Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Revisiting Some Old Favorites

Over the past week I've played some "old" favorites with the wife.  I thought I'd take a post to say how they've held up.

Fairy Tale

I can't really say why this hadn't been played in such a long time.  After breaking it out I realized just what a fun game it was again.  There's plenty of double think and the decisions come fast and furious.  And enough of the cards feel and score differently that it's not the same game every time.

I actually forgot to play with the better 2-player variant.  Deal 10 cards to each player.  Draft 1 and trash 1 each time until you end up with 5 cards.  You can downsize it to 7 cards and just trash the first two passes.  It adds more hating ability and lets you see more of the deck (Like you would with more players.)

Anyway, it's a real winner you should try.

Blue Moon City

The first of the 2007 "Super Fillers".  How'd did it go?  Just fine actually.  This one has always been an odd beast though.  It's just so danged hard to figure out how to play optimally.  Is it worth sneaking one cube in to finish another player's building?  You get great return for your investment, but they might not be able to complete it without you for quite some time.  So you're giving them their return now instead of later.  Gah.  It's just a mess.

I agressively cycle my cards.  I try to never use a "1" card to help on a building.  It's just too inefficient.  I also really like the "Extra Scoring Stone for +1 Crystal" and will clog up my hand with one I'm not willing to let go.

We didn't play with the PnP expansion buildings this time.  They actually are  alot of fun, but one of them does feel a little broken.  The one that gives you +2 cards just for ending your turn there.  We decided last time that we would play it as "+2 cards if you do NOTHING else and end your turn there".  Otherwise you can just bulk your hand up for 2-3 turns and then go dominate the board playing all 3s to build buildings.

Oh, and we played the original dragon scales rules.  When they run out, ALL scales are returned, even if you only had 1-2 and didn't get anything for it.

Anyway, I think it's held up well.  shame about having so many variants and gotchas sometimes though :)

Notre Dame

And for another 2007 "Super Filler".  I think this one holds up well enough.

There are a couple glitches though.  There are some things you *must* do to win.  I usually don't like that, but I can handle it here.  Here's a list:

1. You almost must get all your cubes from the supply.  Passing on getting your cube space full is almost suicide.

2. You must have money to bribe a character every turn.  That means you need at least 6 more money than you started the game with.  If you fail to bribe a character even twice, you are probably going to lose.

3. You really should keep your rats in check.  It's not that hard and there are very few ways to make up for letting them wreck you.  (It is possible to go a message heavy strategy and ignore the rats.  They keep pulling cubes from your carriage space, but that's okay since you only need 2-3 cubes there to keep working.)

4. You really need to know what fancy score cards come out when.  In particular:

A. The person who gives VP for messages comes out in the middle 3 rounds, so if you do messages you want to do them early.
B. The person who gives 2 VP for each 2+ Cube region is in the middle 3 rounds.  He can be a lot of points.
C. The person who gives 3 VP for each 3+ Cube region is in the last 3 rounds.  He can be a big windfall of points.

So, these are all things you *MUST* do.  Now how about things you can do to earn points.  Well let's hit on some of them:

1. Notre Dame is okay.  It's not great.  If you get the chance to score it on your own, then take it.  Also, do NOT leave yourself without money by paying more than you can afford.

2. The Park is okay, IF you can get two cubes in there during the first 3 rounds.  If you only get two in there towards the middle of the game, it's just not good enough return.  But if you get them in early it can be a big boon over the course of the game.

3. The VP space really only has one good way to use it.  And that's the "Move 3 Cubes" character.  After you bank up on money or cubes, just use that character to move all those cubes over to the VP location.  And hey, if you stack it deep enough then that "VP for each cube in region with most" character in the last 3 rounds is huge.

4. Messages.  These are generally the bomb.  I don't go out of my way for them, but I do value them as dang dang solid.  You can snag the resource you need, or just go pure points.  And if you go early you can get a big payoff from the message reward character.  This is also about the only path that can still earn VP with rats running rampant.

5. Rats.  I should just mention that keeping your rats under control is a huge boon.  It's not so much the 2vp loss as it is the cube loss.  Rats have a better return than almost anything above.

Anyway, it's fun to play with options 1-4 above, but that's only 4 options.  You might hybridize a *little* bit, but Notre Dame is a game that rewards specialization instead.  So really there are only so many things to try and do.

But still, it plays darn fast and there is some thinking to be done still.

And that's it.  I wonder what oldies but goodies we'll yank out next...


  1. Nice analysis!

    I've been trying to get Notre Dame back to the table for a while now, but it seems like there's always some new hotness getting in the way. After reading this, I'll try even harder!

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Behave. Your mamma could read this.