I will start with the game I played at work this week. Tonny, Colin and I played Ticket to Ride on Friday at lunch. This time everyone was playing and not having to learn the rules and we wrapped the game up in less then 45 minutes. Tonny ended up crushing us definitively 129 - 98 - 91. I was the only one that did not complete all their tickets as I was two turns from getting my last ticket done, this cost me 26 points (the trip was worth 13) plus the longest track so I would have won. I guess that is what happens when you play games, you fall just short sometimes and other times you win convincingly.
Sunday rolled around and this weekend is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada so we invited some friends over, Jay and Cory for games and supper. Cory had just picked up a copy of Small World which he was eager to try, and since Brenda liked the game and Jay and I both wanted to play it, we broke out his copy and tried it.
A quick description of Small World, you set up the game with a series of races with special abilities, for example Commando Amazons or Pillaging Dwarfs and you can either take the top one in the row, or pay one buck/race and take one of the following ones. Each race has a special bonus (Amazons get four extra tokens to attack with, Dwarves get an extra coin every turn they control a mine) and each ability gives them a different bonus (Commando, which does not mean they play without underwear, but instead require one less token to attack with or Pillaging, which means they get a bonus coin every time they take over an area that was previously controlled).
After selecting your race you conquer territories on the board, expanding 2 tokens to conquer an area plus one for every other impediment (each token someone else put on there, mountain ranges etc). When you are done you collect points for the areas you control. A dwarf that conquered a mone controlled by either another player or a neutral race would get 1 coin for the area (standard) , 1 coin for the mine (Dwarf special ability) and 1 coin for conquering an area that was previously controlled (Pillaging) for a total of three coins for that area. Victory Points are money, so whomever has the most money at the end of the game wins.
When it is no longer feasible for your race to expand any further you can put that race into decline and start a new one. You will still score points for the declining race, but you will not be able to expand them (with certain exceptions) . This goes on for 9 turns (in a four player game) and the game ends and you count your money.
Cory started and paid 1 coin and picked the Pillaging Orcs (Orcs have the same advantage as Pillage so he scored three coins for every area he conquered with someone in it) and scored 12 points. I chose the top one, Wealthy Giants (Wealthy means 7 extra coins at the end of the turn and Giants take areas adjacent to mountains they control for 1 less counter), taking the free coin that Cory had put on it and scoring a total of 13 points. Jay took Underworld Ratmen (all caverns are one token cheaper to conquer as well as considered adjacent to each other, Ratmen start with more tokens, 8 then anyone else) and scored 8 coins. Brenda finished the turn by taking Mounted Sorcerers ( Mounted means you can take hills and plains for one cheaper, Sorcerers can conquer areas that are adjacent and have only one token in them by swapping out the other token for theirs.) and scored 7 points.
Round two was very similar except all of us scored around the same with my total going down to 8 and everyone else going up. Cory put his Orcs into decline around turn 4 and picked up Commando Amazons (see there they are again) and started scoring well again. On the same turn Jay declined his Ratmen and picked up Bivouacking Ghouls (Bivouacking means you get 5 encampments which give you an extra point of defence and Ghouls only sorta go into decline, instead they can continue to attack and take new territory), and scored well with them. Brenda had scored 17 in one round and 13 the next so she was perceived by Cory and Jay as the greatest threat (no I didn't help convince them....) So on turn 8 Brenda finally put her Sorcerers into decline.
I had placed my Giants into decline the turn after Jay so I picked up Swamp Tritons (bonus coin for swamps 1 less token needed to conquer areas that were adjacent to seas or lakes) and started scoring back in the teens again. On turn 9 Brenda took Alchmist Wizards (2 coins/turn they are on the board, and 1 coin bonus for magic areas) and she scored 7 points at the end of the game.
The final scores were John 107 (I got a ton of points every turn), Brenda 90, Jay 85 and C0ry 78. We all liked the game and will play it again. Small World is a retheming and slight redesign of Vinci and shares a lot of feel with the old Avalon Hill game, History of the World. Brenda, Cory and I all like HotW alot so I was not surprised thatwe all liked this.
I started supper about 5 so we broke up the gaming for awhile as I cooked and the others talked, we ate about 6:30 finishing about 8. Brenda napped from all the carbs (we ate vegan as Jay & Cory are) and about 8:30 we played a quick three player game of Coloretto, a quick filler. Jay won 183-142-137 over us and they left about 9 as Cory worked today.
Game night is Saturday!