Thursday session: Qwirkle, Antike

Flix Mix box

Another good session, this time with more shorter games. That’s nice balance. We hit off with Flix Mix, a favourite of mine I hadn’t played in a while. It’s a small Adlung card game, those just get stuck somewhere and then you forget about them. We played a practise round, which I didn’t win and then a proper four round game where I won each round. Ah, the sweet success.

Qwirkle box cover

Next up was Qwirkle. The game looks like Ingenious, but actually plays more like Scrabble. The game consists of stylish black wooden tiles showing six different symbols in six different colours. Players lay the tiles on the table forming rows of two or more tiles. Each row must have either one symbol and different colours or one colour and different symbols. You score points for the length of each row you add to (like Scrabble with tiles that all are worth one point) and get a bonus for doing a six-tile row.

It’s simple and fun, and I’d say it’s a good gateway game if any. The concept is dead simple, everybody is able to learn and play the game and playing it is, for the most part, quite fun. Our game was fairly close, so close that I wonder how much there is skill and how much it all is about getting lucky. Well, I’m sure the effects of skill will surface if I play the game more. Then again, I don’t think it’s a huge problem if an experienced player can’t automatically clobber newbies.

So yeah, I like it and I think it certainly has some classic potential. I mean, the basic idea is definitely in the simple but solid category, the game looks good and it’s fun to play, too. So why not? I currently rate it as solid eight, with a possibility for a higher rating if the game ends up hitting the table often enough. A keeper.

Antike box

Then, Antike. We had a bunch of newbies, me and Hannu, who had played once. Five of us took the Middle-Eastern side of the board where I looked forward to leading my Egyptians to glory. As a strategy, I decided to go for gold. I expanded my kingdom a bit to get the five-city point, then built two temples on gold cities and started getting rich. Since my opponents weren’t a threat, I forgot expansion and military building and focused on science instead.

I didn’t actually get that many science victory points, two or at most three. However, I did get all the know-how developed. Combine that fact with my production of eleven gold on each gold action (three gold cities with temples and currency) and as it turns out, I never produced marble or iron again in the game. With my gold, I built huge armies (first 12 units, then 15) and used them to collect the rest of the points I needed.

It was fun. By no means it was completely obvious, the other players were doing pretty well too. Well, after my assault on Hannu’s arabs, it was pretty clear he wouldn’t win the game. The end game wasn’t quite satisfactory anyway, and this game sealed my decision: from now on, I’ll start everybody with one victory point. Our game wasn’t too long, just 90 minutes, but it would’ve been even better without the last 15 minutes, I think. It’s a simple fix that should improve the game.

Halli Galli box

Last time I had beaten Hannu in Halli Galli. Well, he got his own copy and played with his students (he’s a teacher and runs a game club at his school, which is very cool) and boasted he was pretty good at it now. Well, he was right. I got to the bell first exactly once, rest of time I was slapping his hand. It was rather amazing, hard to believe. Of course he won, my one success was the only match he didn’t slap.

Battle Line box

Hannu had bought Battle Line, but hadn’t yet had a chance to play it. I was eager to help him, as Battle Line is one of the games I’ve played for years and still enjoy a lot. Our two games went 1-1, in the first one I thought I’d won, but my cards weren’t quite enough. Second one I took, but not by a huge margin. I’ve won slightly over half of my Battle Line games so far… but it’s usually entertaining whether I win or not.

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