"You go ahead an play," Corwyn said to me, indicating the fourth open place.
"It's fine. I'll look around the store. I've never been here before."
So I sat down to play. Fred explained the rules to all of us. Ruhrschifffahrt is by no means the most complex game I've ever played, but it's one of the least intuitive, and certainly had plenty of complexity. It's sort of a resource-gathering, worker-placement game, but with lots of costs and restrictions on where you placed, and various things that you arbitrarily did or did not have to compete for. ("Everyone can do all of these actions, except for this one in the same area with the others, which can only be done by one person.")
It is, as Nick noted, the kind of game you need to play a few times before you understand it well enough to have a strategy when playing.
It is also LONG. The box says two hours, which is not unduly optimistic. We were a little over 2.5 hours, with no one who had played before and lots of pauses to check rules. And/or argue over rules.
Corwyn wandered over now and again to watch and comment. After the first hour and a half, I started gazing longingly at the copy of Eminent Domain on the adjacent table. To think, I could be playing a fun game right now. Ruhrschifffahrt was not awful; I'd be willing to play it again. But it was not a game that left me eager to play it again.
John left after Fred won the game of Ruhrschifffahrt. Nick owned the copy of Eminent Domain, so we taught Corwyn how to play it and played a game of that, which everyone enjoyed a lot more.
By then, it was late enough that I needed to head home. As Corwyn and I were walking to the car, I said, "I felt bad that you got left out of the first game, with it taking so long. But then, I'm not really sure who had it worse: you for having to wait, or me for having to play it."
"You. Definitely you," Corwyn said. "That game would have frustrated the hell out of me if I'd had to actually play it. I kept waiting for you guys to go, 'Look, can we just all agree this sucks and play something else now?'"
I giggled. "No! We are professional gamers. WE MUST PLAY TO THE BITTER END." It really wasn't that bad a game, I think, just not the kind of game that is fun the first time you play.
It was a pretty good evening. I think the Tabletop event actually is weekly (the one at the bar & grill did not recur) so I may go to it again. But I have two more gaming events this weekend, so I may decide that I'm getting enough RL activities already. c.c