Games at Jyväskylä: Mahjong, Agricola

I went to Jyväskylä with Nooa for the weekend and as usual, it means some games too. Their collection has grown enough that I don’t really have to bring any games with anymore, so this time I just brought a pack of mahjong cards with me.

So that’s what we started with, six hands of mahjong with the World Series of Mahjong rules. Despite being a rule set used in World Championships (the one with huge money prizes), it’s remarkably simple and elegant set. I like it.

I won, thanks to a pretty nice one suit and honours hand I made in the final hand. Previously we saw some chicken hands and some pung hands. The cards were nice to use, but not quite the quality I’d really like to have. The cards are made in China and cheap, and it shows. The worst problem with the cards is a small detail, actually: the corner indices (in Arabic numerals, so these are really easy to use) for both bamboos and characters are green. Dots are blue, so why on earth aren’t characters red? That would make a huge difference in usability.

In any case playing with cards was nice. I would’ve brought my new, fancy tiles with me, but since we were playing while Nooa slept, the cards were a better option. Of course, Nooa didn’t sleep a bit, but instead kept singing and shouting in his bed, but I suppose that counts as rest… But just six hands, because eventually we had to release him…

During the afternoon we played two games of Villa Paletti (still great fun) and two games of Scrabble: I first challenged Severi and then Oskari wanted to play against me, too. I won both… I did better against Oskari, but he was also better than his brother. In any case I can say that Scrabble and Finnish doesn’t quite click together as well as I’d like, the lack of usable two-letter words makes the game boring. I’d much rather play Qwirkle than Finnish Scrabble.

Agricola boxAfter Nooa went to bed in the evening, we played Agricola. My mother really likes the game, so when I got the English edition, I sold it to my mother immediately. Now I don’t have to bring it with me. We played a nice five-player family game, where Ismo grew tons of grain, I’ve never seen such abundance before. He won, too, with a nice score of 32.

I was second with 27 or so… Nothing fancy in my farm, but a fairly solid game and I was the only player with five family members (Ismo got the fourth with his last move, others stuck with three). It’s been a while since I last played Agricola, and it certainly was great fun. The Z-Man edition has some small, but nice usability improvements over the original Lookout edition. Not enough to get me to upgrade, but nice.

My final game of the evening was a round of riichi mahjong at MahjongTime. The site doesn’t have enough European players, since the most action seems to happen when I’m asleep. Fortunately I only have a temporary membership pass there and not the full membership, as it would be useless. Now I was able to get into a game quickly and played a nice round of riichi. I lost (ended up third, actually), though, even though I won two hands. I would’ve won third, too, but fumbled with the controls and discarded the wrong tile. Well, I wouldn’t have won even with that hand, since I paid two expensive hands in the very beginning.

I’ve had a bit of a dry spell with games recently, as I’ve missed two sessions of Thursday games, so it was extra nice to get some board game action.

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