Tuesday, 11 March 2008

IN YOUR FACE, DECK OF CARDS!

sick bastards
Oh yeah, games and that.

Pandemic is a game of co-operation. Fancy that! A game where you are all on the same side. I hadn't played a game in this format before but I had heard good things about Pandemic, so I was keen to give it a wobble. Pandemic is a game of saving the world from 4 diseases. Don't catch a disease. On the board are coloured cubes representing these infectious viruses. EURO! We (that's Luke, Olly, James and myself for those keeping score at home) each represented a specially talented person adept at saving the world. Olly placed the cubes on the board. There were lots of cubes in Sydney. And some in Mumbai. Any more MUMBAI? We started playing and thought we had a handle on it. The 'blue' virus was under control. These viruses had no names, so I guess you can invent your own if you are a creative type, but we just play the same old Euros every week, they just come in different boxes with different names, so we're not that creative, and just called the viruses 'yellow', oh shit, the 'red' virus is going nuts, that kind of thing. And then suddenly the 'red' virus was going nuts. It was taking over Australasia. We kept drawing cards that made it get worse. All of a sudden we were out of red cubes. We had been playing for about 15 minutes and the world was dead. It was our fault that everyone was now some kind of insane, superfast zombie, like in I Am Legend but this time even Will Smith was fucking dead. Bummer, or not, depending on your take on Will Smith to be honest. Mine is that he really never topped Fresh Prince. But I digress. So we all looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and played AGAIN! Because Pandemic takes no time at all. This time we kicked the viruses arse all over the world. We were the kings of good health. Everything we did went right and the cards came down in our favour. We won! YEAH! IN YOUR FACE, DECK OF CARDS! That was when we realised that winning a co-operative game is, well, empty. Oh well. The game was good though. It reminded me a bit of Thebes, what with the travelling, it's colourful and well presented, and the simple choices that have a big impact on the game. This is probably the best Euro I have played since Thebes as well. In fact, I would be surprised if I enjoy a Euro released in 2008 more than Pandemic.

I certainly enjoyed Pandemic more than IN JAHRE DES DRAGONEZZ! A game all about knowing exactly what was going to happen for the next 12 turns and desperately trying to stop it from fucking you up. Now, this game sounded good in concept but to tell the truth it failed to light my fire. For one, I had a hard time getting my head around the concept of a game where the 12 turns are all pre-ordained. Wha? It's an interesting "mechanic" as I believe serious gamers say, but it just didn't strike a chord with me. And then you were making decisions, each one important and having a big bearing on how your game turned out. I suck at making decisions where I can't really see what impact they will have later in the game. And with 5 players there were too many people doing the same thing and really just ruining everything. The cheek of it. I started off slowly, Matt raced into the lead, Olly and James were picking up points, and Luke got a lot of points but was rolling his eyes as rules that were missed at the start kept cropping up. Whoops. Disasters happened, we all planned in different ways, evil Matt sacrificed all his people every turn in the name of victory points, I plodded along building a sustainable kingdom, nicked all the rice and that led to everyone losing lots of people. Luke was effectively eliminated and used his goes to deny Matt victory points. It came to the final count up and Matt's ruthless dictatorship tied with my benevolent society. Matt won on some arbitrary rule that just about made sense. So. I did well at this game but it's appeal is not really aimed at a half wit such as my good self. My noggin just doesn't compute far enough ahead to come up with a versatile strategy, I was lucky that my hit and miss approach to the game eventually formulated into a workable plan and it scored a boatload of points whilst causing problems for everyone else.

And that was that. Two contrasting games with different approaches to being a game. One of them appeals to me, one of them doesn't. Neither game was great, neither was terrible. Just two games, slightly seperated in the "Does Andy Enjoy Playing This?" stakes.

Twilight Imperium supposedly at the weekend. BRING IT ON.

2 comments:

King Crocker said...

Superb post as always Andy. Your one liners are as good as Will Smiths himself (wild wild west obviously you're no MIB just yet)

See you at the weekend for an intergalactic brain burn.

andy malcolm said...

looking forward to it Cap'n Crocker!