I was in Jyväskylä this weekend and it sure was an interesting weekend games-wise.
I thought my mother would like San Juan, because she likes Puerto Rico but it’s a bit too deep for her. She isn’t that into devising strategies and I think kind of plays to keep me and Ismo happy — we’re bigger fans of Puerto Rico than she is. But, I thought San Juan might be just the game for her.
Turned out I was right. After the initial game or two she got the hang of the game as she learnt the cards and she actually won me on her second game. It was nice to see her enjoy the game. We played two games on Friday and another two games on Saturday. We also played one game with Ismo and two with Ismo and the older (he’s 11) of the two boys. Ismo didn’t like the game nearly as much, he thought it was annoying to refer to the card list all the time (I had made a list with Finnish translations, so that the boys could play and for reference purposes). I think he would like the game more after he’d learnt the cards, but right now his response was lukewarm.
But that certainly wasn’t the case with St. Petersburg. They were somewhat terrified after my explanation of rules, but once we got the game going, it was a smooth ride. Back in February, we played nine games of Attika during one weekend, but now I recorded 13 games of St. Petersburg.
Everybody was addicted. The boys got it too. Oskari, 11, could play the game by himself pretty well. He didn’t win, but managed to place well several times. Severi, who’s 9 I think, played initially with my mother and after that played few games by himself won one of those games. They made lots of silly plays, but improved while we played. They were really excited about the game, constantly talking about workers and aristocrats and whatnot. Me too; I couldn’t get sleep Saturday night, because I just kept thinking about the game. That’s one of the signs of really good games.
St. Petersburg is a very good game, you see. My initial rating at the Geek is a definite 10, because I haven’t been this enthusiastic about a game since Puerto Rico. Like Age of Steam or Funkenschlag St. Petersburg would be a nine, but it’s a 45-minute game while the others take much longer to play. It’s like Web of Power: short, condensed piece of gaming bliss, except St. Petersburg is even better.
I’ll rave about it a bit more later on. During the weekend, we also played one game of both Ristikontra and Huutopussi. One reason for playing the games was the pack of Invisible Cards (by Kikkerland, see under Games) I got from my mother (their company uses them as business gifts). The cards are mostly transparent PVC, but of course you can’t see the symbols from the back side. They look very neat, look rather durable but are a bit unpractical to use because they’re so thin. Still, they are really useful as playing cards and not just as eye toy. Anyway, Ristikontra is an interesting and quite rare game — it’s a trick-taking game, but there aren’t many like it. Tricks are won by the card that lead them, so if you lead with five, the only way to capture the trick is to play another five. It’s a partnership game for four players. It has nice twists, like cleaning (if you capture a Queen, you must clean it by capturing a King in the last five tricks, otherwise you won’t score) but still it feels like a bit too lucky game for me.
Anyway, it was a very good weekend games-wise. Next Saturday is a boarg game club meeting, I hope to be able to try Maharaja then.