First up was a 4-player Flaschenteufel. I won by a big margin, largely because as usual the new players (Jeff and Roger) took a couple rounds to really get the hang of the game. I don’t know how many hands it takes, but this game is so unusual it’s going to take anyone a few to have any idea at all what’s going on. I am still unsure on the debate as to whether this is better with 3 or 4; I like 4 personally, but I am sympathetic to the 3 argument. It’s a game that is quite different based on the number playing.
We played some 4-player San Juan. I finally managed to win one, this time on the strength of a Silver Smelter for my first build plus all three monuments plus a City Hall (I couldn’t find a Triumphal Arch in time). Carl went with the Guild Hall strategy which did well but couldn’t pull it out. Those monuments are very good value for money later in the game. Again, I think the 3 and 4-player version of the game are actually quite different. I like the 4-player version a little better, although they are both good.
Roger had brought a homemade version of Code 777 he was wanting to play, so we gave it a try. Each player has a 3-digit number, each of which is in a particular color, which all the other players can see but he or she cannot. Then each player draws a card which asks various question (can you see more red or orange numbers? How many players have a duplicate number?). This is a really brutal deduction game, but unlike Swartzarbeit, I’m not sure it’s an actual game. You need to devise the rules and patterns for how to eliminate possibilities, but I’m not sure there is any actual decision-making element to it at any level. Neat and challenging, I wouldn’t mind playing again, but Ricochet Robot is more my speed.
Roger was still here after everyone else had to leave, so we played a game of YINSH. This is an interesting but very tough game – I thought the post-GIPF games in this series were supposed to be quick so they could be played as side games to GIPF itself! YINSH is very chaotic, with a lot of available moves and each player able to affect large portions of the board. I’m starting to see the patterns, so I did enjoy this game, but it’s the first in the GIPF series that hasn’t had a huge “wow, that’s neat” kind of reaction, and I do wish it were a bit shorter, like the compact ZERTZ, TAMSK, and DVONN.