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.

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