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Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Blokus, Age of Mythology with the wife, PR.


Abstract games usually have little appeal to me, but Blokus has been getting some good reviews and it is suited to multiple players. Also, it was 20% off at the local game store. :-) So, I thought I would take it for a spin.

Blokus reminds me of Tetris. Players have an assortment of pieces, most of which are comprised of 5 square segments, much the same as Tetris. Players pick a piece of their choice, and place it on the board. Each piece may only touch other pieces of the same color at the corners, and each piece placed must be placed as to touch at least one other piece of its color at a corner. Each game lasted about 30 minutes.

The first game was played wrong. We played a 3 player game with a friend of mine and her 8 year-old daughter. We failed to use all 4 colors and alternate placing the 4th color each round. The board still filled up nicely and turned into a challenging puzzle. Believe it or not, only one player was able to place all 21 pieces on the board.

The next game was played with 4 players. This time the only child to play was an 11 year-old boy. He did quite well, as did the 8 year-old girl. The 11 year-old quickly caught on and was blocking opponents from expanding into "his" territory. Blokus seems like it would have quite a bit of appeal to competitive gamers, as well as families.

I found the game to be enjoyable. It certainly lasted the right amount of time for what it offered. Good game. Not great. Buy it if you find it on sale. Good filler.

Puerto Rico

Two games of Blokus was enough for one night, so we switched to Puerto Rico. I have been playing PR quite a bit in the last couple months, but haven't played with this group in the last year. It was a 5 player game with the 11 year-old included. He is a pretty good gamer and really enjoys most games, but Puerto Rico was over his head. Not by much, but enough. Figuring future ramifications of your choices is a good skill to learn, and PR is a good game to help hone that skill, but it was a little much for him.

I ended up winning with the corn strategy. I can't ever remember being in a position to actually use the corn strategy. I had a measly 4 corn plantations and a sugar plantation. Utilizing a single small warehouse and a harbor I was able to ship corn for a lot of victory points. I got 2 quarries into the game early that helped a lot with the building phase. I was able to force the game into a quick ending by choosing the Mayor frequently, even though I didn't need the settlers. The longer the game went, the more my opponents were gaining ground on my lead.

I ended up with 27 VP chips, plus the building that gives you bonus VPs for each VP chip. Had 46 points at the end of the game.

The 11 year-old actually beat one of the other players who has played many times.

Age of Mythology

After PR one fellow and his son had to leave. My wife informed me that she could only play for 1 more hour. I thought it was a good time to introduce her to Age of Mythology. If she hated it we would be able to gracefully quit before it turned into agony.

As it turned out she liked the game. I suspected that she would, but I wasn't sure. Any game with war as an option isn't usually well received. It was the first game of AoM for the other player also, so I went easy on them. No war, I just tried to explain the game and let everyone build up their empire without going to war.

She liked it so well that we played for an hour and a half before calling it quits.

That was quite encouraging. I look forward to playing it with her again in the near future. Next time I will rain war down on her ass. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. I will report back. Hopefully, without two black eyes.

Good gaming,

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