Monday, March 4, 2002

Tal der Könige and 3-player Knockabout

Tal der Könige

I played this for the first time this evening, and while it was a
solid game, I wasn't amazed. The bidding mechanic is nice (players
laying sets of bidding tiles face down among piles of resources), and
the fact that most of the time, everyone gets one pile and
someone gets two, but with clever bidding this can be changed, is
nice. The building mechanic (making pyramids with a coherent color
pattern) on the other hand felt flat to me. I wouldn't exactly avoid
playing it, but I'm not likely to seek it out.

To some extent, this surprised me, as bidding and building are usually
mechanics I enjoy. I guess at some level, I enjoy "development" more
than "building", and this is definitely just "building".

color=f8f0ff>3-player Knockabout

is an amazing abstract dice based two player where the
dice only interject a slight random aspect. To me, it ranks up there
with "Can't Stop" and "Bluff" in the category of dice games, even
though in most ways it is more of a positional game (like Chess).
Well, it's a great 2-player game, and there is a variant for 3.

I love the 2-player form, and the 3-player version has all of the same
pleasure as the 2-player form up until the end game. The win
condition in 3-player is for a total of 5 of your opponents dice to be
knocked into the gutter. This means you can get situations where you
have 2 dice in the gutter, opponent A has 2 dice in the gutter, and
opponent B has only 1 die in the gutter. If you knock one of opponent
A's dice in the gutter, you give opponent B the win. This isn't so
bad, but once all three players have 2 dice in the gutter, the next
die in the gutter causes that player to lose and both other players to
win. I keep thinking there's got to be a better win condition.
Playing for complete elimination has the flaw of making one person
often kingmaker and/or bored as they are chipped away at.

In any case, I'll keep playing this two player.

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