I finally managed to play the 1755 Scenario of Wilderness War for the first time. Matt stopped by and played the French, I got the Brits. While I definitely enjoy Wilderness War and it rates as a fine game in my book, my complaint about it has always been that it has a significant amount of complexity, yet there is a lot of luck involved in the game. For a game in which your fate is this much at the mercy of the draw of the cards, it really ought to be simpler. Anyway, this game was hard to judge because Matt had only played once and not in some time, the French are tricky to play anyway, and he had some rather bad luck which lead to a crushing French defeat. One thing, it definitely seems like the French are playing for the 11VP victory in the longer game. The British are eventually going to get all their regulars into play, Quiberon Bay will come out, and the French will be buried and lose to the automatic victory. So as much as the wide-open 1755 scenario is interesting, I may go back to the AM scenario.
After our wargame, Matt’s wife Clare came by and they, Kim and I finally had a chance to break out Bohnaparte, which I’ve been angling for a game of since it came out – and it was good fun, I thought. Instead of using Talers to win, you instead spend them on taking over territory and attacking your neighbors. There are a couple very neat features: beans are also used to resolve combat, so 20s and 18s actually become fairly valuable for attacking your opponents with. Secondly, since Talers are going back into the deck, the low value beans stay in play the whole game (a lone Garden Bean often becomes deadweight after the first deck cycle). The various special powers of the provinces you can take over are nicely done. This is one of my favorite Bohnanza expansions so far. It is a very different game, and it is quite random (and largely a “whack your neighbor” game), but it seemed to be enjoyed by all. The game recommends that for a more cutthroat game, you play 4 times through the deck instead of 3, and this seems like an awfully good idea – with only 3 times through the game seems to end a bit early. 3 decks didn’t take too long to play, so I’ll definitely play 4 next time.