There’s a game store in Nanuet NY, Hobbytown. Every Thursday they have a game night at the store, starting at 7:30PM or so and going until late in the evening. I’ve known about the game night for a few weeks, but I’ve been immersed in my health problems and haven’t been able to go.
Last Thursday was the first in several weeks on which I was finally able to drive there myself. I was hesitant: I wasn’t feeling all that well; this was something brand-new; I wasn’t entirely sure that the game nights were still going on, since the links to the event were either old or hard to find.
My final thought in the decision process was: Did I want to be bound by my health issues indefinitely? When do I take a chance? I went.
I’m glad I did. The guys at the store were friendly and welcomed new gamers into their group; I was not the only new visitor that night. I arrived just in time to see a game of Agricola wrap up. It looked interesting, though the subject matter (improving the family farm) didn’t particularly inspire me.
There were eight gamers there that night. Normally for such a large number, they’d split into two groups and each play a separate game. However, the planned game for the night could, with expansions, accommodate eight players: 7 Wonders. We played with both the Cities and Leaders expansions.
I recently played Kingsburg with a couple of friends, and they compared it with 7 Wonders. Frankly, I don’t see a strong resemblance, other than they’re both resource-building games that have a fixed number of turns. In 7 Wonders, you play the role of an ancient civilization: Rome, Babylon, Alexandria, Rhodes, etc. Your goal is to accumulate resources to build a wonder of the ancient world, though that is not the only way to win.
The game has several interesting mechanics. You start off with a hand of seven cards. You play one, then pass the remaining cards to a player sitting next to you, receiving the unused cards from the player on the other side. You can play a card to make use of the resources it offers, or you can discard it to receive a generic reward (build part of a Wonder; get 3 gold) thus keeping it out of the hand of the other players. You win by accumulating victory points, and there are other ways to gain those points other than building the Wonder; you can pursue military superiority over the civilizations owned by the people sitting next to you, or by accumulating enough cards that award victory points in various ways.
I found the hardest part of the game was understanding the meaning of the icons on many of the cards. I was not the only one with this problem, especially since this was the first time any of the gamers had played with the Leaders expansion. The first game took over two hours since a lot of people had to look up the icons in the rulebook. (The two new folks, one of whom was me, were not among the “slowpokes”; there were a couple of experienced gamers there who’d acquired a reputation for taking a long time to complete their turn in a game.)
The second game went much more smoothly, and we completed it in 45 minutes. To my surprise, I came in second, losing by just five points to the other new gamer. It made me feel good to see that the “newbies” could hold their own against the more experienced folks.
Next week, the game will be Dominion, a purely deck-building game. I’m looking forward to it!
Personal note: Even though game nights at Hobbytown will go a long way to satisfy my personal itch to game, I still want to host games at my place. The more dedicated gamers are not going to be as interested in playing Settlers of Catan, Munchkin, or Talisman; there’s no way they’re going to bother with social games Cards Against Humanity or Fiasco. I’ll always need my friends.