Game Night

Sole Mio!: This is of course the sequel to Mamma Mia!, the pizza-building game. Although I enjoyed it for quite a while, I burned out on Mamma Mia! ages ago, but thought I might try to revive it. On the one hand, playing Sole Mio! reminded me why I liked Mamma Mia!, and now maybe I’ll go back and play the classic again. I wasn’t really sold on Sole Mio! itself, though. The pizzas are just too weird and with too many special rules – for a simple game, it’s too hard to explain and remember exactly what all the funky pizzas do, and there is some confusion with the new double-ingredient cards. I liked the “helping” rule, though. Not great, not bad, but not as good as the original in my opinion. The best bet may be to use it in the combined game, where the weird pizzas from the new game won’t dominate things so much.

Razzia!: We played with 5, and I have just a couple things to add. First off, while I’ve enjoyed the game with 3 and 4, I felt it creaked a bit with 5. Since the number of Razzia! cards to end the round doesn’t increase with the number of players, it seemed like there was a lot more time pressure and too much emphasis on the high valued checks. Still a good game, but I think you want to keep it to 3 or 4. Also, there are two additional differences between Razzia! and Ra that people haven’t mentioned: firstly, scores are open. Secondly, instead of randomly assigning the checks at game start, they are given out in a strict order. The first can have an impact if you play with the analysis paralysis types. Not sure on the second.

Coyote: This is an interesting game that is effectively Liar’s Dice, but with a lot more randomness and a little more bluffing. You put a card on your forehead (so you can’t see it, but everyone else can), then bid the total number at the table – but there are some big-numbered cards, doublers, etc. out there. This is a pretty fun game, comparable to Liar’s Dice, perhaps a little livelier but far more chaotic. I enjoyed it, but I won. The game shares with Liar’s Dice the problematic flaw of player elimination though; it’s really not that fun to sit around and watch (even though the observers have total information while the players don’t, so they can get a chuckle). Somewhat surprising they couldn’t come up with a scoring scheme that keeps everyone in until the end; unlike in Liar’s Dice, you don’t lose information as you lose challenges – you always get one card, while in Liar’s Dice you have to play with decreasing numbers of dice. Also, there can be occasional “you lose” or “can’t lose” deals, but again, overall a fun enough game.

Maharaja: This game is now pushing 10 plays for me personally, but I’m not sure I’ve ever played it with the same group twice. I think it’s starting to fade for me a bit. It seems to have about a one-game learning curve, but it just doesn’t seem to have had enough inherent interest for my friends to get it onto the table the second or third time. I like it well enough, but it probably doesn’t have enough variability in the play to keep it going too much longer, so it’ll probably be on the trade/sale pile pretty soon.

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