Tonight’s session was a bit of a disaster. The guys were very nice about it, but we were really let down by two poor games.
One of my favourite movies is The Third Man a 1949 film-noir classic, starring Orson Welles and set in occupied Vienna. Any game with this theme, even if loosely applied, is a must try for me.
Black Vienna has always had good reviews and ratings, even though it was published back in 1987. I suspect this is because of the out-of-print effect – where a games merits are amplified by the smugness of collectors. Luckily, Mikko made his own set and generously uploaded them to the Geek. It only took me 45 minutes to print and cut out the cards and slip them into card protectors.
I wanted to try it as it has a reputation of being a solid deduction game, but without being quite as complex as Sleuth. Greg Aleknevicus summarised these games in an old article at the Games Journal. Although Greg does not find the fragile nature of Black Vienna a problem, it shafted our evening. It is so frustrating to play for 45 minutes and find out the game has been ruined by a simple mistake. I warned the guys about this problem beforehand, but we were still stung.
I can see why this game is so popular as the level of deduction is pitched at an accessible, but skilful level. Sadly, for me, Black Vienna is too fragile. We have had the same thing happen in Sleuth, which makes me wonder if I have been too generous to it in the past.
Everything was going swimmingly, until we wondered why no one was selling pink or purple paintings by the third season. It turns out that Mayfair had packed my copy of the game with the wrong numbers of paintings:
- 18 Krypto
- 26 Yoko
- 24 Lite Metal
- 1 Christen P.
- 0 Karl Gitter
What a great evening – not.