October 25, 2002

Chris and Lisa’s Place

Rick, DaveO, Chris, & Lisa


With DaveO back safely from Essen, we had been crying and dying to play some of those new games we’ve been hearing all the hype about.  Not only that, we hadn’t gamed in a while, and I was just about ready to play some spades or hearts with random strangers online.  Thank god I didn’t have to resort to that desperate act. 

We broke out the “new” Carcassonne, Hunters and Gatherers, and were ready to be wowed.  The original Carcassonne gets as much respect from the OCBG as your favorite and most frequently used high school slut.  We just grew terribly bored with Carc, and the expansions helped but never really healed.  So we were looking forward to a totally different experience with H & G, what we got was a fresher, better, version of Carc…that reminded us of, well Carc.  You know the saying, you can put a prom dress on a pig but….

Tiles now contain rivers, animals, forests and meadows. Your Meeples are now gatherers (forests), fisherfolk (rivers), hunters (meadows, the old farmers which was the worst scoring mech of them all) or you can build a hut on a river network. Much the same as the old game, with a few subtle differences (no partial scoring at the end for rivers/forests incomplete, nifty special tiles, etc). The players play land tiles to create a landscape, with scattered wild animals like mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. They populate the landscape with hunters and gatherers and build huts to live in. Rivers, filled with fish, snake through the landscape. The game also includes useful special cards.  Granted, it’s better than it’s predecessor, but it’s still Carc.  We’ll probably play this again, and use our original Carcassonne’s to fan our holiday Christmas fires.

DaveO      123

Ricker      108

Pazzy       94   

I knew nothing about Trias when DaveO threw it on the table, but this turned out to be my favorite of the evening.  Dinosaurs reside on the modular hexagons of the super-continent Pangaea. Each hex can only support a certain number of animals. The super-continent threatens to split into various parts. The players represent herds of living creatures, which can move and reproduce. Each player tries to keep his creatures safe on the new land masses (i.e. connected land areas) and gain majorities there. The game ends as the meteorite strikes, ending the age of the great dinosaurs. At that point, points are tallied for all the occupied continents. Victory Points are awarded for having the majority of herds on a continent. Most Victory Points wins!

What I like most about this is the artwork by Doris Mathaus.  She’s got a very unique and personal style, which adds so much to every game she illustrates for.  Also, I just enjoyed the theme of this one, although the small wooden cubes may be improved upon by using actual dinosaur replicas.  But the mechanic was fun, not too difficult a learning curve, and just a great time all around the horn.

Rickomon             35

Daveno             26

Pazelton               22

DaveO brought me Grand National Derby back from Essen, and I was wanting to break it out, so we delved into the lighter side for awhile.  Reindeer Knizia’s prints are all over this one, and it light, but this one can get down and dirty, and has some NASTY screw-somebody-over-bad element to it.  This is the precursor to Titan: the Arena and Galaxy the Dark Ages, which I personally have never played, but legend has it that Titan is the holy grail of this type of game.  The theme here is horses racing in a steeplechase. Each round represents a fence that the horses must jump. Players bet and then place speed cards on each horse. When all of the horses have a speed card on them, the one with the lowest speed card is eliminated. When there are three horses left (which happens after 5 rounds), the players are paid for their bets on the surviving horses. Earlier bets are worth more.
That’s it, basically.  Fun, Fast, Easy to teach, and gets the bad blood pumping for revenge in later games…

Pazzy           11

DaveO              9

Ricker              8
Lisa                  6

 Next up, one we’ve all been excited about, Abenteuer Menscheit (or Mankind Adventure) which has some of the basic mechanisms of "Settlers of Catan", but is a completely different game on it’s own. In addition to the basic Settlers mechanisms borrowed, this one goes waaaay back in time to Africa, the origin of Homo Sapiens. Klaus Teuber’s new game traces the development and spread of Mankind, across the continents of the Earth.  The game map shows Africa, Europe, Asia, America and Australia/Oceania. Players familiar with Settlers will recognize the four hexagonal tile types that indicate different geographical regions. At game start, each player possesses 3 tribes in Africa (these tribes function similarly to towns in the original Settlers game). Players use these tribes to provide the vital tools of survival: meat, bone, skins, and flint. The ultimate goal, is to provide your discoverers with skin, bones and meat, so that they may build new trunks, spreading across the World and developing culture and civilization. Players are rewarded with Victory Points, for the establishment of new tribes in the ever-expanding World, but also for adapting to difficult climactic conditions, exploring particularly hostile environments, and spreading to all five of the World’s continents.  It’s a lot to chew on, that’s for sure, even for those familiar with Settlers. There is one hell of a lot going on, not that it’s a bad thing, but this one definitely needs a few more plays before any firm decisions are made on it’s fate.  This was the last one of the evening, and was VERY LONG.  Rick was going to wrap this one up, but then I managed to steal (the equivalent of the largest army in Settlers) and stole his two victory points away, thus prolonging this one.

We decided to end it, as the midnight hour was upon us.  I was leading in VPs when we closed shop. We’ll need a long afternoon to fully appreciate this one. So there it is, we’re back on the gaming schedule, with many more new Essen releases to play in our future...Welcome home, DaveO. We missed ya! Now where in the hell are the games…..