Small two-player session

My games with Olli continued on Friday. We started with Kahuna — it was the final test. Olli lost big time; he got the first scoring, but then my defensive island network made it quite clear there was no way he could beat me. Final score was 6-1. Not good.

He didn’t like the game, I didn’t like this match like I didn’t enjoy most of the other matches I’ve played. It’s clear now the game doesn’t deserve a good rating or being a part of my collection. I’d still play it if someone wants to and there are no better alternatives, but I wouldn’t suggest it.

Next up was Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation Deluxe. Once again I chose to select the characters randomly. The results were an interesting mix of old and new. The game got quite exciting: I had to use Recall to Mordor to stop Olli from sneaking Frodo to Mordor; fortunately, Saruman (new version; I happened to have him next to Fangorn when Olli regenerated Gandalf — oops!) was able to beat both Merry (who had killed Witch King earlier) and Sam (who became the Ringbearer when Mouth of Sauron finished Frodo). It was close and exciting.

Then it was back to Jambo. It’s a great game, definitely the best thing Rüdiger Dorn has done. I’d like to have this one, actually. I won again, so I must be a natural talent in African trading.

We ended the proceedings with a quick match of Rat Hot. I won, when Olli was showing two rats on his last turn, he drew a rat and couldn’t hide them. Three rats out, he lost. Otherwise it would’ve been close and he might’ve won. That’s the luck effect some curse and feel is unfair; I’d say tough luck, he shouldn’t have let those two rats out. Also if he had counted the rats, he might’ve seen trouble coming. And anyway, I don’t care — it’s such a small and fast game that I wouldn’t want to change it a lot. A small fear element is just nice. Olli didn’t seem too annoyed, either.

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2 responses to “Small two-player session”

  1. I have a small variant for Rat Hot, which is to ignore any rats on the final tile of the game. Otherwise a player can lose through no fault of his own: if his opponent drew two of his rats on the previous turn, he could place them both so that neither could be covered up with one tile (I believe this is always possible). It sounds like this was not the case in your game, but I still find the final-turn-lose to be frustrating.
    Also, have you tried the Dschunke Legespiel rules? I’ve only tried it once so far, and I think it will take a couple plays to decide if I like it better than the Rat Hot rules. But it does get rid of the sudden-death losing condition.

  2. Well, yes, in our case the rats were there earlier (late game, but not the last turn). I suppose it would be trivial to skip the most extreme situations, without avoiding the surprising punishment for earlier risk-taking (leaving two rats visible).
    I haven’t tried the Dschunke rules, but Olli has and I think he thought Rat Hot was much, much better.