Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gaming at GWAN - 1

BoardGameGeek user cyberkev63 holds a weekly gaming session entitled GWAN (Gamers Without A Name) at his house on Wednesday nights. My understanding is that around four to six people usually attend these gaming sessions. Now cyberkev63 only lives about a 15-20 minute drive from me which is fairly close. Although I've been on his mailing list for a couple of years I've never taken him up on the offer to attend a session. This has mainly been because the sessions are on a weeknight (i.e. work the next day) and for the past couple of years I've had a baby/toddler to contend with (i.e. disrupted sleep).

However this evening the planets aligned and I attended GWAN for the first time. Unfortunately only two others turned up; cyberkev63 himself (naturally) and Friendless. So there was three of us to play which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Although a fourth player would have been nice, some games are better with three.

So cyberkev63 suggested we play one of his new games, Glory to Rome. This is a card-based city building and resource management game. Each card may act as a building, a role, a raw material, or a valuable resource, which forces players into difficult choices of how each card should be played. Each round you choose a role to play which allows you to do certain things. Scoring is a combination of completing buildings and storing resources, with end-of-game bonuses for storing a diverse assortment. Game length is player-controlled, and is triggered in a few different ways.

The player mat under which cards are stored for various purposes during the game.

We decided to play a learning game which meant we played with half the deck of cards, reduced materials and no building powers. The game took almost 2 hours to play through which included an initial explanation of the rules by cyberkev63. I wasn't quick enough to start storing cards in the vault section of the player mat which ended up costing me a lot of victory points. Final scores were Friendless 1st with 19 points, cyberkev63 2nd with 10 points, and myself, Ozvortex, 3rd with 5 points.

Glory of Rome felt like a longer, more complex version of San Juan. I certainly think this game needs further plays to more fully understand and appreciate the interrelationships of the cards and powers. However, as someone who values theme in a game, I'd rather be leading Roman legionaries in battle than Roman labourers in building.

I enjoyed my first visit to GWAN. I really am fortunate to have a gaming group with a source of new games to play so close to where I live. With my younger daughter turning three years old this month, I hope the nights of disrupted sleep will soon be a distant memory. If so, I may be able to attend GWAN on a more regular basis in 2009.

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