Saturday, June 30, 2007

June 2007 Recap

June was a good month with a lot of gaming opportunities. here is what we played:

Game Qty
Notre Dame6
Ave Caesar2
Blue Moon City2
Category 52
Caylus Magna Carta2
Dragon Parade2
Rat Hot2
San Juan2
Volle Wolle2
Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery1
Can't Stop1
Carcassonne - The Discovery1
Daytona 5001
Die Dracheninsel1
Dragon Delta1
El Grande1
El Grande Expansions, the1
Elk Fest1
Factory Fun1
Fire and Axe: A Viking Saga1
For Sale1
Frank's Zoo1
Heimlich & Co.1
Igel Ärgern1
Leonardo da Vinci1
Lost Cities1
On the Underground1
Pegs and Jokers1
Power Grid1
Power Grid - Benelux/Central Europe1
Power Grid Power Plant Deck 2 1
Taj Mahal1
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization1
Ticket to Ride: Europe1
Vegas Showdown1
Winds Of Plunder1

There were, as you can see, a lot of games that were played only once. In total, we played 55 different games 84 times, and 4 expansions once each. the expansions were: Vexation (expansion for TransAmerica), PowerGrid Deck 2, PowerGrid Benelux/Central Europe, and the El Grande Expansions.

Middletown 6/29/07

This is a short recap of the last meeting of GCOM Middletown.


  • Scott Fisher (host)
  • David Fair (Co-Host)
  • Noreen Fair
  • Andrew Fair
  • Sarah Upwright
  • Calvin Fisher
  • Ruben Carbonell
  • Malinda Carbonell
  • Judy Trent
  • Scott Fox
  • Bryan Snyder
  • Steve Meyers
  • Noah Meyers
  • Tom McCorry
  • Katherine McCorry
  • John Webber
  • Marshall Miller
  • Raphael L.
Games played:

Thanks everyone for attending. This month I hope to include pictures and descriptions as well. A good time was had by all. The winner of each game played has their name in BOLD lettering.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Damascus 06/22/07

We had 17 in attendance, and we all set off for different corners of the globe...

  • Kevin Bealer
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Rose Byington
  • Melinda & Ruben Carbonell
  • David and Noreen Fair
  • Bert Feliksik
  • Philippe Hebert
  • Raphael
  • Marshall Miller
  • Rick Pasquale
  • David Raley
  • Lance Slifka
  • Bill Trac
  • Jennifer Weinstein
Rick, Bert, Jennifer, David Raley and I started a whirlwind trip around the world with a game of Die Dracheninsel. between the poorly formatted rules translation, my poor memory, and the length of time since I had last played it, we got so much of it wrong that what we really played was a game that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Die Dracheninsel. Rick won with 815 points, followed by Bert with 625, David Raley with 540, Me with 450, and Jennifer with 150.

Philippe, Rose, Noreen and Bill played the dice-rolling, worm-eating, domino-collecting game, Pickomino. Phillippe (9) won, followed by Bill (6), Noreen (3), and Rose (2).

Bill, Raphael, Lance, Rose and Marshall set off for the bright lights and fast action that epitomizes Vegas, playing one of the best euro-american hybrid games of the last year, Vegas Showdown. I really like this game, and we don't play it often enough. Combining tile play, Amun-Re style auctions, and a decent theme makes for a very nice game that plays in the right amount of time and offers some fun challenges. Bill won (62) in a tiebreaker over Raphael (62), followed by Lance (55), who brought some really nice looking chips to use with the game, and Rose (45) and Marshall (43) whose Amish upbringing hampered him in Sin City.

Ruben, Jennifer, Melinda, and Rick then set about playing Qwirkle. It was the first play for both Melinda and Jennifer, but Ruben (129) won the abstract tile-laying game, beating Rick (125), Melinda (91) and Jennifer (79).

Meanwhile, across the pond, Philippe was playing On the Underground with David and Martha Briggs. they worked together to build the London Subway system, and Philippe (56) ensure he was recognized as the greatest bloody engineer alive, followed in prowess only by martha (45) and David B (42).

In the southern half of the new world, David Raley, Bert and I tackled the jungles of Tikal. We had an excellent game that i felt was much closer than the score indicate. David Raley (131) proved the most intrepid of explorers, helped by his easy sole possession of 3 temples in one corner. Bert (102) and I (121) just couldn't get close!

6 Nimmt! was firing up in Pamplona, with Kevin, Ruben, Noreen, Jennifer, Melinda, and Rick each trying to outwith each other, and the bulls. Melinda (31) proved adept at dodging the horns, with Kevin (35) only a little less able. Rick (55) showed he still has it, and Ruben (58) had just barely enough of the right stuff. Jennifer (60) teetered, but Noreen (96) showed them all how to get impaled with panache!

Martha and David Briggs got David Raley into a game of Yspahan, and the three set off for the caravans and shops of the Silk Road. David Briggs scored an impressive 87, followed by Martha's 81, and David Raley's 55. This is all the more impressive when you consider that neither had ever played before. Which, considering how much we seem to play this, is pretty impressive itself.

Notre Dame, that haven for rats and den of easily bribed city officials was the next stop on the world tour, this time for our players Lance, Raphael, Bill and Marshall. Lance (50) proved most adept at gathering prestige and avoiding getting burned at the stake. Bill (48) followed in his footsteps, and Raphael (47) avoided the fate of Marshall (47, but lost on tiebreaker to Raphael), who was disfigured and force to ring the bell and cry out for Sanctuary. We will miss him.

Also in France, Bert, Rose, Philippe and I stopped in at the small border village of Caylus Magna Carta to aid King Philip the fair in building up another castle and surrounding town. I really like this game, and it plays much faster than the full version of Caylus, while maintaining much of the feel and the theme, yet it still feels fresh. Well done Mssr. Attia! Philippe (31) and Rose (31) were recognized for their many contributions, but David used his great stores of gold to ensure that he was allowed to marry the kings daughter (35) and Bert (27) was given the job of town jester.

Heading off to Moscow, Ken and Ruben were joined by Noreen, Jennifer, Melinda, and Rick, as they searched for spies left out in the cold, in a game of Top Secret Spies. They ran about town, looking for clues and trying to determine who the others were working for, but Rick (43) was wily to the end, besting Kevin (37), Ruben (37), and Melinda (37), Jennifer (30) and both Noreen (29) and her double (28). It appears they may have played without the action cards, as these add a lot to the game, but no one was very enthused about it afterwards.

What was left but to head to China and play Tichu? Rick and Ruben (1165) paired off against Noreen and Melinda (335), and showed the ladies that in Red China, the men rule, while the Killer Bees (Bill and Bert - 1000) made Kevin and Rose (600) work in the rice paddies to earn enough for the plane ride home.

Finally, Rapheal, Marshall, and David Fair, set off for the shores of Scandinavia, to explore the homeland of the Vikings. Marshall (55) led after the first big scoring, and Rapheal (55) after the second, but David (58) took many of the end game bonuses to end up with the highest score after the final scoring. This is a fun game that combines a unique auction method with the viking theme, set collection mechanisms, and tile-laying to make a good solid game for 3-4 players.

Have a great week, see you at Middletown on the 29th!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Germantown 06/18/2007

Sorry for the delay in getting these posted. Attending on this night were:

  • Kevin Bealer
  • Aubrey Bell
  • Leslie Barkley
  • Dave and Martha Briggs
  • Rose Byington
  • Dave Fair
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob Jones
  • David Raley
  • Eric Reinhold
  • Bill Salvatore
  • Bill Trac
As I arrived, Leslie, Eric, Rose, David R, Aubrey and Doug were finishing up the second of two games of the incredibly random, yet fun, Eco Fluxx. Eric won the first game while Aubrey skillfully manipulated his cards to claim his goals and win the second game.

In the meantime, Dave Fair and Bill Trac played the two-player games Elk Fest and Lost Cities. Bill had the more nimble flicking fingers and so was better able to maneuver his Elk, winning Elk Fest. The scores for Lost Cities were Bill 179, Dave 130, both very high scores!

We then broke up into two groups. I have been bringing Dragon Delta for the past several sessions and was happy to have five other willing players -- Bill Trac, Leslie, Dave Fair, David Raley, and Aubrey. The goal of this unique game is to move your guy across the delta by placing stones, then planks, then racing across. It became quite a mess near the center of the board as most of the players tried to bypass each other while keeping their neighbors from gaining a clear line to victory. Eventually, three players were all in a position to win. Dragon stopper-cards kept two of them from their goal, giving Aubrey the chance to maneuver his guy to the other side.

At the same time, Eric, Martha, David Briggs, Rose and Doug played the mighty cow game, Zoff im Buffalo. I've only played this once; I should really try to get in a game soon. Full scores weren't reported but Eric won with David close behind.

At that point, Bill Salvatore and Kevin had arrived so we split up into three groups. Bill joined Martha, David Briggs, and Aubrey for Blue Moon City with expansions. In a hard fought game, David gathered a large number of crystals and then in one burst placed three cubes on the higher levels of the monument. He ended up placing his fourth and winning the game soon after.

David Raley, Leslie and Kevin decided to play the excellent-with-any-number-of-players game, San Juan. Leslie was able to get the only "6" buildings into play, giving her the margin of victory. Her final score was 25 to David's 20 and Kevin's 17.

Finally, I was joined by Doug, Dave Fair, Bill Trac, and Eric for my favorite game Taj Mahal. Everyone had played before except Bill so after a quick rules explanation, we were soon peddling influence in the provinces of India. Doug and Bill got off to a very early lead with Eric and I struggling behind. Dave skipped several provinces and scoring opportunities in order to horde cards. When he finally brought out his big guns, Eric had decided to fight for the same province. Dave spent a ton of cards and got nothing, putting him in a terrible position. A few provinces later, the same thing happened but Dave was the winner that time, crippling Eric. With Dave and Eric taking each other out, I caught up to Bill and Doug using my chains of palaces which were scoring big points. Bill then fell behind as he stopped finding scoring opportunities. On the last turn, I shot ahead, only to have Doug's final card tally give him three additional points and tie the game! Doug and I shared the victory. What a great game!

That's all for this session. Hope to see you on the 2nd!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Damascus 06/15/07

Ok, we had some kind of a blip, and I lost this post somehow. Now i don't have the slips anymore, and must rely on my journal, and the games that were entered into BGG as played...

Also, I am behind schedule for the Damascus 06/22/07 post, so this will be kinda bare bones. Sorry about that...

  • Kevin Bealer
  • Rose Byington
  • Melinda & Ruben Carbonell
  • David, Noreen, and Corwin Fair
  • Philippe Hebert
  • Bob, Carol, Rachel, and Ben Jones
  • Rick Pasquale
  • Scott & Liz Percival
  • David Raley
  • Bryan Snyder
  • John Stup
  • Bill Trac
  • Stephanie (last name unknown to this chronicler)
Here is who played what, to the best of my recollections. Please comment if you can help clarify.

Corwin and I played Hive, and he taught me the rules. Later in the night, he played Hive again with Ben, and then they played Einfach Genial.

Philippe and David joined Corwin and I for Factory Fun. Philippe won by a large margin.

Bob, Carol, Philippe, David Raley and I played El Grande with the Grand inquisitor and Colonies Expansions. Bob appeared to be a runaway leader after second scoring, but he ended up in 4th! David Raley won with 135 followed by me with 125, Carol with 122, Bob with 114, and Philippe with 91. Really high scoring game with a lot of "score this", "score that" cards.

Stephanie, Kevin, and Bryan played Ave Caesar.

Rose, Noreen, Rick and Stephanie played Qwirkle. Noreen recalls that Rose won.

An unknown group played Can't Stop.

Bryan, Kevin, Ruben, and Melinda played Colosseum. Bryan won on a tiebreaker with Kevin.

Scott & Liz played Tichu against Rick & Rose and won.

Ruben & Melinda played Tichu against Rose & Noreen and won.

Bob, Carol, Philippe, Bill and I played Caylus. It was a good game with Bill learning quickly. I gathered favors fast and furiously, but built more than I had last time. Bob worked the castle and the buildings. Final scores were: David 95, Bob 72, Bill 59, Philippe 57, Carol 48.

See you soon!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Damascus 06/08/07

Twenty-Three seems to be our "glass ceiling". We have hit that number several times, but never gone over. We hit it again this week with the following gamers in attendance:

  • Kevin Bealer
  • Martha & David Briggs
  • Rose Byington
  • Ruben Carbonell
  • David & Noreen Fair
  • Bert Feliksik
  • Scott Fisher, Calvin and Carly
  • Scott Fox
  • Philippe Hebert
  • Dan Hucker
  • Raphael L.
  • Marshall Miller
  • Rick Pasquale
  • Scott & Liz Percival
  • John Stup
  • Bill Trac
  • Judy Trent
  • John Weber (host of the GCOM-Laurel CC location)
I did a better job of keeping track of the order things got played. Still, no camera this week. I should have photographic evidence again next week...

The first game finished was a 2-player game of Rat Hot, played by John S. and Marshall. This is an interesting little tile-laying game based on the board game, Dschunke. Players take turns laying down planks showing goods and rats, trying to stack and arrange the goods so their own goods are on top, and their rats are buried, while burying their opponents goods, and exposing his rats. they played 2 games, and they each won one.

Next up was a game of Notre Dame, which I described here last week. This game involved newcomers Bert, Raphael, and John W., and veteran players Philippe and David F. After a quick rules explanation, we got underway. Bert had trouble betting his park manned, and there was early competition for Notre Dame, meanwhile the carriages started picking up the "4" tiles, and rats started overrunning the 5 sectors of the city. After the third scoring we found out how close we had all been: David F. 54 points, Raphael 53, Philippe 44, John W. 40, Bert 26. the Park's bonus VP's can really add up.

Next up was a game of Gemblo involving Scott Fox, Judy, and Ruben, Scott Percival, Liz, the last three of which were playing a game of Tichu with Dan at the same time. WTF!? Ruben managed to play all of his pieces for the win, Judy and Scott Fox both had 4 cells remaining, Scott P. had 8 remaining, and Liz had 20 left over. I wonder if his victory here will affect the outcome of Tichu...

Rick brought his beautiful new Ravensburger copy of the racing classic Ave Caesar, and he played 2 races with Martha & David, Marshall, and Bill. This is a great game with lots of chances for evil screwing over of your opponents, which Bill said he really enjoyed. Knowing how to manage that and how to avoid it is key to winning, and Martha and Rick both did well, scoring 8 points each over the 2 races for the shared victory, while Bill scored 5 for third laurels, david scored 4 for 4th, and Marshall took 5th with but 3 points. One of my favorite games, a real classic.

The aforementioned Tichu game ended, with Scott P. and Liz winning over Ruben and Dan 1000 to 700.

Scott Fisher, Calvin, and Carly arrived, and played Yspahan with Kevin. Another new classic, this gets a lot of play around these parts. Calvin and Carly had not played before so Scott taught the game, and they began. The dice were kind to Kevin, who did well, winning with 65 points to Scott and Calvin's 57 points each, and Carly's 50 points.

Calvin and Carly, Ruben, Dan, and Kevin then played a game of "6 Nimmt!". In this fun little card game that accommodates up to 10 players, there are 104 cards numbered from 1 to 104. Every card has at least 1 small ox-head on it, which will score against you. The deck is shuffled and players are dealt 10 cards each. 4 more are dealt up on the table to form the start of 4 rows.

When each player has chosen a card from their hand, these are revealed and put on the ends of the rows starting with the lowest card. As the rows get longer, the danger grows, because if you place the 6th card in a row, you pick up the other 5 cards in the row, and your 6th card goes to the front to restart the row. The cards you pick up do not go into your hand, but sit in front of you to score against you at the end of the round. Play continues until someone hits 66 and the player who has taken the least negative points wins.

The game is a lot of fun, and the strategy changes dramatically based on the number of players in the game. Calvin won with -34 points, followed by Carly with -39, Ruben with -46, Kevin with -57, and Dan with -70.

While Tichu is the most commonly played climbing game in our repertoire, it is not the only one. Frank's Zoo offers it's own challenges and strategy, along with Doris Matthäus' delightful artwork. Martha, David B., Bill, Marshall, and Rick played, and it was new to everyone except Rick, who reported that the game was enjoyed and liked by all. And who can truly not like a game where the mosquito is feared by almost everyone? Rick won again, with 12 points, followed by Bill with 9, Marshall with 8, and David B. and Martha with 7 each.

Around this time, Power Grid finally came to an end. We were playing on the Central Europe map, with all sections in play, and playing to 17 cities instead of 15. We also used the prototype Expansion Deck. these factors all combined to make a wonderfully tight game. Three players all built to 17 cites on the last turn, with only $8 separating first and third place. Scott Fox managed the win by powering all 17 cities and having 8 dollars left over. David F. came second, powering all 17, but with only $2 (and 2 excess trash barrels that had he not bought, would have allowed him to win) followed by Bert who powered all 17, but had no money remaining. Fourth place went to Judy who had $2 remaining after powering all 15 of her cities, and fifth to Philippe who did the same, but had no money. Rose was one plant auction behind at the end, but powered all 14 of her cities and had $56 remaining. Excellent game, definitely among the best PG games from recent memory.

You may be wondering why there has been no mention of John W. or Raphael thus far. Well, after Notre Dame, they settled into a 2 player game of last Essen's hot game, Through the Ages. They played the Full Game (the longest of the three variations) and while this is a long game, it is usually very rewarding to play. It has development, economics, war, and all the other elements you'll find in a civilization game, but ultimately the goal is to develop your own civilization, not to destroy the other ones. The military strength is just one aspect of your nation, as well as population, production or science. It is up to you which one you will concentrate more or less, but you have not to underestimate any of them to build an efficiently working nation. There is only one measure of success at the end – the amount of culture your nation produced during the entire game. However, there are many ways to produce culture: through religion, literature or drama, by building wonders, by utilizing cultural persons etc. Considerable amount of culture can be gained even by wars or other aggressive actions.

Raphael managed to secure Michaelangelo as his leader for ages I & II, setting the pace for early VP's, but when he was forced to switch to Shakespeare, he was unable to keep the pace up. John used a few aggressive actions early, then Used his leader, Ghandi, to ensure no more military actions were staged. Neither of them upgraded their governmental system past Despotism, and John won, 251 to 237. Sounds like a great game. I can't wait to get one of these for myself, and have the chance to play more often.

Marshall, Kevin, Carly, Calvin and Scott Fisher all played Notre Dame next. Marshall was the only one who had played before, and he taught the game. Fisher commented several times that he thought the game was enjoyable, and a nice game on par with Louis XiV. Calvin managed to gain the most prestige for his city management skills, earning 69 VP's, followed by Kevin with 53, Carly with 50, Marshall with 44, and Scott Fisher with 43.

Winds of Plunder is the long-awaited new pirate game from GMT and designer Al Newman. Scott Fox, Philippe, Rick, and Bill all sailed the Caribbean together, with old sea dog Rick teaching the landlubbers the difference between port and starboard. He seems to have taught them well, as he scored 48 points but still came in 4th, preceded by Philippe with 54, Scott Fox with 55, and Bill with 56. Arrrgghh.

Marshall, Kevin, Raphael, and Noreen set off for China, playing Z-Man Games' new Knizia release, Dragon Parade. Noreen had played before, but Raphael proved most adept at manipulating the dragon to end near his stalls, scoring 28 yuan, followed by Marshall's 24, and Noreen & Kevin's 23 yuan each.

the last game of the evening was a 4-player game of Leonardo DaVinci, with David F., Rose, judy, and Bert playing. Judy and David had played before, and they taught the game to the other two, then set about making some of Maestro Leonardo's greatest works.

David tried an unusual opening strategy that worked very well, avoiding conflict early, taking money to start, and upgrading both labs before starting any inventions. This proved to work very well, as he claimed 9 inventions by the end of the game, winning 114 ducats to Judy's 82, Rose's 64 and Bert's 39.

I had a wonderful time, and I hope you all did as well. It was great to have Scott Fisher back. I hope to see you all again this Friday. Good gaming!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Germantown 06/04/2007

With two new players, we hit 15 attendance on Monday night!

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Kevin Bealer
  • Martha and Dave Briggs
  • Michael and April Charbonneau
  • Dave Fair
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob Jones
  • Carol Loman
  • David Raley
  • Eric and Laura Reinhold
  • Bill Trac

On Monday night, we were happy to welcome Michael and April Charbonneau to GCOM Germantown. Michael e-mailed Dave and I about our group months ago but has been unable to attend. We were very happy to finally meet him and his wife.

First up, San Juan with Doug, Bill, Carol and Leslie. No scores were recorded, but Doug most successfully managed his colonial holdings for the victory.

Meanwhile, Dave taught the beautiful new Mayfair game, Alchemist. Laura won by what seems a considerable margin with 74 points, followed by Eric with 57, Dave Fair 53 and David Raley with 42.

I arrived and joined Dave and Martha Briggs and Todd for a quick game of Aquarius. Something of a dominoes variant, Aquarius is produced by Looney Labs, the makers of Fluxx. Players lay one card at a time, trying to link up seven cards picturing their secret "goal" artwork. Several special cards allowing you to move cards, zap cards, trade or shuffle goals add to the strategy. It can be a bit chaotic, but Aquarius is a fun filler with beautiful Peter Maxish artwork. After I laid down my sixth linked "cloud" card, Todd stopped me by removing (zapping) one of my cards. Martha then laid down her sixth linked card and I zapped it. Unfortunately I zapped the wrong card as this allowed Todd to drop a card into the new spot and link all of his "fire" cards up for the win.

Dave Fair bought Days of Wonder's huge new game,
Colosseum, last week and since others were interested, he brought it out to teach them. Joining Dave were April, Michael, and Doug. (See Dave's summary of the Damascus 6/1 session for more info on how to play the game.) Personally, there were a couple of things I didn't like about the game. But seeing it set up on the table as they played definitely made me want to play it again. So I guess I did like it more than I thought. At the end, April put on the best show worth a fantastic 96 points. Following her were Dave 94, Michael 88 (and the tiebreaker), and Doug 88.

Having finished Aquarius, Dave Briggs, Martha, Todd and I broke out
Blue Moon City, our most-played game at Germantown. What followed was a very interesting and close game. The dragon scales paid out three times during the game. In both the first and second instances, two players tied for the most scales and everyone possessed at least three scales so all players received only three crystals. This made things very close throughout the game. On what turned out to be the last round, however, Dave triggered a dragon scale scoring and I had a one scale edge over Martha, giving me six crystals; enough for me to make my last contribution and win the game.

After a quick explanation by Dave Fair, Eric, Laura and Carol tried out the new sheep game, Volle Wolle. Laura won 72 to Eric's 62 and Carol's 50 points.

When Laura left after Volle Wolle, Eric taught Carol the great two player game, Lost Cities. Carol learned her lessons well and won 97 to 65.

Meanwhile, David Raley, Bill, Leslie and Kevin played
Carcassonne: the Discovery. David won with 68 points followed by Bill with 65, Kevin 52, and Leslie 44.

Later, the same group followed up Carc with three (presumably chaotic) games of Eco Fluxx. Fluxx can be a lot of fun and I think everyone enjoyed it. Leslie won two games to David's one game.

Finally, with just seven people left, Todd and I split off to play Canoe. This is a two player abstract that was obviously designed by a Backgammon fan. The game makes interesting use of doubling cubes to determine points and the ability to capture other pieces. I'm not a big fan of abstracts, but this was a quick, interesting game. Todd won 112 to 104 despite my last minute burst of points when I cleared my last piece off the board, sweeping up several of his pieces.

The other five players, Dave Fair, Doug, Eric, Dave Briggs and Martha broke out another favorite of ours, For Sale. After some wheeling and dealing in the real estate market, Dave Fair came out on top. Scores were Dave Fair 66, Eric 61, Doug 56, Martha 40, and Dave Briggs 32.

Thanks for coming out!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Damascus 06/01/07

Another crowded night, this time with 23 people. We had to pull in a 5th table at one point. In attendance:

  • David, Noreen, Corwin & Andrew Fair
  • David Raley
  • Philippe Hebert
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Kevin Bealer
  • Leslie Barkley
  • Lance Slifka
  • Ruben Carbonell
  • Bert Feliksik
  • Scott Fox
  • Rick Pasquale
  • Bryan Snyder
  • Bob, Carol, Rachel, & Ben Jones
  • Marshall Miller
  • Rose Byington
  • Bill Trac
Started the evening with Alea's latest big-box release, Notre Dame, playing with David Fair, David Raley, Scott Percival, Ruben Carbonell, and Philippe Hebert. Notre Dame is an interesting game with a card drafting mechanism, a role-selection mechanism, and tough decisions during the course of the game. It scales very well for 3-5 players, and even works with 2. everyone seemed to have a good time, and the game played pretty quickly. Ruben crushed us all, with 62 bell-ringing points, followed by Scott with 53, and the rest of us all tied at 46. A 3-way tie for 3rd, ouch!

Meanwhile, a bunch of folks arrived and games began popping up. Scott Fox setup Fire & Axe and played the game with Bert, Kevin, Lance, and Leslie. This is another new favorite, although the game has a lot less fury than one might hope for from a viking game, it is still a good tactical puzzle on each turn. Bert proved to be the greatest warrior this evening, scoring 198 points, while Kevin amassed 139, Lance totaled 115, Leslie 110, and Scott 83.

Meanwhile, Rick, David and Martha Briggs, and Bryan Snyder setup and played a trio of games. I saw each of them get played, but for the life of me I can't recall what order they were played in...

On the table for this foursome were Volle Wolle, a game the players described as cute, and that involves collecting sheep cards by bidding wisely and rolling well on three different polyhedral dice. Cute describes it well, it does not have deep strategy, but it is interesting, and the luck level is just right of a game of this length. Rick managed to keep from getting sheared, winning with 55 points to Martha's 45, Bryan's 28, and David's 25.

Also played was Rick's nice new copy of Daytona 500. He said he picked up off eBay and it looks like it was unplayed. He had some very cool little die-cast NASCAR racing cars to help make the game look even better. This is a cute little card game of racing around the track at daytona, playing cards to move forward. the tough part of the game is that cards move sets of cars, and may not always be able to move yourself more than you do others. Careful drafting and managing the turns is crucial. Rick won the race series with 940,000 to Bryans 760,000 David's 730,000 and Martha's 570,000. When I play this game, I require players to give a Vroooooooommmmm noise when they play their "9" card, but we heard no such shenanigans this night, alas.

The final game in the trio for this foursome (huh?) was Qwirkle. Everybody seems to like this neat little abstract game with it's big and chunky wooden tiles. The game is played by placing tiles and adding to existing lines, and scoring points based on the length of the line. It is fun, offers some nice decisions, and really pretty too look at. Rick once again was dominant, winning with 108 points, followed by Martha with 93, Bryan with 83, and David with 80.

Noreen, Bob, and Carol played the new Z-Man game, Dragon Parade. Bob was winning handily after 2 passes of the Dragon, but on the final turn, Carol was able to land the Dragon directly on one of her spaces, netting a large bonus, to come within a point of Bob, but it was not enough, Bob won 16 to Carol's 15, while Noreen scored 10. This is nice little game, but I am not sure how much replay value it has, as the strategies seem pretty straightforward to me.

Scott Percival and Ruben returned from Ping-Pong, and joined David Raley, Rose, Bill, and Noreen in a game of hedgehog racing -- Igel Ärgern, which translates roughly to Hedgehogs in a Hurry. In this game, each player has 4 hedgehog markers in their color, and competes to get 3 of them across the finish line first. You roll a die, and then must move a hedgehog in that row. You can move one of your own one step side-to-side first, and you can only move the top hog on a stack. At the end, Rose had to move someone else, and she put Scott into a position where he was able to grab the win on his turn.

Marshall, David Fair, Bob, Carol, and Philippe then sat down to play the new Days of Wonder game, Colosseum. this game has a lot in common with Princes of Florence, another Kramer game, but it is decidedly lighter, prettier, and faster. Players vie to acquire the resources, first in an auction, then in a trading round, to put on epic shows in their arenas, garnering audience members, and vying for the title of, Hmmm... not sure what title, maybe Entertainment Emperor? Anyway, the game is quick and fun, though I think I would like to try the "intense auctions variant" the next time I play... This night, Bob put on the largest show, and scored 88 points, followed by Dave with 82, Marshall with 76, Carol with 74 and Philippe with 64.

Tichu was up next for Ruben & Rose, as they faced off against Bill & Noreen. No word on any history, but the scores tell us that Bill & Noreen had a few troubles, as they lost 1010 to 390.

Rick, Bryan, and Scott Fox had a hopping good time playing the kangaroo game from down under, Billabong. This essentially abstract game is about manipulating your 'roos around the watering hole and getting them all across the river first. Scott Fox did hoptacular, finally besting Rick who came in second, followed by Bryan, who reported that that the game was hoptastic!

Scott bugged out, so Bryan and Rick played a 3-game match of Hive, which Rick won 2 games to 1. Bryan stated that the game was definitely worth buying. I would love to get a chance to play this sometime, as it looks like loads of fun. I love the huge Bakelite pieces.

I promised Bob a game of Notre Dame, so Carol and Marshall joined us and we set off for the City of Lights. After determining that we had a tie and I had prevailed on a tie breaker, we realized I forgot to pay my 2 VP penalty for amassing too many rats on the final turn, and Bob stole my victory, 51 points to my 49. I was followed by Marshall, with 38 and Carol, with 22 points.

Leslie, Lance, Kevin, and Bert setup a strange looking wooden frame that appeared to me to be some kind of cribbage board. The game they played was called Pegs and Jokers. I have never heard of it. Can anyone shed more light on what it is or how it is played? We know that Bert and Leslie played as a team and defeated the combined forces of Lance and Kevin, but I know little else.

David Raley, Ruben, Noreen and Bill played what might be the highest scoring game of Qwirkle I have seen so far. Noreen managed to score 114 and still came in 4th! She was bested by Bill and David who both scored 121, and Ruben who managed 132. That's very impressive.

Finally, we had another game of Tichu, which was only played halfway to completion. Bert and Kevin scored 540 to Leslie and Noreen's 220. It looks like the ladies were set on three separate Tichu calls, but the boys never made a call of their own. these scores were after 9 hands, a point where the game is often over.

Have a great week everyone, and we will see you Friday.