I’m really quite excited about Tides of Madness from Portal Games, and am having a hard time waiting until August. To sate my appetite for that game, today I unwrapped Tides of Time, also from Portal.

This is a two-player drafting game that plays over three rounds. Each round players draw five cards and select one of them. Once both players select a card, both cards are reveled, placed on the table in front of the respective player, then the cards remaining in each hand are traded with the other player. This repeats with players selecting, revealing, and trading hands until no cards remain.

At the end to the round cards are scored and each player chooses one card from in front of them and places a token on it. They also remove one card in front of them from the game. They take the remaining three cards, draw up to five cards, and then proceed with the second and third round exactly like the first. The cards with a token stay in play the remainder of the game.

There are five suits and cards scored points based on what is printed on them. Some require you to have the most of a certain suit to score points while other score points for each card of a specific suit you have.

The mechanism in gaming where you select a card from a pool of cards, then your opponent selects from that same pool of cards is called Drafting. You will see the mechanism again when we play 7 Wonders Duel. I spent years in Magic: the Gathering tournaments drafting cards to play with, so I entered this game pretty confidant. (Maybe arrogant is a better word.)

We played the first round and I was down by three points, but that’s okay, because now I know six of the cards that will be replayed and can set up a solid draft strategy. Cortnie had grown her lead by another point at the end of the second round. No problem! I’ve only got to make up four points.

Here’s the problem: at the end of the third round, which completed the game, I had 53 points. Cortnie had 74. She had won. This was her first win of any game this month. I was actually happy for her and she was complaining that it didn’t really count. That she had only beaten me by a few points in the first two rounds, and it was only luck that let her leap ahead in the third. My arrogance started to tug at my mind and it agreed, it had to be luck, right? I didn’t say that, of course. I said that she played a great game and beat me skillfully. Then I invited her to a rematch so I could show her just how well I had developed my drafting skill. Now that I was familiar with all the cards, she didn’t have a chance.

I would crush her, but play a good sport. I would compliment her on her play while secretly being relieved that my wife, who had only ever drafted in 51st State, which is barely drafting at all, had been defeated.

At the end of the first round I was down again. But this time it was by 12 points. I had only scored three points the first round. I wasn’t arrogant any more. I was terrified. Even worse, I was losing. At the end of the second round, I had again scored three points. Cortnie had scored 26. At the end of the game, Cortnie had almost doubled my score, finishing 31 to 70.

Well, congratulations Cortnie. You beat me horribly, at my game. I’ll expect a rematch. Maybe a series of rematches.

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