Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

New Years Party Episode III has been a blast, and has had three important parts, in increasing order of importance to me: beach, board games, and best friends, or buddies, I was just going to call them friends, but that would break the alliteration. There was also dancing! This year we needed an even bigger house, and the least time we could rent it was 3 nights, so our party was actually one day longer than it had previously been, no complaints here!

Beach: Pretty self explanatory. The house is right by the beach and has nice big windows, so I spent a lot of time admiring the sights and sounds of the surf. We also walked some on the beach. Highlights include finding two geo-caches, fording a stream by climbing over rocks and driftwood, and wondering if people who decided to ford an ankle high stream got swept into the ocean. There is a limit to my recklessness, climbing around might get me dirty (it did) or hurt (it didn't), but wading across a stream would get me wet!

Board Games: In no particular order, I played Arkham Horror, Twilight Imperium, Quarriors, Galaxy Trucker, Chinatown, Power Grid, and RoboRally, perhaps some others that I cannot remember as well. Arkham Horror, Chinatown, and Power Grid I had played multiple times previously, so I suppose it is safe to say that I must enjoy them, since I knew what I was getting into.

I have to admit I'm not sure if I enjoy Arkham Horror. It is a complicated game, which keeps me interested, and it is cooperative, so it is something fun to do WITH friends rather than against them. But it is soooo long!!! I think part of the problem might have been we had a full game, with eight players. However, by the end of the four or so hours of play we were a bit... fatigued. I'm not sure how eager I will be to play this next year, just because there are other games I know I really like that I did not get to play.

Chinatown is one of my favorite games. It is about trading and building up one's area, both of which are practices that I enjoy. However, because I am enthusiastic about trading, I sometimes annoy people with my... thrift... when trading. So, I enjoy Chinatown, but I should restrict how often I play it.

Power Grid is another of my absolute favorite games. It has a very interesting and fun market mechanic for purchasing materials to fuel one's power plants. The placement of power plants on the game board adds a geographic element and there is also a bidding component for getting new power plants, so it is a rich, complex, and seriously fun, game.

I had played Galaxy Trucker and Twilight Imperium once before each. Galaxy Trucker I really enjoyed, one builds a spaceship then tries to survive a voyage throughout space. I suppose the actual objective is to make as much money as possible, but I'm not quite that good, and I was really just hoping that my ship didn't get destroyed. As I mentioned, I enjoy games that let me build things, and it is entertaining to watch ships, usually mine, get pieces chipped off of them. I actually was supposed to have this game, but Tanga couldn't manage to successfully ship it to me, so I don't have it, and that is sad.

Whereas Galaxy Trucker is simple enough that I feel like I understood it the first time I played it, so I have no excuse for how poorly I did today, Twilight Imperium... is not. I had played it once before, about a year and a half ago, and that was enough that, by the end, we knew sort of what we were doing. But this time we had two people from that last game and four people who hadn't played before, so we needed to re-teach it. The game moves much faster when people know what is going on, so I don't think the six hour playing time is indicative of how long it should really take. However, it is an amazingly fun game, you are building and defending a space kingdom, so there is building, which I still like, and strategic combat, which I also like; although I managed to make it through that game without really attacking anyone once. I would like to play this one again, even if it means skipping playing a few quicker board games that I also like.

I am not enamored of Quarriors. It is very quick and based completely on dice rolls, so not terribly strategic. It does seem to be a good game for people who are drunk, exhausted, or otherwise easily distracted... no reason I know that. The dice, while pretty, are not high quality, so I noticed a lot of the numbers were hard to read due to chipped paint. I might end up buying it just as a good way to get people interested in games, much like Settlers and Ticket to Ride, but it isn't something that I would play much given my druthers, so I am not inclined to pay money for it.

RoboRally was a seriously chaotic game, with robots careening wildly around the course, shoving each other off track and causing nearly random laser mayhem. As you might imagine it ranks low in the strategy category, but because there is so much interaction between the players and the catastrophes are so much fun to watch it is still quite an enjoyable game. I don't know how much opportunity I would have to play it in Michigan, but I still may consider getting it because it does seem like a really fun, non-intense game.

Friends: There just really isn't much to say about these amazingly wonderful people. I've known a lot of them for almost nine years. And I don't mean just any ten years of my life, starting with college, so I've been doing a lot of thinking for these ten years, and been very aware of thoughts and people, not wasting it being a small child then forgetting everything I experienced. Side note: terrifying thought, I've been doing college for closer to 10 years than 5 years.

We just had a long, deep philosophical conversation and I knew almost everything that one of the other people was going to say. Not the details, but what position he'd take on the issues. Because we've talked about them, many times, in great depth. And it is wonderful to be around people with that level of familiarity.

And we had new friends, which is good! That's why we get to have these conversations again! In between these two extremes there are a bunch of other friends, and they are wonderful too. So, to friends old and new, near and far, hope you have a wonderful new year, and I look forward to seeing the nearer friends again in a year!


elfarmy17 said...

The only game I've played out of those is RoboRally, but yeah, it's awesome!
Only I think my dad designed our version himself after playing it at someone else's house, so we have a custom board and use Lego people as our robots.

elfarmy17 said...

Also, what the name of the kind of dancing you do?

Kenny said...

I play the board games. Apparently my sister has also played RoboRally before, so I guess I'm just out of the loop on this one.

The type of dance I do most frequently is swing dance, but I also dance a bunch of salsa these days. I used to do ballroom type dance too, but I haven't found a place that works conveniently for me at Michigan State. Basically, if it is a social dance, I want to try it!