Saturday, October 22, 2005
Gulf Games: Sunday
This is majorly weird, recapping this weekend in late July here now in October, what with the devastation that was wreaked on New Orleans. For more on my jumbled mind about Katrina, see a previous post, so succinctly named Jumbled. Actually, it feels better to have waited this long to do this - I'm now enjoying the memory of my time with the Gulf Gamers rather than worrying about if they're still alive. (Sigh.) Sunday morning always starts for me with a non-denomational prayer service that I lead - we've done it in a number of places, my favorite still being in the ballroom bar in Birmingham. (I actually sat on the bar to lead the service.) In New Orleans, we used one of the alcoves leading to the pool and gathered chairs around to share life & God together. As usual, a primo experience. From there, I asked Joe Huber to teach William & I Pompeii. This game got negative early response when released last year - but I think much of that negative response was the All-Consuming Devil of Misplaced Expectations. This is not a slow, deep game of wise placement & movement... this is Midnight Party for adults. (It also has a lot in common with Escape From Atlantis/Survive... either way, the game is primarily about running while screaming from the lava and/or cutting off your running/screaming opponent with lava.) We had a great time playing and in the end, Joe & I tied, but he had less guys in the volcano, which won him the game. BTW, I'm on the prowl for a copy of this... it's growing as a game people enjoy and is getting more difficult to find. Next, I taught the Schloesser's & Shanna Konig Salomons Schatzkammer which I had played earlier in the weekend. I liked it better with four players (less downtime, a bit easier to plan) but it's not one I'm going to run out & buy. Shanna smoked us. Sunday morning means a lot of "catch a quick game before I have to load up" and that's what we did with Jim Fairchild & Leon Hembee. This time, it was Knizia's Jumbo Grand Prix, a quickie filler card game that really is a filler. I've always likened it to Lost Cities for Multiple Players, but it's not even really that deep. The scores were amazingly close, however - I won with 56, Leon was at 55, Jim at 53, and William (the newbie) managed 51. Next up was the much-touted Oltremare (whose new high-quality production just released looks mighty nice). The early buzz sounded like it was Bohnanza with teeth... in reality, it reminded me more of Meureter with trading added. Either way, it's a solid game, but it didn't light my world on fire. I wouldn't refuse to play it agina, mind you - I'm just not having the Pavlovian "must-buy" response. It was, however, the only game Anye Sellers & I got to play together, which was a highlight. So was finishing in front of Derk. (Anye won, I was second.) More new games for me (since I've been out of the "new game" loop, what with no Gulf Games or Gathering for the past two years)... I got to play Ingenious (aka Einfach Genial). Whoop-de-honkin'-doo. The production is very nice, but it's just an abstract game you can play with 4 people. Play - count yer points - wait while others play. Sigh. I'm not understanding the love that's been lavished on this game. It probably didn't help my opinion that Jay Bloodworth BLEW the rest of us out of the water. 3 points from a perfect game. Well-played, but it holds no interest for me. My run of new-to-me games continued with Pickomino (aka Heckmeck am Brautweck... am I the only one who thinks the old name sounds cooler?) It's a pretty simple dice with some fun decisions, a major bit of "take that", and cool components (the worm "dominos" are tres nifty.) William actually won this, but we all had fun. The same crew of William, Peter McCarthy & Eddie Bonet got in my last "official" game of Gulf Games as we dragged out the Haba classic, Karambolage. Cross billiards with Carabande and you've got a rough idea of how the game works. I was doing great (in fact, almost ready to win), but choked, and Eddie passed me by. And that was it for Gulf Games. William & I went to Mother's for Po Boys (extremely yummy, highly recommended) then headed back to the hotel for a night of gaming ourselves: the Game of Life Card Game, Samurai, Duell, Crazy Chicken, Coda, That's Life, and Galloping Pigs. Man, I love having a nephew who loves games almost as much as I do. Don't know when I'll get back to Gulf Games - but I certainly do miss it. And I miss my friends there... which are as important as the games.