Triumvirate, Gipf, String Railway

Triumvirate coverYesterday’s games started with a quick round of Triumvirate with Hannu. This is a two-player trick-taking game, and rather well done, too. There are three colours and a round is over when one colour has three tricks. That colour (a member of the triumvirate) gets a scoring token.

A game is over when a colour gets three scoring tokens. That member of the triumvirate is the new Caesar and the player who backed him the most by discarding most valuable legionnaire cards in that colour, wins the game. You can only discard three cards, so choose well who you support.

It’s a bit tricky to wrap your head around at first, but once you get the hang of it it does work well. A game is short, and a match is usually three games. We only had time for one now, but I’d sure like to play a full game at some point.

After a quick three-player game of San Juan (at least once a year for 8 years now), the rest of the group started playing Troyes while me and Ville played some two-player games (we had planned to play Troyes, but there was five of us).

Gipf coverWe started with Gipf. We’ve now played all games in my Gipf collection. I’ve had Gipf for couple of years now and haven’t played it much. “I think I’ll be playing more of this”, I said back in 2006. Well, obviously that didn’t happen, but yeah, the game could use some more play, because I like it. It’s not as good as Tzaar or Yinsh, but still, very decent game.

We played one game with the basic rules without the more powerful Gipf pieces, then twice with the Gipfs. I don’t know which is better… perhaps the standard game, but I don’t mind playing the game without the Gipf pieces, it’s kind of cleaner that way.

Battle Line coverBattle Line is one of the true classics. I first played it eleven years ago and have since played it every year but one (missed 2007, which was one of my more quiet years, I’ve got more plays this year than I had in whole 2007). 10/11 is still a nice record. In that light my 70 plays of the game – making this one of my most-played games ever — aren’t that much.

Quite a few of those games are against Ville, this is one of the games we’ve played often. We haven’t kept scores, but this time nudged the balance to my favour, as we played six cards and the cards kept falling my way and I was able to win four. A grim luckfest, someone might say, and I’d agree, but still, the question of when to commit and where remains interesting, even if the final result often comes down to who draws the right cards.

String Railway coverI was hoping to play Innovation, but alas, Ville isn’t interested. String Railway did suit him fine, though, so that’s what we played. I’ve mostly played this with five, but the game is better with less.

Actually, I might go a bit further and claim the two-player game is the best way to play it. At least I enjoyed our two-player games a lot. Here both players control two colours and the weakest colour loses the game. So, it doesn’t matter how good your better colour is.

It’s very simple solution to make the two-player game interesting and fun. I was also able to grab my first String Railway victory ever. Hooray for that, it only took me nine games!

Here’s a Gipf photo from this session to wrap it up. There isn’t a horrible amount of vignetting in the photo, it’s just a gradient fill effect on the board…

Lining up

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