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Monday, February 14, 2005


Game Night gone bad.

Had some people over for games on Friday night. I knew a couple of newbies would be by at 9 p.m., and I expected two experienced gamers to stop by at 6:30. The plan was to introduce the one experienced gamer who hadn't played it to Roads and Boats. When the newbies arrived we would then switch to a newbie-friendly game such as Settlers of Catan or Bootleggers or Apples to Apples if nothing else. I figured it would be tough to complete Roads and Boats before the newbies arrived, but I half expected them to not show.

I had 4 experienced gamers show up at 6:30. With me and my wife that was 6 of us. Six player games that aren't party fare are few and far between. Had I been prepared for this eventuality, I would have had studied the rules for Twilight Imperium 3rd. edition. We're getting kind of burnt out on Powergrid, our usual go-to six player game. Princes of the Renaissance was another choice, but I really don't care for that game. I figured Bootleggers was a little too random for two of my friends to enjoy, and I refuse to play A Game of Thrones with Mrs. Coldfoot. There were a few other choices but I was eager to try Struggle of Empires. I had been reading the rules for SoE that day, and I felt comfortable enough with the rules to give it a try.

Big mistake.

Struggle of Empires is the latest offering from Warfrog/Martin Wallace. Several reviewers whose opinion I trust have had nothing but praise for the game. I do think it is a very good game, but I strongly recommend taking it for a test drive before introducing it to your group. Set it up and play one round at least. Warfrog has a deserved reputation for unclear/missing rules. They are getting better at writing rules, but aren't quite where they need to be yet. This particular ruleset seems complete, but is not organized well.

Even setting up the game was more difficult than it should have been. (Country counters? Shouldn't they be colony counters?) Long story short, we got through about 1/4 of the first round in 90 minutes and decided to change games. I am looking forward to playing the game again, but fear my opponents will never play again.

Switched to Bootleggers, the latest big game from Eagle games. Didn't quite finish the first round and the newbies arrived. My wife, me and one other guy had played the game before, and it is an easy game to pick up. One of the gamers I feared would be greatly turned off by the randomness was intrigued by the game and will likely be up for playing again. I will have to report back.

2+ hours and didn't even complete a single round of a game. Might I also add that we had Goa set up to play before the 5th person arrived, so we scrapped that before the first auction started.

Broke up into two groups after that. Me and Mrs. Coldfoot played Catan with the other couple that arrived and my game friends played Goa, so the night wasn't a complete loss.

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