Thursday, 23 August 2007


This month another friend from Taiwan visited. Rick has also played many boardgames with me when I was in Taipei, although not as often as the regular gang like Crystal, Jessy, Peter etc. It was good to catch up after more than 2.5 years, and of course it was great to play some games together again.

We played 3 games, all new to Rick, Blokus Duo (using my Blokus game), Blue Moon City, and Lord of the Rings. Of course, from simplest to most complex. Blokus (I use it interchangeably with Blokus Duo) takes maybe 1 minute to explain, and he even beat me in his first game, and I was not even trying to let him win. I think he played Blokus differently from other players who just started playing it. He played with a more cooperative approach and he tried to fully utilise the space on the board. First-time players tend to be more aggressive in blocking others and tend to be more wasteful of space.

Blue Moon City seemed to overwhelm him a little, especially the special powers of the cards. So it took a bit more time for the game to click. Last came Lord of the Rings. Rick's wife Carol is a big fan of the movies. So maybe he will introduce this game to her. Last year when Jessy visited, I also taught her Lord of the Rings and she found it very complex. I told Rick about Jessy's comment. He took a look at the game box and then said Jessy must be eleven years old, because the game is for 12 year olds and above. Rick is still as witty and humourous as I remember. I do think that Lord of the Rings is a complex game, well, at least it is complex to learn, especially when you are trying to learn it by yourself by reading the rules. There are quite many details to remember, definitely more than the average Eurogame. I made many rule mistakes in my first few games, and only corrected them when I reread the rules.

Since it was his first game, Rick wanted to play Sam and he let me be Frodo. Little did he know that the ring can change hands (I hadn't told him at that point in the game). He did better in Lord of the Rings than Blue Moon City. I guess it does help that I am familiar with the game and I took care of the intricacies / special cases, like you can wear the ring to become invisible, the person with the most ring tokens at the end of a scenario becomes the next ringbearer and receives 2 extra hobbit cards. I let him make his decisions, so that he could explore the game and the strategies by himself. It's like reading a book. You don't want to spoil it for new readers.

Our game was quite smooth. We had some nasty tile draws on the early half of many of the scenarios, and we progressed about halfway down the event track (events are mostly bad). Thankfully we were lucky with our tile draws afterwards and we never progressed too far down any of the event tracks on any of the scenarios. However our resources were quite depleted when we reached Mordor. Eventually we managed to destroy the One Ring. Rick (Sam) was the ringbearer at the time and was 3 or 4 steps away from Sauron. I (Frodo) was only 1 step away from Sauron and could have died any time. We played at the easy level (Sauron starting at Step 15). Next time we can go for a bigger challenge.

One thing that I regret... I forgot to take a photo with Rick!

Photo taken on 19 Dec 2003 in Taipei. Back (left to right): Jessy, Yew Guan, Joao; Front: Stella, me, Rick (frontmost), Peter

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