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i see the bright and hollow sky

maura @ 2:10 pm

OMG my mom made me watch a Tmobile ad the other day with someone singing “The Passenger” and now I am going absolutely nutty wanting to hear it. The Siouxsie & the Banshees version, specifically. I don’t have it on my phone and pandora isn’t cooperating and aiieee!!!

(Okay, found it on youtube, much better now, phew! Also, ripping all of my Siouxsie discs at home, wondering why I hadn’t done so before.)

Over the past couple of days we’ve been playing long distance games of Carcassonne w/my brother. The basic game mechanic is that players draw tiles to create a landscape that includes cities, roads, cloisters, and open spaces (which can be farmed). Each player has 7 little dudes (“meeples,” their real name, is just too twee even for me) to use throughout the game to claim the aforementioned locales as their own and earn points. Some points aren’t earned until the game is over, when all tiles are placed.

It’s been interesting to compare gameplay between the iphone and real life. In the real life version of the game it’s easy to see the entire board and ponder your tile placement options. It’s also a bit more random — while in theory it’s possible to know how many of each type of tile is left in the (facedown) draw pile, in practice you would never take the time to count the tiles and look in the rules to determine the likelihood of drawing that perfect tile.

The phone version has the same rules + mechanics, but there are distinct differences to playing on a 2×4.5 inch screen connected to the internets. When you’re all zoomed in on your tile (which you kind of need to be in order to decide where to put your meeple), it’s impossible to see the whole board once the game’s more than a few turns old. I’ve gotten myself into the habit of zooming way out to see everything, but I still wonder whether the closeup view encourages weirdly spaced-out tile placements. It seems like each of us tends to hone in on a couple of areas and ignore the rest, which I don’t remember doing in the real world version.

Also in the phone version it’s possible to pull up a list of remaining available tiles at any point in the game. This strikes me as sidling up to cheating, though I definitely indulge, especially when it’s close to the end of the game. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this feature has proved extremely helpful to my endgame strategy.

It’s been pretty fun, definitely one of those situations in which you realize the magic of the internets. There’s a great built in chat function, so we can even trash talk when someone draws too many cloisters.

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3 comments on “i see the bright and hollow sky”

Anne (1 January 2011 at 10:08 pm)

Like Settlers of Catan? (sp?)

maura (2 January 2011 at 9:23 pm)

I <3 Settlers of Catan, too, though I’ve yet to get the phone version. And I haven’t played in a while so I’m probably pretty rusty. We’ve roped our neighbors in to Carcassonne now, bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

mauraweb!» archive » i want to believe (10 March 2012 at 8:51 pm)

[…] full of details. And I’m glad I read it. But am I convinced? As you may remember, I’m kind of a fan of games. I should be easy to convince, […]

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