Johanna was out having a party with her friends, so I took the opportunity and invited my usual posse of Robert, Olli and Ari for some games. We started with Fresh Fish which I had finally picked up earlier today. It sure was a brain-bender! We played twice and in the second game got the rules right. Even then it wasn’t in the beginning of the game, but after some discussion about certain corner rules. I think we have it now. We were generally pretty good at spotting the less obvious road placements.
It’s a tricky game and I applaud anyone who can study the rules by themselves and play a game correctly without any guidance. From now on it’ll be easier, but expect to get things wrong on your first game. And it takes a certain brain configuration to see it, too. I think Olli had some problems seeing the roads, while Ari for example was quite observant.
Anyway, I think it’s a fun game. There are exciting situations, lots of fun bowbing — you can really screw the other players with the road placements. Also it wasn’t too long — we played two games in an hour and 45 minutes. I really like the game, it’s so brilliantly different. I do have some issues with the game. The road rules are tricky and it’s certainly a game for limited audience. I’m not sure if I’d like to introduce it in Jyväskylä. It might be good, but I think my mother wouldn’t like it (visual stuff like that isn’t her forte). Anyway, the player cubes are bit too small and in general the colours are odd. I’ve got a version with gold cubes, but the paint is wearing off already. Red, gold, green, white and wood is a bad colour combo, too. Where’s blue, yellow or black? More contrast! Orange and green coins are horrid, too.
But the game is brilliant, that I must say. Others liked it at least somewhat, but thought it was perhaps even too heavy. Ari was screwed badly, and it probably didn’t improve his opinion of the game…
After that we played something lighter. Cluzzle. I got a review copy from Dominic Crapuchettes, which was cool. It was a fun game. Sculpting clay was fun diversion after the mind-boggling Fresh Fish.
I know Cluzzle is a simplified version of Teuber’s Barbarossa, but I can’t see how Barbarossa could be better than this. Cluzzle has the bare essentials, and nothing else. Barbarossa has all this other stuff, which detracts from the fun sculpting. Sculpting is fun, because you don’t have to make a good sculpture. After all, you try to get just one people to guess your sculpture as late as possible. We had a blast. There were some very simple sculptures, that were easy to guess and then some more bizarre ones — how on earth Olli picked up Ari’s "art collection" is still beyond my grasp.
Cluzzle is highly recommended for anyone looking for a fun party game. I think it’s one of the best I’ve played in it’s simplicity. I wish someone made a Finnish edition.
I wanted to play Four Dragons and that we did. Robert and Olli had played before, and I ended up paired with Ari, who was the newbie. He picked up well. After first hand the game was quite equal, but we got a good two-point lead in the second hand and eventually it came to a point where the victory was secured. We ended up winning 5½ to 3½.
I like it, it’s one of my favourite trick-taking games. It’s clever, but not too difficult. This time we even remembered all the exchanges. The new edition is fine, the cards look pretty even though I like the old ones, too. The only change they made (earths are all red, while souls were in different colours) doesn’t really change the game, only makes it a bit more elegant.
Building time! We ended up playing Fifth Avenue. It was a good game, I like the game more and more. I didn’t play much skyscrapers, but got lots of areas and managed to score few times, securing a healthy lead. In the other hand, I had nothing at Central Park. We had an early building stop (I caused it), which was a bit odd. I did build up nice 16-point district with just two skyscrapers. In the end I lost by two points to Ari, thanks to his Central Park properties. One skyscraper there would’ve made up the difference. It was a fun game and exciting until the very end.
To wrap up the evening, we played DaVinci Code. Olli hadn’t tried it. We played twice, Olli wanted an immediate rematch. I had a great first game, I got a nice ending where I dropped everybody else from the game. That was fun. In the second game, I lost to Ari because I made a wrong guess in a 50-50 situation. That happens, but I wasn’t even annoyed. It’s such a light game, after all, and a perfect end-of-evening filler.
All in all, it was a fun night and it was great fun to try Fresh Fish finally. Cluzzle was fun, too, it’s always nice to find such a good new game.