own copy of the game.

What else… I’ve been playing lots of Oregon at Yucata.de. It’s a lovely game. Luck-heavy, maybe, but particularly the two-player game works well and is an interesting challenge. I like it, it’s a good example of the short and smart genre I like. I’m hoping Kingdom Builder turns out to be another highlight in this genre. I bought my own copy already, but I haven’t been able to play it more than once so far, and that was with my five-year-old son.

Fresh Fish #boardgames Tracks around Lodz #boardgames

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  • Friendless

    Oregon has some luck, yes, but it’s not heavy. With experience you can play so as to maximise the value of the opportunities that come to you. I had the good fortune of learning to play (by repeated thrashings) from garygarison who is the #1 ranked player there for good reason.

  • http://www.mikkosaari.fi/ Mikko

    Yeah, Garygarison does have a pretty respectable 70% win percentage (I’ve managed to beat him, actually). The next guy has 66% and Himmelvis fits in the top 10 with barely under 60% – and I’m guessing here these are mostly two-player games (I know they are for Cary).

    From that perspective these are not super impressive numbers. More skill-heavy game should have higher numbers, I think. So, quite a bit of luck, and usually you’re able to maximise your opportunities, but not always. Sometimes the luck just brings you down and there’s little you can do about it.

    Not that I complain – Oregon is an entertaining game.

  • Friendless

    What Oregon doesn’t have is what I call depth. It took me maybe 20 games to beat Garygarison, but I think we’re about equal now, it’s just that he plays so much more than I do (as I play a heck of a lot of Thunderstone). That suggests that an experienced gamer will learn pretty much all there is to know about Oregon in a short period of time, unlike say Chess or Go or Bridge. I would guess garygarison’s success rate is just over 50% against people like you and I, and 100% against newbies.

    However that’s different to luck, where a player with no skill can beat a player with high skill, as would happen in Snakes and Ladders. I think BGGers misjudge the value of games because generally BGGers are very smart, pick up rules very quickly, and in many games without significant depth reach an almost optimal level of play very quickly. This is not at all how I am told normal people engage with games.

    We should play some time!

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