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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

This is Harder than I Thought

This coming weekend is our semi-annual boardgaming retreat at Doug's family's place in Sunriver. This time four of us (including three of the writers on this blog) will be attending. A sweet spot for number of players. This will also be the first time I've been able to go, so I'm really looking forward to it.

As opposed to how things have apparently been done in the past, which was a free-for-all in deciding what games to play, each person gets four-hour blocks of time in which we play whatever that person wants. We just have to come up with the list of what to play. Should be easy, right?

No, it most decidedly is not.

Four players, four hours. Do you go for one big game, or a number of them? Things you love but tend to play a lot, or underplayed gems? How on earth do you winnow down the list?

I thought about the big games I'd want to play (Roads & Boats, Antiquity, Die Macher, and others), but dismissed them for one reason or another, not the least of which being they'd likely run more than four hours. So, I figured let's do three or four shorter, medium/heavy games. That should please the gaming palette.

After making that first decision, one game immediately jumped onto my list. Stephenson's Rocket. This is a game many people in the group have said “I'd like to get that on the table again.” I concur. Okay, that's an hour or so in the books.

Now what? Well, I looked at my “owned but unplayed” list, and there's still two Age of Steam expansions on there. Germany is supposed to be pretty good with four. I love AoS, even though I'm not very good at it. So, AoS w/ the Germany expansion it is. That's another two hours. One hour left.

Hmmm... Power Grid isn't going to work in an hour. Bummer. May have to bring it anyway to play in “open time.”

Magna Grecia was a thought, but it's another tile-laying game, and Stephenson's Rocket trumps MG in this list. Hmmm...

My next three choices on the list, E&T, Goa, and Maharaja are all theoretically 90 minutes. Hmmm... let's use the Geek. Max playing time 60 minutes, 4 as num players, sort by rating.

Whaddya we get? (I notice at this point that when “N/A” is listed as playing time, it'll show up in the search. Not optimal. Aldie? Dirk?) There's some really good games on this list. In fact, that's a good question for the future – you've got four players, one hour. What do you choose?

It's tempting to choose Settlers. I know I've never played it or any of the variants with this group. Might just bring it and Das Buch “just in case.” What about the historical scenarios, though? I do like the Great Wall expansion a lot.

I thought about Torres, but we all know how I feel about action point games. Not worth the risk. Samurai could be a good choice, as is Through the Desert. Hmmm... I'm going to have to experiment more with restricted advanced searches on the Geek. Looking through lists like this can be fun.

Okay... I think I've got my list. It's not final yet, but I've got a couple days to choose.

Definites are:

Stephenson's Rocket
Age of Steam German expansion

The final hour will either be the Settlers Great Wall Historical Scenario or Samurai.

I'm leaning towards Great Wall for a couple reasons – it's lighter, and after SR and AoS, light wouldn't be bad. Also, I've already got a Knizia game on the list. And having Knizia, Wallace, and Tueber be the three designers I chose is not a bad thing.

Definitely looking foward to this.

3 Comments:

  • At 12:18 PM, Blogger dave said…

    There may be a new AoS player, so don't count on a 2-hour game. Also, I could see Great Wall taking up to 90 minutes (tho I've only played only once).

    I queried BGG for <= 60-minute Teuber game. Anno 1503 came up (yeah, right). Of the others, I like Entdecker and Gnadenlos!, and both play within 45 minutes.

     
  • At 5:06 PM, Blogger Dug said…

    I'm having a lot of trouble with this too. My first pass list includes Arkham Horror, Warcraft w/ Expansions, Giganten, Alex the Great, and Manifest Destiny for the longer games. In all cases, teaching will be required. There is no way that all of these games will fit in the time allotted, so I need to pare it down. Right now, Warcraft and Giganten are the front runners, with a couple of shorter games tossed in if we've got spare time. Unfortunately, these are also the games I'm least familiar with.

    Shorter games are great, but unless it's something that I've had trouble introducing to the group, it seems to be kind of silly to request a game that I've got an excellent chance of playing at a regular session.

     
  • At 10:35 PM, Blogger dave said…

    4-player Warcraft w/ expansion and new players (including yourself) can take up to 3 hours.

    Giganten will fall ~ 2 hours.

     

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