The first round was Factory Fun. Each player gets a factory floor and must connect various machines' inputs and outputs. Machines are placed one at a time, though, so a layout must leave room for future expansion. The layout can use as much piping as a player wants, but every new piece and modification to the existing arrangement costs points. This was a surprisingly tricky game--- even for Nathan, who had previously played it. It was very easy to grab a machine based on its input and output colors, and then realize there was no convenient way to align it among the existing flows.
The part I liked least was the way machines were distributed. Each player has a face-down stack. On every round, each player takes the top machine and flips it over with one hand--- then, players have to grab one of the revealed machines with the other hand. Touching a machine commits you to using it (or to taking a substantial penalty.) It felt like a very twitch-based addition to an otherwise strategic game. (On the other hand, it did keep the game mvoing.) On the whole, though, an interesting game and one I'd like to play again.
We also played The Mines of Zavandor which is about dwarves, gem mining, and auctions. The mechanisms are all pretty simple but interpreting the various icons takes a little work. The core mechanism is an auction, but the game is sped up by holding all four auctions per round simultaneously. Each of four gem types is a separate auction to buy a card, or victory points, but players select the cards they will bid just once for all types. I thought it was pretty fun and moved along well once the initial learning curve was met--- but then it slowed down again as people started to get more concerned about strategy.
My biggest negative is that the four types of mine cards --- "wood", "bronze", "iron", and "gold" are not very visually distinctive, and it is easy to put a card into the wrong discard pile. (We also had some confusion as to which side of the boards and card were the "front", but the instructions include lots of pictures so we managed to figure it out.)