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Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Louis XIV

Got in a couple of new games this weekend, even though I didn't have any gaming planned.

On Wednesday I tried to set up a game group for Friday night, but we hadn't confirmed anything. I was feeling lousy on Friday anyway, so I just stayed home. I don't think I even awoke from my feeling-lousy-nap until 7 p.m. Friday evening.

On Saturday morning my kids were invited to a 7-year-old birthday party set for that afternoon.

After the birthday party the adults played a game of Louis XIV. Believe it or not, Louis XIV was a game that I just couldn’t get my brain around when I read the rules. I bought the game a couple months ago, and have been perusing the rules from time to time with no understanding of what was going on. I finally decided that I just needed to sit down and stumble through a game to better grasp the rules set.

It worked. I really enjoyed the game, as did the other players. I look forward to playing again.

We made a few mistakes, but quickly caught on. The rules aren’t as clean as many German games, which basically means that there are quite a few rules, but those rules aren’t difficult. I don’t know what my problem was, but without playing the game I just couldn’t envision all the rules together to get a big picture of the game, even after reading several reviews of the game. It may have helped if the publisher had given an overview of the game, other than just saying "Players vie for the favor of the King and his Court during the reign of Louis XIV yadi, yadi, yada," or something to that effect.

Louis XIV is an area control game, but control tokens are taken from the board every round and players need to re-exert control for each of the four rounds of the game. The main goal is to collect tokens that can be used to play cards that give you a small advantage for the rest of the game. Tokens are collected by various means but all means revolve around exerting control on various people in Louis XIV's court.

Each of the cards that give you an advantage are worth 5 victory points if you have played them by the end of the game. Single victory points are earned by collecting "shields". Shields are also earned by exerting influence on members of the royal court.

I enjoyed the game, initial impression is about an 8/10, possibly 9/10. I’m not prepared to review the game with only one learning game under my belt, and I have a sneaking feeling that we made a couple mistakes. I will have to go through the rules again with a fine-tooth comb now that I have a better understanding of the game.

BTW, Louis XIV won the Deutscher Spiel Preis this year. The DSP generally has a reputation for, and is accepted as, the award for the best "gamer's game". My initial impression is that the DSP was awarded to a worthy game, even if Twilight Imperium 3 should have won.

Good gaming

Watch for my Age of Steam session report on Gone Gaming Friday. It was the second new game played this weekend.

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