I finally found some time for gaming last Saturday and spent the evening at Kevin Graham's, "connector" of all us spielfrieks here in the Portland area. I've met most of my favorite gaming folks through Kevin, and I know we all appreciate his efforts to create a fun environment and a thriving gaming community in this city.
It was a fairly small crowd this Saturday, but we had a special guest: Mike Oakes from the UK. He is in our neck of the woods for a 2 week RV tour of Oregon. Doug, Mimi, Sabrina, and Greg were also present.
I brought this at Kevin's request (along with Capt'n Clever and Aladdin's Dragons) and we decided it would be a nice opener. This is my second play, and I'm still not sure about this one. It is a nice opener, very light, but with 5 players (we were still waiting for Doug and Mimi) there isn't much deception involved. In Quicksand players are secretly trying to advance their adventurer to the treasure. Advancement is achieved by playing cards of the same color as an adventurer, and most of the time a player is forced to move someone else along. With 5 players only one of the tokens does not belong to a player, so bluffing is frought with disaster. I suppose there's some strategy in moving players onto the quicksand whenever possible. In this game, we all got bottlenecked at the end of the board, and Sabrina was forced to move the leader into the treasure since that was her only legal move. I don't remember who the winner was - maybe Kevin? I'll rate this one a 5.
Doug remembered that I had been wanting to play this game since trying Age of Steam and was kind enough to bring his copy of the game along. I've heard from several others that they prefer this game to the newer Age of Steam, and I can see why. Volldampf is certainly a simpler game, and it keeps the features I like most about Age of Steam (route planning and cooperation). The board routes are fixed (in AoS they are built out by players), trains can carry goods up to 6 segments from the start (in AoS you have to pay money to upgrade your engine), and there's no income reduction. We played this in about 90 minutes (including teaching) and I loved it. It helped that I won (I got very lucky with two of the final goods placements) - Doug finished a close second. I'll score this one a 9 for now.
I helped Sabrina, Mike, and Kevin get started with this game - I wrote about it previously here. Kevin doesn't much like auction games, but I think he had a fun time with this one. Sabrina managed to pull out the victory, from what I here she took advantage of the spell cards.
I talked everyone into trying a 7 player game of Bang!, which I first tried at GenCon. I don't think this game works very well with 4 players, but I absolutely love it with 7. For the second time in three games, the sheriff (Sabrina) helped dispose of the deputy. This light game is made even more fun by the social interaction and bluffing. I'll rate this one an 8.