Both Scott & I were in a “please, no trick-taking games” mode at first, so we opened up with a game of the classic Modern Art. I actually rarely do well in this game, largely because Kim has won virtually every game of this that I’ve played. I had a killer hand, though, and Kim made a critical mistake by not getting out Krypto (of which she had a ton) early, instead going for the easy money at a time when these things rarely make much difference. On the other hand, everyone played into the strengths of my hand and I had several critical = cards which I got out in round 3 for big money. So I won.
Linda had then requested Fische Fluppen Frikadellen, and we had 8, so we went ahead and did two boards. I really, really, wish this were a better game, but it just isn’t. It’s just too hard, too random, and not balanced enough. Every game of the two-board version I’ve played has been won by one player who racked up everything on one board, then hopped over and played two turns to pick up the missing fetish. Even in the three-board variation, usually two-thrid of the playing time is played on one board. Also, in every game I’ve played, the winner (and second and third place) have come from the table that plays fastest. Valiant try, but hopefully someone will take this game and make a good table-hopping game; this one the cost of switching is just too high, and the advantages/disadvantages of various tables too difficult to tell, and the game is too short and lacks development (in that you just accumulate stuff, the game doesn’t develop or mature as you play it). Still a good experience game for a couple plays with 2-3 (ideally 3) boards, but really just not there as a game. One thing I did wonder, I have been working on the assumption that about 4 players per board is best, but I actually wonder if 3 boards/9 players might work better. There is logic both ways (it lowers the cost of jumping boards, but going from 3-3-3 to 2-4-3 might be perceived to advantage the 2-player board too much). Still, this configuration would definitely be worth trying before going on.
Last was Adel Verpflichtet, the classic bluffing game from Klaus Teuber. It’s actually been a very long time since I played it – I used to play it endlessly back when it first came out in the US, maybe 1992, 1993? This really is a great game, simple, fast, and fun to play, with significant skill but not so much that everyone can’t feel they’re in it. I went with my usual contrarian strategy – people usually focus on art acquisition early, so I try to get minimal exhibits together and just display, display, display and get out to a huge lead. It almost worked, but a couple untimely thieves and the fact that my pieces were all over the place (mostly A, B, E, F) meant I had a hard time keeping an exhibit together and petered out towards the end, when Scott was able to overtake me for the win. I’m glad this great game will be coming back into print soon (although the name – Hoity Toity? – would not have been my first choice).