Monday, May 21, 2007

Damascus 05/18/07

I was just about to write the we had "only" 14 gamers in attendance when something occurred to me... It was too many nights of having 14 or more gamers in attendance which led us to leaving behind my humble abode, and taking up residence at the Community Center. With all the weeks of 20+ gamers, I had forgotten just how big we had grown...

Those attending were:

  • David, Noreen, Corwin, & Andrew Fair
  • Philippe Hebert
  • Rick Pasquale
  • Ruben Carbonell
  • Rose Byington
  • Leslie Barkley
  • Raphael Lehrer
  • Marshall Miller
  • Bert Feliksik
  • Bill Trac
  • Kevin Bealer
Here's what our spies on the inside tell us:

Qwirkle, Game 1: Philippe, Leslie, Raphael and David played. I learned the next day that I had gotten a rule wrong (missing the phrase "or more" where it said you could play two piece on your turn). Even so, we found it quite enjoyable, and well worth it to give a try if you have not already. the game is an abstract tile-laying game where you attempt to score points by making long lines that are all either the same color or the same symbol. The tiles are nice and chunky, the play is tactical and relatively quick. I enjoyed this quite a bit. Final scores were: David 153, Philippe 150, Leslie 142, Raphael 109.

Qwirkle, Game 2: Another game of Qwirkle began, with Rick, Rose, and Kevin playing. Kevin noted that the game involved a different kind of thinking than many of our other games, and he particularly enjoyed it. Final scores were Rick 179, Rose 164, Kevin 156.

Hive: Rick sat down with Corwin and taught him to play Hive. I wondered how it would go, and Rick reports the Corwin learned the movements in game one, and played very creatively in game 2. Rick won both games, however. I really liked seeing Corwin playing a game, as he often refuses to play with me, but I see him more willing to play with others.

Klunker: Uwe Rosenberg has done several innovative card games (Bohnanza, Schnappen Jagd, Klunkre) and while this is the least well known, it is a great game with a set collecting mechanism that penalizes you if others have already made the same sets, so you must learn to branch out and take some risk. Very fun, and the artwork is quite nice as well. The final scores were Raphael 19, Rose 14, Marshall 10, and Bill 7.

Princes of Florence: Philippe enjoyed PoF enough last week to request it again this week, and he and I were joined by Bert, Ruben, and Leslie in building our renaissance manors. The game was marred for me when, on the first turn, as first player, I forgot to buy a profession card. This hurt me a great deal over the course of the game, but thanks to the magic of Prestige cards and careful planning, I managed to keep it close at the End. Ruben did very well in the mid-game, but petered out at the end, which is not a good idea in this game. Leslie and Bert both learned the game very quickly, and it was a tough competition all around. Final scores were Bert 52, Philippe 51, David 50, Leslie 48, and Ruben 39.

San Marco: Marshall, Raphael and Bill set off for the city of Venice, and played Alan Moon's San Marco. this is an interesting game, and great for three players. There is a map of the seven districts of Venice, and you attempt to score points by getting a majority of markers in the various regions. the play of the game is accomplished by cards, which one player splits into 3 piles, then the others choose which piles to take. The splitter keeps moving around the table, and you have to be flexible and work to ensure that most any cards can help you somewhat, as the method of distribution ensures you will rarely get exactly what you need. Marshall and Bill were new to the game, but that did not stop Bill from winning with 81 points to Raphael's 75 and Marshall's 74.

Tichu: Do I need to explain how to play this? Has anyone who comes not played this yet? this times, teams were Ruben & Kevin vs. Noreen & Rose. The ladies opened up a can off whup-ass on the boys, winning 1060 to 140. Usually you have to pay extra to get spanked like that.

Volle Wolle: David, Philippe, Bert, Leslie, and Rick played this game of shearing sheep, that has dice rolling, and a good memory is required. Cards are flipped over each turn, and players bid to go first at selecting cards they want. The highest bid goes first, but must roll 3 different dice (a d12, d10 and d8) trying to roll higher than he bid. If you roll high enough you may take from 1-3 cards, depending on how many rolls it took you. the lowest bidder always gets the cards that are left, which could be good or bad.... rick proved most adept, shearing th rest of us with a score of 59 points to David's 51, Philippe's 31, Bert's 29, and Leslie's 18.

Power Grid-Benelux: David, Philippe, Bert and Rick played PG, one of my favorites. We played on one of the newer maps, and despite forgetting to toss a plant each round (a rule specific to this map) the game progressed well. It was close, but with some stagnation in the plant market, things got a little out of hand in the bidding once the market opened back up. I recall buying the #39 plant for $80. Rick ended the game buying building to 17 cities, though he did not have enough cash to with the tiebreaker. Poor Philippe was screwed on the last turn when their was insufficient coal for him to purchase any, and he could fire only 2 plants. Final scores (Cities/Power Capacity/$) Bert 15/15/106, Rick 17/15/64, David 14/14/120, Philippe 12/10/251.

Goa: Raphael, Bill, Leslie, and Marshall set off for the Indian sub-continent and became spice merchants in this deep game. been far too long since I played this, but it is an excellent game with delicate balance. Each turn begins with an auction phase where each player gets to auction one item (and the starting player two items). The first item being auctioned is the right to go first the next turn (along with a card that gives an extra action). If you buy your own item, you pay it to the bank. If someone else buys the item you sell, they pay you.

After the auction, players get three actions to improve their plantations. Actually, plantations are one of the things that can be bought at the auctions, and doing so is necessary to get anywhere. There are five different types of spice plantation, and different spices are needed for different things. Each player has a board showing their advancement for various things: getting ships, planting new spices, getting colonists, etc. The more a player advances along one track, the better one is doing that particular action. The further you get along a certain track, the more points that track is worth at the end, and there are also rewards to the first player that reaches the last two levels along each track. Each player normally needs to use the actions for all the tracks, so it's not necessarily a good idea to concentrate on just a couple of them.

Goa is a game that gives plenty of opportunity for tough decisions, since one always has at least one action too little. It is a hard game to do well at in your first play, and experienced players Raphael and Marshall did much better than the two first-timers. The final scores were Raphael 59, Marshall 38, Bill 34, Leslie 32.

Yspahan: Dave, Kevin, Philippe, and Bert set off to be camel drivers and merchants in the ancient silk road. A really good game which has some excellent mechanisms for varying your path to victory, a healthy dose of luck, and very little downtime. Final scores were Dave 94, Kevin 81, Philippe 79, and Bert 71.

Next week is the last Friday of the month, so head to GCOM-Middletown, and enjoy the gaming there!

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