Wednesday Games part 5: Amun-Re, East-West

It’s already the fifth session of our Wednesday games (would be six, except I missed the previous meeting). This time we started with a game of The Last Panther from the Mü games. Well, we actually played just one hand, because then Olli joined us.

We started on the main treat, then. It was, of course, Amun-Re. Everybody was rather enthusiastic and we got a good start. After the Old Kingdom I was in the lead with 17 points, thanks to most pyramids on one side of the Nile and both of the temples in our game. During the Old Kingdom I was rather farmer-heavy, but felt like no farmers would be a better strategy in the New Kingdom — especially as the heavy farmer provinces didn’t appear on the first round. It worked, except my camel money failed me almost every turn. I was still able to build lots of pyramids. Unfortunately, so was Ilari. Ilari had three pyramids in every province, I had four in one and two in the others. In the end we were tied and Ilari won the game, because he had one pyramid more.

It was a splendid experience. The game took 90 minutes and I’m quite sure that it will be less with experienced players. The guys thought it was rather good, even though the game seemed confusing at first. We played with open power cards, which I think is a good idea. It doesn’t spoil the game and it makes it a lot easier. I don’t have to explain every power card, I can explain them when they come up. When buying cards, it’s enough to know in general what kind of effects there are. And they are all good in the right situation, so there’s no risk of bad cards (useless cards, maybe, but all are good in the right situation).

Anyway, I like the game. I don’t love it yet, but I believe my rating (currently 8) will go up when I play the game more.

Then we played a new game to me, Clans. In the first game I revealed my identity immediately (they said), but I was able to win the second game. The game seems nifty, but it’s abstract in a wrong way. The game is simply a bit boring, perhaps. I rated it as seven at the Geek. The secret identity deal makes it more interesting, though, and I can definitely imagine myself playing the game more. I could even ask for it, but I wouldn’t buy it for myself. Anyway, it was fun.

Then we played a game of everybody’s favourite twisted little trick-taking game, Dia de los Muertos. This time Erkka was only one who hadn’t played it before. Fortunately the rest of us didn’t have too much advantage — we’re all total newbies in this very difficult but rather pleasing game. I played with Olli and we lost. We got more souls, but couldn’t get enough food. Erkka and Ilari won the game 3+3 — 3. Bloody tie-breaker wins… I’m thinking there’s lots of those in Dia de los Muertos, as one side seems to usually gather lots of Food cards.

Olli left and the three of us played Vom Kap bis Kairo. I haven’t played it much with my gamer friends and I wanted to introduce it to Erkka and Ilari. It’s a difficult game for a newbie, there’s little clue what you should do. They got it fairly well, but I managed to win it nevertheless. I don’t know, they didn’t seem too enthusiastic. But I agree, that is the game seems to lack something.

Olli came back, but Erkka and Ilari left. Since we had played Battle Line last time, I thought it would be appropriate to try East-West, which is a dice version of Battle Line. It can be found in the Dice Games Properly Explained book. Basically there’s just three flags and the players create competing five die Poker hands. I had 30 dice with me, which is the best way to play the game, you can just roll the dice and place them on the table, no need to write the results down. We also used a doubling die, as suggested by the good doctor in the book.

It was fun! Almost as good a game as Battle Line, but perhaps a bit more relaxed. It took five minutes per round, and we played five. I won four and because of good doubling, the final results were 14-4. My proudest moment was an idiotic double in a situation where I was rolling my last die and I needed a five to win the game, otherwise I would lose it. Olli accepted the double, of course — and then I rolled the five and won the game. Which was so neat! Dice can be random, but randomness can be a lot of fun sometimes.

I think East-West could be an entertaining game when played for money. Say, 10 or 20 cents for a point… Anyway, it’s a game I will play again.

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