Last night I went round to Paul's again for games. There were five of us last night: Andy, Greg, Paul, Spencer and me. We played a couple of games (both of them I'd played before) and it was a very entertaining evening - thanks, Paul!
First up was Guillotine by Paul Peterson, which had come out at the end of last week's session. I'd really enjoyed this the first time around, and it was just as entertaining the second time. Paul also noticed that the piece of carboard in the box that holds the cards in place was actually a little guillotine, that you could place at one end of the queue of victims to remind you who is next. Nice touch.
The game got underway quite quickly (it's very simple), in the first round I managed to pinch Robespierre fairly early on by moving him forward a lot - bringing the day to an early close and giving me an early lead. On the second day, things went even better as I managed to get a couple of decent cards, including the elusive (and very high value) Master Spy. The third day marked me out as the target for all, as I had a healthy lead. I was targeted by a couple of other players, and Greg managed to pull off a nice trick collecting three cards at once. The others were gaining on me... When it came round to my last turn I needed only two points to win, and there were two cards left, one worth two and the other (Marie Antoinette) worth five. I didn't have any cards that would let me change the order of the queue, but I could remove one of the nobles. I removed Marie Antoinette, picked up the other one and won the game. Everyone looked at me. Why? I could have removed the other one and picked up Marie Antoinette. D'oh! What a chimp. Still, I won regardless, although the others thought I should be stripped of my victory for stupidity, and I had to agree with them. Final Scores: Me 14, Greg 13, Paul 12, Specer 8 and Andy 6.
The second game of the night was Caylus by William Attia. After a brief discussion about how unattractive the box is, we set it up. I was only only player who had played before, so I set about explaining the rules (with much reading from the rulebook as it had been a while). In hindsight, it was probably a little late in the evening to start a 5-player game of Caylus with four people who hadn't played it before, the game went fairly slowly to start off with as we all tried to get our heads round the wealth of options, although it sped up later on. This was a very silly game. After Greg's early outburst of 'Cock it!' when someone played a worker where he had intended to, this became a regular feature of the game. We were also calling food 'blancmange' for some reason, I've no idea why. It was a pretty close game, that I won finally around 11:15pm: me 65, Greg 59, Andy 56, Spencer 50, Paul 47.
Once again I was drawn to the importance of colour and symbols within a game. Generally speaking I think the design of the pieces in Caylus is very good, there are cues throughout the board to help remind you what does what, which buildings yield which resources, etc. However, unlike in Ticket To Ride, the colour is the only information distinguishing the resource cubes from one another, and the building tiles from one another. Also, the little diagrams showing which cubes you get are only separated by colour. Nearly one in twenty people are colour-blind to some degree, including my brother and two of my friends. Caylus proved to be a nightmare for the colour-blind, reinforcing the importance of symbols and colour to differentiate pieces or types. I'm really glad that I've colour-blind people to play-test my games with, to ensure that I don't make games that exclude them.