Saturday, May 20, 2006

Quiet times

It's been a quiet few weeks for me, at least in terms of gaming. Real Life has been somewhat busier, which is at least one reason why you won't see any profound analysis from me here.

I've not done much face-to-face gaming since the school game night, although I have finally cracked the shrinkwrap on our copy of Tichu (and am very much looking forward to playing it more and more).

Online, I've played a few play-by-web games. This generally works well for me, playing with people around the globe, although some games do seem to work better than others.

I like playing Hansa at Mabiweb, and usually have a few games going there at any time. Interestingly, this isn't a game that really excites me face-to-face - I don't hate it, but there are other games I would rather play.

At spielbyweb, I have tried Amun-Re, Tikal and Reef Encounter, all new games to me. Of these, I think my favourite was probably Tikal (hence the gingerbread). Reef Encounter left me feeling faintly confused (or possibly faint and confused) - I think I need to study the rules, although from what I hear that might just make it worse. Amun-Re, though, didn't work for me as a Play-by-Web. There are so many player actions, so many occasions where you might have to take ANOTHER action, that it just goes on and on - I think my games ran around 2 to 3 weeks. Maybe it was our playing style, but once there was a string of 2 or 3 contested bids for provinces the game really dragged out. And having people in different timezones didn't help with that at all - two or three actions meant anwyhere from two to four days.

As others have said, the best PbW games are games where a player takes a discrete turn and then the next player takes a discrete turn - games with minimal player interaction.

That's why, on the strength of a whole one game, I think that Through the Desert at Ludagora is a great example of a PbW game. There is no real interaction between players, and there is a simple sequence of moves. It's also not a game with grand strategy - you can take your turn and not think about what you're going to do next until it's your turn again.

(Is there a PbW Alhambra anywhere? That's another game with that very immediate element - I often play it with friends with very young children, who may have to go and deal with small emergencies during the game, because the turn-to-turn planning element is very low).

The other type of online gaming I have been doing is at bsw - again, I have learnt quite a few new games here. Before I joined, I was very sceptical about the people who said they had bought games based on having played them at BSW - but now I am a convert. Sadly for my future credit card bills, I am a convert with a longer game shopping list - specifically, Thurn und Taxis (how much do I love this game? Lots!), Emerald, Diamant, and of course Ingenious (which I really like as a solo puzzle as well as a multiplayer game). I've also rediscovered some games that haven't seen a lot of table time for us lately, like Ra, San Juan and Attika.

Lately, a lot of my BSW time has been working towards founding a new town with some friends from BGG. Reading up on the metagame is fascinating, and it will be interested to see it all put into practice soon (we hope!) So if you see a town called LupusLanding some time in early June, come by and say hello.


Mark Johnson said...

Yes, Melissa, there's PBW Alhambra at Boite a Jeux. Not only that, but also Torres, Finstere Flure, Gipf, and some others at the same site.

Anonymous said...


I play Amun-Re at SBW all the time and I think it works very well there. Slow play can really be a drag sometimes, but I think it's just a mindset thing. If you accept that it might be 1-2 days between turns (at the worst), then it's no big deal. Monitor your email and when it's time to take your turn, happy days!

Give it another shot. Also, if you look at the games list, some of the games are identified as speedy games. The password for those is speedy or speed. It's just a convention used to identify player that will take more than 1-2 turns a day.

Good Luck and have fun!