Gaming Recap – The Sunday Finale

So poor Pauly’s best laid plans feel apart a little as two cancellations reduced the players to just he, Rob and I.

But fun was had regardless.  First off, it was an incredible visit.  The grub was fantastic.  I was entertained after dinner by fine fiddling and dancing.  I was served an excellent Islay malt (to contrast with the other excellent Islay malt from the night before – I’m a luck scotch fan!)  And Pauly’s youngest said I was cute.  Just adorable.

The first game played was Castle Panic – a family cooperative game.  It was Pauly, I and the two eldest kids.  Like all coop games it was the normal turn of something good followed by something bad.  We won quite easily, but I can see how it could have gone differently and how some simple alternatives will make it much more difficult.  For anyone frustrated by never winning at Pandemic or Ghost stories this is a fine alternative.  And it played well with the kids – they were both deciding their own strategies and cooperating with the other players.

Then Rob arrived and we pulled out El Grande.  I’ve had it loaded into my vehicle for months trying to get a game in.  Yay!  El Grande is a classic Euro – a resource optimization game with a single resource – calbelleros.  But it is also an area control game with pseudo elements of direct conflict.  During the first game Pauly, as usual, played a decent strategy even before he figured out what the strategy should be.  He kicked our butts!  I thought I did OK, but Rob beat me by a single point as well.

So we played again – adding an expansion in the process.  The expansion nearly doubled the complexity of the base game.  I was able to adapt to  lessons learned from the first game and I was the first to really leverage the expansion scoring.  So at the end of the 2nd scoring I was a valid threat for the lead.  Sigh.

But Pauly still had his innate ability for strategy and he adapted to my own strategies, adopted them and then discarded them for better ones in the last half of the game.  I hate that guy.  🙂  The 3rd scoring resulted in an ass whooping again.

For myself, I really liked the game.  I want to play again.  Soon, I hope.  And changing the number of players will also impact strategies.

All in all, good gaming.  What a nifty weekend!

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