Billabong Boardgamers - 15th February, 2000
Present: Alan, Debbie, Craig, Donna, David
This was a quiet night, with only four of us turning up at first. Donna arrived partway through the game of Olé!, and we then played five-player El Grande.
(Craig, David, Debbie, Alan)
This little card game has some interesting mechanisms, especially in the way that the rank of suits can be completely reversed at the whim of the player who finished last in the previous round.
Players take turns playing a card that is either higher in rank or higher in suit than the top card on the deck. If the card is both higher in rank *and* suit, the player must then play another card according to the same rules. If a player cannot play a card, they must take a five-point penalty. The game ends when someone is out of cards, or all players take a penalty in turn.
Personally, I didn't find that I had much control at all in this game, and while there were occasional choices as to which card I could play, I didn't feel that it made any difference to the outcome. Perhaps this happens less with a different number of players?
Scores after each round:
My rating: Currently this game gets a 5 from me; I wasn't very impressed, but agree that I need to try it again before forming a final opinion.
(Donna, Debbie, David, Craig, Alan)
I'd never played El Grande with more than three players before, so this was a real treat for me. I agree that it's a much better game with more players.
The game began with David taking an early lead, and Alan bringing up the rear. By the second scoring round, there were about ten points between first and last, with Donna ahead from having a heck of a lot of her caballeros on the board. The third round was closely contested, and when the dust settled I was one point ahead. A close game!
My rating: This cements my high rating of 8 for this game.
Craig Macbride writes:
Alan, Craig, David, Debbie, Donna
As usual, Alan was in the thick of it, either bidding or partnering others a lot. Usually, this works out very well for him, but not this time.
Successful bids: Craig with Alan, Debbie with Alan.
I think this was the first time I've played 5-player Mu, and it certainly makes the position of ones partner even more important than in the 4-player version.