Helcon 2010: The Rest

The first part covered Eclipse. Now, the rest. This year choosing what to play wasn’t difficult. Oskari had a list of games from my collection he wanted to try, I wanted to play those games as well so that’s what we did.

String Railway coverString Railway was the obvious starter. I ended up playing the game twice. It’s just as cute and fun as it seems to be. Building railroads with strings just works. It’s a lighter game, and the strings aren’t that precise, especially when you’re doing something clever — I wouldn’t run a String Railway tournament.

But it’s fun! There’s a bit of luck (I lost yesterday’s game because I got bad stations), but a clever play can make a world of difference. We played two five-player games, there was no lack of players to try the game. The box is small, so I’ll be carrying this one around a lot. String Railway is definitely one of the highlights of the year.

Neue Heimat coverNeue Heimat was definitely on my list. I’ve been waiting to give this one a go. Well, the group didn’t like this much, but I’m having higher hopes with my local gaming friends, who are more into closed-economy auction chaos. I can see how this game will divide opinions.

We played a single round and I tried the strategy of collecting money, avoiding colours and driving other players to negative points. I actually did pretty well — I was second, with two players strongly in the negative. I wonder what would’ve happened in a longer game, as I had to blow most of my cash to guarantee an end for the round, but I could’ve dissolved my illegal earnings…

So yeah, I must play this game as it’s meant to be played, with several rounds.

Die Aufsteiger coverDie Aufsteiger, another Chili game, was next. Previous time wasn’t that great, but now it was much better. We had three players and we ended up with quite the skyscraper. In the end it was a race between me and Ville while Oskari followed couple of steps behind. It took a while to see who was the king of the hill, but eventually I was able to reach a height the others couldn’t follow.

So yeah, I like it, and will definitely play again, preferring three players to five any time.

Roll Through the Ages coverRoll Through the Ages was a math trade catch and a good one. I played this one with my brother and Jani Moliis, the designer of Hornet. (I also met Paul Laane of Toscana fame.) Since the previous owner had printed out a bunch of Late Bronze Age scoring sheets, we used those, since I’d heard it’s better. Is it?

We did have a good time with the game, even though took an hour or so. Well, the start took a while, as I’d never even glanced at the rules or seen more than couple of minutes of the game played and the goods system wasn’t quite obvious enough to understand with such short notice.

Cartouche coverCartouche is still cryptic and unpleasant. Our game was disturbed by the raffle, which didn’t help. In any case I think I’ve seen enough of Cartouche. There’s definitely something in the game that might make it worth while, but the small cards and unclear icons… I’d rather play something else.

The raffle! Again I participated, even though there wasn’t really anything on the prize table I wanted (unlike last year, with Greed). Seven was obviously the lucky number, because I won, and not just anything, but a copy of Namibia, the most interesting game in the prize list. It’s got trains, at least.

All in all very good event.

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