Saturday, June 28, 2008

Damascus 06/27/08

A smaller week and some lighter games to get the summer started...

  • David, Noreen, Corwin, and Andrew Fair
  • Lance Jones
  • Jason Cheng
  • John-Paul Pizzica
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Howard & Nathan Wagner
  • Paul H.
  • Nathaniel Klinger
We started with Uptown, which Jason won with the rest of us (Andrew, Lance, David) tied (listed in tie-breaker order though). this is fun and fast essentially abstract tile-laying game that reminds one of Sudoku quite a bit, at least in the board design if not in the actual gameplay.

Over at table #2, we had a game of Big Points. This looks like a race game, but is really a set collection game. Noreen (36) won, followed by Martha, Corwin, and David B.

When Howard and Nathan arrived, I joined them for a game of Ticket to Ride: The Card Game. It manages to feel familiar to players of the board game while still being a fresh and welcome addition to the series. Howard (153) won, followed by Dave (80) and Nathan (72).

Next up was a game of Alhambra. This one was very close with lots of calculating on each player's part. Corwin (93) won, followed by David (91), Paul (90), Nathan (68) and Howard (66).

Njet is a rather obscure card game, even by our standards, but it is well-liked by those familiar with it. Jason (227) managed the win over John Paul (209) Andrew (142) and Lance (also 142).

Repeat performances of Uptown and Big Points were next. Jason (21) won Big Points over Andrew (19), Nathaniel (18), John-Paul (17) and Lance (also 17). In Uptown, David B won with all his tiles connected. He was followed by Noreen, Martha, and Corwin.

We had 3 games of Dominion, played back-to-back-to-back. Nathaniel, Paul, and David played all three. Scores were not logged in the main book. I may have them elsewhere, and if I find them I will add them later, but IIRC, Paul won game 1, Dave Game 2, and Nathaniel game 3.

3-player Agricola is usually fast, and tight. David B (35) turned out to be the best farmer, followed by Martha (30) and Noreen (20).

Plying Power Grid on the German map usually makes for a tough contest as players find the map pushes people together. The game ends (in 5-player) with the 15th city on the board, but that player that built it is not necessarily the winner, that goes to the person who can power the most cities (with money being the tie-breaker). Lance and Nathan both powered 12 cities on the last turn, but Lance's cash reserves gave him the win, leaving Nathan in second. Jason was third with a huge pile of unspent cash that tells me he was expecting at least one more turn, followed by John-Paul and Howard.

Don't forget about the 5th at Fisher's, and about the upcoming detours that may affect your getting to the Rec Center on July 11. See you then!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Damascus 06/20/08

After an aborted game night last week, we had a nice turnout with 20 gamers in attendance:

  • David, Noreen, Corwin, & Andrew Fair
  • Jennifer, Seth, & Justin Weinstein
  • Lance Jones
  • Doug Hoylman
  • John-Paul Pizzica
  • Rick & Linda Pasquale
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Kevin Bealer
  • Rose Byington
  • Paul H.
  • Nathaniel Klinger
First up was a game of Dominion. We played with a fairly basic setup, similar to the First Game recommended deck, with just 2 cards swapped out. Experience helps, and Dave won with 45 points, followed by John-Paul with 32, Doug with 26, and Lance with 17.

Meanwhile, a quick game of Blokus broke out on another table. I have played many times, but for the life of me I can't figure out what is meant by the following scores: Rick +20, John -7, Linda -24, Jennifer -37.

Diamant is fun and fast, and most importantly, supports 7 players well. Rick took his chances in Mine 4 when early deaths in the first two mines put him in the back of the pack, and that tenacity paid off. Final scores: Rick 30, Jennifer 15, Dave 13, Noreen 12, Linda 10, John-Paul 9, and Lance 7.

After some futzing about and a quick round of musical chairs we settled in for some more gaming. Kevin and Noreen played Tichu with Rick and Linda, winning the first match-up 1030 to 770, but losing the (aborted) second -15 to 315.

We had a 3-player game of Ticket to Ride: Europe, in which Rose (127) had some very good ticket draws on her march to victory. She was playing with Paul (105) and Martha (75).

In Tikal, players wander around the wilderness looking for ancient ruins and collecting artifacts. It's like Indiana Jones without the witty dialog or Nazis shooting at your head... John-Paul obviously owned a fedora as a kid, as he racked up 105 points in his victory, he was followed by Lance (92), Dave (95) and Jennifer (87).

Starfarers of Catan takes the Catan game system and moves it into space, adding a travel and exploration element, along with the coolest game bits ever made, to the familiar resource gathering game. Laura proved most adept, winning the game with 15 VP, and she was followed by Eric (13), Doug (12) and David B (12).

Two more games of Dominion, because, like potato chips and strawberries, you can just not play it once. We did a fairly intense game for the first round, with several less-used cards in the mix. Paul won 33 to Nathaniel's 27 and David's 20. In the second, we dropped in a few more familiar cards and removed the nastier of the attacks. This time David won 20 to Paul's 28 and Nathaniel's 21. One of the best things about Dominion is the ability to scale the interaction and the length of the game by adjusting the makeup of the cards in play. Awesome.

Another repeat, this time it was Diamant that came back. Noreen (30) won this time, followed by Rose (20), Doug (17) and David B (13).

The Downfall of Pompeii is tight and sometimes nastily brutish game, but it fun and mostly tactical. Plus you get to throw other people's pawns in the volcano. Aaaiiiiiieeeeeee! It was a very close game with Paul (8) taking the win, and Doug, Dave, and Nathaniel tied at 7.

A very close game of 2-player Race for the Galaxy was next. Nathaniel built out fast with a lot of planets and great military might, while Dave plodded towards a production engine. Once Dave got the engine going, Nathaniel countered with a string of 6-cost Developments. the game ended on VP chips, and Dave took enough to edge the win 54 to 52. Great game.

One of the favored dice games these days is To Court the King. the yahtzee-esque gameplay combined with cards that give you bonuses and special abilities to affect your rolls makes for a fun and fast little game. Kevin won with 8 6's, both Lance and John-Paul managed 7 6's, and Martha had 6 5's.

Finally, we had a 3 player game of the End of the Triumvirate (Triumvirate: Three who rule, usually with equal power). this is a game in which players take on the role of one of three leaders in ancient Rome: Caesar, Pompeius, or Crassus. Each is seeking to dominate the others by various means. You could try a military victory by creating a massive land block... or perhaps a political victory by being elected as Consul twice... or perhaps you can win by sheer skill by raising your talents... This particular playing had Kevin winning on a military victory, over Lance and John-Paul.

thanks for reading, see you next week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Germantown 06/16/08

Bob is on vacation with his family right now... he has promised to post the entry for June 2 when he gets back...

On the 16th, we had a nice crowd:

  • David & Andrew Fair
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Carol Loman
  • Leslie Barkley
  • Eric Reinhold
  • Richard Christin
  • Mike King
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Shannon & Aubrey Bell
Games played: Well, we started the night off by playing about a half-dozen games of FFG's Rattlesnake. This game is ridiculously fun... The publisher describes it thusly:

Who will be the first player to get rid of the dangerous eggs of the Rattlesnakes?
Rattlesnake is an easy, fun game for kids of all ages. The game will challenge their strategy and dexterity!
Players will compete to be the first to place all their 'snake eggs' on the board, but these funny magnetic 'eggs' will clash if you make the wrong move, and then you will have to pick them all up!
The first game published by Nexus for family entertainment, Rattlesnake will be a sure hit with parents and younger players, as well as seasoned gamers looking for a fresh, quick dexterity game.

The games each took 2-3 minutes as your turn consists of rolling a die, then putting a very strong egg-shaped magnet on the board, and hoping none of the other magnets come clashing in. Or go spinning off.

It was so fast to play, we didn't bother keeping track of winners and losers. Andrew, David, Leslie, Carol, and Doug played it. Later in the evening, Andrew taught it to Martha, Aubrey and Shannon as well, and they played 3-4 games. Lots of laughter every time it was played. We'll be carrying this one around for a while...

Eric and David B started a game of Big Points, and Mike and Richard joined them. this is fun little abstract game of collecting colored disks and trying to manipulate things so that the disk you have are worth more than those the others have. This was a very close game, with Richard and David B. tied at 22 for the win, and Eric and Mike also tied at 20!

In Pandemic, the players work together to try to contain global outbreaks of communicable diseases. Each player takes on a different role, and they work together to use the special abilities of those roles, traveling the world, treating, and researching disease, until they find a cure. In this game, despite doing well early on, we had too many outbreaks, and thus lost. But we had fun. Doug, Leslie, Dave and Carol played the roles of the Medic, Scientist, Researcher, and Dispatcher, respectively.

Next we split into two groups, and the first group played Hanging Gardens. This is a game where players build connected landscapes to create scoring opportunities so they can collect scoring tiles that become more valuable the more you have of a given type. I had some very lucky tile draws at just the right times, and was able to complete all my sets. Final scores were Dave 74, Carol 55, and Mike 48.

Meanwhile, the game of Citadels was still going on, so I joined the group at the big table wand we played 2 games of Big Points. In game one, Andrew won in a nail biter, scoring 27 points to Aubrey's 26, Shannon's 26, and my "also playing"score of 17. In game two, Shannon and I tied for the win with 25 each while Andrew had 22 and Aubrey 20.

Citadels is far deeper than many card games, and Richard reports that he really enjoyed it. he followed a strategy of taking the King and the Architect over and over, building expensive buildings and acquiring gold. This worked well, and he was doing well until the final turns when the General attacked his buildings and the thief stole his money and the assassin prevented him from doing anything! Final scores: Doug 33, David B 26, Leslie 25, Eric 23, Richard 19.

As the two teens took off to find reading material in Borders, Shannon, Leslie and I played a quick game of Honeybears, racing our primary pigmented ursines towards the caves. Two of the rounds were very close (21/21/20, 32/30/29), but the round in the middle, Shannon had a brain hiccup and forgot how scoring worked causing a blow out (31/25/8). Final scores: Dave 81, Leslie 78, Shannon 58.

A short game of Igel Ärgern is always in order, and tonight was no exception. In the race of hedgehogs, Mike was first to get 3 hogs across the line, while Doug and Eric had but two each, and David B had only one.

It was mostly a night of old classics, but one new game was played: Ticket to Ride the Card Game. This has similar theme and graphics to the board game, and while the card drafting is lifted directly from the board game, the way you play cards is quite different. In this game there are also multiple endgame bonuses, based on tickets completed to a given city. In it's inaugural outing, Carol managed to get several of those end game bonuses to take the win, with 145 points. She was followed by Martha with 117, Todd with 99 and Mike with 83.

June is one of those rare gems of a month where we get together 3, yes 3, times... See you again on the 30th!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Damascus 06/06/08

Allrighty, with this one, I will finally be caught up. Yeee-haaawww!

Nineteen is a cheaters score in Cribbage, but it was just the right number of gamers tonight. In attendance...

  • David, Noreen, Corwin, & Andrew
  • Jason Cheng
  • John-Paul Pizzica
  • Lance Jones
  • Rick & Linda Pasquale
  • Marshall Miller & Brandy Cunningham
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Aaron Feliksik
  • Dan Hucker
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Bob, Carol, & Ben Jones
What we played...
  • Started off with Dominion, trying out a few card changes. They were not universally loved... Final scores were: Jason 28, Lance 21, David 18, John-Paul 15.
  • A few more arrived, and there were games going, so we did a quick game of Poison, which Aaron (5) won, followed by Dave (8), Lance (10), Dan (16), Jason (24), and John-Paul (25).
  • Frank's Zoo was next to end. This is a climbing game like Tichu, but much simpler... Brandy won (17) followed by Marshall (14), Rick (14), Martha (8), David B (5) and Linda (4).
  • Gheos is a game in which the players act as gods, trying to acquire followers and score points. Nathaniel was supreme (108) over Rick (79) and Dave (68).
  • In Torres, there are no elevators, as the players are building castles to try to influence the old king to make them the new king. Lance (236) won in a nail-biter over Jason (235) and John-Paul (200).
  • Race for the Galaxy is a great game of expanding galactic holdings. David (Epsilon Eridani -43) outscored Nathaniel (Earth's Lost Colony - 37), and Bob (New Sparta - 28).
  • In Fairy Tale, the players try to accumulate cards with thematic elements from the old tales, and the artwork has an interesting anime twist. Lance (39) won over Jason (38) and John-Paul (31).
  • Rails of Europe is the follow-on to Railroad Tycoon, and it features a much tighter map and lower income curve... Aaron (53) won over Marshall (50), Carol (41), Brandy (39), and Dan (33).
  • Alhambra is a great game for 3, and Aaron (133) proved most adept at building his Spanish castle, followed by Carol (125) and Dan (114).
  • Mexica is an action-point game featuring canals, pyramids, and majority area scoring. Bob (102) defeated his opponents, and serving up their still-beating... no wait, that is a different culture... ahem... followed by Jason (95) and Lance (95 wik) and John-Paul (66).
  • R-Eco is a fast and fun filler founded on the fulfilling of final contract for waste and recycling. Lance (14) found the first score, while friends Jason (5), Bob (0) and John-Paul (-2) fared worse, finally.
  • Beetlez is a game where bugs roam the kitchen looking for food scraps, until the lights come on and they scramble for cover. Nathaniel (14) proved to be a wily critter, winning over Bob (10), David B. (10), Linda (2) and 2-fisted player Martha (0).
  • Agricola made another appearance, but still no reeds... maybe next week... David B (32) won over Martha (30), Rick (29), Noreen (27), and Linda (20).
  • Another game of Dominion, this time with the base set, and a tie for first, with Marshall (36) taking the tie-breaker (seating order) from Dave (36). Nathaniel (27) and Brandy (24) were close behind.
  • And a final game of Roll Through the Ages... Carol (148) won over Brandy (143), Nathaniel (141) and Marshall (120).
See you in a week!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Germantown 06/02/08

Hey everyone! Here's the long-awaited record of the June 2nd session.

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Aubrey Bell
  • Dave and Martha Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob Jones
  • Carol Loman
  • Eric and Laura Reinhold
  • Bill Trac
I arrived a bit late this evening, so I’m not exactly certain in what order the first few games below were played.

The colorful tile-laying game Uptown has been getting a bit of play of late. I’m not sure I like the components of the game, but the gameplay itself is straightforward and requires a good amount of strategy. Since low scores are better, Laura won this through the tiebreaker. Laura 2 (1 captured tile), Doug 2 (5), Dave 2 (9), Eric 3 (4).

Then came the Scrabble-esque, Qwirkle. Bill was the Qwirkliest with 108 followed by Leslie 99, Carol 95, and Aubrey 89.

Another new filler game that’s seen a lot of play is Big Points. Laura appears to have been on a roll and tied Eric for the victory with 28 points, followed by Dave Fair 18, and Doug 16.

Dave Fair was waiting for me to arrive, so when I did we brought out the classic two-player, Lost Cities. Despite my winning rounds 1 and 3, Dave’s second round gave him enough of a lead to win a very close game. I believe each of us scored at least one 20 point bonus. Dave 56+75+72=203 Bob 67+64+69=200

The fishy sequel/expansion to Coloretto is Aquaretto, where players build aquarium homes for seals, Orcas and penguins. Martha was convincingly the best at providing comfortable habitats. Martha 26, Leslie 21, David Briggs 19, Aubrey 19, and Carol 16.

A game I really enjoy but haven’t played much over the past couple of years is the blind-bidding, Arabian themed, Aladdin’s Dragons. This game has some of the nicest bits in any game and the artwork is fantastic. Some people are turned off by the blind-bidding mechanic, but there’s enough idea of what people are after that it doesn’t bother me a bit. This is the best of the blind-bidding games. Since I was the only one who had played before, there was a bit of a learning curve involved. If we played again, I have no doubt the scores would change significantly. Final scores, Bob 8, Carol 6 (won tie), David Briggs 6, Leslie 5 (won tie), Martha 5.

The Hanging Gardens is quick and easy to play but fairly taxing on the brain. It’s also colorful and fun. Final scores, Bill 23, Laura 23, Doug 21, Eric 21.

Finally, since I was occupied, the other group brought out my favorite game, Taj Mahal. Curse you! Eric walked away with this one, creating a huge, interlocking network of palaces. Final scores were Eric 47, Bill 38, Todd 30, Doug 30, and Dave Fair 25.