We had a very good time last night at Curious Games. Up first was a demo of Zombie Cafe which was received very well, lots of fun was had and the game was won by Samantha who was later rewarded with a Crown Royal dice bag for her efforts.
This was followed by THE FIRST playtest of Spook School, likely to be renamed before release. The basic design proved to be fundamentally sound and I got lots of good feedback for the next playtest. It was really put through the ringer by six people! I made a couple of adjustments to the rules during play, and it was quickly determined that there was a problem with draw deck exhaustion. I think two major changes will appear in the next generation: four player limit and six powers to win. I prefer my games to allow six people, but I think that, considering the card mix and the strong desire to limit this game to a single deck of cards, that a four player limit will have to be.
Regardless, it seemed that a good time was had by all and that the game holds some promise.
After our test of Spook School, we brought out a copy of Bananagram. I just posted a review of it in our Game Review section. It was a huge amount of fun and you can get through a game in 5-10 minutes.
Following Bananagram we played a four-player card game called Arcana, where factions vie for resources in a city. Think of four players sitting in a square formation. Now overlay a diamond with each point between the players. The points on your immediate left and right are your primary zones of control. You control a guild struggling to control resources through political, spiritual, and military means, and failing that, out-right bribery. Resources that you're trying to take in your zone of control let you play your cards face-down, resources outside of your ZOC you play your cards face-up. The fifth pile in the middle of the diamond are face-up for everyone. The guild houses give you special abilities that can greatly affect the game.
On the last round, my wife played a card that swapped a strongly-contested resource, that, combined with my play of a guild house that removed the highest resource from the game, gave her the win.
Arcana is an interesting game, but not entirely to my taste. Still, I'd be willing to give it another shot some day.
And that wraps up our 11/14 game night!