|Kathy's green score marker at the end of the game, |
with our northwest connections in the background
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Romance on the train: Love Letter and Ticket to Ride
Sunday afternoon, Kathy and I played Love Letter (designer Seiji Kanai, artists Andrew Hepworth and Jeffrey Himmelman, publisher Alderac Entertainment Group) for the first time. This microgame poses some neat little logic challenges and opportunities for second-guessing, although in our first play, we didn't find it quite as "brain-bending" as Citadels, our favorite hidden-role game for getting inside each others' heads. As it happens, we played two rules incorrectly. First, in the two-player game, we failed to turn three cards face up at the start of each round to reduce the size of the playing deck and gain early insight into which cards were already out of play. Second, we thought (incorrectly) that the Guard could target another Guard in an attempt to eliminate an opponent. Since there are five Guards in the deck (as opposed to one or two of any other character), that made the Guard extraordinarily powerful in our game. I've written before about my propensity for getting the rules wrong the first time I play a game, but fortunately, we still had fun, and the game was over in less than half an hour. LL is a quick little diversion that I expect will get more play - and that I hope will become more intricate in the tactics and counter-tactics of anticipating each others' cards.
This afternoon, I made Kathy a French 75 and myself a blue shark martini and set up a game of Ticket to Ride (designer Alan R. Moon, artists Cyrille Daujean and Julien Delval, publisher Days of Wonder). As long as it has been around, TtR is still an old reliable for us, right up there with Settlers of Catan. Even in its two-player form, this game is a great way to spend a cocktail hour. As it happened in today's game, we had only a little conflict for routes in the northwest corner when Kathy connected Vancouver and Calgary, which took me a little by surprise. As a defensive measure, on my next two turns, I took the one-train connections to Seattle and then to Portland to be sure I could make my Vancouver ticket by another route. So from a geography standpoint, we were otherwise not very competitive. Where the real gameplay got interesting was near the end, when Kathy started laying down consecutive five- and six-train routes to make the northern route, seize the lead in longest train, and rapidly draw down her train count to threaten the end-game condition. In fact, she ended the game and stuck me with eight unplayed trains and two uncompleted tickets to win by a commanding score of 117 to 96.