A periodic blog about Games, Books, Movies, Pop culture, Technology and whatever else I happen to feel like writing about...

Monday, November 15, 2004

Cities and Knights of Catan, The Extended Director's cut

Cim and I had a call from Colin, who said that he was available for games on Sunday afternoon, and so I called Mike and we all planned to play some board games. To make sure that things happened on time, I told Mike that we were playing at 1 PM, and I told Colin 12:30. Cim was almost later than Colin, but not by much.

As Mike got to our place, he was holding a copy of Wings of War. So, Mike showed Colin how to play while Cim and I took care of a few last minute food preparation type things. Colin grasped the rules quickly, and soon he was chasing Mike's plane all over the table. Then, we told Colin that he didn't have to make the prop noise with his lips and actually run over the table, so he settled in to the game.

Both planes swirled, dodged and fired, until Colin's plane finally fell from the sky. It was at that point that Mike revealed that his plane was apparently only being held together with a wing and a prayer, with only 1 HP left.

And so, the ever present dilemma. So many games, so little time. We decided to play Cities and Knights of Catan, as I had only played once, Mike had not played in quite some time, and Colin and Cim, while familiar with Vanilla Settlers, had not played C&K.

As an aside, I do not know if all groups play the way that my friends do, but when we play, I cannot imagine that Settlers could ever be conceived of as a family game. At least, not if you want to avoid divorce court or family therapy... When we play Settlers, it is always a serious, serious SYB game, and the bigger the SYB, the bigger the laughs. Colin, as he did when he won the game of Settlers of Nuremberg that we played a few years back, said he really didn't understand Settlers that well, but would play. Cim started trying to figure out the ROI on wheat, and Mike was analyzing the board like a hawk.

We went over the basic differences with Settlers, rolled for first selection, placed our settlements and cities, and got down to exploiting, I mean, developing the island of Catan.

Now, one of the main differences between C&K and Vanilla Settlers is the three event card decks. These cards allow you to do various wonderful and nasty things. With my friends, mostly nasty. I have never seen so many Spy cards get played. In fact, Mike played Spy on me, looked at my event cards, stole my Spy, and played it on me again. That kind of gives you a small idea of how the game went.

As we were coming to the end of the game, we were all mostly at 12 points, with Mike at 11. And then, Colin rolled the dice, avoiding the Barbarian attack that could have given me the game, and giving him the resources he required to build his thirteenth point. It had been an epic struggle and a very, very close game. Colin had slipped under the radar yet again. Well deserved, my friend.

Though he was not there, the spirit of Mackey infused the game. We were playing on the beautiful wood Settlers board that he had made for me a few years back, there were some classic Glen stories, and I swear, at one point, Glen must have started to control Cim with the Jedi Mind Trick. After Colin rolled a 7, Cim tried his best to convince Colin to put the robber on a certain spot, even offering Colin the resource card of his choice. It was scary...

In the end, while it was a long game, it was a great game. Everyone could have won, and we had a lot of fun laughing, taunting and smack talking. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Karen had been curled up on the couch, reading a book waiting for the game to end, like the last time the four of us had a marathon game (It was Star Wars, The Queen's Gambit BTW)


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