My gaming group gathered on Wednesday to send off one of our own towards his future in Colorado. We are normally a Tuesday-night group but, due to weather and other mystical factors, we decided to meet on Monday and Wednesday in order to maximize our gaming before D would leave. We, again, converged upon B’s house and sat down with a plethora of games at our disposal.
First on the menu would be Yokohama. As B was explaining it to us, I could really only focus on how much it felt like Istanbul in reverse. I don’t think, after having played it once, that it’s entirely fair to say it’s a backwards-Istanbul, but they certainly have several parallels. B had played solo before and quickly set off to execute his own strategy. D, apparently, had analyzed the random layout and the order cards on offer during the rules explanation and, before we even began, had developed a strategy for efficiently collecting Silk, Fish, and
Mustaches Tobacco. I, under the impression that I could meander around and build up some efficiencies, proceeded to… meander around trying to build up efficiencies.
D was completing orders at an incredible pace and B’s solo-developed strategies kept him in the running. My random wandering at the beginning of the game turned into desperate random wandering by late game; at one point I declared that my new objective was to not come in 4th place of our 3-player game- at the time, we weren’t positive I could pull it off. D finished strong, pulling down two orders to trigger the game-end and completing them both before finishing his turn. I was hamstrung in my last turn due to my two opponents being on the only two spaces that could actually do me any good and B, in his usual way, grabbed up a handful of points as though he had calculated D would end the game and had planned his last turn appropriately. In the end, D scored 124, B: 117 and yours truly: 72.
Yokohama had taken most of our time for the evening. We had about 50 minutes left before the night was over so I pulled out ICECOOL which I had picked up on sale at Target the week before. With Monday’s experience with Men At Work being so positive, I was eager to get another dexterity game to the table- this time one that I might stand a chance at with flicking instead of stacking. ICECOOL is super easy to explain and after everybody had taken a dozen practice shots or so, I became our first Catcher and we began our penguin-flicking. During the rules explanation, I had demonstrated the 3 basic techniques and, somehow, had succeeded on my first attempt for each of them. All of that was gone under the pressure of actually playing and for everybody’s first turn, our penguins ran face-first into walls and corners. Both B and D got some good shots in and before long the first round ended and I had caught none of them. After that, I finally got to flick my way under some fish (what? Yes, that’s the goal of the game); I don’t like to brag so I won’t tell you how amazing I am, apparently, at flicking games. I quickly collected all three of my fish, first against B as the Catcher and then again with D trying to hunt me down. Now, granted, I gave up my hall-pass both times but at the end of the game, B and I both had 16 points across 7 cards which mean that we “shared the victory”. ICECOOL is quick to play and the game/round reset is minimal. We setup another game of it and the second game went quicker and smoother than the first. I scored another 16 points to B’s 8 and D’s 13, thus claiming the title of “Best Wednesday Penguin”
I left ICECOOL with B so that he could try it out with his 6 year old son whom, I’m certain, will love it. The success of ICECOOL leaves me even more excited for the Catacombs 3E (Playmat Version) Kickstarter that, hopefully, will be delivered in the next few months.