On 10 July 2008, the first Formula Dé tournament started, with 7 players racing at Monza. Paul B. won by a large margin due to some lucky dice rolls, as he confessed himself. Caylus was played at another table (Matt, Peter H., Manuela, Nick B., Keith) and it was still going on when I left.
At my table, we (Dick, David, André and myself) first played Yspahan. I was the only one who had never played it before. It showed: I was last by a large margin, with David winning by ca. 5 points over André. When I realized (after some turns) I needed camels, most of the time they were chosen before I could. This also meant I started building later, although I managed to get 4 buildings in the end. Only Dick built everything possible. David won because in the last round he managed to fill all souks in one neighbourhood, and he had the +2 building. In the last round, I risked to start building the 12-point 3-building souk, but didn’t finish it. I should have played my two tokens into the 4-souk and the 12-souk. I also took a card relatively late: it allowed to swap camels for victory points, but I had no camels! André and David were lucky to have cards that gave them money and allowed to swap it for victory points. I had one lucky break in the second round: I bought two extra dice and threw 5 dice with the same value, which allowed me in one strike to get a 5-building souk worth 8 points. To sum up, next time I must get the camels and cards as early as possible. A nice game with multiple victory paths and an original dice-based mechanism to choose actions.
We then played Meuterer, the smallest game I own. André was not interested and Paul B. (having finished Formula Dé much earlier than the others) replaced him at the table. It took about 1h to explain the rules and play 5 rounds (the 4-player game is for 8 rounds). The game is so different from the usual mechanisms, that it takes a long time to get your head around. Even after some rounds there were still several questions about how particular rules work. Hence we took a long time in our turns. The game can be played quite faster. The more I get to know the game, the more I admire it. It’s a very tightly balanced and intertwined game. Every card you play can serve several purposes and gives information to your opponents. Each role a player can take has some advantages and other disadvantages, but they are not directly comparable and hence the anguish of some decisions. A great game that takes a couple of plays to fully enjoy. It’s not immediately obvious how the this complex clockwork mechanism works and how you should play the game. David won again, 2 or 3 points ahead of Paul, and I and Dick trailed last ex aequo because we sold very few goods.