Kupferkessel Co: Kim and I showed up a few minutes late so missed out on getting into the first game, so we played a quick round of this. This was a 2001 release that had gotten some good vibes at the time, but somehow I missed out on playing it. All in all, though, we weren’t too impressed by it. It’s a simple game, but the scoring is rather klunky, and we just didn’t feel there was much there in terms of strategy or tactics, you just move around the board desperately trying to remember what you’ve done already (90% of the game is memory). It’s one of those games that just feels flat, like a conglomeration of ideas that lacks inspiration or spark and doesn’t stick together. Sort of on par with Heave Ho!, maybe short of Avalon or Druidenwalzer. Not one we’ll play again.
Next up was 1825 Unit 2 with 4 players. For some reason I had remembered this unit as being ideal with 3 and a little thin with 4 players just on the number of companies, so I threw in my recently-acquired kit K5, with the Furness and North Staffordshire minor railways. As it turns out I needn’t have bothered, everything worked out just fine and the addition was unnecessary – perhaps of more interest in a Unit 2 + Unit 3 combined game. The Unit 2 company mix is actually more interesting than the Unit 1 mix; in the latter game there is a steep fall-off in quality after the first handful of companies, with some of the later ones (like the LBSC and SER) relegated to fairly mediocre runs with little upside. In the Midlands, there are no real dominating companies (except maybe the Midlands Railway itself) and the mid- and late-game companies are all pretty decent with no real stinkers. As it turns out, neither minor company was ever started, although I would have taken a crack at the Furness if the timing has worked out better. I ended up winning by dumping the early companies (LSWR and Midlands) to pick up a dominating interest in Lancashire & Yorkshire, which went on to do extremely well. At a touch over 2 hours, this worked out quite well and I enjoyed it.
Last up was Domaine, which I lost horribly. Tactical tip: your first castle should always be in a corner location. I missed this and my kingdoms got squeezed … it was very ugly. My score ended up being non-zero, but not by much.