Feb 27, 2015

New Games (to me) - Power Grid, Avalon and Camel Up

Games I recently tried
Recently I had a couple of chances to try Power Grid.  We had another family over for dinner and games last weekend, and after the kids were in bed we played a game. This was the first time that my wife and I had played it, and it really helped that our friend has some skill in explaining games, as the concept is different from a lot of the games we have.  It turns out in the end that we had missed a few little rules that may have changed the outcome, but we still got the hang of the game.  We played the US map that night, and then yesterday evening at a guys game night I had a chance to play a 5-player game on the Germany map.

The auctioning of the power plants, the resource market and the city buying all make this a much more interactive game than some of the other titles in my collection.  I felt that it had a good balance between other player's choices changing your and always having options available to play; in other words their play definitely affected you without taking you right out of the game.  I also found the turn order rebalancing (based on who is "winning") to work really well; it dragged on the leader without making it impossible to stay ahead.  If the idea of Ticket to Ride type map placement, auctioning for assets and a dynamic resource market sounds interesting to you definitely check it out.  Its a game I am looking forward to playing again.

I had a chance to try The Resistance - Avalon with the group of guys.  I have played The Resistance before (see these posts - 1, 2), including with the majority of this group, and was looking forward to seeing how the characters changed the game.  With this group we spend a bunch of time between turns (over)analyzing our options, which makes it really interesting and rather challenging when you have a role you have to keep hidden.  We played with Merlin, Percival, the Assassin and Mordred, as well as with the lady of the lake, which in hindsight may have tipped it too far towards the good side.  The first round I was Merlin, and we managed to win and I managed to not get assassinated.  In the second round I was one of the "good" guys and we won again after I managed to get accused of being Merlin again (which I was not this time).  I think that the characters definitely add, and would prefer this in the future over the vanilla game.

We finished off the evening with a game of Camel Up.  This game had been presented to me as a "crazy" betting-type game, and was a lot more fun than I was expecting.  The randomness of the camel movement makes it not too serious, but there is definitely still some strategy each turn as to what camels to bet one.  While not a game I would play all evening, I think it fits perfectly as the warm-up or night-cap!