We visited Val and Chris for an afternoon of gaming. We started with a game of Castles of Mad King Ludwig, a new game for Elaine and me. This a difficult game to explain but it revolves around buying and placing various rooms in your castle to maximise the points awarded. The key role in each turn is that of ‘Master Builder’ who ranks the available buildings in terms of purchase price and receives the money paid, and this is the key decision point within the game. Each room has variable points depending on its location within the castle. The clear winner in our game was Chris but I am not clear exactly how he achieved this! Both Elaine and I enjoyed the game and would happily play again. It was interesting to see the organisation of the completed structures, even if they didn’t score highly. Mine had a definite bloke feel: I had a bowling alley and billiards room, a secret lair, throne room and even a panic room! Meanwhile Elaine’s castle had two wings, one of which was clearly for servants only (a clear case of class separation!). I think there are hidden depths to the game and I’m sure that we would perform better following some time examining and understanding the functions of each room. The quality of the pieces is great and the theme is strong.
Next we played a couple of game of Dominion. A few years back, this game was a firm favourite of ours but we have not played recently, mainly due to accumulation of new games to try out. It was good to return to Dominion and we played the basic game without expansions. This is a brilliant card collection game that plays fast and has so many permutations that no game is ever the same! The decision about which card to purchase and actions to play is crucial, as is the timing of your switch from maximising money to acquiring property, which generates victory points. The first game featured the Witch card, so all players were accumulating negative Curse cards (always fun), and the Thief card enabled aggressive play. The second game had high value cards which enabled expensive property to be bought. Both games were closely fought, Val certainly won the first game but the second was very close with all 4 players within a 3 victory point spread (I can’t remember who won!). I think we will definitely play more Dominion in future and plan to introduce the game to our 13 year old niece.
We will host the next games session and I’m thinking about a piratical theme; maybe Merchants & Marauders, and/or Sewer Pirats which I have recently bought.