Session Buzz: March Game Day

Back to reality after my April Fools Day fun.  These are the games I got to play at my game group’s March Game Day, which occurred on March 28.

image by BGG user toyvaultinc
image by BGG user toyvaultinc

We started off the day with a round of But Wait, There’s More!, a recent Kickstarter acquisition by Robbie.  This is a game in which you are pitchmen for an infomercial.  You start out with three feature cards in your hand, and a product is revealed from the deck.  You choose one feature card from your hand, and a 30-second timer starts.  You must pitch the product using the feature you chose.  At some point, you must say “But Wait, There’s More!” and turn over a new feature from the deck, then incorporate that into your pitch.  After everyone has had a turn, you give secret vote cards to the people you think did the best job.  After three rounds, the player or players with the high score are victorious.

We had six players, so we played with partnership rules – one player starts the pitch, then the other completes it.  Robbie and I were on the same team, and managed to win with 10 points.  I have to say that I really enjoyed the idea of the game – I think it will be really good for improv – but I didn’t enjoy the game.  It felt too much like an activity with scoring shoehorned in.  It was played again later in the day without partners, and from what I hear, it was much better.  I’m certainly willing to try again, but I don’t want to play with partners anymore.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

We had enough players by this point to split into a couple of different games.  I pulled out my new copy of 12 Realms (a review game I received from Mage Company – look for a review in the coming weeks).  This is a fantasy co-op where players are trying to defeat the big bad in each of the realms (only four are included in the base game).  Each player has a certain number of resources that they spend, or exploit, to do various actions like move, attack, pick up treasures or artefacts, buy cards in town, and so on.  At the beginning of each round, a time marker is moved forward for each creature remaining in the realm.  When the time marker for a realm crosses 16, the big bad comes out.  If the time marker hits 21 before the big bad is defeated, the whole game is lost.  You have to defeat all big bads to win the game.

We set up a four-player game – I was Siegfried, Geoff was Robin Hood, Amanda was The Sugar Plum Fairy, and Robbie was The Nutcracker.  The first round went fairly smoothly, and then Geoff’s realm started to get overrun.  He didn’t have the necessary resources to defeat all the monsters, and quickly got up to 15 on the time track.  When you hit 7, the Black Fortress comes out, and must be defeated before you can start fighting monsters in its region.  This is an advanced variant that we chose to play with.  It didn’t really matter – we couldn’t get aid to Geoff in time, and the Island of Bones ended up destroyed for a loss.

We liked the game well enough, though we didn’t really know what we could have done differently to affect the outcome.  We were unlucky in our cards draws – or rather, Geoff was unlucky.  Still, some good potential there, and I look forward to giving it another run.

image by BGG user poppentje
image by BGG user poppentje

Robbie and I sat down to play a couple of games of Cribbage.  I taught it to him about a year ago, and he’s really taken to it.  He hadn’t played in a while, and had brought his board.  Our first match was a standard game which I won 121-109.  Our second game was lowball, which is a variant I like a lot in which you are trying to get the lowest score.  It makes the game a lot longer, but it REALLY messes with your head as you try to minimize your points instead of maximize.  It was a back and forth battle, but I ended up with the 116-121 win.  Fun stuff – so glad that there are other Cribbage players out there.

image by BGG user riddlen
image by BGG user riddlen

I came back from lunch to find Eggs and Empires being set up to play.  So I joined Matt, Robbie, Alan, and Geoff in a game that I had been interested in, but had never played.  Each player has a deck numbered 1-10, and draws a hand of three cards.  Three eggs are revealed, each with positive or negative points.  You then play one of your cards as a bid to try to get one of the eggs (or not).  The highest numbered cards will end up getting the cards, but each card (except 1 and 10) has a special ability: 2 allows you to peek at the next egg card, 3 gets to collect before 8, 4 can give his egg to another player, 5 gets 6 points if he doesn’t get an egg, 6 allows you to discard a collected egg, 7 never takes a negative egg, 8 takes -4 points if he doesn’t get an egg, and 9s cancel each other out if played at the same time.  The round ends after everyone has played nine cards from their deck.  After three rounds, the player who has collected the most points wins.

Alan had the high score after the first round, which meant he got attacked a lot for the next two and ended up with the lowest score at 50.  Geoff came in fourth with 57 points, and I got third with 73.  Robbie came in second with 77, and Matt got the win with 86 points.  It was an enjoyable game – it was kind of like Love Letter mixed with a simultaneous auction game.  Good stuff – I’d happily play again.

image by BGG user domcrap
image by BGG user domcrap

I set up Evolution as the second game of But Wait was set up and a game of Flash Point was wrapping up.  This is another review game I got recently from North Star Games.  The idea of the game is that you are developing species to try to collect food, population, and traits in order to win. Each round begins with players adding cards to a pool to determine how much food is available.  Players then get the opportunity to play cards, adding them as traits or discarding them to increase population, body size, or add a new species.  At the end of the round, players collect food, then reduce their population if they didn’t eat enough.  The player who scores the most points from food eaten, surviving population, and remaining traits is the winner.

I played a three-player game with Amanda and Sylas.  Thoughout the game, I thought Sylas was running away with it and focused my attacks on him.  I ended up with two carnivores, but Amanda and Sylas had protected themselves well, so it wasn’t that profitable for me.  Amanda got the 67-63-58 win largely due to having some good foraging abilities that helped her take extra food.  It was a good game, and I look forward to playing again.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Rick wanted to try out Red7, a game I’m always willing to play.  I taught him the rules (you must be winning by the end of your turn or you lose), and we were off.  He got the hang of it quickly and beat me 40-0 in our first match.  Our second one was closer, and we ended it at 30-25 because Amanda and Steve were looking for a game (Rick won that one too).  Poor Amanda got shut out of the four-player match thanks to some very bad deals, and Steve snuck in the 32-26-23-0 win.  Rick really liked this one.

At that point, I had to go because I had a show that night.  But it was a great time, and it looked like everyone had a great time.

Before I end this post, I just wanted to mark that this is my 444th post on the blog, and it’s going up on 4/4.  I did not plan that at all, but I like the coincidence (though I did purposely schedule it for 4:44 PM just to make it extra cool).  Thanks for reading!

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