What Did You Play This Week(end)

Taking some title inspiration from the great WDYPTW Podcast, here’s a recap of what gaming I got in over the weekend.

Friday

When I have a weekend off, it’s a three-day weekend and so I can start my relaxation early. When Kit called on his way home from work, he suggested I get a game on the table and I was happy to oblige. I actually pulled out three to give him a choice, and so we ended up playing some two-player Five Tribes. I enjoy the game at other player counts, but I do think the two-player version works particularly well. Having two turns per round certainly lets you set up combos for yourself through careful bidding and mancala-ing. I won but it was super close so I wouldn’t be surprised if a grudge match re-match is proposed at some point.

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Saturday

This Saturday was the day picked for our monthly family gathering with my in-laws. When my mother-in-law sent out the email to pin down details, she asked if someone might bring a game, and who am I to resist an opening like that. I’ve had mixed success introducing my games to Kit’s family and so wanted to bring something fun but easy to explain. In the end we settled on Las Vegas and it was a hit.

Two games in a row were played with some slight shifts in players from one to the other as various people napped or took care of the baby/toddler/young kid’s needs at any given point. My four year old nephew Asher even participated in a few rounds: rolling dice for his mum, conferring at times about where they should go, and being the one to carefully place her dice on the correct casino.

After getting home and taking care of chores, I decided to pull out The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game and finally take a look at the solo game mode I’ve been hearing great things about. And no surprises here, it is indeed a really good solo variant, especially (in my opinion) due to the fact you can a) lose, and b) lose before even getting to the end. As I mentioned on Twitter later that night, knowing at the start of a round exactly how many points you will need by the end of that round to remain in the game creates an interesting tension. You’re not looking for end-game scoring opportunities and feeling okay with a lower scoring move, instead you’re figuring out exactly how to use what came out the squeeze out that last point or two right NOW. It shifts the feel of the game, and I love that it does so without causing any parts of the game to become redundant or to feel like unnecessary options.


Sunday

Sunday however, was the day I was really going to get to game. Eric, Chris & Adam were coming over to hang out and play, so I knew we would get some good stuff to the table. Adam was delayed, so we started off with a three-player game of Guilds of London. This was only my second play of the game, with my first being at Origins back in June, but I was surprised but how much the gameplay & iconography came back to me, and how much smoother it felt when playing with no new players at the table.

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After Adam arrived, it was time to return to Arcadia and play the last two maps of our Arcadia Quest campaign. We started with the Evershadow District, and after the map was set up, we all took a moment to process the horrendously large amount of mobs on the board:

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In the end, Chris trounced us all in the first map of the day, but I came back to win the final map (and the campaign) in the most Arcadian-way possible. I jumped in and basically lightly tapped the main boss to kill him off, after Adam & Chris had each dealt him a ton of damage. In a game where the various guilds are technically working together to save the kingdom while actually killing off each other to make sure nobody else gets any glory or prestige, it seemed appropriate for me to completely steal their kill and pull off the hollowest of victories. That wraps up our Arcadia Quest campaign so we now need to figure out our next multi-session game; possible options include returning to Imperial Assault for some expansion goodness, taking on the Force Awakens RPG, or even sticking with Arcadia Quest, but going Beyond the Grave. Whatever we end up doing, I’m sure it’ll be a blast.

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We finished up our day’s gaming by expanding our family trees in Legacy: the Testament of Duke de Crecy. I love this sprawling space-hog of a game, and luckily have a table that can actually fit a four-player game without issue. Two players were new to the game, but they quickly got the hang of the myriad of options available and got down to wheeling & dealing for the best prospective spouses to build a family legacy to be proud of. It was a pleasingly challenging session, with the ever so sweet tension of always wanting “just one more turn.” My patriarch’s third & fourth generations consisted of almost entirely female descendants, causing me to need a lot of money to find them husbands. Lucky I was able to arrange a good matches for the one and only single son to bring in a decent dowry and get his sisters married well! Our final scores were tight and in the end I won but only barely, finishing one point ahead of a second-place tie. Hopefully now that we’ve taught the game to more people, we can add in some of the Five Families expansion materials to see how they change the game.

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So that was my weekend, at least when viewed through a gaming-centric filter. What did you play this weekend? Anything new or surprising? I’d love to hear them… unless you’re on the WDYPTW podcast, I can just listen to that later (kidding – I love all of you guys, I swear).

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