I played against Hannu, who has played one game of Age of Steam, about year ago. He was a bit rusty, that is. I got two 2-link moves on the first round, which pretty much sealed the deal. I managed to build a nice track on the easy west coast of Scotland, then come down on the east coast. Hannu fought me a bit, but it was a pretty easy ride. At the same time, Hannu didn’t quite realize the value of long connections. The final results were pretty clear.
This was a bit of an extreme case, but I’d still say the recommended eight turns is probably one turn too much. We finished the game one turn early (but could’ve quite probably two turns earlier, it was that obvious), and at that point the map was pretty much completely built.
Age of Steam isn’t the most exciting two-player game there is, but this was certainly a fun way to spend 60 minutes or so.
Dominion is a hit. We played four games in a row, and that’s rare. It was pretty fast, too, all were three-player games and moved fast. We used random setups every time and that worked well: we got some pretty interesting setups. Witch with no Moat or Chapel (but with Remodel) was interesting, but not as nasty as it could’ve been: we were all fairly high in positive points, even though the Curse pile ran out.
Thanks to a tip from the Board Game Society forums, I did some remodeling to the Dominion box insert. I cut the four bits that stick out from the bottom and removed few millimeters of the bottom edge. That way the insert is slightly lower in the box and the sleeved cards fit in better. Now it’s just about excellent. The sleeves made the game more pleasant to play, I just like shuffling sleeved cards.
Dominion is excellent fun, now I just need to figure out how to win the game against non-newbies. We played four games and I wasn’t really close in any of them…
I wrapped up the evening with some Strohmann-Tarock and Le Truc with Hannu. The tarock was a disaster, but the Truc game was really, really good. I won the first game 12-0, then lost 12-8 and finally won the decisive round 12-11. It was close, but I had good cards and nerves of steel.
Truc is an amazing game, but it takes a while to appreciate it. Random game with someone you don’t know isn’t going to make it. It gets much better once you play repeatedly against the same players and start to get inside your opponent’s head a bit. Excellent fun, particularly with Hannu…
Someone should introduce Truc to all those poker pros who play Chinese Poker a lot for amazingly high stakes. That game’s complete rubbish, after all… Truc is much less luck and much more bluffing, personality and skill. It’s trick-taking, but I’m pretty sure most serious poker folks should see the shine.