As it turns out, every game I played was my first time with that game, so I certainly got exposed to a number of games I had been curious about. Here's the line-up, and some quick thoughts about each:
1. Race for the Galaxy (Rio Grande)
Pros: Lots of options, and lots of expansions. No two games will be alike. And it's a fast game—truly a race, as my friend Dave said. The cards were nice illustrated and evokative,
Cons: All those symbols! They make sense, but my eyes were still bleeding after the first game. Even without the expansions, this is a game that's probably going to take several run-throughs to get down, and I don't see into being very approachable to the more casual gamer.
2. Battlestar Galactica (Fantasy Flight)
Pros: An enjoyable, “who’s the traitor?” style game. Resource management and teamwork are both key here, and it’s more thematic and involving than, say, Pandemic. Slowly realizing the identity of the traitor (or traitors!) is a blast.
Cons: I found myself wishing there was more to do, or more room options. I sometimes found myself making repeat visits to areas and wishing I had something else to do. Combat my starfighters outside the ship also felt like more of an afterthought to me—fun, but hardly engaging or tense.
3. Dominion (Rio Grande)
Pros: Finally I see what the fuss is about. Play was fast and fun, and lent itself to tat “just one more game” vibe. The overall rules area easy to grasp, but you can take different paths or strategies to victory. I found myself thinking about card combos, much in the way I would if I were playing MAGIC: The Gathering. And of course, lots of game expansions await the newfound fan.
Cons: Play was somewhat clinical, and very theme light.
I played other games as well, and I’ll try to add my thoughts of them as well when time allows…