So the evolution of last month’s obsession with board and card games has found me up to my neck in marked-down games from the Wizards of the Coast closing sale, (among various other sources). My latest two favorites are Carcassonne, and Settlers of Catan.
Wizards had a nice edition of Carcassonne with all the expansion packs included that several in our group of friends have now picked up. We played tonight with all of the expansion rules for the first time. (I take that back, we didn’t play with the big “double sized” guys, I’m not sure why exactly, but we used them to score instead.) It was fun, but I think the game definitely moves faster if you don’t play with all the expansions.
Dr Bombay picked up Carcassonne Hunters & Gatherers last night, and we played that–both to see how it differed from the original, and because he’d heard it was better. It was better, but only in some ways. The scoring at the end of the game was definitely less complicated, and we liked having the “bonus” tiles. Anyway, I’m not sure why Settlers of Catan is so fun. There is a definite strategy element involved (quite different and distinct from Carcassonne), but it seems fairly random to me as to who ends up winning in the end.
Tonight, after juggling, Laura, Sarah, Matt and I played a round of Settlers, and then one of Carcassonne. Sarah had to go sleep, so then Matt and I played some Go on a 9×9.
I won twice with my usual 4-stone handicap, so we went down to 3 and he schooled me. Then he told me why I was losing, and it basically all boiled down to the fact that I play too aggressively in general. With a game that small, you really only have to play the most brain-dead defense to win with a 3 stone handicap. I pretty much felt like an idiot, but I really thought about it afterwards, and even now it rankles a bit.
Makes me wonder if I have the same tendency in Chess or other games. Many of our friends make fun of me for being too aggressive. Laura likes to get everyone to team up against me no matter what game we’re playing. Of course, she’d say it’s just because I like winning a little too much, but I’ve always sorta taken it as a compliment. I’m the one people have to “watch out for” to keep from winning. It means I’m good, or at least, that’s what I like to think.
Sarah mentioned that she’d played a game of Carcassonne with K this last weekend where he got a little too upset about much the same thing happening–people conspired against him, and he lost. I think I know the feeling well, and it really sucks if you loose by a lot. But if you’re still in the running, and you know everyone else was out to get you, I always feel like that’s a sort of accomplishment in and of itself.
I better stop this line of reasoning before I start to sound too conceited. Just don’t ask me who wins every time we play Tetris.