• Fort Worth Gamers: gaming session 01/22/19

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    Subject: Fort Worth Gamers: gaming session 01/22/19
    From: Michael Ward <mward258@gmail.com>
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    Tuesday, 01/22/19 6 to 9:05 PM at the Hulen Mall food court, at 4800 South Hulen Street, in southwest Fort Worth, TX.

    We eventually had ten gamers at two tables this cool evening, including newcomers Jonathan D, Tia, and Phil.

    Table #1 - First, my Priests of Ra, which was new to the rest. I did quite well
    in round one. Then poorly in round two, and so-so in round three. Matthew managed to construct a four level pyramid. Rachel's got up to three levels. Mine was a lousy two level affair. I can't recall Taylor's exactly, but I think
    it was only two levels. Matt ended with three plague tiles, while I had two. I
    don't recall Rachel or Taylor having any. I did some catching up at the very end. Until then I had been in a distant fifth place. So I was somewhat surprised by the tight grouping of the scores at game end. From the halfway point on newcomer Phil observed the game.

    Scores: Taylor G 50, Rachel 48, Matthew P 46, Michael W 46. Duration: one hour and 16 minutes. Everyone enjoyed the game.

    Then, Taylor’s Betrayal at House on the Hill, which was new to the rest. Here's part of its blurb from BGG: " It quickly builds suspense and excitement as players explore a haunted mansion of their own design, encountering spirits and frightening omens that foretell their fate. With an estimated one hour playing time. Its a tile game that allows players to build their own haunted house room by room, creating a new thrilling game board every time. The game is
    designed for three to six people, each of whom plays one of six possible characters. Secretly, one of the characters betrays the rest of the party, and
    the innocent members of the party must defeat the traitor in their midst before it’s too late! Betrayal at House on the Hill will appeal to any game player who enjoys a fun, suspenseful, and strategic game." The game was published in 2004. Taylor's copy was the updated 2010 version with the green box lid.

    The only reason I deigned to play was we needed a five-player game that played in 70 minutes. Taylor said this game would fit the bill. So after 14 years of avoiding this game (and those like it), I was pretty much forced to participate.

    We were issued character displays that had four sliding arrows on them to record our levels of: speed, might, sanity, and knowledge. See https://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/3738052/betrayal-house-hill . I think they ranged from zero to 8. Each player's character began with slightly different levels (but mostly in the middle). Rachel was Vivian Lopez, Matthew was Ox Bellows, Taylor was Brandon Jaspers, Phil was Jeremy LeClerce, and I was Father
    Rhinehardt. Our five painted plastic characters all began in the entryway next
    to the house's front door. From there we slowly (a great deal of emphasis on the word SLOWLY) explored the three story house, room by room, mostly going it different directions. Here's a photo of a game in progress showing the three floors (upper, lower, and basement) https://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/3673508/betrayal-house-hill .

    The game also had three decks of cards (omens, items, and events) that played a
    part in the game. One was weapons, I think. I forget what the other two decks did. Side note: I didn't get a card until 5 minutes before we quit, while some of the others had 4-5 of them for quite a while.

    About 45 minutes in Phil obtained what I assume was a spirit/ghost called Crimson Jack. That made Phil the traitor. Now the point of the game was for Phil to use his ghost to kill all the other characters to win. Or the rest of us kill Crimson Jack. At 54 minutes into the game Crimson Jack killed Rachel's character, then five minutes later killed mine. It was now 8:57 And I told everyone we needed to put the game up NOW. With a groan they complied. As best as I could tell, I think the three remaining players (Phil, Matthew, and Taylor) would have needed 10-15 more minutes to finish the game.

    My impression was the other four players liked the game. I found the whole thing quite tedious and boring. For if one is not into the whole "haunted house" genre of games it holds no merit at all. And I fell squarely in that camp. I rated it a 2" on BGG. I will never play it again. I found a few quotes from those that rated it poorly on BGG illuminating, namely:
    "This is not a game - this is a an experience with nothing but luck - its like a long version of bingo - with a horror theme."
    "One of the most pointless games I've ever played. The exploration of the rooms
    feels meaningless and completely random. Often there is no way to determine if
    one choice is better than the other, you simply wander aimlessly until something completely out of your control happens. Every single aspect of the game is luck based and nothing of what anyone does really matters."
    "Lock ups and player elimination in a game that can drag is a poor recipe for fun. The theme is appealing and strong, but there is so little game here.. The fact that someone can get trapped in a room with absolutely no way out, no actions they can take, and just be idle for hours is nearly broken in my opinion."

    Table #2 - For the third week in a row, Harry H’s Scythe. This time with five
    players, two of which were new (Jonathan D and Tia). So I knew they wouldn't finish the game. And... they didn't.

    Partial scores: Harry H 59, Tia 42, Joel C 39, Jonathan D 26, Michael L 19. Duration: about 2.5 hours.

    See BoardgameGeek http://www.boardgamegeek.com/ for more information on the games mentioned above. And if you're in the area on a Tuesday night feel
    free to join us for a game.

    Michael Ward
    Fort Worth Gamers
    And check out our MeetUp page http://www.meetup.com/FortWorthGamers/ .
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