Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday night: geeks in my house

My good friend Chris Belfi came over, bringing with him another Rice alum David, and new guy Matt, who was cool.

Chris brought along a new copy of Alhambra he got at his recent birthday. It's a shopping game, or a tile-placement game, or a card game masquerading as both. None of us had played before, but Chris prepared before tonight by reading and understanding the rules. I had high hopes. Alhambra won the German Game of the Year and is still #55 on Aaron Fuegi's Internet Top 100 Games List, as of last week.

Basically, each player starts with a fountain tile, and tries to buy more building tiles to get a majority in as many building types as possible, preferably with exact change to get more actions. That description leaves out completely all the tile placement rules.

So: You want to buy things with exact change, but if you wait, your opponents might buy the buildings you want, or a scoring round might turn up. Lots of angst, but the turns play out quickly.

Chris took an early lead and continued to shoot ahead. I will definitely play Alhamba again.

Next game: Filler game of 6 Nimmt! while we decided what to play. Matt and I tied for first place. Someone joked about playing for money, which I would totally do, because I feel like a good 6 Nimmt! player. It's a very short, very random game, and I like it a lot.

Third game: Hase und Igel("hare and hedgehog"), a.k.a. Hare & Tortoise. Chris mentioned that he can't buy another game until he played Heroscape, the game I gave him for his birthday. I apologized for holding him back, and pointed at the unplayed games pile. Chris had heard of Hare and Tortoise, so we pulled it off the shelf and cracked it open. My version is in German, with a translation found online. The action cards are all in German, which was distracting, but there aren't very many of those, and everything else was easy. Our first turn was slow, then it sped up dramatically. It's a cute little race game. I don't think Hare & Tortoise would win the Spiel Des Jahres today, as it did in 1979.

Gamecount for the year = 37. Shoot! I'm behind.
Games learned or played for the first time = 11. Woot! I'm ahead.


Blogger Japhy Ryder said...

Hey thanks for the visit and comments over at my site. Like what you're doing with your blog. Thanks for the story about your failed cooperative investment. Lesson learned I guess...

I know a guy who makes some great board games (if you're interested in checking out some new ones, the site is over at I'm not a big board game player but the ones they put out... Cluzzle and Wits and Wagers... are absolutely addictive.

7:19 PM  

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