Sunday, March 29, 2009

GameStorm 2009 - Part III

Planning on getting up early-ish to get to the convention and start gaming is all well and good, but when you go to sleep at like 5 or 6 in the morning, it's not surprising that you wake up at 10:30 :/ When I got out of the shower and was ready to face the world, I found that Jeremy had also just barely rolled out of bed.

We got to the convention in time to secure a copy of Battlestar Galactica and meet Julie and Peter (and a friend of theirs) at the prearrange 1:00. Sadly, it was probably close to 2:00 before we started with the rules explanation, and then a very slow game which finally ended after 6:00! That was the longest game of BSG I've ever played, and that includes the 6 player learning game at BGG.con!

After BSG we went upstairs to the video game room because Jeremy wanted to play in the Rock Band tournament. I played a few rounds of Street Fighter 4 (man it's been a long time!), then headed down to play Jeff's prototype Rune Wars. It's a combat game like Nexus Ops or maybe the Warcraft board game with a cool system of unit building and resources, heavily influenced by Magic: the Gathering.

In Rune Wars you start each turn by collecting a VP for each City you control, then you get to draw a card and can choose which color from the 5 different decks. Each color can let you make units of that color/type, give your armies containing that color unit a special ability, and contains cards which have effects that are in tune with that color's theme. Then you get a chance to play a card or else draw another one, move your units around the board, resolve any conflicts, play another card if you like, and then recruit and promote units. You also gain 1vp for defeating an army with at least 3 units in it, and for gaining control of a city (?), and the game ends when someone scores their 11th vp. I liked the mechanics for card drawing, card playing, card duration (the cards sort of age over time and go away), and unit creation, but the game itself isn't really my kind of game.

After the playtest I called Candy to see where she was, and if she wanted to play Castle For All Seasons... she was in her room getting ready for bed, but she said we could borrow the game, which was awesome of her. Jeremy and I wanted to play that again all day but hadn't been able to.

While looking for someone to play CfaS with I found Jennifer, and she was on her way to play Times Up! Title Recall. They had room for more players, so Jeremy and I jumped into that. I had hoped we could be on the same team, but I ended up on a team with a girl from Romania - that was a challenge because she wasn't as familiar with American pop culture... but we did well, tied for 2nd, only 5 points behind Jeremy's team in the end.

Finally, after the Times Up game we found someone to play Castle For All Seasons with us. It was Lynette, who had played Lost Adventures at BGG.con a year ago. We played a 3 player game, and I tried a Trader/Master Builder/Trader opening, and immediately wished I'd played Messenger or a worker in round 2 and then Master Builder in round 3 instead because I realized I didn't want to trader again in turn 3 (which was the reason I played MB round 2, obviously). It was a bad start, but I managed to time a Master builder or 2 well and got some free points that way. I ended up 2nd (barely) to Lynette, who won by 10 points over me.

I'm starting to worry that CfaS mostly comes down to luck - if someone plays or doesn't play a Master builder, or if people build anyway when 1 player plays Master Builder, then they seem to get a really big advantage. I'm wondering if there's a winning strategy that involves simply Master Buildering almost every turn... if so, that would be lame. Of course you probably wouldn't do it EVERY turn, and you'd probably want to build a building here or there so you could get a helper in the castle (probably on the 'unbuilt buildings' space, since your MB might discourage players from building a lot). These are the things I think about when I play a new game...


Tim Harrison said...

The rules state that one must have played at least one other card before using the Master Builder. In other words, you cannot play the MB in consecutive rounds.

Seth Jaffee said...

Oh, yeah... I recall reading that now - but the people who taught the game didn't mention it and I had completely forgotten!

Well, that's good then. I wonder how many times we accidentally broke that rule.