2004-12-12 22:20 UTC Empire building and bean growing
Today I went to play board games with some people again.
First we played four-player Blokus. Simple quick game whose goal is to put the most blocks on a grid while following some placement rules. Great game to get started. No randomness!
Next we played a seven-player 7 Ages. We played for five hours and got about one seventh of the way into the game, so I'd have to classify this as a long game. It's a quite complex game compared to games I'm used to. I wasn't overly impressed. (The long game we played last week, 1856, was much more fun.) It had a lot of pieces, many of which served multiple purposes, and a big flimsy map, upon which you're expected to stack dozens of little tokens into tiny countries. I've noticed that for me, board games in which pieces frequently slide around are less enjoyable than those where the pieces click into place and stay firmly where you put them. You spend so much time fixing things and trying to keep piles from falling over that it detracts from the fun. Also, this game had more randomness in it than a strategy game like this should have (that is, it has randomness at all!).
Finding good games to play with more than four players is not as easy as finding good four-player games, but eventually we decided on a third game: a six-player Bohnanza (with the revised version of the first expansion). This game is all about trading beans so that you can grow the biggest crops and sell them for the most value for money. I loved this game. It's easy to get the hang of it, and it has my favourite game feature: well-defined interplayer trading as a key game component. With six players the trading was very active. The key to most trading games is to let other people know what you have to give and what you want, so that the less aggressive traders can trade with you. Otherwise you'll only end up trading with the loud ones, and so your options will be much more limited. Like most card games this one has an element of randomlness, of course, but that is partially offset by the trading aspect.
Finally we played a six-player Alhambra, a board-and-card game where you have to build a town by buying pieces using four different resources. An ok game.
In other news, the WHAT working group released a second (and probably final) Call For Comments for the Web Forms 2.0 draft proposal. This call for comments is your opportunity to help the WHAT working group make the spec perfect. If you don't send your comments now, then you will have no right to complain if you don't like the spec later! This includes if you agree with comments people have already sent to the list — it isn't rude to send redundant comments, indeed when the CSS working group was going through CSS2.1 Last Call, we found it very useful to know which issues were issues that just one person was worried about, and which issues multiple people felt strongly about.