Wednesday, 11 July 2007

port dickson

On the weekend of 7-8 Jul 2007 my whole family joined Ricky's whole family on a trip to Port Dickson. We stayed at Ricky's in-laws' holiday house. In addition to bringing the children there to play, I also managed to play some games. In fact, I brought some games to be played with the children too (Gulo Gulo and Villa Paletti). It was a wonderful feeling to be going to a trip bringing two bags of boardgames. The last time I had this feeling was in December 2004 in Taiwan, when my Taiwanese friends and I went to Jessy's aunt's holiday house, nicknamed "Little Wooden House".

Over the weekend I managed to play Coloretto, Taluva (new game for me), Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation and The Settlers of Catan (in addition to the games played with the children).

Taluva is new to me. It is one of the new games that arrived at end June. It is designed by Marcel-André Casasola Merkle, designer of Attika, which I quite like. The rules of Taluva are quite simple - your turn consists of placing a tile (which consists of 3 hexagons) and then a building(s). The basic goal is to finish building 2 out of 3 types of buildings (huts, temples and towers). As the players place tiles, the island of Taluva grows wider and higher, and volcanic eruptions destroy huts. The island grows into a beautiful 3D landscape.


Taluva close-up

Taluva is an open-information or perfect-information game. The only luck element comes from the tile being drawn, and this is not a major factor at all. Players race to build as many of their buildings as possible, or try to prevent their opponents from doing so. They try to protect their huts from being destroyed by volcanic eruptions, and yet sometimes they intentionally destroy their own huts. There is a little chess-like feel (not that I'm a chess player), in that you will tend to look ahead a few moves. Maybe I feel that way because I have only played a 2-player games against Ricky. I tend to think: if I do this and then he does that, and I then place this tile here, he would be able to do this, so I shouldn't do this. To spice things up a little, there are two other alternative winning/losing conditions. If no one can finish building 2 out of 3 types of buildings, the player who has built the most temples wins (if tied then towers, and if tied again then huts). The other condition is that any player who is unable to build any building on his/her turn immediately loses. These two additional conditions create an interesting tension.

I quite like Taluva. Once the players get familiar with the rules, I expect this can be played quite quickly, only pausing occasionally to do some looking ahead. There are many possibilities for clever play. When I played against Ricky, there were a few "Aha!" moments, as in "I should have done this and this". Some reviews of this game say that it is most suitable to be played as a 2-player game. I have not tried it with more than two, but I think I will agree to this assessment after I try it with more players.

So, I am happy with my purchase.

I have played Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation with Ricky before, but he has forgotten most of the rules, so I had to teach him again. However he did well and won both games as the Dark player. LOTR Confrontation is a lot about guessing your opponent's intention, and this time Ricky made all the right guesses. He slaughtered me. He knows me too well.

I played the Light side in Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

It was Ricky's first time playing The Settlers of Catan. There were only two of us so we used variant rules for 2 players - start with 3 houses instead of 2, and win at 15 victory points instead of 12. We played two games and each won one.

Ricky studying the Settlers of Catan board

The Settlers of Catan close-up

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