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Games Played Recently

I had the opportunity to play Railroad Tycoon recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. The board is huge, but still gets crowded with track, especially in the northeast. The mechanics are excellent, and it is a challenging game. For a first time, I felt I did well, finishing second in a 4-player game. I enjoy some railroad games, and this one is based on the PC game by the same name, a game I have played many times over the years on my computer.

I have also played several games of Silverton, another railroad game. These games have been 2-player, and although I have lost each one, I think I am improving. I would like to try Silverton with three, or preferably four, players. I believe that would significantly change the game.

 Manhattan is a neat game. I’ve played twice — lost terribly the first time, and won the second time. The first game was a 3-player, and I kept trying to compete with both the other players, while they avoided competition with each other. Not a good strategy on my part. The second game was a 4-player, and although the board was more crowded, I enjoyed watching the other players jockeying for position with each other and leaving me some opportunities for spreading out and dominating 2 (and sometimes 3) areas. It’s a neat game that I could enjoy playing anytime, but preferably with 4 players.

Scavenger Hunt is a hilarious card game, if you don’t mind the theme (scavenger animals fighting over carcasses on the African savannah). I played two games of this recently, 4-player games. Both games were won by the player (different players) with the crocodile scavenger. My son-in-law has played it with his family numerous times, and he said the crocodile almost always wins. It’s possible there is an imbalance here. We may need to modify the characteristics of the crocodile for future games.

I was glad to have the opportunity to play Alhambra two days ago. I really like that game, but have never done well at it, with 5 players. This was the first time we had played with just 4, and I managed to win easily. Maybe I need to just play 4-player games!

 Finally, I recently enjoyed a game of Hellas. That is an intriguing game. I even won it. Having the right cards at the right time makes a big difference in this game, but that’s true in many games. There are aspects of many games in Hellas. I see some tastes of chess, Tongiaki, Carcassonne, Risk, and even Memoir ’44 in it. That is a weird combination, but Hellas combines these elements in a fun and challenging game. It has tile-laying, combat, card management, exploration, area control, resource management, and can involve bluffing and surprise moves. A fun game for two players.


March 5, 2007 Posted by | Games | Leave a comment

Games Played March 3, 2007

Mason and Kassi were out of town on Saturday, so there were only six of us for games, following Joel’s last basketball game of the season. It was Joel’s turn to select the games, and he picked Alhambra, Scattergories, Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride.


Alhambra is a very interesting game. With five or more players, it is almost impossible to make any long-range plans. The tiles and money available change drastically between your turns, so you simply have to make the best decision, given the items available. After the first scoring, I had one point! It’s not as bad as it sounds, since someone else had 2 points, but it wasn’t a good start. I did better with the second scoring round, moving well up into the pack. At the end of the last segment, I managed to purchase a perfect tile, extending my wall by two sides and getting a third Tower piece, giving me the majority in that type. I won, for the first time ever. Results: Me first; Sue second; Joel third; Katrina fourth; Dan last.


Joel selected Scattergories for two reasons: 1) he had never played and wanted to learn it; and 2) he knew it was a favorite game of his sister’s and wanted to have something she would like to play. That’s pretty neat, for a younger brother. Since Joel is 9 and Natalia is 11, we give them a slight advantage in this game. When the letter is selected (for all the answers to begin with), we let them also choose the letter before or after than one in the alphabet. Their answers can begin with either of those two letters. It makes it a little more equal, and both Joel and Natalia did very well with that handicap. In fact, they amazed us with some of their answers – things we hadn’t thought of that were excellent answers. We didn’t make a note of the final scores, but everyone had fun playing it.


Settlers of Catan with 5 players is a fun game. Usually our Settlers games are quite close, at least among the top two or three finishers. This one, however, was a runaway for Katrina. When she got her tenth point, Dan had five, and the rest of us had four. It didn’t seem that she had any better locations than the rest of us, but the game just went her way. She stole the Longest Road from Sue, and just kept on rolling. Results: Katrina first; Dan second; Sue, Joel, and me (tied) last.


Joel loves to play Ticket to Ride, but only gets the opportunity when Mason and Kassi aren’t at game day. Unfortunately, he had a rough time of it on Saturday. He kept all three long-distance tickets to begin the game. He probably shouldn’t have kept both a southern and a northern route, but the worst part of it for him was that Katrina and Dan also had southern routes, and he got blocked out early. I drew only short north-south routes, but managed to create the longest continuous track, beating Dan by only one piece on the last play of the game. Unfortunately, my short tickets didn’t give me enough points to win. Results: Katrina first; Sue second; me third; Dan fourth; Joel last.


It was pretty much Katrina’s day, winning both Settlers and Ticket to Ride easily. My Alhambra victory was nice, being my first in that game. I believe I get to choose the games next Saturday, and I certainly plan to get at least one un-played game to the table. I’m leaning toward Drakon at this time.


— Gerald … near Denver, Colorado

      aka gamesgrandpa    A grandpa who is a mile high on gaming

March 5, 2007 Posted by | Family Gaming, Games | Leave a comment