Circle Games May Recap

Some friends and I run a monthly game night at the place where our church meets. I call it “Circle Games” although I don’t know that we’ve, like, named it. We’ve been doing it for 4 months now, and it’s been uniformly awesome. Here’s the Meetup link if you’re local to Philly and want to join us.

Just a quick run-down on what I played last Saturday:

An almost completely luck-based game I had never heard of. A new person from our Meetup group brought this out, and a friend of mine picked it to try at random from the game table. This turned out to be a pleasant time-passer, and a good way to get to know someone new.

You have time and room to make conversation as you play–a facet of games I often overlook in my drive for novelty.

Eight-Minute Empire
The inestimable Jay Treat popped this out of the wrapper in situ, and I knew from looking at the tiny board that I wanted IN. It’s an area control game with eurogame scoring elements. Curiously, the interaction comes not from fighting on the board, but in choosing what resources to deny other players. The decisions seem easily encapsulatable after a couple of plays. You won’t ever just be boggled by your choices.

I only got to play once before someone called me away to explain and play Smash Up with some new players.

Smash Up
Since I was pretty intimately involved with this game’s production, I’m usually called on to teach or referee when it gets pulled out. As one of the hosts of Circle Games, I like to make sure new people get attention, so when two new people wanted me to play Smash Up, I played Smash Up!

We played with the new Awesome Level 9000 expansion.  I was aliens and plants. Not just a super combo, made worse by my deck fighting me the whole game. But it’s always fun, so who cares I mean really.

Ping Pong
Played a couple of games. Lost them both by a not-embarrassing margin.

Circle Games has a collection of cool kids, including Jason Crognale and Josh Edwards. Whatever they’re playing is usually what I want to be playing. When I saw them and a small crowd of people loitering around a Pitchcar table, I knew where the action was.

In 2013, I have discovered a heretofore unknown love of flicky games. Crokinole is good, but vanilla. Snapshot is this weird German thingamabob that I played once six weeks ago and now doodle on my notebooks inside hearts. Pitchcar is a game I’m planning on having an affair with.

Pitchcar has a charming simplicity that leads you to want to “fix” it. it doesn’t need fixing, but you play and when you’re done you think “Yeah, that was good, but what if you…”

Imperfect games that make you want to fiddle with them might be better than perfectly made games.

Maximum Throwdown
My last major act as an AEG employee was to bring Maximum Throwdown to the table and insist that they publish it with or without me. Luckily, they listened.

This game is the traditional night-ender for Circle Games.  It’s after midnight. All the reasonable people have gone home. The diehards left play two or three rounds of Jason Tagmire’s prototype version that we have kicking around. Sometimes Tagmire joins us, but whether he’s there or not, we’re playing this thing. And loving it.


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