Sometimes, in life, you show up to play one kind of game, and you play another. Sometimes, that’s slightly embittering, and makes you feel a little bit like your underwear has ridden up a smidge. Other times, you have fun anyway, and it all works out. Last night at Game Night, I ran into my friendly acquaintance, the Steve Jackson Games guy, and he was there to do demos. So I ended up playing some Steve Jackson games, which, for the most part, are not on my list of priorities when I’m headed out to party with the boys. This time, though, it worked out. Some of my buddies joined me, and we played some Munchkin, which was better than I usually find it to be; and Revolution!, which isn’t a mechanic I’m wild about, but it was fun enough; and finally, Zombie Dice, with the new Zombie Dice 3: School Bus expansion, which was a nice little novelty. After the SJG guy left, the boys and I set up some Dominion to cleanse the palate, and played two games of that to round out the evening.
Munchkin Legends – I’ve been subjected, er, exposed to several versions of Munchkin in the past, and I’m starting to think that one part of the problem may be with the people I get saddled with to play. I played a truly hellish game of Cthulhu Munchkin on International Table Top Day, with this insufferable douchebag who was mean to my non-gamer sister because she wasn’t acting quickly enough to respond when he cursed her two turns into her first game of her first Game Day of any kind. I nearly fed him his liver (without so much as a nice chianti to wash it down, no less!). Tonight, though, it was a couple of my buddies, and it was laid-back, and while one of them is enough of a fanboi to have the level-counter app on his iPad, which he wanted to use rather than the regular counters, he wasn’t super intense about things. I had the Munchkin version of Lady Luck on my side tonight. I had wads of great equipment – headgear, back-up headgear, footgear, I had gear everywhere. The only piece of gear I needed and couldn’t get was the Thong of Hercules, which I know had to be in there somewhere. There were two very pitched battles while I was level 9 and trying hard not to be, when I went looking for trouble, and found it, so those were fun. The first time, things ended hugely to my advantage. The second time, I went after Baba Yaga, and the divine Ms. Yaga found herself buffed into a towering goddess of unparalleled might. They played a whole stack of cards into the fight, adding this, seizing that, and pouring potions all over everything. In the end, they barely managed to tip the fight against me, and I ran, and didn’t get my level. It was only two turns later that my perfidious friend dodged my Hail Mary pass curse with the Boon he’d gotten from that bloody iPad app, and went on to win the game by defeating a Level 4 goose or something.
Revolution! – I had never played before, and neither had most of the assembled, but we picked it up quickly. I’m not super wild about the secret bidding mechanic games, but I don’t dislike them. In brief, it’s area control, and to control that area, you bid gold, force, and/or blackmail to gain influence in different locations. This is done simultaneously, behind a screen. Then the screens come down, and we go through each square to see who, if anyone bid, and who among them won the bidding. Enter —– The Cheaty Italian. At first, I thought he was just awkward with his hands, and that’s why he fondled his game pieces constantly. Then I started to notice that he was surreptitiously trying to move his bids from squares where he’d been outbid to squares where he thought he could win. I imagine he managed it a number of times, but he wasn’t very good at it, and then I started watching him, and he lost hugely anyway. I can’t understand why you would cheat at a board game, but I guess that might just be me. It was a pretty fun game, and it was funny that people one person got uncomfortable when I beat up the priest for the 4th time. I would probably be willing to play again, if people wanted to, particularly if it’s shaping up to be a Steve Jackson evening, but I wouldn’t ask for it by name, I think.
Zombie Dice with Double Feature and School Bus expansions – I actually rather enjoy Zombie Dice. I think it’s a cute thing, and it’s easy to learn, and you can have fun cheering and groaning with your friends. I hadn’t played with these expansions before. I liked the Santa die from the Double Feature, and I quite liked the School Bus, which had some neat little rules to it. We had a couple of classic scrapes – one guy got to 12 brains, with two shots, and knew it was probably going to be the last round, so he pressed on, to try for one game-winning brain, and got not one, but three shots. I got to 12, with two shots, and stopped, hoping I would get one more turn and win the game that way. I didn’t. The next guy got 13 and stayed, and the guy after him got 14 to win the game. It was cute, because he was a sweet, soft-spoken guy, who I don’t think I’d seen at this Game Night before, and he was really pleased with the Munchkin coaster he won.
Dominion with Dominion: Prosperity expansion – I have had Dominion for over a month, and hadn’t played the game before. We just hadn’t gotten to it. I was rather embarrassed that I’d never played such a major game. So finally, last night, I got my chance. We played two games. The first was randomly chosen cards from the Big Box minus Alchemy, I think, which ended up being Base plus Prosperity, and the second was a set-up recommended in the leaflet, called “Big Money,” which is Base plus Prosperity, but heavier on the Prosperity than our first game had been. The first game was a learning game for me, and it ended really soon, with us finishing off a third stack of cards just as I felt I was getting the hang of things. The second game was longer, and more satisfying. The Cheaty Italian got called on a lot of shenanigans that were alleged mistakes, and I watched him doing some interesting shuffling and card handling in general, which was just sort of amusing, more than anything. One of the experienced players went for a strategy involving playing the Spy card pretty much every turn – it allows the player to see the top card on everyone’s deck and leave it or discard it, which became kind of a joke. We developed a fun banter over that. I hung out in the rear, bumbling through, and then at the end, had enough money that I started buying Colony cards (big victory points) often, and caught up. I was barely behind second place ( 2nd place was 55, and I had 56), so I feel pretty good about my performance, and I had a great time. I’m really looking forward to getting my set out with Lane now. We have the Base set and Dominion: Cornucopia, so we’ll see how that plays!
Some game nights, I drive home feeling like there was some elusive thing I should have played, and didn’t. This time, I didn’t play entirely the list of games I thought I wanted, but I had such a fantastic time that I wandered home happy and satisfied. It was a good night.