Weekend gaming session, Friday

I’m here at Tommy’s having a wonderful little gaming weekend. Today’s cast included Tommy, me, Stefu and our crippled American reinforcement Phil. We started it off in a light-hearted way: playing few rounds of the semi-legendary Loopin’ Louie. It’s a children’s action game, where a guy flies his motor-driven airplane in a circle trying to steal the players’ chickens. Players can hit him with their levers to make him bounce above their chickens, hopefully hitting someone else’s. It’s a huge hit, thanks to some surprising Gathering of Friends publicity. And why not — it’s certainly entertaining, if a bit silly little game. I would get myself one, if a cheap copy came my way.

While Tommy was preparing meal (excellent fish and cream baked in oven), I introduced my most recent acquisition, San Juan to the other guys. I won the game pretty hands down thanks to my superior experience, but they seemed to like it a lot. That’s, of course, no surprise, because it’s a wonderful game. It was my first game with a real set, and I found the game a pleasure to play. What’s best, the cards fit in the box with sleeves on and I didn’t even have to remove the insert!

Then it was time for some heavier games. Phil had brought his Power Grid, which we eagerly played. All of us had previous experience of Funkenschlag, so it was a piece of cake for us. Stefu and Tommy dominated the game and eventually, it was Stefu who won the game. I didn’t do well, but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless. I found Power Grid to be much superior to the old version. Anybody interested to buy my good old Funkenschlag? I have custom-made modular map with OHP pens… What’s best, our game took only 80 minutes. Now that’s neat!

Phil has fallen in love with Goa — he has rated it as 10 at Geek. So, we played it, too. Unfortunately I didn’t find it quite as charming. The game has lots of good elements, certainly — as usual, I like the way it forces you to make tough decisions. After all, you only get about 24 actions during the whole game. That’s not enough! However, I felt the game was too complicated and not elegant enough. If I got it, I’d have to explain the rules pretty much every time we would play it. That would be pain, because the game has so un-elegant rules. The mechanics are good and work together pretty well, but somehow the whole is too complicated.

Finally, we played Um Reifenbreite. It’s a bicycle racing game and a Spiel des Jahres winner from 1992. It’s respected, it seems, and I did enjoy it. It’s certainly one of the best dice-rolling race games I’ve ever played, and much better than Formula Dé. There are many good and fairly simple rules, which make the game work like a charm. It feels like a good bicycle race, too. My only gripe is the length — our game took one hour, which might be slightly too much. Still, it was a very positive experience.

We will continue our games tomorrow (well, today), with who knows what. Stay tuned!

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