Friday, July 28, 2006

Another Game?

Sure Honey. Anything to help you feel better.

We decided to give El Grande a try. El Grande is ranked #6 on boardgamegeek so you know it's going to be a good game with lots of strategy and not much luck. It's an area control game where you place your little wooden "Cabelleros" (followers) in various countries and/or in the "Castillo" (castle) and through the use of special action cards attempt to outnumber, and thereby outscore, your opponents in the most areas, or at least in the most valuable areas. We played it a few times when we first got it several years ago but it's sort of collected dust since then. It's a little hard to believe because the game itself is great. There are a lot of tactics involved and when you make a good play that scores you more points than your opponents it's quite rewarding. I think part of what's kept it out of rotation is that it's not an especially "cute" game. The Cabelleros are just little wooden blocks, the board/map is well made and easy to read but isn't that entertaining, the cards are pretty well written with useful diagrams on them but aren't noteworthy otherwise. It doesn't have a fun theme like Ticket to Ride or entertaining tiles like Carcassone. I also think it's a game that would take several plays to get a feel for the best usage of the various cards. We tend to switch up games so often that when a game like El Grande is played the winner feels like it was luck that got them the victory since everyone is basically just fumbling their way through and guessing at the best move. That's how Sylvia felt after her victory last night. I'm going to try to get it out more often, especially for my new Boys' Night of Games. I think Knotts and Francis will especially enjoy it and familiarity with it will probably make it a favorite for them. We messed up a couple of the less well-written rules but that didn't change the game too much. We've gotten them straighted out thanks to some help from boardgamegeek so we can do everything correctly next time.

That was all we played last night. Sylvia is feeling a bit better so we may play a few games tonight. I'm sure both my readers are just holding their breaths waiting for my next game report.

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