Afternoon of games

Age of Steam logoI had some friends over for games. First one to arrive was Antti, another Tampere gamer who I had met in Helsinki, actually — he came to HelCon. We started the festivities with a quick match of Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. It was a smooth victory for me. Quick exchange of units left both going fairly thin, but I managed to use both Gimli and Merry well. I also did one-for-one exchanges, because that’s good for Light — it leaves an empty field for Frodo to sneak through.

For Sale boxOlli joined us, but we were still waiting for a fourth player before the main games, so I introduced the guys to For Sale. Three rounds of bidding fun ensued. This time it was my turn to lose to a tie-breaker, but I did manage to win one round. I tried different approaches and found out that sometimes it’s just a best idea not to start bidding at all. However, that tends to let the other players get good cards for cheap. The game’s not easy, but that’s the beauty of it.

To warm up for the train theme we played a game of Mogul. We had huge point swings — I though Antti had won, when he got a very good sale, but then I managed to both catch him and get a 26-point lead over him! Amazing! He did run out of money, which eventually dropped him out of the race. It was fun, I like the game, but it’s obvious the game needs more than three players.

Our fourth player cancelled, so we had to play Age of Steam all by ourselves. Instead of the basic map we played Ireland, but that’s all fine with me. It’s not the best map with newbies (Antti was interested but hadn’t been able to buy the game yet and Olli had played once a too long time ago), but hey — I need to win sometimes.

I did win, with a healthy margin, too. It’s all about long multilink routes, which the other guys didn’t have. I had six link engine and did few six-link routes, too. It was interesting how the map was divided: Olli started in the south, Antti grabbed north and I got the middle. I blazed through Ireland and except for the end, everybody pretty much stayed in their segments. Mine was the best.

I think the Irish map is perhaps a bit too big for three players, unless the players get vicious. With more experienced players three-player Ireland is probably much better. Next time I’ll try the Southern England map, especially as I heard words of encouragement regarding it’s suitability for just four players.

Olli requested St. Petersburg, which is of course always fine with me. Antti got the newbie treatment, as can be seen in the final results: Antti 92, Olli 138, me 142. He invested in buildings (I didn’t tutor him too much, thinking it’d be better if he learned from his mistakes instead of having me tell him what to do) and fell behind in the worker race and in the aristocrat collecting. Olli had less investment in aristocrats than me, but collected lots of points with the Czar and some buildings. I got 11 or so aristocrats, but Olli had eight and I wouldn’t have won, except I had 70 rubles in the end. Which was nice.

I’m still a bit on the fence with the whole Aristocrat issue. In this game I obviously spent too much effort on them — it was fun, tossing money around, but collecting over 10 of them is just pointless. Should’ve put that money in buildings to get more points. While the Aristocrats are important, in the other hand focusing on them alone is not enough. It’s a tough call, but I’m not doing any fixing yet.

Olli left after the St. Pete, but Antti stayed — eager to play Memoir ’44, as I found out. I didn’t even have time to list my alternatives, he just grabbed the first one. He has the game, but little opportunities to play it (ie. like me). We played two scenarios, Operation Cobra and Montélimar. I played Axis in both matches. Both scenarios were interesting. Despite the historical Allied win, Cobra was a 5-1 victory for me. There we had a nice combination of good luck for me and bad luck for Antti. In Montélimar the luck balanced and while I got a good start, Antti caught up and won the game. Good match, never mind the results.

After that it was time to call quits. Next game event in next weekend’s board game club. I’ll probably play some Age of Steam, which is nice… and all the other games I have on my list, but we’ll see about that.

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3 responses to “Afternoon of games”

  1. Age of Steam is really too easy with three. You lose the tension that *makes* the game. I have heard people say Ireland is best for three players, so if you did not like that map, the chances are you will not like any.

  2. Ireland is the only map I’d play with three, so it is the best map when you’re playing with three. But it does need four players or at least three very cutthroat players to make it difficult enough to be really interesting.