Sunday, December 20, 2009

Frederick south 12/12/2009

For our last gaming session of the year at the Common Market we had a nice group of folks. Sadly there may have been too much snow shoveling since we met as I do not recall actual game play, so this will be a sparse posting.

It started with Fran Lunney and Leslie Barkley playing Roll Through the Ages. This was Fran's first play and she learned quickly, Leslie won the first with 46 to 24, Fran won the second with 45 to 18. Mark Broski showed up as the second game was finishing, followed very quickly by Jack Ridgeway.

While we were discussing which game to play next Jack reminded me that during late play last month we had played Qwirkle, and he had won, with a particularly noteworthy 3 qwirkles in a row.

We went with Ticket to Ride, 1910 with a close game for most. Mark won with 111, Fran at 110, Jack with 98 and Leslie trailing at 81. I think at this point we moved into the Common Room and out of the Cafe, I am beginning to prefer the Cafe when there are just a few of us. I also find the chairs in the Cafe more comfortable, not sure why as they are both wooden.

Next up was Aquadukt with Mark winning, and I believe learning as well, with 29, Jack with 27, Fran with 26, and Leslie trailing again with 22.

We then played a couple rounds of Dominoes, Multiples of Five. Mark learning quickly and winning with 407, followed by Jack at 270, Leslie at 248, and Fran with 205. The second game ended with Jack at 379, Mark at 324, Leslie at 255, and Fran at 193.

Our final game of the evening was Settlers of Catan, which ended due to time rather than score. Leslie had eked out 8 points, Fran and Mark both had 5, and Jack had 4.

It was then 10 of nine so we packed up, wished each other happy holidays and went on our merry ways. Looking forward to January and seeing what the 2010 will bring. Happy holiday season to all, enjoy those days off, the fine company and food, and whatever traditions you may choose to observe.

Leslie Barkley

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Germantown 12/07/09

Attendance - 17:

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Aubrey Bell
  • Marc A. Drexler
  • Christopher & Tiffany Bass & Clarisa Findley
  • Andrew & Dave Fair
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Nicholas Kelley
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
Games Played (scores in order of place):

Pack & Stack - Dave 32, Clarisa 31, Tiffany 7, Chris -14
Uptown - Marc 1/6, Ethan 1/14, Bob 2/11, Nicholas 3/5, Ben 3/7
Tales of the Arabian Nights - Nathaniel won, Doug, Eric, Laura, Leslie, Andrew
Fast Flowing Forest Fellers - Chris, Clarisa, Tiffany, Dave, Aubrey
Citadels - Bob 34, Todd 30, Ethan 27, Marc 25, Ben 15, Nicholas 14
Saboteur - Dave 4, Chris 3, Clarisa 2, Tiffany 1

Posted by Bob

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Germantown 11/30/09

Attendance - 16:

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Christopher & Tiffany Bass & Clarisa Findley
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Andrew & Dave Fair
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Carol Loman
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold

Games Played (scores in order of place):

Alhambra - Leslie 105, Laura 102, Carol 88, Andrew 82
Ra - Bob 39, Ben 36, Eric 28, Martha 24, Chris 24
Diamant - Clarisa 35, Carol 31, Tiffany, Andrew & Leslie tied at 10
Diamant - Clarisa 36, Carol 12, Andrew 8, Tiffany 3, Leslie 0
Zeus on the Loose - Bob ZEUS, Chris ZEU, David B ZEU, Martha ZE, Eric –
Pandemic - Clarisa, Tiffany, Andrew and Leslie lost the human race to disease and death
The BoardGameGeek Game - Dave F, Doug, Ethan, Todd
Pandemic - Ben, Andrew and Leslie lost an alternate human race (the original having died earlier)
Power Grid - Doug, Ethan, Todd, Dave F

Posted by Bob

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Upcoming Gaming Opportunities!

Here are some gaming opportunities, starting next month!

GCOM Annual Holiday Party and Potluck Dec 19, 2009 GCOM Sykesville. 8337 Oklahoma Rd, Sykesville, MD, 21784. 443-609-4933. 3pm till late. There will be turkey, ham, gravy, & punch. Please bring a side dish or dessert. Email if you'd like suggestions. Host: Sybil Buckwalter:
Menygwacon 5 Dec 31, 2009-Jan 3, 2010 Michelle and Eric's New Years Gamefest Without a Cool Name
Brunswick Games Day Jan 2, 2010
5th Annual Brunswick Games Day
GCOM Gaming Retreat Jan 8, 2010-Jan 10, 2010 A three day open gaming event with served meals. A GCOM Members only event. Weinberg Center at Camp Fretterd. 5501 Rue St Lo Drive, Reisterstown, MD 21136. A Pre-Registration Only event.

Check out the Special Events page and Convention page on the GCOM Website for more information.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Brunswick 11/21/2009

A beautiful day with warm sunny skies, a day for open windows and enjoying those chores which get done on a Saturday. Apparently quite a few folks felt that way as we had a small crowd in Brunswick.

The first to join me was Tim Whelan, we enjoyed a quick game of Qwirkle. I had the fortune to gain good tile draws and won with a strong lead. While we were playing Brian and Lije Carpenter showed up.

In no particular order of play, as I neglected to make note of which order they were played in, we played Dominion, Pandemic, and Aquaduct.

Tim learned Dominion and we played with a mix of cards from all three releases. A most enjoyable game won by Brian with a solid lead of 32, Lije with 24, Tim with 20 and Leslie with 18.

In Aquaduct we had a close game with many houses lost due to a lack of water. Final scoring was Brian 33, Tim 26, Lije 25, and Leslie 17.

Sadly, we failed to save the world in Pandemic. We cured both the Blue Flu and the Scarlet Fever, but the Black Death overcame us at the end.

Tim left for another gaming venue and we three remaining played a game of Qwirkle. As we were finishing the singer/songwriter arrived and did his sound tests. We managed to finish our game with Leslie at 171, Brian at 160, and Lije at 138. We then skedaddled out the door.

reported by
Leslie Barkley

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Germantown 11/16/09

Attendance - 19:

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Christopher & Tiffany Bass & Clarisa Findley
  • Aubrey Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Dan Hucker
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Carol Loman
  • Doug Mercer
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Howard Wagner
We welcome back Howard and Dan whom we we haven't seen in some time!

Games Played (scores in order of place):

Cosmic Cows - Christopher, Clarisa
Carcassonne - Ethan 97, Eric 75, Tiffany 72, Laura 43
Steel Driver - Howard 1010, Natalie 990, David B 960, Martha 910, Aubrey 870, Todd 820.
Ticket to Ride: Europe - Ethan, Tiffany, Doug M, Eric.
At the Gates of Loyang - Doug H 17, Dave F 16, Leslie 16, Carol 15.
Ghost Stories - Ben, Clarisa, Bob and Chris lost to the ghosts.
Star Wars: Epic Duels - Aubrey (Yoda) and Bob (Mace Windu) beat Ben (Darth Maul) and Dan (Darth Vader)
Roll Through the Ages - Howard 30, Todd 24, Ethan 13.

Posted by Bob

Frederick 11/14/2009

Well, as Euro Quest continued over in Timonium a few folks gathered at Frederick South to play for the afternoon. As an added treat the Common Market was doing a Taste of Thanksgiving from 12 to 3 so we had some great samples to munch upon, Apple Cider Brined Roast Turkey with a Walnut Bread stuffing, gravy, cranberry relish, Sweet Potato and Squash Bake, Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie, Blondies and cookies. I was also able to sample Tofurkey and must admit that in a blind taste test I might have been hard pressed to tell the difference between the average roasted bird and Tofurkey. I also learned that the requirement for this is proper cooking, otherwise you end up with something considered inedible by most folks.

Fran Lunney was the first to join me and we played Ticket to Ride. As we were drawing to a finish, Jack Ridgeway arrived and so we promptly started a three player game of Ticket to Ride. Near the end of the game we had our 4th arrival, Jim Sparks. Jim watched the game while we finished up and expressed some interest in learning, so yet one more game of Ticket was played. Cynthia Lewis arrived as the game was drawing to a close and while it might have been interesting to have played a 5-person game we decided to play something else. Leslie's wanderlust must be making itself felt as she won all 3 games.

With all five we played two games of Dominoes, one for Jim to learn our scoring system, and then a second to put it into practice. However, Jack's ability and skill gave him the win in both games. When we play Dominoes we take the open end of the tile played and add it to each of the other open ends, if the total of the two ends is a multiple of five the player scores the total. When the open end is a double tile then the tile end is the total pips of the tile.

While Fran went to run a quick errand the remaining four played a game of Guillotine with Leslie being the most bloodthirsty of the mob, winning with 23 points.

When Fran returned Jim left to go watch a game. I want to give a quick shout - Congratulations to Jim on his promotion at work- well deserved.

The remaining folk played a game of Qwirkle, and while we came close to the edge the game stayed on the table. A close game with all players scoring in the 90's but Jack eked out to the lead with 97.

Our final game at the Common Market was Aquaduct, we played twice with a resounding win by Cynthia in the first game. The second game ended in atie between Cynthia and Leslie.

It was then just shy of 9pm and so we left the store. Carolyn Lewis, a former regular, invited those who were interested to come over to her place to continue gaming. Fran decided to head home, the rest of us headed over to Carolyn's in a slow, circuitous manner.

Once we arrived we played Pegs and Jokers twice and Aquaduct. Sadly I did not keep track of the results.

somewhat recorded by
Leslie Barkley

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Germantown 11/02/09

Lots of games played this night. The pub table in the corner is still problematic . . .

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Tiffany & Christopher Bass & Clarisa Findley
  • Aubrey Bell
  • David Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Jo Hogan
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Carol Loman
  • Doug Mercer
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
Maori - Tiffany 32, Chris 23, Clarisa 22, Leslie 10
Roll Through the Ages - Doug H 25, David B 17, Aubrey 12, Leslie 11
Ra: the Dice Game - Dave 50, Laura 46, Eric 44, Aubrey 41
Hey! That's My Fish - Christopher 40, Clarisa 31, Carol 28
Hey! That's My Fish - Carol 40, Christopher 37, Clarisa 23
Qwirkle - Christopher 77, Clarisa 55
Pandemic - Ben, Jo, Bob and Marc beat the dreaded viruses and saved the world!
The Bridges of Shangra-La - Bob 19/11, Christopher 19/10, Clarisa 18, Ben 17
Roll Through the Ages - Nathaniel 21, Todd 14, Marc 12
Race for the Galaxy - Marc 34, Todd 27
Thurn and Taxis - Aubrey 21, Doug H 17, Leslie 11, David B 10
Euphrat & Tigris - Eric 9, Ethan 7, Tiffany 6, Dave F 3 (ouch)
Guillotine - Leslie 18, Doug H 16, David B 15, Aubrey 12
Pow Wow (in order of finish) - Marc, Clarisa, Bob, Ben, Chris, Nathaniel
Fluxx - Aubrey won over Doug H, Leslie, Eric, David B, Ethan

Although Doug Mercer's name is on the attendance list, I don't have him listed as playing any games. If you can solve this mystery, please comment.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Germantown 10/19/09


  • Leslie Barkley
  • Aubrey & Shannon Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Doug Mercer
  • Alex Pang
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
A bit of a drop in attendance as we go deeper into the Fall. Still, 15 gamers is pretty good.

Tales of the Arabian Nights - Did not finish but they all had fun. Doug H, Nathaniel, Eric and Alex.
Samurai: The Card Game - Leslie won. Doug H, Dave F, Laura.
Diamant - Aubrey 43, Shannon 29, Leslie 27, David B 27, Martha 21, Ben 19
Mamma Mia - Erc 5 (won tie), Alex 5, Nathaniel 3
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - Leslie beat Ben
Pack & Stack - David B 62, Aubrey 51, Martha 36, Leslie 33, Shannon 0 (huh?)
Pack & Stack - Aubrey 92, Martha 66, David 47, Leslie 18, Shannon 0 (double huh?)
Endeavor - Bob 59, Dave F 53, Doug M 48, Todd 34
Ingenious - Dave 11 (won), Bob 11, Todd 11, Doug M 7

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Article of Interest to Boardgaming Aficionados

Last month, Dave sent around a link to this very good article on boardgaming.

Alt Text: A Belligerent Guide to Board Games

The article describes many different categories of board games, including, "Games Your Grandmother Has Heard Of", "Games That Make You Want to Make Battle Sound Effects When You Play Them" and "Games That Sound Incredibly Boring but Aren’t."

That last category describes our favorites, Euro Games.

Check it out!

(You may also want to check out a previous Wired article on Settlers of Catan. Monopoly Killer: Perfect German Board Game Redefines Genre.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Euro Quest VII - This weekend!

A European-Style Gaming Conference
November, 12 - 15, 2009
Holiday Inn (formerly Days Hotel)
9615 Deereco Road
Timonium, Maryland 21090

For more details click here:

Many of our local group (GCOM Germantown, Brunswick, the Frederick locations and Middletown) will be there this weekend playing lots and lots and lots of games!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Germantown 10/05/09

Eighteen players for the first session in October.

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Tiffany & Chris Bass
  • Aubrey & Shannon Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Clarisa Findley
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Carol Loman
  • Doug Mercer
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
Zeus on the Loose - Did not finish. Eric, Laura, Nathaniel, Carol, Ethan, Doug H
Alhambra - Doug M 94, Ethan 93, Leslie 83, Todd 64, Doug H 55
Race for the Galaxy - Todd 47, Doug H 44, Ethan 38, Leslie 23, Doug M 19
Roll Through the Ages - Tiffany 19, Clarisa 10, Chris 5
Cheeky Monkey - Ethan 29, Doug H 20, Leslie 19, Todd 18, Ben 7
Canyon - Laura, Nathaniel, Carol, Eric
Uptown - David 1/8, Bob 1/9, Shannon 2/9, Aubrey 4/7, Ben 4/8
Attila - Aubrey 86, Shannon 79, Martha 69, Bob 68, David 52
Dominion - Nathaniel 28, Ethan 24, Doug H 20, Leslie 19
Zooloretto - Tiffany 25, Nathaniel 21, Eric 20, Chris 17, Clarisa 7
LOTR: The Confrontation - Ben and Clarisa played multiple games
For Sale - Martha 62, Dave 59, Bob 51, Aubrey 46, Shannon 42
Blue Moon City - Tiffany 4, Eric 3, Chris 3
Gloom - Nathaniel won. Ethan, Doug H, Leslie

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Germantown 09/21/09

Down below 20 gamers for the first time in a while. However, our streak of new attendees continues as we welcome David Foyer.

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Chris & Tiffany Bass & Clarisa Findley
  • Aubrey & Shannon Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • David Foyer
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob & Ben Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Carol Loman
  • Eric Reinhold
  • Bill Salvatore
Qwirkle - Eric 130, Leslie 102, Martha 97, Bill 92
Incan Gold - Bob 46, Aubrey 37, Tiffany 25, Clarisa 22, Shannon 17, Ben 14, Clarisa 10
Cartagena - David B won, Ben, Chris
Igel Argern - Laura won, Doug, Carol, Ethan, Dave F
Race for the Galaxy - Bill 51, Leslie 31, Aubrey 26, Eric 23, Martha 15, David B 11
Mammoth Hunters - Nathaniel 45, Tiffany 44, Clarisa 42, Carol 37, Bob 36
Raj - Ben 25, Bob 17, Nathaniel 0, David Foyer -1
Potomac Blackout - Ethan 56, Aubrey 41, Leslie 41, Doug 38, Bill 26, Todd 24

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Congress of Gamers - September 26-27, 2009

Hey everyone! Next weekend is the Congress of Gamers at the Bauer Drive Community Center in Rockville. This is the second year for the CoG, following its very successful inaugural convention last year. Many of us are planning to attend and we hope we'll see you there!

All the info you need is here: Congress of Gamers

Brunswick, 9/19/09

Aarrrr, a fine day in Brunswick for playing games.

Attending were:

Karl Musser
Leslie Barkley
Ben Stewart
Tim Whieldon
Lije Carpenter
Brian Carpenter
Jay Carrington
Kathy Hallahan
Dave Fair

First up, Small World was taught to Leslie (thank you enjoyed it greatly) by Brian, Lije, and Karl. A quick game won by Karl.

While Small World was finishing Dave, Jay and Kathy played Guillotine, with Kathy being the most adept at collecting those baskets of heads.

Cairo, a flicking game, was played twice by Dave, Tim, Ben, and Leslie. Ben won the first game, Leslie the second. A lot of fun as players learned to flick cubes off boats.

Samurai, the Card Game was next up for the four flickers, with Ben winning handily. An interesting method of end game scoring which made strategy during play a bit confusing for some of us.

While Cairo and Samurai were being played at one table, another table was enjoying a game of Winds of Plunder. Brian, Karl, Lije, Jay and Kathy played with Kathy being the winner.

Dave, Brian, Lije, and Ben then went to a large table to play Planet Steam. A game with very interesting looking bits. Unfortunately I don't know how this ended. I left while both they and the band were playing a bit after 7pm.

Tim, Kathy, Jay, Karl, and Leslie played Snow Tails. Kathy took an early lead coming out of the first turn and held on to it the entire game, crossing the finish line turns ahead of everyone else. Leslie gained a commanding second place, followed in very short order by Tim, Jay and then Karl.

We finished with a quick game of Take Six with Tim at 24 for his first win at this game, Leslie at 26, Karl at 27, Jay at 39, and Kathy at 83 - the cards were not kind to her in this game, perhaps the dogs ate all the good ones. During our play the band arrived, set up and started playing. We decided to end the day just after 7pm.

Frederick, 9/12/09

Well, a smaller turnout this month, which was nice as we were all able to play games with each other this time. Attending was:

Leslie Barkley
Karl Musser
Fran Lunney
Jack Ridgeway
Mark Love

First up was Aquadukt with Leslie (38), Fran (36) and Karl (40); Karl then had to leave for another engagement.

Ticket to Ride, 1910, was played three times. First up Fran winning, leaving Leslie so far back in the dust we didn't even count it out. Jack then joined the group and we played with the single track rule for a 3-player game, scores were Leslie 118, Fran 112. and Jack 83. The third play we ignored the single track rule, scoring was Leslie 164, Fran 129, and Jack 116. We three agreed that we enjoyed the third game as there more options for planning routes available.

Dominion was then played by Fran, Jack and Leslie. Fran took an early lead with the first Province and retained it to the end with a score of 43 to Jack and Leslie's scores of 39.

We were then joined by Mark, and Karl returned for a bit more gaming.

Dominoes was the next game up. We play a variant where the open end of the tile you play is added to each other open end, in turn, and if the pips add up to a multiple of 5 you score. Double tiles have 4 open ends and each end counts as the total number of pips on the tile, thus a double 4 is considered 8 for scoring purposes. The first player to use all their tiles ends the game and players subtract the number of pips in their hand from their score. Jack had a strong game scoring 355, Leslie at 291, Karl at 271, Mark at 218, and Fran at 210.

We ended the day with two rounds of Poison, a new game for several of the players (sorry, didn't keep track of who). Fran won with 7, Leslie had 10, Karl had 16, Jack had 19, and Mark had 21.

Leslie let everyone know that October's meeting would not be held as the Common Market was holding their OwnerFest that day. She plans to enjoy the OwnerFest for a bit, and then meet up with Jack for some gaming at Savage Mill, may even stop by the Frederick North group on the way just to see what it's like.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Germantown 09/07/09

Being a federal holiday, many people gathered early to get in a longer day of gaming. We had a few new people join us as well.

  • Ann
  • Greg
  • Leslie Barkley
  • Chris & Tiffany Bass & Clarisa
  • Aubrey & Shannon Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Marc Drexler
  • Nick & Tegan Ferris
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Jo Hogan
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob & Ben Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Mark Love
  • Tom McCorry
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Bill Salvatore
  • Sam Zenlizard
Race for the Galaxy - Joe 53, Marc 46, Bill 30
Iron Dragon - Doug 267, Bill 212, Marc 39
Pizarro & Co. - Eric won, Zenlizard, Laura, Aubrey
Roll Through the Ages - Tiffany 31, Bill 21, Clarisa 9
18VA (in order of finish) - Dave, Jason, Tom
Ingenious - Marc 7, Leslie 3
Ingenious - Marc 10, Leslie 7, Ann (new attendee) 6
Dominion - Leslie 30, Jo 29, Zenlizard 25, Joe 23
Give Me the Brain - Joe won, Jo, Zenlizard, Eric, Leslie, Aubrey, Martha, Dave B.
Dominion: Intrigue - Eric 27, Aubrey 23, Shannon 20, Martha 17, David B 15
Roll Through the Ages - Nathaniel 39, Bob 23, Tegan 20, Nick 6
Cheeky Monkey - Ben 22, David B 22, Bob 21, Nick 17, Tegan 7
Zeus on the Loose - Tiffany 4, Eric 3, Clarisa 0, Chris 0
Race for the Galaxy - Nathaniel 59, Marc 56, Eric 28, Chris 26
18FL (in order of finish) - Tom, Todd, Dave
Top Secret Spies - Doug 43, Mark 33, Martha 33 (+24), Shannon 30, Aubrey 28, Leslie 22
Race for the Galaxy - Bill 47, Mark 44, Greg 37
Roll Through the Ages - Martha 10, Joe 9, Shannon 5, Leslie 1
Attika - Nick won, Bob, David B, Tegan
Zeus on the Loose - Tiffany won, Eric, Chris, Clarisa
Can't Stop - Nathaniel won, Mark, Doug, Aubrey

That's an incredible number of games. Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Germantown 08/31/09

Our numbers continue to grow.

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Chris & Tiffany Bass & Clarisa
  • Aubrey & Shannon Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Mike Cannon
  • John Cato
  • Marc Drexler
  • Dave & Noreen Fair
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Jo Hogan
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob & Ben Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Jeff Liott
  • Carol Loman
  • Mark Love
  • Mike Mullins
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Bill Salvatore
Roll Through the Ages - Bill 17, Doug 14, Leslie -1, Laura -5
Can't Stop - Mark L won, Eric, Marc D, Mike
Genial Spezial - Carol 15, Shannon 12, Noreen 12, Doug 11
Ticket to Ride - Tiffany 110, Bob 109, Chris 95, Ben 83, Clarisa 17
Pack & Stack - Carol 51, David B 51, John 44, David F 42, Noreen 0
Powerboats (in order of finish) - Dave F, Aubrey, Carol, John, Jo, Noreen
Metro - Mike 39, Marc D 36, Mark L 33, Mike C 31, Nathaniel 27, Martha 18
Titan: The Arena - Bob 13, John 9, Tiffany 2, Jeff, Chris (scores not recorded)
Puerto Rico (did not finish) - Mark, Martha, Mike M, Mike C, David B
Dominion - Dave F, Jo, Bill, John
Dominion - Dave F 50, Todd 24, Doug 18, Nathaniel 15
Guillotine - Bill 27, Leslie 24, Aubrey 23

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Germantown 08/17/09

Every week we seem to be adding someone new. In this case, we welcomed Mike Rudmann and Mark Love.

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Chris & Tiffany Bass
  • Aubrey & Shannon Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Marc Drexler
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Jo Hogan
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob & Ben Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Sam Zenlizard
  • Mike Rudmann
  • Mark Love
Wildlife - Marc 70, Zenlizard 61, Jo 47, Chris 35, Tiffany 29
Race for the Galaxy - Todd 60, Aubrey 36, Nathaniel 30
Alhambra - Doug 99, Laura 75, Eric 74, Leslie 73, Mike 71
Traumfabrik - Doug 111, Eric 84, Leslie 70
Ingenious - Shannon 17, Martha 10, Bob 9, David 8 - Shannon crushed us mere mortals.
Dominion - Nathaniel 39, Todd 33, Mark 28, Mike 19
Rheinlander - Bob 34, Shannon 34, David 34, Aubrey 27, Martha 26 - I've never actually seen a three-way tie for first before.
Can't Stop - Mark, Mike and Nathaniel did not finish.
Race for the Galaxy - Zenlizard 37, Marc 29, Jo 25, Eric 25, Leslie 20, Doug “no comment”
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - Played two games, Bob won both over Ben.

We're up for the next two Mondays. Hope to see you!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brunswick, 8/15/09

Starting with the most recent gaming day I am going to get up to date on these blogs. Saturday at Beans in the Belfrey in Brunswick - hmmm, I should bring more games starting with B.

We had five folk for a few hours, Brian and Lije Carpenter, Ben Stewart, and Leslie Barkley were all there around 1pm. Tim Whieldon showed up a bit later.

We started with a game of China, brought by Leslie. We all commented that it reminded of us of another game, set in Europe, although none of us could recall the name. Play was close for much of the game, even into the final scoring with Brian and Lije both at 42, Ben at 41, and Leslie at 36.

Next up was a game of Monopoly Deal, brought by Brian and Lije, a card game which plays quite quickly. Brian won the game with 3 completed sets. Sadly, I don't remember too much of the game play itself, although Ben did have a few Birthdays. Tim arrived during play so it was nice to finish up and start a five player game.

We played Augsberg 1520, brought by Ben and acquired for $3 at a Columbus, OH gaming event. Once again we commented that it reminded us all of another game, although again none of could recall the game we were thinking of. Game play went pretty quickly, and closely, with Tim winning at 70, Leslie at 68, Brian at 67, Ben at 63 and Lije at 59.

We were approaching 6pm, when both Ben and Tim needed to leave, so we played another round of Monopoly Deal with Ben winning when he stole a card to complete a set, and then stole a complete set to give him three complete sets.

Afterwards, Brian, Lije and myself played Dominion Intrigue, brought by Leslie, with a random set. We had no multiple action cards available so the turns went very quickly. We finished shortly after 7pm, when the music starts, with Lije winning at 45, Brian at 35, and Leslie at 31.

All in all, a nice afternoon of gaming in a pleasant coffee shop. Thanks to all who came, looking forward to next month.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Frederick 8/8/09

The first official GCOM session of the new Frederick South group. We started in the Cafe area as the Community Room was in use. My agreement with the Common Market was that we would have the Community Room when it wasn't scheduled for another event. They had the room cleaned up and vacated by 4pm, and we finished the day playing in the room.

Jack Ridgeway showed up and we played X's and O's a few times. A nice little game easily finished in a few minutes, played with pen and paper. Jack won twice, and then may have taken pity on me and allowed for a win by me, or perhaps he taught it well enough for me to grasp the strategy.

Fran Lunney showed up next, both Jack and Fran were regulars at the prior Frederick South group so it was a nice little reunion. The three of us played Ticket to Ride, 1910 expansion, with Jack winning at 129, Fran at 116, and Leslie at 79. Bill Salvatore showed up and we played another round of Ticket. I did much better this game winning at 130, Fran with 125, Jack with 113, and Bill with 100.

Laura and Eric Reinhold showed up during the Ticket game and grabbed a quick bite to eat. By then the room was ready for us and we moved on in to continue gaming. It gets a bit confusing as to when games were played from here on, sorry.

I know the first game was Igel Argern with 6 players. Fran won, with both Bill and Laura at 2 and Eric, Leslie and Jack with only 1 hedgehog finished. During game play Martha and David Briggs showed up. We now had 8 gamers and broke into two groups of play.

Laura, David, Fran and Leslie played Settlers of Catan. We called the game after a good bit of play as all but Leslie were at 6 points, she was at 4. Looking at the board there was little possibility of a clear win within the near future and the other group were finishing their game.

Eric, Bill, Jack and Martha had been playing Dominion. Bill won with 33, Eric had 27, Martha had 25, and Jack had 22.

During the game play Helen Powell had arrived, and then wandered off to explore the store. We then had Michelle Hirsh show up, who wandered off to explore the store and look for Helen. As they drifted back in and out during our games they finally both arrived together and played a game of TransAmerica with Helen winning.

We now had 10 gamers and my list of games and recollection of order played becomes chaotic.

Dominoes was enjoyed by Jack (200) Eric (195) Martha (144) and Fran (41).

Qwirkle was played by Bill (96) Helen (94) Michelle (91) and David (77). It was also played by Jack (96) Michelle (85) Martha (76) and Eric (71).

Aquaduct was played by Bill (41) Fran (34) and Helen (33).

Pegs and Jokers was played by Laura and Leslie (won)

San Juan was played by Laura (32) Leslie (31) and David (23)

We played to closing at 9pm and I'll have to do a better job of keeping an eye on the clock as we were a touch late vacating the store due to clean-up. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves and the location.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Germantown 08/03/2009

Another average night with 22 gamers. :-)

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Chris & Tiffany Bass
  • Aubrey & Shannon Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs & Rebecca
  • Marc Drexler
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Jo Hogan
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob & Ben Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Carol Loman
  • Eileen Martz
  • Ben Neustifter
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Bill Salvatore
  • Sam Zenlizard
Aquaretto - Carol 35, Laura 28, Eric 28
Zombie Fluxx - Shannon won, Aubrey, Leslie
Billabong - Doug 1st, Tiffany 2nd, Nathaniel 3rd, Chris 4th.
Puerto Rico - Ethan 57 (won tie), Mark 57, Ben 54, Bill 48, Sam 29
Race for the Galaxy - Jo 58, Eileen 20
Dominion - Leslie 39, Aubrey 35, Shannon 35, Carol 31
Thurn and Taxis - Chris 25, Doug 24, Tiffany 16
Tiki Topple - Rebecca beat Ben.
Tiki Topple - Ben 22, Mark 21, Rebecca 15, Ethan 9
Transamerica - Nathaniel 2, Elieen and Jo 0.
Blue Moon City - Eric 4, Bob 3, David 3, Martha 2
Poison - Leslie 12, Shannon 18, Aubrey 18, Zenlizard 22, Bill 27
Qwirkle - Doug 155, Chris 136, Tiffany 129
Democrazy - Ethan 20, Leslie 20, Zenlizard 20, Nathaniel 20, Bob 17, Eileen 17, Shannon 15, Aubrey 12
Dominion - Bill, David, Martha, Eric. Did not finish.
Rattlesnake - Ben won 2 against Rebecca and Mark.
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - Ben and Bob. No winner recorded.

Thanks to everyone for coming out. That's a LOT of games in a four hour period.

Germantown 07/20/09

Attendance was again up due to a whole new group who joined us tonight! We're regularly pushing 20+ people!

  • Leslie Barkley
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Marc Drexler
  • Dave Fair
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Jo Hogan
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Carol Loman
  • Anna Maclung
  • Eileen Martz
  • Tim Mossman
  • Ben Neustifter
  • Laura & Eric Reinhold
  • Bill Salvatore
  • Tiffany & Chris
  • Sara M
  • Zenlizard
Zendo - Mark, Jo, Ben, Dave F, Eileen.
Ticket to Ride - Bill 123, Laura 96, Sara 83, Eric 40.
Puerto Rico - Doug 66, Ethan 58, Zenlizard 56, Leslie 54.
Small World - Tim 109, Chris 100, Tiffany 81.
Thebes - Tiffany 55, Bill 52, Chris 51, Tim 44.
Race for the Galaxy - Ben 39, Leslie 37, Nathaniel 33, Dave 28, Doug 19, Ethan 18.
Dragonland - Martha 73, Bob 62, David B 40.
Pack & Store - Dave 65, Leslie 53, David B 45,Doug 0.
Pack & Store - Dave 65, Leslie 53, Doug 31, David B 0.
Race for the Galaxy - Mark 50, Ben 47, Zenlizard 40.
Continuum (not finished) - Eric 65, Ethan 62, Bob 36.

Brunswick, 7/18/09

My first co-host day for Brunswick. Ben Stewart showed up at 1pm and with just the two of us we played quite a few games before Brian and Lije Carpenter showed up.

First up was Igel Argern, Ben's hedgehogs proved the faster giving him the win.

Then came Agricola for two, a quicker game play, and easier for me to grasp apparently as I won with 35 to Ben's 31.

Poison came into play next, and I seem to be quite good at mixing potions, winning with 12 to Ben's 23.

However, with Settlers of Catan Ben showed his skills at exploring and settling a land, winning the game handily.

Brian and Lije arrived and we all played a game of Roll Through the Ages. It was a close game with Ben winning with 20, then Leslie with 19, Brian with 14, and Lije with 13.

Ben needed to leave at 6, so the 3 of us remaining played a few more games. The musical group playing that evening was not playing at too noisily a level so we actually played to closing time.

First up was another Roll game, followed by another Roll game. Brian won the first with 23 to Leslie and Lije both having 11. The next game Lije had 15, Leslie 13, and Brian 12 - a closer game.

I'm not sure what order the following games were played in.

Qwirkle - Brian made quite a few qwirkles and won with 158. Leslie with 128 and Lije with 126.

Race for the Galaxy - Brian won with 49, Lije 31, and Leslie with 23

Igel Argern - Lije's hedgehogs proved the fastest.

Closing time came and we left, a good afternoon and evening of gaming had by those who came. Even the musicians profited as their CD's were purchased.

More on Hal Haag

Here's a forwarded message from Hal's son, Evan:

Hello everyone.

For those of you that do not know me, I am Hal's son. I want to thank everyone that receives this e-mail, and everyone that it is forwarded to (and everyone that should have gotten it but for whom I was unable to find any contact info) for their thoughts, their support, and their patience. So far, I've seen some lovely remembrances of him, and I hope that all of you will be able to keep your good memories of him firmly in your minds and hearts.

In the interest of honest disclosure, I feel I should let those of you that do not yet know the basic details. Hal was found (by me and my wife, Kris) here at his home on Wednesday, August 12th. He had apparently had a heart attack just as he was getting up that morning. From all indications, it was very quick and probably painless for him.

He is currently awaiting cremation at an extremely helpful and understanding funeral parlor. Unfortunately for those who may have hoped for a viewing or an immediate memorial, my father has never wanted either of those things. I do apologize and ask that you be understanding in this regard, as my father would much rather have everyone get together for each other. In his own words..."Why do I have to be there?" I know that sounds odd, but he actually told me that himself. He believed in the wake, not the funeral. I think, in his own thoughts, he knew he would be there, and that the vehicle of his body would be fairly superfluous at that point.

My wife and I have created a LiveJournal community for all of us to share our anecdotes, well-wishes, and prayers, and we ask that any who wish to join it do so.

The community is
and I hope to be able to bring as many of you together on it as possible. For those of you without LiveJournal, this e-mail address is my focal point for all direct questions and communication regarding any memorial plans. The LiveJournal community will also be used to disseminate information about any upcoming memorials once they have been more solidified. Right now, we are looking to have a large-ish event (as large as we can manage) in the near future that we hope many will be able to attend.

Please forward this e-mail to anyone you know that has not already received it. I ask also that any friends of Hal that are not already on this email list please contact me, so that I may keep them better updated as to the memorial plans and schedules. If need be, my cell phone may be used as a last resort: 443-851-1036. Understand, though, that I have a lot of phone calls to make in the next week or two, so I may not be able to answer or call back quickly.

Any finalized plans will be broadcast via e-mail, as well as being posted on the LiveJournal page, so that everyone knows as soon as possible. Should anyone feel the need to then relay that info via FaceBook or any similar means, feel free. We are trying to find a space to accommodate Dad's many, many friends (and he had a LOT), so we are looking at early to mid-September as our best date. That should give us (and hopefully all of you) enough time to plan and prepare.

Again, thank you all for having been my father's friends and companions over the years. He appreciated every one of you (whether he said it or not).

Evan Haag

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sad News

One of our GCOM Hosts, Hal Haag, died yesterday of a heart attack. Here's the announcement from Keith.

To all,
It is with great sadness that I report that Hal Haag passed away from an apparent heart attack this morning, Wednesday, August 12th.

I received a phone call from Evan Haag, Hal's son this evening at around 6pm. Hal passed away from an apparent heart attack this morning. Evan had no other information or details at this time.

I will do my best to keep everyone informed.

Hal was an active member of Games Club of Maryland. He was the host of Alphabet Soup, co-host of Glen Burnie, Elkridge and the former Columbia locations, a GCOM Director at Large, and a regular at several GCOM locations and events. He was also very active in the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and the annual Baltimore Science Fiction Convention ("Balticon").

We will all miss him greatly.

Keith Levy
President and Founder, Games Club of Maryland

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quick Blog Update

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. Soon I'll post summaries of the last two Borders sessions (07/06) and (06/15) I attended.

We're on for tonight, Monday, July 20 at Borders. Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Germantown 07/06/09


  • Leslie Barkley
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Carol Loman
  • Anna Maclung
  • Laura and Eric Reinhold
  • Bill Salvatore
  • Tiffany, Chris, Alidia and Clarisa
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Sara
  • Nicholas
Nicholas, who goes to school with Ben, happened to be in the store and so joined Ben for many games of Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation.

Poison - Ben 15, Carol 15, Ethan 18, Doug/Nathaniel 20, Bob 23.
Killer Bunnies - Doug won. Chris, Tiffany, Leslie, Bill.
Uptown - Carol 3 (6), Sara 3 (7), Eric 3 (10), Laura 4.
Uptown - Laura 1, Sara 2 (6), Eric 2 (7), Carol 3.
Trias - Tiffany 21, Doug 19, Bill 17, Chris 16, Leslie 11.
Continuum - Bob, Nathaniel, Ethan.
Tiki Topple - Bill 22, Ben 18, Bob 7.
Pandemic - Carol, Eric, Laura, Sara - won 1, lost 1.
Twinners - Ethan, Nathaniel Doug, Leslie. Ethan and Nathaniel won.
Twinners - Ethan, Nathaniel Doug, Leslie, Bob. Ethan and Doug won.
Twinners - Ethan, Nathaniel Doug, Leslie, Bob. Leslie and Bob won.

Twinners is Ethan's prototype where two players win together.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Gaming this Friday night (July 10) in Germantown

Carol and I are hosting a Friday night gaming session at our home in Germantown. We'll start at 7PM and game until the last person leaves. Please RSVP if you can make it and e-mail if you need directions.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Germantown 06/15/09


  • Leslie Barkley
  • Aubrey Bell
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Bailey Kasprzak
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Carol Loman
  • Anna Maclung
  • Eric Reinhold
  • Bill Salvatore
  • Tiffany, Chris, Alidia and Clarisa
  • Claire
We had a couple of new guests this night. My first cousin once-removed, Bailey, was in town and so came with Ben and me to game. Anna is an intern at DOE who came at Carol's invitation.

Here are the results of the evening.

Pickomino - Ben 8, Doug 7, Carol 6, Bob 4, Bailey 0
Showmanager - Carol 52, Doug 52, Bailey 35, Bob 34, Anna 30
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - Clarisa and Ben played multiple games
The Hanging Gardens- Leslie 37, Aubrey 30, Chris 30, Tiffany 26
Race for the Galaxy - Bill 23+3+8=34, Eric 21+6+4=31, Alidia 9+0+19=28, Claire 10+1+0=11.
Thurn and Taxis (cards, chips, house) - Doug 5+20-1=24, Leslie 10+20-6=24, Eric 7+11-1=17.
Tiki Topple - Leslie 22, Aubrey 21, Clarisa 20, Tiffany 20
Big City - Carol 112, Bob 112, Aubrey 96
No Thanks!! - Doug 43, Nathaniel 49, Ethan 55.
No Thanks! - Ethan 31, Nathaniel 40, Doug 100.
No Thanks! - Ethan 36, Doug 68, Nathaniel 78.
No Thanks! - Nathaniel 36, Ethan 46, Doug 56.
Dominion - Aubrey 31, Bob 21, Leslie 21, Eric 21

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

06/01/09 Germantown

A slow night with only fifteen gamers. :-)

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Aubrey Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Chris, Tiffany, Alidia & Clarisa
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Mike Mullins
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
Before Ben & I arrived, a group played the new Reiner Knizia designed, “Tetris board game,” Fits. Laura proved exceptionally adept at arranging her shapes, absolutely devastating the opposition. (Leslie only played the last two rounds). Scores per round and final scores were Laura -3+9+8+9=23, Doug -2+6+2+2=8, Leslie +3+2=5 and Dave F -7-2+7-1=-3.

When we arrived, a hearty band were dogsledding in the Yukon with Snow Tails. The order of finish was Doug, Eric, Leslie, Mike, and Laura.

As everyone was already engaged, I indulged Ben in one of his favorites that we see every session now, Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. We played two games, each playing the good guys and the bad guys. In both cases the bad guys won, leaving Middle Earth under the iron fisted rule of Sauron.

Small World is still seeing some plays here. I haven’t played it yet but to an outsider, the board looks very busy and hard to follow. I’m told that’s not the case. Final scores were Dave F 122, Aubrey 104, Martha 96, and Dave B 91.

With no open game when they arrived, Chris, Tiffany, Alidia and Clarisa brought out Go Nuts. Clarisa was the first to 50 points and won.

After they finished Go Nuts, I figured it was time to introduce them to an auction game so I grabbed them and we played one of the best, Medici. I was skunked badly during the second round, taking only four cards and having the lowest total of cargo, effectively killing my chances. Chris was knocked out of contention by a couple of really expensive auctions. At the top, though, it was a very close game with a great win by Alidia. Scores were Alidia 108, Clarisa 103, Tiffany 103, Bob 84, Chris 79.

Ben was looking for some Cheeky Monkey love and roped in Laura for one game and David B for another game. Ben won both games. I only heard one of the scores and it was a doozy. Ben beat David B 74 to 16.

While we finished Medici, a group played the 2006 auction game, Fiji, where players offer gemstones in exchange for shrunken heads. Doug 9, Leslie 8, Mike 4, Eric 3.

Finally, down to two groups, four gamers broke out Cartagena. Leslie had a good game and won the freedom of all six of her pirates. Leslie 6, David B 4, Aubrey 4, Eric 3.

The remaining seven of us played the fun filler that plays up to 10 players, Slide 5, aka Wolfgang Kramer's 6 Nimmt. Martha had some early, middle and late disasters and so was first to 66 points. At that point, Clarisa had the least points and claimed the victory. Clarisa 36, Doug 38, Chris 51, Mike 54, Bob 68, Tiffany 73, Martha 83

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Up and Coming Blog Posts

I still owe posts for the last two sessions at Germantown, May 5 and 19, 2009. I'll get them posted ASAP.

We are on for this Monday night, June 1. Hope to see you there.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Boardgamegeek Microbadge

I'm very happy to announce that if you're active on Boardgamegeek, you can now purchase a GCOM microbadge! Yes, a microbadge that shows your fealty to the Games Club of Maryland! (Okay, maybe not fealty, just a fond association.)

Check it out:

Isn't it adorable?

I admit I have a selfish interest in the distribution of this microbadge, but that's because I designed it. GCOM had a contest a few weeks ago and my entry won.

If you haven't been over to Boardgamegeek, you should really check it out. It's the best resource for games, especially Euro Games, in the world.

-- Bob

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

05/18/09 Germantown


  • Leslie Barkley
  • Shannon & Aubrey Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Chris, Tiffany, Alidia & Clarisa
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Carol Loman
  • Doug Mercer
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Claire
  • Wei-Hwa Huang
When I arrived, three groups were already deep into gaming.

At one table, the three girls, Alidia, Clarisa, and Claire were playing Spy Alley. I don’t know how the game finished but they seemed to be having fun.

At a second table, five folk were building their Spanish Alhambra’s with the Limited Gold Edition of Alhambra. In a fairly tight finish, Doug won with a score of 100 to Laura 94, Eric 93, Carol 63 and David B 41.

At the third table, a large stack of altered playing cards and home-made chits signaled that a prototype was being played. It turns out that Wei-Hwa Huang, who was visiting from out of town, was demonstrating a new Race for the Galaxy Expansion. In a commanding victory, Chris won big. Chris 74, Wei-Hwa 50, Tiffany 34, Leslie 23.

Ben and I broke out Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation which has seen many, many plays over the last several weeks. Ben represented the forces of Darkness and crushed the Fellowship of the Ring controlled by me.

Reiner Knizia’s auction game, Ra, always has a welcome place at our table. Everyone had played before and we had a very good game. Final scores were Bob 47, Shannon 42, Ben 37, Aubrey 33, and Doug M 30.

A high scoring session of the Puerto-Rico-light card game (and second cousin to Race for the Galaxy), San Juan, was played. Final scores were Doug H 37, Eric 35, Carol 27, Laura 23.

Two more games of the Race for the Galaxy expansion prototype were played. In one, Leslie squeaked out a victory over Wei-Hwa, 50 to 48, with Aubrey at 24 and David B at 21. The final game with three players was less close. Wei-Hwa 45, Leslie 24, Aubrey 16.

Playing Qwirkle with Doug H is dangerous due to his awesomeness at Scrabble, which has some very big similarities. In this game Doug won by quite a bit. Doug H 132, Martha 111, David B 102, Shannon 95.

I thought Chris and Tiffany might enjoy one of my favorite Knizia games, Blue Moon City, and so was happy to bring it out. Despite my early lead of two cubes into the bottom row, I was unable to keep up with Eric who powered past everyone. Final scores were Eric 4, Bob 3, Chris 2, and Tiffany 2.

Finally, the hedgehog racing game, Igel Argern, closed the night. Shannon 3, Doug H 2, David 1, Martha 1

Thanks to everyone for coming out!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Germantown 05/04/09


  • Leslie Barkley
  • Aubrey Bell
  • Dave Fair
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Christopher and Tiffany Bass; Alidia and Clarisa Findley
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Carol Loman
  • Doug Mercer
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Bill Salvatore
  • Love, Liberty & Bless
With twenty players, a lot of games get played . . .

I don’t know anything about Castle for All Seasons but it seems to be getting some buzz. Dave 73, Bill 72, Doug M 65, Aubrey 27.

Likewise, I’ve never played Bombay. Click on the link for more information. Final scores: Leslie 39, Eric 27, Laura 21, Carol 21, Doug H 20.

With Bless looking for something to play, Ethan and Nathaniel kindly taught him Small World. Alas, they didn’t get to finish the game before Bless had to leave.

A quick game of Go Nuts gave Clarisa the victory over Tiffany, 40 to 19.

Since they enjoy Zooloretto, I thought I’d show the Findlay-Bass family the simpler card game from which it was developed, Coloretto. My experience gave me an edge for the victory. Bob 24 Tiffany 20, Clarisa 16, Chris 15, Alidia 14.

Ben played a rotating game of Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation with Liberty and Love. No info on who won or lost.

With ten people available, we broke into two groups. One group played Masons and had the unusual situation of only creating 1 smallish city during the game with only 3 scoring rounds. (see pic) Remarkable. Scores were Eric 56, Doug H 48, Leslie 36, Bill 27.

Meanwhile, I brought out a game based on the sport of kings, inbreeding, I mean horseracing, Royal Turf! In a very close game, Chris came on strong in the third race to just squeak ahead for the victory. Chris 2100, Bob 2050, Clarisa 1750, Tiffany 1100, Martha 1100, Dave B 750.

Another game of Go Nuts was played in which Chris crushed us while I appear to have been absent. Chris 54, Clarisa 40, David B 20, Bob 17.

Ethan proved to be the cheekiest monkey in Cheeky Monkey. Ethan 19, Leslie 18, Doug H 16, Ben 15, Alidia 13, Nathaniel 8.

A full game of Small World was played with Carol crushing Dave F and Aubrey. Scores were Carol 134, Dave 82, Aubrey 75.

Ethan, Leslie, Doug and Nathaniel brought out the classic push-your-luck dice game, Can't Stop. Nathaniel won.

Finally, Dave F. Aubrey, Leslie, Martha, David B and Bob played a quick hand of Monty Python Fluxx. Dave F won.

Whew! What a night!

Monday, May 04, 2009

FYI - Upcoming Gaming

The Laurel and Columbia Chapters of the Games Club of Maryland Present

Join us to play your favorite games

Saturday, May 16, 2009 5 PM to 1 AM
Location: Canterbury Riding Clubhouse
9240 Canterbury Riding
Laurel, MD 20723

There is a refrigerator and microwave in the Clubhouse. Menus will be available from local carry-out and delivery restaurants. We will break for dinner at approximately 7 PM. Feel free to bring your favorite beverages, snack foods, and [of course] games. We are asking for a small voluntary donation of $5 per person to help defray the cost of the facility.

Directions: From I-95, take the 216 Exit East toward Laurel. Stay to your right and take the ramp for Stephens Road. Make the first right on to North Laurel Drive (Sterling Drive goes in the opposite direction). Then make the first left into the Canterbury Riding Townhouse Development. Make an immediate left inside the development and follow the road until you come to the parking lot entrance for the clubhouse.

We will have balloons at the parking lot entrance for the clubhouse. The clubhouse is to the right at the end of the parking lot, adjacent to the pool.

From Laurel, take 7th Street (Rt. 216) towards I-95. Make a right on to All Saints Road. Go through the next light and make the first left into the Canterbury Riding Townhouse Development. Make an immediate right and follow the road until you come to the parking lot entrance for the clubhouse (see note above).

Please do not park in the clubhouse parking lot. Please park on the exterior road facing the trees. Also, the Clubhouse is located in a quiet residential neighborhood. Please be considerate and quiet as you come and go.

Game Days Report

Well, I got back today around 6pm-ish. The wife & kids were off seeing the new Wolverine movie, so I came home to an empty, quiet house. I went to bed almost immediately.

I had a great time at Game Days, arriving Friday around 11am. Played Vegas Showdown with Brian Carpenter, Howard Wagner, James & Paul. Brian crushed us all. It was great to see Howard again and play a game with him. Been too long...

We followed this up with about 6 games of Dominion/Intrigue/Seaside, and a game of Galaxy Trucker with Brian, Lije, and Tom McCorry who arrived right around 7pm. I had almost forgotten how much I liked Galaxy Trucker so it was great to play that again. Brian won again despite my stellar 3rd round. My 3rd ship was great looking at the end, and had lost NO pieces during the running phase. Truly a feat!

Ended the night by getting crushed at Tichu, 1040 to 160. We will not be discussing that any more. OK, maybe a little. I started making desperation calls when we were down 700-ish to 200-ish and made 3 of the 5, but it was not enough. We did manage to set them on both a GT and a Tichu call early on, so this was just Karmic revenge, I guess...

On Saturday I started the day with a game of 1861 with Jason Cheng, Dan Karp, Tom and Ray Pfieffer. We had a great game and it was very close. Dan did not have much investment in his second railway, and did not think I would sell a stock of my primary to take it over, but I did, and the ensuing run on its stock made it a rich company with a moderately low price, enabling it to buy and run one of the special trains for 3 rounds, making it a lot of money. The Russian State Railway never actually even opened (!!) which lengthened things a bit, but despite that, the game end caught us all a bit short when the first 8 was sold and there was a lot of cash in hand but no ensuing stock round. In a game with scores in the 3600 range, only 60 points separated me in first place and Ray in second, so it was quite a nail-biter.

I played 2 more games of Dominion/Intrigue/Seaside and then headed off to Overlord some Descent. I had selected a Tomb of Ice scenario, but the stellar play of the heroes combined with terrible dice luck for the overlord (I rolled 6 misses in a row at one point) meant that it ended up being an easy day for them.

By this point, I was a bit fried so I played Street Paintball with Brian, Lije, David Kudzma, Kathy Kudzma, and Eric Haas. Followed that up with a quick game of Six. Then we sat and talked about going to bed, but I was finally able to convince enough folks to play BSG and we started that at about 2am.

I was Athena, Dave was Kendra Shaw, Kathy was Tyrol, Logan was Helo, and new player Nathan was Roslin. We set about doing well early but after the sleeper phase, I began to suspect Helo and a subsequent toss of him in the brig failed when Kathy tossed in a hand of blue cards, so I suspected her as well. The humans were losing slowly, and progressing slowly, but when President Roslin gave suspected Cylon Admiral Helo a choice on a Crisis Card where he could force a Cylon Victory, and he didn't take it, my world got shook up. The shock was even greater when Helo revealed a few moments later and tossed Tyrol in the brig! at this point, we just needed to jump again, and Tyrol provided the orders to Kendra Shaw that made it happen, and we found our way to Earth despite the frakkin' Admiral and President being Cylons from day 1. Humans Rule. So say we all!

I headed back to the hotel room and hit the bed at 6:20 am, then turned around and got up at 9 and had breakfast and returned for more gaming. after a quick game of the Z-Man games 2-player abstract Magnet with Brian (he crushed me). I spent the next 2 hours manning the booth and the organizers found out how bad an idea it is to give a sleep-deprived Dave access to a microphone. I played a game of Race For The Galaxy while up there as well, with Brian Stallings, Josh Cooper, and Eric Haas. Eric won, IIRC.

It was then time for another game of BSG, and this time I played Romo Lampkin. Rodney was Apollo, Brian was Dualla, Sheila played Doc Cottle, and John was Aaron Doral. I started out as a Cylon but stayed hidden early on, encouraging bad decisions and only tanking 1-2 skill checks, but being very careful as Brian has an almost 6th sense about who is doing that. After the sleeper phase, I got XO's to draw Quorum Cards, but instead threw Apollo in the brig and made Doc Cottle the next to choose our jump. Then I revealed, tossing Aaron in the Sickbay and making Apollo the President (him finding the Pardon card in his hand but being unable to pardon himself was a juicy little knife in the back!). Shortly thereafter, Sheila revealed and we spent a few turns activating the dwindling Cylon fleet. A sudden rush of our brothers and sisters arriving in "Welcome Wagons" meant that there were a ton of Colonial Civilian ships on the board, and suddenly the fleet went from 4 Population, 3 Morale, 2 Food and 2 Fuel to 1 Population, 1 Morale, 2 Food, and 1 Fuel. All in the space of 1 round. 1 more round meant the loss of 2 more civvies and the Population loss meant it was a great day to be a Cylon. Cylons Rule. So say we all!

I drove home, fighting hard to stay awake. I had a great time and saw a lot of our regulars (Eric & Laura, Rick & Linda, Doug, David & Martha, John-Paul, Howard, Jason, Tom, Shannon & Aubrey, Tiffany & Chris) but didn't get to play with many of you guys. :( The time at these things is so short, and my predilection for long games makes it tough to play with everybody. I hope you all had as good a time as I did. I also saw a lot of our regular convention folk (Brian & Denise Stallings, Beth & Nicole, Jeff, Michelle, John & Sheila, Dave & Kathy, Kevin & Kat, Eric, Don, Will, Hal, Sandy, Rick, Keith and a lot of others) and only got to play games with a few of them. Almost everybody asked about Noreen & the boys as well as Bob & Carol. They were all missed.

It was a great time, and I look forward to the next one, almost as much as I do to getting back to bed...

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Germantown 04/20/2009

Another big night for Borders Cafe.

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Christopher and Tiffany Bass; Alidia & Clarisa Findley & Claire
  • Aubrey Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Doug Mercer
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Bill Salvatore
  • Bless, Liberty & Love
Welcome to Claire who came with the Findley-Bass family.

First up was the fun The Hanging Gardens, a spatial placement and set collection game. Laura won with 42 to Dave's 38, Eric 22 and Doug 21.

Chris & Tiffany had just learned Race for the Galaxy and so were eager to try it with the expansion, allowing for five players. Obviously they figured it out as they finished first and second. Chris 41, Tiffany 40, Doug H 38, Leslie 31 and Bill 25.

Diamonds Club is a game of marketing gems to equip a country estate. Dave F won with 73, Doug M 69, Aubrey 58 and David B 56.

Leslie and Aubrey played a two player game of Roll Through the Ages to hilarious results. Final scores were Leslie 34, Aubrey 2. Wow.

When Ben and I arrived, Ben joined Leslie and Aubrey for Cheeky Monkey. Although Ben won in a squeaker, Aubrey got his revenge on Leslie. Ben 46, Aubrey 44, Leslie 0.

As an experiment, we let the kids play without adult participation. It was a bit chaotic and loud. The older kids played several games of Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. The other kids played Travel Blokus, and Uptown to mixed success.

Bill won the game of escaping pirates, Cartagena, against Leslie, Chris, Tiffany and Doug.

Continuing my schedule of playtesting Continuum, I roped in Eric, Laura and Martha. The game went a bit long, but more good things were learned. Eric scored a ton of points using the "Chart New Worlds" action and was the best at mastering combat. He won easily. Final scores were Eric 86, Bob 70, Laura 64, Martha 51.

One of my favorite newer games, Lost Cities the Boardgame, made it to the table again. Dave F narrowly edged out Doug for the win. Dave F 330, Doug H 325, Bill 275, David B 170.

The Germantown location has really been growing. If we see much more growth, we'll have to think about a bigger venue.

Not a terrible problem to have.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

GCOM Game Days is this weekend!

April 30 to May 3. Timonium, Maryland.

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 known for learning new games and playing your favorites as well. Experienced Game Masters available to teach most games.

Check out the details here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday Reminder - Special Guest & Theme

Just wanted to remind everyone that this months session is this Saturday in Middletown beginning at 11AM. We will have the pleasure of a number of special guests. The first guest is a published designer/game reviewer and a hoot to play games with ... Ted Cheatham. Some of his published games are Carpe Astra, Silk Roads and Captain Clueless. Ted is flying a few friends up with him from Charleston, WV. The friends scheduled to attend are Charlie Davis, Dave Gilligan and Travis Reynolds. If you haven't met this quartet you are in for a real treat. You will not meet a more fun, outgoing group then this posse from southern WV.

The special theme is Races: Through the Ages. We have selected a number of race games that will began in the distance past up the future. Some games selected but not limited to are :

Pre-civilization: Igel Argern or Billabong
Roman: Ave Caesar
Victorian: Around the World in 80 Days
SteamBoats: Mississippi Queen
Old West: Canyon/Grand Canyon or Pony Express
Modern Times:
Bicycle: Um Refenbreite
Animal: Really Nasty Horse Racing Game or Snow Tails
Car: D-C Grand Prix or Formula D (street racing side)
Water: Powerboats or Fast Flowing Forest Fellers
Future: Vapors Gambit or Race through the Galaxy

Pick your favorite! Come along and lets play some games. Hope to see you all on Saturday -- don't forget we are beginning at 11AM. Texas Chili Mac is the main course for the meal.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Germantown 04/06/2009

Herein lies an epic tale. After years of existence, the GCOM Germantown location had an unprecedented event. An event so awesome it challenges me to even describe it. Here goes.

On April 6, 2009, at Borders bookstore in the cafe area, we hosted 25 gamers. Yes, 25. It was crowded but amazing.

Here's the attendance:

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Christopher and Tiffany Bass; Alidia and Clarisa Findley
  • Aubrey & Shannon Bell
  • David & Martha Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Ben & Bob Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Carol Loman
  • Doug Mercer
  • Mike Mullins
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Ethan Goffman & Marianne Szlyk
  • Bless, Liberty and Love
When Ben and I arrived at 6PM, there were already 9 players so we broke up into two groups. One group played the simple but fun Reiner Knizia game of exploring Africa called, Africa (what else)? As we were setting up a young boy came over and asked about the game so we invited him to play. With the permission of his mother, Bless played with us and then stuck around for the rest of the evening. Final scores in Africa were David B 53, Ben 47, Bless 39, Carol and Bob tied at 35.

Meanwhile, the other group played the quick and fun race game, Snow Tails. The order of finish was Eric, Dave F, Mike, Doug H, and Laura.

Of course, more people continued to arrive. With the arrival of Chris, Tiffany, Alidia, and Clarisa, I decided to get all the kids together to play one game. First up, Cartagena. As the game went on, Bless's younger sisters, Liberty and Love, helped me secure the win. Final scores were Liberty/Love/Bob, all 6 pirates escaped. Then came Clarisa 5, Bless 4, Ben 3 and Alisia 2.

Chris was interested in a meatier game and so got together with Ethan, Nathaniel and Marianne to play the game of evolution and poop-consuming, Primordial Soup, a great game I don't think has ever made it to the table here. They apparently had an excellent game. Final scores were Marianne 44, Nathaniel 40, Chris 35, and Ethan 25.

Dave was hoping to get Battlestar Galactica to the table again and with so many people, he had no trouble getting a quorum. The Cylons have had a run of success lately and this night was no exception. The two Cylons, Aubrey and Doug H, triumphed over the last remnants of the Human race Dave, Tiffany and Doug M.

And at the same time we still had enough people for a game of Around the World in 80 Days. In a very close game, Eric made it around the world in the winning time of 75 days, followed by Carol who also finished in 75 days but lost the tiebreaker. Then came Shannon at 76, Mike at 79, Leslie at 80 and Dave B who didn't make it back to London as he was eaten somewhere in the United States.

A three player game of San Juan was played. Eric won 16+2+10+0=28. Leslie had 15+2+0+4=21 while Mike had 16+0+0+0=16.

Most of the older kids played round-robin games of Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. As far as I can gather, at least eight games were played by Ben, Alidia, Clarisa, and Bless.

Meanwhile, Love, Liberty and I played Pickomino. Love won 5 to Liberty and my scores of 4.

When Martha arrived, I played a couple of rounds of my prototype, Continuum, with her and David.

Finally, a quick game of Chronology was played. Marianne won with 11 points. Doug H had 9, Ethan 7 and Nathaniel 6.

And so ended this, the most epic night. Thanks to everyone for coming out to this historic occasion. I hope we'll see you all again very soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Game Days Needs Volunteers!

Hey, everyone, Bob here.

Volunteers are needed for the annual Game Days game convention. I've copied an e-mail from President Keith Levy below.

Game Days 2009
Holiday Inn (formerly Days Hotel)
9615 Deereco Road
Timonium, Maryland 21093
April 30th- May 3, 2009
Game Days is less than three weeks away!
We will need additional volunteers to help make it happen!.

1. Registration desk: - Contact Michele Mazzola at
Two hour shifts.
2. Loading/unloading/set up/Breakdown : Contact Keith Levy at
Set up Wednesday, April 29th. 7pm Start at Holiday Inn
Breakdown; Sunday 4pm Start. Loading 7-8pm.
3. On site Game inventory organization.- Contact Keith Levy at
4. Table & Trash clean up- on site. Contact Keith Levy at
5. For Refreshments. Contact Michele Mazzola at

For more information contact:

General information: Keith Levy at
Registration Desk, food and beverage: Michele Mazzola at
Tichu Tournament: Rick Bynaker at
Trashfest & Warfest info: Peter Putnam at
Math Trade: Boomer at

Thanks, Keith
"Have Fun, Learn, Share, Grow, Play"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Good publicity is something to be treasured

There's a surprisingly good article about gaming in Wired Magazine. The article focuses on the groundbreaking, Settlers of Catan, but also discusses the broader phenomenon of Euro Games.

Monopoly Killer: Perfect German Board Game Redefines Genre

Because of this enthusiasm, board game design has become high art—and big business—in Germany. Any game aficionado will tell you that the best-designed titles in the world come from this country. In fact, the phrase German-style game is now shorthand for a breed of tight, well-designed games that resemble Monopoly the way a Porsche 911 resembles a Chevy Cobalt.


Instead of direct conflict, German-style games tend to let players win without having to undercut or destroy their friends. This keeps the game fun, even for those who eventually fall behind. Designed with busy parents in mind, German games also tend to be fast, requiring anywhere from 15 minutes to a little more than an hour to complete. They are balanced, preventing one person from running away with the game while the others painfully play out their eventual defeat. And the best ones stay fresh and interesting game after game.
The article gets all the facts right and is really quite an excellent introduction into "German-style games", a.k.a. Euros. The one problem . . . it's only about 15 years too late. I know that Euros are just now coming into wider acceptance in the United States and it's still a niche market, but I can't help but be amused that this article is discussing events that happened in the early nineties and they've only now noticed.

In any event, check it out. And the next time one of your family or friends asks you about your hobby, e-mail them the link.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Germantown 03/30/2009

Attendance on this, the 5th Monday of the month.

  • Aubrey & Shannon Bell
  • Dave & Martha Briggs
  • Dave Fair
  • Todd Heidenreich
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob & Ben Jones
  • Nathaniel Klinger
  • Carol Loman
  • Mike Mullins
  • Tiffany, Chris, Alidia & Clarisa
First up was Drive. Unfortunately no specific records were kept but Carol won with Dave F close behind, then Doug and then Mike.

When Ben and I arrived, Chris, Tiffany, Alidia and Clarisa were playing the dungeon-crawl game, Drakon. Tiffany mastered the dungeon with 10 points, Alidia and Clarisa tied with 6 and Chris with 3.

Metro made it to the table for the first time in a while. Players built sections of the Paris Metro while trying to foil their opponents. Final scores were Mike 58, Doug and David B tied at 48, followed closely by Martha at 45.

With a large group still waiting, we broke out the six player filler, Cheeky Monkey. Final scores were Carol 25, Shannon 21, Dave F 13, Ben 12, Bob 9 and Aubrey 4.

Dave got a group together to play his current favorite, Battlestar Galactica. Aubrey and Todd turned out to be the Cylons while Tiffany was the Sympathizer. This left the Humans, Dave F, Carol and Nathaniel in bad shape. The game was called as a Cylon victory when the store closed before the end. It was pretty clear that the Humans were toast.

Tiffany and Chris asked for some family games they might enjoy, so with Shannon's help I taught Ticket to Ride to Alidia, Chris, and Clarisa. I thought I had it won but once again failed to account for Shannon who is VERY good at this game. Scores were Shannon 126, Bob 118, Christopher 96, Alidia 88 and Clarisa 31 (she missed some of her tickets).

Another game of Ticket to Ride broke out with the more experienced players. Estimates of their final scores were Doug 143, Dave B 137, Mike 119 and Martha 115.

Ben taught Alidia one of his favorites, the two player Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation and they played two games in a row. After a fierce struggle, Alidia won both games.

Finally, I played the fun filler, Tiki Topple with Shannon, Christopher and Clarisa. Clarisa walloped us, 31 to Christopher 18, Shannon 9 and me a pathetic 7.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Our Favorite Games - Part 4

Here are Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3 of this series. Below is Part 4 of Our Favorite Games.

Aubrey Bell

Shannon Bell
Dave Fair
I tend to like longer, meatier games, but shorter games are good if there is variety or interesting decisions. The best games offer tense decisions and multiple paths to victory, as well as a variety of things to do while you play. They also reward long-term planning and strategy over luck.
My top 5 (right now) are: Age of Steam, Roads & Boats, Agricola, Dominion, Race for the Galaxy.

Two games do deserve special mention:
18xx & Descent: Journeys in the Dark ... Despite only having played 2 different 18xx titles, I am very interested in playing more, and playing them more often. They are everything I like in a game, and rising quickly on my radar. Descent, with the Road to Legend expansion takes me back to my old days of playing D&D in my basement. It's a really fun romp and would be in my top 5 if it played a bit faster.

Noreen Fair
Bob Jones
(Reprinted from my blog.)

# 5 - Railroad Tycoon - In Railroad Tycoon, the goal is to create a network of awesome-looking railroad lines allowing you to ship goods longer and longer distances while taking advantage of numerous tactical scoring opportunities that crop up. There are multiple routes to victory and agonizing choices throughout.

#4 - Princes of Florence - In Princes of Florence, players are Renaissance patrons seeking to inspire craftsman and artists to create great works on the player’s manor. An auction for landscapes, builders, jesters and various cards leads off each round followed by the purchase of buildings, freedoms, other cards and the playing of Work cards. Once a work is created, the player must decide whether to take the proceeds in cash to assist in future auctions or to sacrifice the cash to gain victory points, a fiendishly tough decision. The player whose works gain the most prestige is the winner.

A sophisticated theme and a wonderful blend of many different mechanics make Princes of Florence challenging and satisfying. Player interaction is mostly limited to the auctions that start each round but the auctions can make or break your strategy; depriving an opponent of a crucial element of his Work can cost him the game. What I really love about POF is the necessity of intricate plans to produce the highest possible value work at the right time and managing your resources to make it happen. It’s a juggling act, but a heck of a lot of fun.

#3 - El Grande - El Grande is the quintessential “area control” game where players place their Caballeros in Spanish provinces, hoping to have multiple majorities when scoring occurs after every third round. There’s virtually no luck, so skill in taking advantage of which action cards are revealed each turn to manipulate Caballeros is key.

El Grande is an awesomely balanced five player game, undoubtedly one of the best five player games we play. Each turn calls for tactical decisions to maximize your action, while simultaneously keeping all of your competitors at bey. Pulling off a double-whammy of taking control of a province while simultaneously knocking an opponent off his perch in another province is incredibly satisfying.

#2 - Euphrat & Tigris - In E&T, the players represent the very first civilizations rising in the fertile crescent. You place your leaders on the map and build civilizations with farmers, traders, priests, and government tiles. Build adjacent to another civilization and you may go to war with potentially devastating results. Civil war is also possible as leaders clash. Build a monument and receive a steady income of victory points, but be careful; too many riches can draw the attention of greedy enemy leaders looking to usurp your position.

The oldest game on my list, E&T is the masterwork of my favorite designer, Reiner Knizia. In the original Hans Im Gluck version, the pieces are beautiful and fantastic, and the play is tense and brain-burning. You have almost limitless options and on any given turn while you play what you think is your best move, you’re almost certain that there’s a better move you could have made.

#1 - Taj Mahal - In another Knizia gem, players represent different political factions in India. Play cards to establish your position in various areas, hoping to build palaces in the current province. Leave the battle when you’re in the lead to collect your prize. Leave when you’re behind and get nothing. Establish chains of palaces for big points or collect province tiles and score when collecting resources.

Taj Mahal is seemingly a one-note game. The mechanics are fairly simple. You do the same thing for 12 rounds and then whoever has the most points wins. So, what’s to like? Turns out, everything.

Taj Mahal is one of the most tense games I play. There’s a definite poker aspect as you play chicken with the other players, hoping they’ll back off while you’re in the lead. Are you bluffing or do you have the cards? Heads-up contests between two or three players can be absolutely devastating to those who stay in too long and end up with nothing. Other times you go in hoping to take one quick palace and end up taking most of the province. Rarely in a game does accurately reading your opponents pay off such large dividends. Best with five players, Taj Mahal is simply a great gaming experience.

Steve Lollis
I'll give a go at these every convention, schedule permitting (sometimes with success):

Memoir '44
Battle Cry
The Stock Car Champions Racing Game (McGartlin Motor Sports)
Hammer of the Scots
War at Sea
Wits and Wagers

Other that I'll play in a heartbeat:

Um Reifenbreite
Can't Stop
El Grande

Three that have recently hooked me that could move to the above list:

Le Havre
Steel Driver
Tinner's Trail

No Tom, Confucius didn't make my list!

Next time, I'll summarize all the results. -- Bob