Due to my job I rarely have a weekday evening off, and when I do have one off it's usually for some non-gaming reason, so I don't normally have an opportunity to game with the nice folks down New Haven who "Fell Like A Kid Again" in their Meetup Group.
But yesterday I did have such an opportunity and I had a grand old time.
I had the chance to play two games I've had my eye on for some time, but it's been my policy lately to avoid buying games until I've had a chance to play them, with a few exceptions.
We started off the evening playing Winning Circle, which is sort of a Reiner Knizia version of Win, Place & Show, which is to say that it captures most of the best parts of the older game while being a far more elegant and efficient design. I managed to avoid coming in dead last in the 6-player game, but I did have a lot of fun and I resolved to pick up a copy when I get the chance. My kids like Win, Place & Show but it's a little complicated for them and it takes a pretty long time to play. While Winning Circle certainly has sufficient strategy for them to grow into, the basic structure is simple enough that they can still enjoy playing even if they haven't yet developed a sense of strategy. It also plays considerably faster.
Our second game was another one I've been thinking about for a while: Jamaica. In this case the name of the game is a big selling point, given my deep connections with that island. On the other hand, while a Caribbean pirate-themed game, it doesn't really have much to do with pirates and even less to do with the actual island of Jamaica. It's really another race game, although like Winning Circle it s extremely nicely done and involves rather more strategy than one might suppose. I did come in dead last in this one in a three-player game. While I enjoyed it, I'm less certain about buying a copy of this one, mostly because it's really a game for grownups without as much appeal for the kids. If my schedule starts to allow some regular gaming with bigger folks I'd consider having a copy, but in the meantime I'll probably hold off.
Still, the entire evening was exceptionally enjoyable. Everyone was very friendly and the venue, a small retail store, a perfect site.