It has been a while since I last reported a boardgame session. Elaine and I have been playing weekly at a local games group, but I have decided not to write any posts on these evenings. Elaine also plays Mah-Jong at another group each week.
Val and Chris have not been around for a couple of months so it was good to get together again. We played a couple of ‘old’ Reiner Knizia games that were ‘new’ to us. We started with High Society, a simple bidding game that is a short (10-15 minute) filler. The rules are simple and easy to teach, but the beauty of the game lies in the twist at the end, where the player(s) with the least remaining money are automatically eliminated. Therefore as a player you are trying to get the most status points by out-bidding opponents, whilst ensuring you do not spend the most in doing so. The presence of negative cards also works by introducing the occasional rounds of ‘reverse’ bidding, and triggering a variable game end-point. This is not game that should be the focus of a game session, but it does provide an excellent filler for those spare moments that can arise and it can accommodate 4-5 players easily. I don’t think it would work with fewer than 4 players.
Next we tried Palazzo, a game I bought about a year ago from a charity shop and have not got round to playing. Players are trying to construct palaces of 3 or more floors, with as many windows as possible, and in a single building material if possible. Each turn a player can either get more money, obtain a new floor tile, or remodel one of their existing palaces. Each floor can either be bought from a central pool, or acquired by auction from one of 4 quarries. I am personally not keen on auction games (maybe why this game had not made it to the table), but Palazzo works well because the auction option is not dominant and other choices are available. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this game, and can see it appearing fairly regularly from now on. Val won both games we played; the margins were tight and I did not spot any clear tactical reasons that ensured her victory.