Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hansa Teutonica, Sushi Go, and New Frontiers

The Thursday Night gang was short a couple of players this week, so they were kind enough to let me join in their fun and even let me pick the game.  In fact, we worked it out in advance and everyone had the chance to familiarize themselves with the game, Hansa Teutonica (2009), before we arrived.  I had played once before but JP, Cera, and John were all new to the game though you couldn't tell it by the way anyone perfomed.  We played twice and the final scores were tight.  It's definitely a game where there are a lot of paths to victory and everyone needs to make sure that no one exploits one path unimpeded or unchecked.  JP set the tone by immediately horning in on trade routes, so we all followed suit and were not squeamish or worried about stepping on one another's toes.  We played twice and it got more raucous as we went along.  It's a game that demands interaction so if direct confrontation in a non-wargame boardgame makes someone uncomfortable, this game is not for them.  Otherwise, it's a free-for-all!

I find it odd that the opportunity to play Sushi Go (2013) hasn't presented itself to me in the past but every now and then there's a game that I miss without having dismissed it.  We opened our Friday with a this gem.  Sushi Go is a fast little card drafting game with no small amount of scoring and signal-reading complexity.  The more clever your opponents, the less light this game will play.  We had a fairly-even crew, myself being the only new player, and we played a couple of times through and I managed to be in the mix the second time.  Higher scores are had by taking some risks but this also means that the scores can swing wildly from round to round if some players are making unorthodox drafting choices.  This isn't a bad thing because that opens the door for a slightly more conservative strategy.  A player definitely needs to pick their moments.

I forgot to snap a picture but we also got in another game of New Frontiers: A Race for the Galaxy Board Game (2018).  This one has been tough for me because I keep finding myself surprised by the final scores and also find it hard getting my game engine started if the combination of my starting world and the random development cards don't present some intuitive synergies.  I might not be giving myself enough credit because my final scores range from competitive to very good but during gameplay I often feel like I am foundering and waiting for some lucky break rather than steering my own course and mitigating bad breaks.  I can deal with the latter but hoping for some random mechanic to allow me a chance to win is frustrating to me as a player who likes more control over my own fate.  I'll still play this again but if I get the same feeling next time, I'll probably avoid this one in the future.

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