Lahti Board Game Weekend, Saturday

After less-than-well slept night (maybe the real-size Space Marine helmets I slept next to haunted my sleep?) it was a new day and new games. The breakfast — eggs, bacon, french fries — was sturdy and sure to clog arteries. That’s just nice. The first game of the morning was a classic — Dragon’s Gold. I hadn’t played it in ages, so it was quite refreshing to play. However, the opponents were boring, negotiating hasn’t usually been that tough. So I didn’t win.

Which is why I needed to play something I would surely win. I gathered Kimmo, Tommy and Reko to play Sunda to Sahul on speed — that’s something I’ve yet to lose. This time the results left nothing uncertain. It was clean victory. I love the game.

Turns out I managed to grab the last copy of Hammer of the Scots ever available in Finland. Tommy was one of the people who were left without a copy. To rub salt in the wounds, I played a game with him. I had studied the rules before, but we were both amateurs. I took the Scots, while Tommy had the Red Horde. The wooden blocks are very neat — it’s a pity the map is such a thin and cheap. The dice were also bad, not enough contrast… Fortunately I had my black-and-white dice with me.

We were soon fighting over the nobles, it didn’t take a long time to get the game going. I believe, when they say Scots are weaker. I lost William Wallace to a Pillage card pretty soon and then it was all downhill. I once tried to get Comyn to Fife to be crowned, but that failed when English got the idea of marching a huge army there. After two hours, the game was over as a rather decisive English victory.

So I lost. However, the game was fun. The mechanics work and are simple yet detailed enough. I kind of see why people have been raving about the game.

While waiting for further happenings, I challenged Tommy to a match of En Garde — it was clear victory for me.

Then it was time to start the big game of the day, the main event of every con: Die Macher. Fighting about the politics of Germany were me, my dear enemy Tommy, Peter Munter and two of his friends — all three were newbies. I had a good start and managed to win the first election, when most of the other players focused their strenght on the third election. That was all I could do in the game.

It was Tommy’s day, and that is all right and well. He had played several games and had yet to win a game. Many times he has been close to victory, but now he was able to do it for the first time. It just took a suitable crowd of newbies and a bad day for me… Yeah. He deserved the victory (and it was very decisive), he succeeded during the whole game.

The process of playing the game wasn’t that simple — we had a break of maybe three hours, while Munter prepared dinner. Then we continued and finished the game after four hours and ten minutes of actual play (and countless amount of people bobbing in and asking: “Are you still playing the game?” in disbelief — and Die Macher isn’t even a long game).

So, while Munter was washing potatoes, we played PitchCar, with Munter running from the kitchen to play his turns. No wins (or even success) for me this time. Well, I’m buying my own copy and then I’ll practise until I completely master the game. It was still huge fun.

While Munter was paying more attention to cooking, he could still play Quarto. I took the challenge and played two games against him. First one I won, second I lost. Quarto didn’t impress me much. It’s kind of neat, but doesn’t stand up to better quick two-player abstracts.

I was going to play a quick two-player Through the Desert with Tommy, but then we got two people join in on the game (newbies both) and oops, we had four players. Nice. The game didn’t go well enough for me. I was almost close to winning, but not quite. I need more practise. Playing Through the Desert is great fun, though. It’s probably one of my favourite Knizia games.

Of the quick two-player abstracts, my favourite is probably Zèrtz. I taught it to Reko, winning two games without trouble. Then I had Reko play Tommy, which was a closer and more interesting match. I really really should organize a Zèrtz course to get me more skillful opponents. Zèrtz just isn’t much fun against newbies.

After the Zértz match we had finished eating (soup, pancake roll filled with peas and meat and whatnot) and continued the Die Macher match. But that’s all covered elsewhere…

I didn’t play as much new games as I would’ve wanted (for example Funkenschlag and Squad Seven were available and not played — but there’ll be opportunities), but I managed to try Schacht’s Paris Paris. As I’m a huge fan of Web of Power, I was interested. Now that I’ve played it, I’m not impressed. It’s ok and I’ll play it again without a doubt, but it’s a bit too light. The decisions aren’t significant enough, there’s not as much tension as in Web of Power (which is a very exciting and fast game and that is why I like it so much — Paris Paris takes about as long, but doesn’t have half the excitement of Web of Power). Perhaps more play would reveal some details that might make the game a bit more interesting, but as it is, it’s not going to end up on my collection.

I had promised to show Battle Line to Munter and that I did, beating him in it, too. He seemed to like the game (indeed, so much that he offered Settlers of Canaan and Atlanteon in trade for it — I didn’t accept). And why not, it is an excellent little game.

“Let’s show some games to Munter” was the theme of the evening. We played two games of Coloretto and a game of Mamma Mia! to finish off the evening. My evening, that was. I headed off to bed, because I was very tired and the level of general sense of humour was turning real low.

Sunday morning we didn’t play anything — just another heart-stopping breakfast, packing and off we went. The weekend was rather nice, the people were generally entertaining and the atmosphere fun. I just might go there again… Next time I’ll take less games with me, however. I had to carry my game bag back home and it weighed a ton. And we didn’t even play many of the games!

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