Game weekend, part 2: Mit List und Tücke, Logistico, Kahuna, Geistertreppe

Here’s the rest of the games of the great weekend:

Mit List und Tücke was brought by Robert, who had noticed the game on my want list in the Geek. It’s a Klaus Palesch trick-taking game and not that far from Sticheln. According to Rick Heli’s Mit List und Tücke page it’s a redevelopment of an earlier game, Palle, which is apparently the ancestor for Sticheln as well.

Anyway, it was pretty neat. Like in Sticheln, the leading suit is trump. Trick is won by highest trump, who takes two cards from the trick (at least in the four-player game). Lowest non-trump gets the rest and leads the next trick. Scores are calculated using a simple formula: the amount of cards in the most numerous suite times the amount of cards in the second numerous suite divided by the amount of other cards.

That means you want to develop two suits and avoid two. That’s a simple goal that sometimes can be hard to achieve. It was quite fun, as the strategies are far from obvious and the things you can do can sometimes be a bit indirect. I’m not sure if four was the best amount of players (the game scales from four to six), more would probably be better. Still, it’s decent fun and another good game you can play with the Sticheln deck.

Logistico is a fairly simple delivery game, where players move cubes around the board using a truck, a boat and a plane. I thought it was pretty good fun, but certainly not a masterpiece in the end.

The basic idea of the game is very simple and works well, but the game is perhaps a bit too long for it’s own good. Doing the deliveries was fun, but only so-so. We played with two — with four, it would probably be pain to play, as the board situation would change a lot faster.

I think what sums it up was the fact that I was interested in getting the game before I tried it, but now I’ve played it, well, I might trade for it, maybe.

Skat is a game I’ve been wanting to try for a while. Reading Sid Sackson’s book Card Games Around the World gave me the push I needed to study the rules. They aren’t terribly difficult, really, especially if you’re already familiar with things like Ace-ten card values and like.

It’s a tough game to figure out, like games with bidding often are. I’m still determined to give it a go, even though I suffered a humiliating loss this time. Maybe next time I’ll do better.

Kahuna — I played two games with Robert, and they demonstrated well what’s my problem with the game. First one was a really flat experience. I lost all three rounds, with absolutely no chance to improve my situation. Taking over well-defended islands is just impossible. The second game was, in the other hand, very dynamic, with swift manouvers and takeovers. That was fun; the first game wasn’t.

Kahuna is simply too erratic. It can be fun, but it can be very boring, and you never know which one you’ll get. I think the first game might have been like it was thanks to my mistakes, but still — that’s not good. Kahuna has proven to be pretty hard to evaluate, but it’s fun enough to keep me going at it every now and then.

Geistertreppe is a funny little children’s game, a winner of the last year’s Spiel des Jahres for kids. It’s a simple roll-and-move game with a memory element. Players must move their pawns to the end of the stairs. If they roll a ghost, they must cover a pawn with a ghost, so that the colour is not seen. Eventually all pawns are covered by ghosts and might switch places, too, so it takes memory to remember who is where.

If a kid doesn’t understand magnetism, it should be quite magical to see how the ghosts stick to the pawns. The game board is also very pretty and the game looks good in general. I also think it’s a pretty fun game, though it takes four players to really shine. I’ll definitely keep it in case I’ll have a kid to play it with one day.

Dos Rios was on Tommy’s list of games to try. We played a two-player game, which I won by having four buildings on the river. Dos Rios is fun, nothing too special, a bit too tactical but still, fun. Looking at the Geek comments, Tommy likes it even more than I do, thanks to the river system which he fancies a lot. The rivers are super cool, obviously.

Lost Valley is always a good suggestion when Tommy is around. River gold is useless, that’s what I found out once again. Especially when there are big mountains right next to the starting place! However, exploring the valley is simply so much fun so I don’t really care if I win or lose. Lost Valley is definitely an atmosphere game, where theme matters the most.

Domaine was another game on Tommy’s list. It makes a pretty good two-player game. Our game had a healthy dose of expanding and conquering — I won in the end, thanks to better income, I think.

Ticket to Ride — losing the game is pretty darn hard, when you build all your train cars in a continuous network, fulfill two fairly big tickets you got on the first draw and do some six-car connections.

San Juan — a game best played swiftly. With two experienced players, the game flows really fast, even with cards. It’s a bliss to play that way.

St. Petersburg — let’s see: I got the first turn Mistress, Tommy made some blunders like forgetting to take money or so. Guess who won?

Gone Fishing! has a tempting theme to Tommy, who is a devout fisherman, but the mechanics aren’t probably to his liking. I kind of like it, but it’s a bit too irrelevant to get played. I’m interested to see how Tommy will rate it.

Battle Line was a good reminder of how I should play this game more often. It’s a harrowing game, committing to the flags can be a pain. One of the best two-player game, no doubt about it.

Ta Yü — now here’s a classic, pretty much. I just upped my rating to nine, because while Ta Yü isn’t a hot game I’d like to play all the time, it’s a deep game I expect to be playing for decades. It’s so timeless and elegant. Like Tommy said: he doesn’t really know how to play it well, but it’s just too much fun to play despite that.

Crokinole — my board gets little action at home, so it was fun to play a quick match.

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