Mal came down this weekend, and we played a whole bunch of games, which is to be expected - since Mal was one of the primary playtesters on Border Reivers.
Friday morning I found out he was coming (the decision had to be left until the last minute), and then Friday afternoon I found out another friend, Dunk was popping in that evening too. We had a nice evening hanging out, drinking and chatting, and then after Dunk left we cracked open PitchCar my Christmas present from The Wife. We played a few games all together, and then Mal and I carried on after The Wife called it a night. I think we played ten games in total. It's a great game, I really love it, despite the fact we were playing on the floor, which was uncomfortable on the knees. I'm really pleased with this gift, it's one that's going to get a lot of play. It's already chalked up the most plays of any game since I started keeping track on The Geek last August. This is particularly impressive since it beats Border Reivers which I play a lot at conventions and Carcassonne which is my favourite game ever.
Saturday we played games again in the afternoon, after a trip into town. First Mal requested the Artist prototype, which he found to be a bit of a brain-burner. It's an abstract strategy game, and so I really want it to be evocative of Chess and Go in terms of level of thought required, though of course it's nowhere near as good as those games, especially not after only a handful of plays. It needs some work, I'm thinking of changing the areas you control to make them larger, so you don't need so many, and providing a method to reduce the amount of checking which areas you control. Mal also suggested a way of allowing a player two actions instead of one, with a penalty of some kind.
Mal's second request was Power Grid, which was great. I've had Power Grid for nearly a year, but I'd only played it once up until yesterday - so I was keen to play it again. Last time I'd played we played a 4-player, so this was its first outing with only two players and it was just as good. I upped my rating of it on The Geek as a result. The two things I like most about it are: the progression through the power stations, with them gaining efficiency and the introduction of the various types through the game; and the way the market forces work so that resources become more expensive as they become rarer. Fantastic stuff, really well designed. Plus I love the box design.
After that we played a couple of games of Monster, the modified submission, and Mal enjoyed this one too. I tried to play according to the strategy guide the designer had written, while Mal tried to keep a close eye (and remember) what I had in terms of pieces and cash. Final score one game each, I'm really enjoying this one, but I do really need to test it with more players to check if my modifications work for larger groups.
When The Wife got home from work we played a couple of games of Carcassonne, one with Inns and Cathedrals (the maiden outing of my set) and one with that and Traders and Builders. I was sorely lamped in both games (both The Wife and Mal lapped me in the second game, with The Wife beating me by 100 points!). I really want to keep the pieces separate, so that I can choose which expansions to play with - I'm going to have to come up with some sort of strategy for marking the tiles so that I know which ones belong to which set.
On Sunday we played a couple of games of Border Reivers on my suggestion, and both were particularly brutal slaughters. Of me. Mal annihilated me in about 15 minutes in the first game, and then did it again (though not quite as quickly) in the second. I'm thinking of writing a strategy guide for Border Reivers, but perhaps I'm not the right guy for the job!
This week is very busy, I'm going to London on Tuesday and Wednesday for work, and yet I'm still hoping to get a games night in at Paul's tomorrow, meet a potential artist for Monster on Tuesday, play games with Dave on Wednesday, and possibly head over to Headingly games club on Thursday to try to sell Border Reivers.