Saturday, April 26, 2008

Damascus 04/25/08

Got some catching up to do, as I want/need to post my GameDays report as well...

Fourteen hale and hardy gamers stepped out for a night of geekdom...

  • David & Noreen Fair
  • Rick & Linda Pasquale
  • Jason Cheng
  • Rose Byington
  • John-Paul Pizzica
  • Lance Jones
  • Paul H.
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Rich O'Brian
  • Luke Conte
  • Martha & David Briggs
I got four people playing Stone Age, and then we played Aquaretto. Aquaretto is a sequel to Zooloretto, and while it can be played with that game, this time we played it standalone... Nathaniel won with a huge "let the kids buy fish and feed our animals" strategy, scoring 44 points, followed by Rick with 26, Linda with 25, and David with 19.

Stone Age ended shortly thereafter. As predicted, the end game bonuses were big deciders. Paul won with 225 points, followed by Lance with 168, John-Paul with 160 and Jason with 140.

A group played just a single round of Saboteur as everyone tried to coordinate the next round of games...

The three-player Nordic Countries map is one of the tighter and more competitive maps for Ticket to Ride. Martha won the game tonight, 118 to David B.'s 106 and Linda's 96.

Power Grid is always a favorite, and tonight we played on the prototype Korea map. Rick managed to get ahead in capacity, stay behind in cites, then build first and throw down 5 cities to trigger a surprise game end and take the win. Final scores/positions: (Cities/Capacity/Money) Rick (14/12/14), Rich (11/11/47), Dave (10/10/74), John-Paul (9/9/55), Jason (8/6/130), Rose (7/7/87).

A group of us knocked down several games of Dominion (aka "Game X"), which I recorded on the "official" playtest sheets, but i failed to write them in the log, so no word on who won. i think the game was overall very well received.

Back-to-back Tichu? Unheard of? Not here... A shortened game was played between Martha & Noreen and David B. & Linda. They called it after 8 hands with the score all-but tied at 490-510. game 2 was Linda & Rose over Rick & Noreen 1100 to 700.

La Citta is a brain-burny classic, and four valiant city managers set off to play. Luke managed a win in a tight race, scoring 33 to Paul's 29, Nathaniel's 28, and Lance's 14.

The same four played a pair of games of something I had never heard of, a new game from Mayfair called Bacchus' Banquet. the gek entry holds little info, so I hope someone who played can leave some comments and let us know how you liked the game... In game 1, Luke won as Messalina, in game 2, Lance won as Caesonia.

We played Glory to Rome, a game where the artwork hides a really good game. Jason won with the Forum, so points were ignored. Had they been useful however, David had 18, John-Paul 9, Rich 8, and Jason 6.

A 3-player game of China is almost always a good thing. Nathaniel won this won, 45 to Paul's 41 and Lance's 27.

The last game of the night was a two-player contest of Thurn & Taxis with the All Roads Lead to Rome expansion. John-Paul won 34 to 27 over Jason.

Next session is Friday, May the 9th... Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Germantown 04/21/08

April has been an unusual month with smaller than average attendance. Nevertheless, we had ten gamers and that's more than enough for some good gaming.

  • Kevin Bealer
  • Dave and Martha Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob and Ben Jones
  • Helen Powell
  • and a new player, Richard Christin

First up, Dave Fair and Doug played a two-player game of Uptown. Uptown is a tile placement game where each player lays number, letter and symbol tiles, trying to have the fewest groups of tiles on the board at the end of the game. Dave and Doug proved equally matched as they tied with 6 groups each. Doug, however, won with the tiebreaker.

Richard arrived with a portable Go board and our resident Go fan, Todd, happily broke out his larger set for a game. Todd won this ancient and contemplative game.

When Helen arrived, she joined Doug and Dave for the beautiful new game, Stone Age. Players work as hunters, collectors, farmers, and tool makers to gather resources and raise animals to build their civilization. As it was the first time for Helen and Doug and only the second time for Dave, it took a while to finish. Final scores were Dave 309, Doug 214 and Helen 182.


Meanwhile, I arrived with Ben and we taught Dragonland to the other new arrivals, Dave and Martha. The dragons were mightily pleased as we rescued all of their eggs and most of their treasure from the imminent volcanic eruptions. While last to collect all my rings, I ended up with the most sets of gems and eggs. Final scores were Bob 44, Ben 34, Martha 34 and Dave 23.

Once Go and Dragonland were finished, Kevin arrived and Ben left, so we joined for a quick six player game of For Sale. As usual, bidding was somewhat crazy, and several players paid dearly for less than fantastic properties. At the end, Todd was the clear winning seller. Todd 56, Kevin 46, Dave B 45, Bob 45, Martha 36 and Richard 27.

With all games over, we had one hour and nine people. So we started a four and a five player game.

The four player game was Race for the Galaxy with Bob, Dave F, Helen and Todd. While I built a powerful blue planet produce and ship engine, I was several worlds and developments behind; the game ended before I could use the engine much. Todd actually played down thirteen cards to my seven. Still, he wasn't able to stop the RFTG juggernaut that is Dave. Final scores were Dave 36, Todd 34, Bob 33 and Helen 28.

The five players tried to get in a quick play of the tactical race through the London Tube game, On the Underground. Alas, they needed about fifteen more minutes to finish. When they quit at 10PM, Martha was ahead with 29, Kevin 26, Doug 25, Richard 24, and Dave B 16.

Thanks to everyone for coming out!

(All images from Boardgamegeek.com)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Damascus 04/18/08

With the spring, the weather has improved, and our attendance has dropped... We had 13 for our first Friday session in a few weeks...

  • David, Noreen, and Corwin Fair
  • Jason Cheng
  • Rose Byington
  • John-Paul Pizzica
  • John Stup (Thanks for the reminder, Carol!)
  • Rick & Linda Pasquale
  • Bob, Carol, Rachel and Ben Jones
We started the night with a 5-player game of Darjeeling. While ostensibly about collecting and delivering Tea, the game felt very abstract. It has a clever scoring mechanism, but this, alas, was not enough to raise it above mediocre status. Final scores: Dave 105, Rose 94, John-Paul 29, Jason 29, Noreen 17.

We had more gamers arrive and settled into 2 games, and shortly after these got going, the Jones' arrived. Bob and Carol played a pair of 2-player games, Pick & Pack and Elchfest, as they waited for us to finish. Pick & Pack is a tactical game of moving a shared pawn to pick up crates of apples and trying to score more apples than your opponent, and trying to force them to end the game once you are ahead. Elchfest is a dexterity game that involves flicking stones to make a path for your Elk to cross the river. Carol reports that she "stunk on ice" though i think ice should have helped the Elk cross, unless it was thin ice...Bob won both games.

About this time, Surf's Up Dude ended. Rick won this contest, scoring 53 and followed closely by Jason (48), John (42) and John-Paul (38). No one seemed overly enamored of the game and it's reviews on BGG have been somewhat less than effusive so far. We will see if I can get it played and I will give you my thoughts then...

A back-and-forth see-saw game of Tichu finally ended. Linda & Noreen emerged victorious, 1155 to 845 over David & Rose, going out 1-2 on the final hand to cement the win.

Titan: the Arena is a rethemed and updated, and much more popular version of Grand National Derby by Reiner Knizia. In this betting game, players bet on monsters battling in arenas, killing the weak, and hoping the ones they have bet on survive. Bob and Carol tied for the win (with Bob getting the official Cheesy tiebreaker) with 12 points, followed by John Paul with 10, and Rick and Jason with 8 each.

In Hanging Gardens, players compete to take cards and build temple structures that allow them to grab scoring tiles. Then those tiles are collected into sets at the end of the game and scored. It is a fairly light and quick puzzle game with nice components. Jason won with 66 points, followed by John-Paul with 39 and Dave with 37.

More 3-player gaming goodness came with another Knizia classic, Samurai. Players use hexagonal tiles to surround cities, which have one to three different figures: rice paddies, buddhas, or high hats. The tiles represent influence on particular facets of the cities, and the highest influence on a figure when the city is surrounded takes that figure. The object of the game is to have more of any one else in one category, and then have the most remaining figures. Jason failed to achieve a majority in any one category and so was ineligible to win, while both John-Paul and I had majorities in a single type of figure. However, I had 5 pieces that were not in my majority, compared to John-Paul's three, and thus was I able to secure the win.

We had a few more minutes, so Jason, John-Paul and I finished with a three-player game of Sticheln. Despite a strong lead going into the third hand (17 vs 8 & -11), I was unable to hold on to the win when faced with the determination of my opponents. Final scores: Jason 16, David 8, John-Paul -8.

The final game of the night was a 4-player game of Agricola. The farming game from Uwe Rosenberg has been a huge hit with our group, and me especially. I have found that 4 player is a lot harder than it seems initially as the amount of resources that enter the game is lower per-player than almost any other form of the game. The final scores were:
  • Noreen 16 (no fields or crops, no animals, 4 pastures, 5 empty spaces, 2 stables, a 4-room Clay Hut, 3 people, 7 points from improvements, and 1 begging card)
  • Carol 33 (3 fields and a a good supply of grain and veggies, sheep but no other animals, 3 empty spaces, 1 stables, a 6-room clay hut, 5 people and 5 points for improvements)
  • Rick 34 (no fields but 3 pastures, no crops, but 8 points for his animals, only 2 empty spaces, 3 stables, a 4-room Clay Hut, 4 family members, a 4 points for improvements and bonuses)
  • Bob 45 (4 fields, 4 pastures, a few crops, but only 2 points from animals, 2 empty spaces, no stables, a 5-room stone house, 5 family members and 11 points from improvements and bonuses) (Bob gets a small asterisk here as it was discovered that he paid insufficient reeds to expand his house at one point)
Reminder - Gaming is on for Friday April 25 at Damascus, and for Saturday April 26 in Middletown. The following week is Games day in Timonium, and there will be no gaming on Friday night in Damascus.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Game Days! May 1-4, 2008

Games Club Of Maryland Presents the Eleventh Annual

GAME DAYS

May 1 - 4, 2008
Days Hotel
9615 Deereco Road
Timonium, Maryland 21093

http://gamesday.gamesclubofmd.org/

An Open Gaming Event

Have Fun, Learn, Share, Grow, Play

When:
Thursday, May 1st at Noon THRU Sunday, May 4th at 6:00 PM. Seventy-eight (78) hours of available open gaming time!

What:
Four days of open gaming. Open to the public. Have fun, learn, bond, make friends and compete with the best group of gamers around. The camaraderie is great!! The convention is known for learning new games and playing your favorites as well. Experienced Game Masters available to teach most games.

Many of us will be there. Feel free to post any questions in the comments.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Germantown 04/07/08

Monday night was a rare two week in a row session due to March having a fifth Monday. Despite this, we had a good crowd of gamers.

Attendance:

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Kevin Bealer
  • Dave and Martha Briggs
  • Shannon and Aubrey Bell
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob Jones
  • Carol Loman
  • Mike Mullins
  • Mattie Pascual
  • Helen Powell
I arrived to find Doug, Todd and Carol setting up for San Juan. I figured more people would arrive shortly, so I declined to join them. That turned out to be something of a mistake, but eventually more people started to arrive. San Juan gets a good amount of play in our group and rightly so. It's a fabulous game. Final scores were Doug 50, Todd 32 and Carol 31.

When Mike, Aubrey and Shannon arrived, I taught them my favorite abstract game (a genre I'm not overly fond of) by my favorite designer, Reiner Knizia. That game is the fabulous Einfach Genial (Ingenious) in which your final score is your lowest score of the six colors. The players were fairly aggressive at blocking but I started getting "genials" and thought I had walked away with the win. Alas, while I got an impressive five "genials", my lowest score was 12 which meant that Mike's 13 made him the winner. Scores were Mike 13, 14, 14, 17, 18, 18, Bob 12, 18, 18, 18, 18, 18, Aubrey 8, 10, 12, 17, 18, 18 and Shannon 7, 12, 13, 18, 18, 18.

Dave and Martha arrived and so joined the San Juan folk for Metro, laying track in the Paris Metro to score your trains and make your opponents' trains finish prematurely. Todd came through with a commanding victory. Todd 58, Dave B 49, Doug 37, Carol 33, and Martha 25.

Mattie joined the Einfach group so we played three rounds of the quick card game Poison. The goal is to take as few cards as possible (especially the Poison cards) and the lowest score wins. Kevin arrived after one round so we gave him the average of the first round scores. Scores were Kevin 5+3+0 = 8, Mike 5+2+6=13, Shannon 0+7+10=17, Mattie 13+4+0=17, Aubrey 7+8+2=17 and Bob 10+6+2=18.

When Helen arrived, she convinced Doug and Todd to play Race for the Galaxy so the rest of us broke out the push-your-luck game Diamant. Diamant plays up to eight players who venture into the mines for gems and treasure, trying to avoid the mortal dangers within. Hilariously, I died in each of the first four mines while Martha's conservative strategy put her into the lead. In the fifth and final mine, with four revealed dangers, I pushed on after everyone else had fled. The strategy paid off big time as some high scoring cards were revealed. I had a tough decision on when to stop in order to pass Martha and I picked correctly, fleeing when I had accumulated 33 gems. Final scores were Bob 33, Martha 24, Shannon 22, Kevin 17, Aubrey 16, Mattie 16, Dave 11, Mike 9.

Meanwhile, in Race for the Galaxy, Helen put together a successful resource engine and won her first game. Helen 44, Todd 35, and Doug 32.

After Diamant finished and Mattie went back to studying, we broke into two groups. Martha, Dave, Aubrey and Shannon decided to play perennial favorite, Ticket to Ride. With many games under her belt, Martha is a serious contender now and took the win. Martha 131, Dave 122, Aubrey 119, and Shannon 89.

Meanwhile, I taught Mike and Kevin one of my favorite games, the tile laying influence game Samurai. It was a rather vicious game with many twists. To be eligible to win, you have to have the most of one of the three types of figures. Mike ended up with the most Buddhas, Kevin with the most High Helmets. Alas, after Mike's last turn capture of a rice field, I tied with him for the most rice fields and so was ineligible for the win. Mike won with the most remaining figures. Well played! Mike 6 (most Buddhas), Kevin 3 (most High Helmets), Bob n/a (tied for most rice fields with Mike).

After Race for the Galaxy, Todd, Doug and Helen were joined by Leslie. They decided to again play the very similar but still excellent San Juan. Final scores were Todd 41, Helen 35, Doug 33 and Leslie 24.

Thanks for a fun night! See you next time.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Germantown 03/31/08

Hey everyone! As the fifth Monday of the month rolled around, we found ourselves at Borders. What a shock!

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Shannon and Aubrey Bell
  • Dave and Martha Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob and Ben Jones
  • Carol Loman
  • Mike Mullins
  • Helen Powell
  • Eric and Laura Reinhold
  • and a new player, Mattie Pascual
First up was one of two known zoo-building games, O Zoo le Mio. We don't play this often enough as it's a fun, cute game with some strategy. Doug was the most adept at designing his zoo, with final scores of Doug 107, Laura 98, Dave Fair 91 and Eric 75.

Meanwhile, the Settlers of Catan dice game, Die Siedler von Catan – Das W├╝rfelspiel, was taught to Carol, Leslie and first-timer, Mattie. Mattie charged right out of the gate, winning 88 to Carol's 69 and Leslie's 48.

I arrived with Ben in tow to find Dave Fair waiting. Ben is often reluctant to learn new games but loves Star Wars so we broke out the light card game of space warfare, Mag-Blast. I started out strong, adding ships to my fleet and taking some big shots. Sadly, my defenses failed at a crucial moment on the turn before I was to take out Dave's flagship. Instead, an attack on my aft flank resulted in the destruction of my flagship. Ben's demise occurred soon after, giving Dave control of the galaxy.

At another table, a battle for another galaxy was being fought in the wildly popular card game, Race for the Galaxy. This was a very close game with Eric winning over Laura by the tie-breaker. Final scores were Eric 32, Laura 32, Mike 30, and Leslie 17.

Meanwhile, Doug taught the hefty development and dice-rolling game, Kingsburg. This was a somewhat long game which ended up pretty close. Dave Briggs was the winner with 39, Mattie (an impressive second place finish in her second game with us) 34, Martha 33, Doug 32, and Carol 27.

Between games, Eric and Mike played the Moose skipping, flicking game Elchfest, where players try to move a moose across a river by flicking stepping stones for him to stand on. Mike proved the more dexterous and won.

With the arrival of Helen, Shannon and Aubrey, Dave and I broke out the game of mining development, saloons, and dynamite, Boomtown. I fared particularly badly while Shannon and Helen fought for first. In the end, Shannon won with 117, Helen 106, Dave 51, Aubrey 50 and Bob 42.

Ben taught Leslie one of his favorite games, the two-player Star Wars lightsaberin' card game, Clash of the Lightsabers. Leslie did what I can't seem to do and beat Ben in two games straight.

When we hit 9PM, we geared up for the last games of the night. A quartet of hearty folk decided to get in a quick second game of Race to the Galaxy. This was risky as the game can take more than an hour. To my surprise, they did manage to finish on time. Dave walked away with the victory using a heavy shipping strategy. Dave 58, Aubrey 32, Helen 28 and Mike 23.

Meanwhile, I took everyone left and we played a couple of quick filler games. First up was Coloretto, the card game on which Zooloretto is based. In a very close game, I won with 35 to Shannon's 33 and Eric's 29.

Finally, Dave Briggs, Leslie and Ben joined us for some card-slapping fun with It's Mine. In this quick game, one person starts laying cards face up on the table. When you want to collect them, you slap the mat. There are several different cards which allow different scoring, including negative points, so you have to watch carefully and slap quickly. I was ahead after the first scoring round, but collecting a huge pile of cards on the second round gave Leslie a narrow victory. Final scores were Leslie 18+33=51, Bob 25+25=50, Eric 4+30=34, Shannon 12+2=14, and Ben/Dave B 13+0=13. (Dave took over for Ben.)