Thursday session: Golden Compass, Halli Galli Extreme

Golden Compass box

After clobbering Hannu in Sunda to Sahul, it was time for Golden Compass. We had full table, four players, and off we went, on our trip to the other universe. The card playing mechanism was definitely more interesting with four players: you really had to think a bit when choosing which cards to take.

However, our game took over an hour, which was way too long. I ran out of patience long before the end. In the end I won our extremely close game: everybody made it to the goal space on the last turn and it was up to the tie-breaker rule to resolve the winner. I’m fairly sure that’s going to happen often. Not to me, though, as I’m not playing this one again, at least before I have a family with which I can play. With gamers, this one’s a almost complete waste of time.

Race for the Galaxy was played. I did well with rare elements, though lacked the final oomph and lost to a fairly well-oiled novelty produce-consumer.

Halli Galli Extreme box

Halli Galli Extreme was one of the hits of the evening. Instead of counting to five matching fruits like in the regular game, here you slap the bell when two identical cards appear. Cards can have multiple fruit in them and it’s surprisingly hard to tell banana-plum-strawberry and banana-lime-strawberry apart fast enough… There are also animals: if there’s a pig, you always slap; if there’s an elephant, you slap unless there are strawberries; if there’s a monkey, you slap unless limes are present. What’s even worse, when an animal says don’t slap, you don’t slap even if other cards would require a slap.

It’s all very confusing and of course, all great fun. If you like the regular Halli Galli and it gets regular play, buying the Extreme should be a no-brainer. It adds such a delicious twist to the game.

China box

I hadn’t played China before. About time, I’d say. This redevelopment of Web of Power cuts off the half-time scoring but is otherwise essentially the same game. The original is a very good area majority game and China is no different. We played a quick three-player game, in about 15 minutes. Not bad! I played all my temples and then had to waste my last turn by playing useless advisor. My temple rush did quite well enough, though, as we tied the game with Hannu, who dominated the advisors.

It was fun, and reminded me of what an excellent game this is. I think I slightly prefer the European map, but otherwise I don’t care which edition I play. 15-minute games don’t get much better than this.

We finished with a five-minute For Sale, which is nice, but perhaps a tad… well, bland? I mean, you just play it and that’s it, you don’t really care about it. Well, it’s a good game, nevertheless, and a top-notch filler for those pesky little five-minute spots.

When I arrived, people were already playing Polarity. I don’t know if it’s a good game or not, but it sure looked very, very cool. Otherworldly, I might say.

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One response to “Thursday session: Golden Compass, Halli Galli Extreme”

  1. I’ve played Polarity twice now (2-player and 4-player with teams). It’s a fun gaming experience. A bit of a problem is that both/all players should be at equal skill levels or otherwise it’s going to be easy win for more experienced player/team. However Polarity is that type of a game where I’m not stressing too much about winning. You get enjoyment from just experiencing with magnetic forces and watching your opponent(s) struggling with them. But it has rules that make it a real game if you want to have a competetative dexterity gaming experience. Definitely something everyone should try at some point!