Small session: Portobello Market, Der Elefant, Yspahan

Portobello Market boxI met some guys at the university for games. We started off with Portobello Market, now with full set of four players. It’s clearly better with four than with two, that’s for sure.

The one thing that defines the game is that it’s short. There just isn’t that much time, especially if you want to do big district scorings. You’d better be fast! I also learned that the lord (the black customer) is very, very good — I was doing good, then everybody else got major points from the lord and I was third. Bummer.

This’ll change my rating from weak eight to just eight. The game is good, I like how it’s really quite short (it took us just 30 minutes) and still offers some real decision-making, but at the same it’s nothing I couldn’t live without.

Der Elefant im Porzellanladen boxI have played Der Elefant im Porzellanladen just once before, and didn’t like it that much. Now, I had to grab a quick five-player game (I have surprisingly few of those, it seems most of my collection is 2-4 players) and chose this. We played with five players, and it was somewhat better. It’s still not one of my favourite small games, but I’m not tossing it out either. The other players seemed to like it somewhat better.

I still think the game constricts your options a lot, and that can feel kind of frustrating, but then again, I suppose that’s the whole idea of the game. You can’t build massive collections of china, because the elephants will come marching in. Allowing people to take more than two money cards would just increase the luck effect — now you can’t just keep on taking elephants if you’re lucky and get elephants that do no damage to you. At 30 minutes the game is perhaps a bit long, but that’s not a big deal.

Yspahan box frontAfter the elephants our numbers thinned so that I could pull out Yspahan. There were three of us: I had played about 75 games with the PC version, Olli had played about 250 games and Riku was a complete newbie. Guess who won and who was last?

Well, it wasn’t that obvious. I was able to win and while Riku did lose, he didn’t lose badly. Yspahan isn’t the easiest game to get in to, but it’s not terribly hard either. But it is fun! I did enjoy the board game even more than the PC version. It’s a lot easier to follow what the other players are doing and that makes the whole experience more interesting.

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