I played some great games over the weekend with a bunch of friends who came over for my 50th birthday spielfest. As I was the birthday boy, I got to pick what was played, and is probably why I enjoyed them all - old favourites and new (to me) outings alike.
ASL Starter Kit #1: Nick and I played scenario 2 War of the Rats and had a great time.The rules may be daunting, but once you've got the hang of it the game whizzes along, with buckets of tension and excitement.
Blue Moon City: Well I liked it a lot (and that's what counts), even if Simon and Nick ("Blue Moon Shitty")were less impressed.
Race for the Galaxy: We had two outings with this on Saturday. Sad to report that enthusiasm was waning after the second play, but I loved every minute of this. Great game, loads of intricate strategy to explore, I want to play lots more of this. It's left me very keen to get the expansion with its solitaire rules.
Dune was the big event on Saturday. The game ended fairly quickly, which I guess is common with inexperienced players. In turn 3's Nexus John and I saw the opportunity to go for a joint win. Unfortunately we didn't anticipate the other 4 players allying to stop us! 3 climactic battles later and the gang of 4 had got their (pretty lame in my view) win. Great game, generates a strong sense of story, I've had masses of fun both times I've played it.
Ticket to Ride Marklin: this went a bit slower than I would have liked, some people taking it a little too seriously perhaps? Good fun though, and I enjoyed getting a win.
Age of Steam: Sunday's big event. Believe it or not, this was first time for everyone at the table. I was very impressed. We got one rule wrong, consigning John to an undeserved bankruptcy. I really enjoyed it, despite losing hands down, always a good sign. I like having the feel of a heavy economic game in a 2-hour package.
China: I have been hankering after Web of Power (sadly out of print) for a while now, so I was delighted when Les presented me with China as a birthday present. We had one game, liked it, and another was suggested, so round we went again. I like it a lot - very nice minimalist area-control game. The map of China is slightly less interesting than Web of Power's Europe, but on the other hand you've got the optional fortress rule which adds a nice extra decision
Thanks to everyone who turned up - as day guests or weekenders - and made it such a special weekend for me: Nick, Simon, Phil, Iain, John, Les and Trevor. We must do it again soon, even though I'm unlikely to be 50 again for a while!