Since my paraglider is in the dry-dock for a few weeks after I recently wrapped it around a tree, I have a bit more time for boardgaming. So this week has been good for gaming - last Sunday Les came over to try out War of the Ring. I have been busily painting the figures for a while and had completed the Shadow forces by the time Sunday came. They looked superb arrayed on the board, but badly showing up the Free Peoples in their glistening coats of blue plastic.
It took me about 45 minutes to take Les through the rules. Les was very patient but was starting to look a bit glazed over by the end (especially as he had a hangover to contend with as well!) As the beginner he opted to play the Shadow. We both thoroughly enjoyed the epic struggle that followed. With "Mithril Coat" and "Wizard's Staff" I felt able to push the Fellowship forward twice every turn. Les was a little slow getting his offensive rolling, and also had consistent bad luck on the combat dice all through the game. After about 4 hours of play (plus a break for supper) I managed to get the Fellowship to Gorgoroth with remarkably little corruption. I love the panoramic sweep of this game and its faithfulness to the books - I'm very anxious to play again. Meanwhile the men of Rohan are getting their coat of green paint over the Christmas break....
Then on Monday evening after work it was over to Keith's for my second go at Caylus. I have to admit that my first play a few weeks ago left me underwhelmed - baffled by the rules, squinting at the graphics, dismayed by the playing time, and confused about tactics. But this time around I felt much better about the game. I benefitted from Keith's running through the rules again for John's benefit, plus I managed to keep the rules at my end of the table and took frequent looks between my turns, so I felt much more on top of the mechanics, and I actually started to enjoy some of the decision making. Fairly early on I built a church and enjoyed getting my free prestige point every time someone popped in for a visit. And I was gratified to come in second (but way behind Keith whom we allowed a free hand in the gold-mines for the last few turns). So yes, I now would be happy to play Caylus again, but having said that I would far rather play say Amun-Re, which does the same sort of thing as Caylus but in a much more interesting and elegant way.