Monday, 17 March 2008

Gaming over the weekend

Jay and Cory came over Saturday night and we played the introductory scenario to Doom. I played the invaders and they played a marine each. The game took us about 3 ½ hours. We made a couple of mistakes but nothing major, well until I saw in the FAQ that range does not matter for melee weapons. The invaders won, but it was a close game. I got my 6th frag in the final room as they were about to win.

What I liked about this game:
The pieces are cool, and the game has a good feel to it. There is a certain tenseness with the players as they know they are trapped but fight hard to survive.
The card concept for frags for the invader is stolen directly from Descent, whose ties to Doom can be seen in the combat system and in the development of the characters vs the game.
Combat works as such, every weapon and creature has a set of attack dice and advantages.
The dice work by having a range number, the number of wounds and whether or not it uses ammo on it. If you want to hit something beside you a range of one or better must be on it. Two dice also have misses on them.
Here are a couple of examples; the chainsaw has a range of 1 and uses one red die. The saw also has the advantage of attacking every square around you (if you want) and deadly (which adds a hit). When Jay was attacking a zombie with the saw, he rolled one red dice, looking to geta couple of hits and since ammo does not count on chain saws, he was not concerned. If he rolled 3 hits and an ammo, he would do 4 damage. Now the way armour works is, if a zombie has 3 armour and 2 wounds, for every three hits you do in a round, you cause a wound. So, if Jay did 2 or less hits to the zombie he would do no damage, if he did 3,4 or 5 hits he would do 1, with six he does 2.

Cory was using the shotgun and it uses one red dice and one blue dice, it’s advantages are deadly (an extra hit) and blow through (allows him to attack an adjacent target if he drops a blue or green dice). Cory has two zombies charging at him and are currently 3 spaces away. Cory would pick his first target and roll his dice. He rolls 1 range, 2 hits on the red and 3 range and one hit on the blue. His total range (1+3) is greater then the range required (3) and he would add the damage from the two dice together (2+1+1) for a total of 4 (including the deadly bonus). This means he would do a total of one wound to the first zombie. He then decides to blow through onto the second one and rolls only the red dice. He gets a 3 range, 1 wound and a bullet. This means he had insufficient range to hit the zombie and it costs him his last bullet.

I also like how they scaled the game down when you do not have a full complement of players. The way it works is that the players are colour coded, with a blue, a red and a green player. The creatures are also in all three colours and if that colour of player is not in the game, anywhere the game shows a monster of that colour in the scenario, that creature does not appear. As an example, in the game I played with Cory and Jay, they chose red and blue, so any green creatures that appeared on the scenario map do not appear in the game.

What I didn’t like about the game:
The rules are not systematically set up, so there is some searching to determine what the exact rules are (read the error with melee weapons…)

Will I run another long game night?
Most definitely yes!

Sunday afternoon I hosted Power Grid a mania, a game (or two) of Power Grid. We had 6 people total show up, with 3 of them being newbies and 3 being “old hands”. We played two separate games with the rookies playing in one, and the other three in a separate game.
The new players game was the USA map form the base game. Since it was a three player game it went to 17 cities. Alex, Brenda and I explained the rules to Greg, Peter and Ed who only like mildly puzzled by the game. The initial board set up they used was the lower West Coast, Southern US and up the middle of the map excluding the mid west. This formed an L shape that was lying on it’s back. Ed set up first and started in the west coast, just far enough from the ocean to allow him to get the west coast and block off everyone else. Peter set up second and started in Duluth, which meant that Greg went to Dallas to avoid fighting for space with either. While they played we watched for the first 4 or 5 turns to see if they understood the order in which things were done and then we went on to the other game.

The other game played on the Italy map and used the Power Grid expansion cards. The Italy map is very constrained because it is so narrow and we picked the lower half of the boot.
The card auction was a little different in that the expansion deck has a 1 cost plant and a 2 cost plant. They were not purchased initially and disappeared after the first two cities were built. Power plants in the expansion appear to be a little more efficient then the ones in the original game as well. The 50 point plant is a 2 uranium powered plant that powers 8 cities.
The game was a close affair with Alex winning after powering 18 cities, Brenda finished second with 17 cities (and more money then me) and I pulled up in last place. It took us less then two hours, but all three of us are comfortable with the game and understand the rules and game mechanics.
One of the things I also found different was that we always had a surplus of coal in the game and not until the last two turns was the price of coal above 3. Garbage was similar in that respect and it stayed static at 5 until the later stages when it was dropping. We were almost entirely out of uranium by the end of the game, with only 2 pieces left in the market.
The new players’ game took a little longer then ours, after instructions were completed and they started in on the game, they took about two and a half hours. Peter won the game with 17 cities, Greg was second with 16 and Ed pulled up the rear with 15. Their game was different in that they were almost out of coal.

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