Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Damascus 07/13/07

It was a light night for gamers, as many of or regulars weren't able to attend, but the following 13 brave and stalwart souls made it to gaming on Friday the 13th. Coincidence? Perhaps...

  • David & Noreen Fair
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Melinda & Ruben Carbonell
  • Philippe Hebert
  • Bryan Snyder
  • Rose Byington
  • David Raley
  • Marshall Miller
  • Kevin Bealer
  • Raphael L.
Started off the evening with a quick round of the new Einfach Genial Knobelspass, which is a puzzle-race type of game where each player competes to solve the same puzzle in the shortest time. In these puzzles, you have 21 Einfach Genial pieces and you endeavor to make them match a pattern on the puzzle sheet. Very challenging, but like many games of this type, it is all heads-down thinking, with little talking or interaction. Philippe, Bryan and I played, and I managed to solve the puzzle first.

Next up was Bohnanza, a great trading game. We (Bryan, Philippe, Raphael, Rose, and I) played it without expansions. It was a very close game, with lots of trading and donations being made. Rose won, with 18 thalers, followed by Raphael and Philippe with 17, and Bryan and David with 14.

David and Martha Briggs joined Marshall and I for a game of Yspahan. I followed my mantra of cards, camels, and caravans and managed to score 94 points. Marshall scored 65, Martha 56, and David 51. This game may have a single-winning strategy, but I still find it enjoyable despite that.

Raphael, Philippe, David Raley, and Bryan played Vikings, a new set-collection game with a Norse theme. All the players but Raphael were new, so after a quick rules overview, they were off. Experience proved helpful, as Raphael (69) won over his opponents Philippe (65), david (64) and Bryan (47).

Ruben and Noreen paired off against Rose and Melinda for a game of Tichu. melinda and Rose managed 4 1-2's including one with a Tichu call, and won 1000 to 400.

Philippe joined Rose, Ruben, and Noreen for a game of Qwirkle. This abstract tile-laying game has been getting a lot of play of late. It is both good-looking and fun, so that is really no surprise. Ruben (98) won over Rose (94), Noreen (88) and Philippe (74).

Meanwhile, Modern Art got brought out, and the classic auction game never fails to delight some while confounding others. Melinda proved most adept at acquiring, selling, and manipulating value, winning 516 to Raphael's 514 (wow, that is close!) and Kevin's 405, and Bryan's 299.

Another game of Bohnanza, this time with Philippe (17), Martha (15), David Briggs (14) and Noreen (12). Bohnanza is a great game, we just need to try some of the many expansions!

Ubongo, another simultaneous puzzle game, was up next. Melinda taught the rules, and the players raced to see who could fit their Tetris-like pieces into their puzzles first, and capture the gem combinations they needed to win. Raphael (7) won in a close match over Kevin (6), and Melinda and Bryan (both 5).

Keep Cool is an older game that the publisher describes thusly:
Within Keep Cool each player takes a role within global climate politics. You have to put through economic interests, e.g. of the USA and its partners or of the Developing Countries. Yet you must not forget the strong lobby groups in your country like the oil industry or environmental groups as they also decide whether you win or loose. Within each round of the game you have to decide between measures for climate protection good for all and egoistic decisions just for your owns sake. The risk: catastrophes like droughts, floods or pandemics. The chance: welfare and a stable global climate. Whoever reaches his or her targets first wins, yet if you are not cooperative enough all players might loose due to a collapse of the world climate.
No one had played before, and scores were not tracked, but Raphael won over his opoonents, Melinda, Kevin, and Bryan.

The same group then played Die Baumeister Von Arkadia, a set-collecting game with a city building theme from Rudiger Dorn. the game is supposed to be quite good, and has terrific bits. Raphael again was the only one who had played before, and he won (72) over bryan (61), kevin (58) and Melinda (44).

Finally, Lord Godalming (David Raley), Dr. Seward (Marshall Miller), Dr. Van Helsing (Ruben Carbonell), and the tormented Mina Harker (Rose Byington), attempted to thwart the plans of the master of the night, Count Vladimir Dracula (David Fair) in Fury of Dracula. The journals of the count are revealed here, for the first time:
I found myself in Leipzig, and the four adversaries who call themselves my Hunters were spread across Europe around me. Lord Godalming was nearby, Van Helsing further away, and Dr. Seward and my stolen Bride, Mina were nearby in Eastern Europe, where my power is greatest.

I began by heading up the coast to Hamburg, with the idea of edging along the coast into Western Europe, and having the dreaded sea as a possible escape route if it were needed. At the last moment, I changed my mind, and began heading toward Eastern Europe, with an eye towards eliminating one or more of my Foes. i headed first to Berlin, then to Prague.

At this point, I was almost undone. Godalming's agents picked up my trail, and my foes were lucky enough to deduce my plans. I changed into wolf form and traveled to Munich, to throw them off, and while my agents in Leipzig injured Godalming, he was not out of the fight yet.

Dr. Seward arrived in Munich and picked up my trail. For a moment it appeared that this would be where the battle would take place, but I wanted more of an advantage, so i departed in haste, ending up in Marseilles, as Van Helsing and the Harker woman were blocking my other routes of escape.

At this point, I turned south into Italy, traveling to Genoa, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples, leaving New Vampires in my wake. The fools bumbled about in the rest of Western Europe, but when i put to sea from Naples, they discovered my trail of spent funds, and they knew then where I was heading. My ship landed in Constanta, and only Harker was nearby, but the others were closing in. I made for the shelter of my castle, prepared to do battle there.

This proved wise, as the stores of blood there sustained me, and the hunters were unable to gain the upper hand. Indeed, I bit Godalming twice, sending him to the nether realms, and I could have sworn that Seward would succumb to my will, but he proved eerily resistant. Knowing that I could defeat my hunters merely by waiting for the rise of a new dawn, which would herald a new age of undead entering the world, I escaped just as Van Helsing and Harker arrived, craftily hiding in nearby Szeged, while my agents sabotaged the rails just in case they came looking for me there.

The did not, and my undead minions arose all across Europe, plunging the world into a blood-drenched darkness in which I alone rule. None can stand against me, and the fools dare not try again.
I discovered afterwards that we got several minor rules wrong, but no matter -- we all had a great time, and we look forward to playing again very soon.

Hope to see you all this Friday, Harry Potter notwithstanding.

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