Polyhedral Underground - Wisconsin Gaming Group

Wisconsin Gaming Group - Oshkosh - NE Wisconsin
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:16 am 
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Gaming God
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Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 5:57 pm
Posts: 2299
Location: Appleton, WI
LOCATION: Harbinger's place

IN ATTENDANCE:
3 Harbinger = Heath
23 Yong No Mo = Todd
32 Eric Holdridge

GAMES PLAYED: 4 as described below with an "in-depth" look at Gone Fishing.

This was the night before Thanksgiving, so it was a smallish turnout, which was great for me as the newbie, not being overwhelmed with new faces and names. I was the first one there, so Harbinger showed me some two-player games I had never tried before.

Game #1 -- Gone Fishing -- http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/16226
First up was Gone Fishing -- an installment from the Kosmos 2-player series. This is a simple game where one player plays the fishermen (that player has two fishermen) and the other player plays the "fish" (that player has 16 pawns that he sets up in the pond so only he can see them, Stratego-style). The fish player's pawns consist of 10 fish numbered 1-6 (two each of "1-4" & one "5" & one "6"), which are each worth their numeric value when "caught"; 5 pieces of garbage (each worth nothing when "caught"); and one diver (who his also worth nothing & has other special rules -- see below). After one person has had their chance to be the fishermen, the two players switch roles/sides and whoever scores the most "fish points" as the fishermen by catching/finding the fish of the greatest combined value wins the game.

The fisherman player circles the board around the grid area (4X4) with his two fishermen, making the fish player reveal a pawn (of the fish player's choice) in the row/column the fisherman pawn stops in. Then the fisherman player can "cast off" to space 1, 2, 3, or 4 in that row/column using his limited chits (3 IIRC) of that number. As these "casting chits" are used, they are discarded. The fishermen can move as far as they want, but the wrinkle is that when each fisherman gets back to his starting position he cannot move any more. The fisherman wants to go around the board as slowly as he can, gaining information about what is where and using his limited chits to gain the most fish points.

As stated above, the fish are set up facing the fish player (like in Stratego) so there is a guessing and memory element to the fishermen player's searches. The fish are numbered 1-6 as above. The other items in the pond grid are the pieces of garbage such as a hat and an umbrella which are worth nothing. The garbage items once you cast for them are removed from the grid as are any fish you manage to grab. There is one other hidden pawn, which is the diver, the diver cannot be voluntarily revealed by the fish player but gets to stay in the pond even when picked by the fisherman player. The fish player has to decide what piece in each row to reveal. As the fisherman player gets low on certain numbers of casting chits (which means he is limited in the numbers he can cast for) it becomes a sort of cat and mouse game because at the end of each turn, the fish player can move his remaining pawns up to 3 spaces total. This means that the fish player can move a pawn multiple times if he has the space or three pawns each one space. This is where the memory element comes into play and why I did not do great at the game. There are also some special power markers for each side which can each be used once in the game but I do not remember what they all do, and I'm not sure all of them were used each round in any event.

This is basically a memory game with limited movement to make it more difficult and a limited bluffing element at the very beginning and in the fish player's choice of what to reveal. When I was the fishermen, I would often take the 1 or 2-point fish which Heath chose to reveal in a "bird-in-the-hand" strategy (pardon the mixed animal metaphors). He could have often been bluffing me then, tempting me with certain points while hiding more profitable fish in other areas of the row. As the fish player you have the chance to move things around to confuse the issue and, later in the game, to move fish out of the fishermen player's reach altogether if you are paying attention to what casting chits he has left. You can move items with little or no value into the spaces you know the fishermen have to cast into based on their remaining casting chits and both of us were able to accomplish this -- to varying degrees of success -- near each round's end.

Overall, this game reminded me quite a bit of another 2-player game in the same line, Dracula. They have similar mechanics -- imperfect memory tests where your memory can be proven faulty because the other player has a chance to move the items you are trying to memorize (in Gone Fishing) or remove items and replace them with others (Dracula). This game was just okay for me, as I do not relish memory games. Since we already own Dracula, Gone Fishing is not a "must-buy" for me.

Heath won this game pretty handily, but I did not write down the exact scores.

Game #2 -- Fjords -- http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/15511

While we waited for someone else to arrive, Heath showed me another two-player game, Fjords. This is a hexagonal tile laying game where for the first part of the game you lay tiles and your four houses and in the second part of the game you use those placed houses as a "launching-pad" for your other settlements. This placement onto the tiles part of the game just finds you trying to cut each other off and be able to place the most. We played only 1 round of what should be (according to the rules) a 3-round game but Yong arrived shortly after we started and I got the hang of the game after one round. This one I liked very much and I may go into it a little more in the report for 11/30/06, where I played it again. In the round we played, Heath won by a substantial margin, but I did not write down the exact scores. This game is recommended and I would definitely play again.

Game #3 -- Age of Mythology -- http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/6707

This was my first time playing AoM and I think it was Yong's as well. For him, it did not show. Yong played the Norse, I played the Greeks and Harbinger played the Egyptians. Harbinger explained the game with his usual ease and explained that we would be using a variant for the battles. I had heard previously of some problems with the combat system, but not enough to know exactly how we played differently from what is in the rules. Maybe Harb can enlighten the forum on that if anyone is interested. I was very impressed with the bits of this game and (at first) impressed that we had some limited choice in what goals would pay off the most. As we played further, I'm not sure it really matters about the placement of victory cubes between the 4 cards (most buildings / biggest army / won last battle / building the wonder). I would have to play it more to see what true differences this could make. If nothing else, it at least gives the illusion of control. I fixated as I will often do on the resource production and building options in the game. This decision would cause my downfall later in the game. I placed all my chosen victory points on the most buildings, intending from the beginning to avoid combat & build a lot. Harb and Yong were more balanced and placed their chosen victory points on a more varied selection. For a time I think I did have a chance to win, when I had a clear lead on most buildings, some victory points from a battle I surprisingly won and a good chance to build the wonder if the production sequence fell in my favor. However, it was my lack of a truly well developed army which made me a tempting target for many battles. At first I just let Harbinger attack and take some resource cubes and a production tile rather than defend. Then I got a few more army units and tried my hand at defending and actually won a few points due to that win. However, both Harb & Yong had multiple battle victories and HUGE armies. Yong also managed to build units and buildings that would let him attack my city and try to destroy multiple buildings (3) if he could win. I wasn't in the best position to defend after multiple attacks against me, but I could not let him through as he was poised to destroy the integral buildings I needed to keep my goods cubes from spoiling and simultaneously take the "most buildings" away from me. So I defended and I lost.

Despite Yong's complaints about how dice hate him, he basically ran away with the game in the end, with Harb in second and the Greeks lying battered and bruised amongst the ruins of their buildings. And egos. That said I think this game has a lot going for it and based on this play it went onto my "want" list.

After that Harb suggested a closer game and we played . . .

Game #4 -- The Hollywood Card Game -- http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/15880

This is a light card game I would describe as a filler and can be played up to 4 people. You are placing your influence markers on cards you want to try to make the elements of a good movie (3 types -- action & romcom & horror). The trick is that there are columns of cards and you can only place on the lowest rung and as people place below you they push you up. You are basically trying to collect sets of the correct elements of the 3 types of movies and then get a star card at the right time to "complete" the set/movie for maximum points. I neglected to take down exact scores this whole night and this game was no exception, but I recall that Harbinger was the big winner with Yong a close second. This game I think is relatively recent and I know it is still available from Fantasy Flight if anyone is interested. I would definitely play this one again also.

Anyway, that was a lot longer than I thought it would be.

I will make another post seeing if there is any interest in seeing these continue and whether or not any of you have any suggestions of what you want to see.


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