Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Germantown 08/18/14

Attendance:  20

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Aubrey & Shannon Bell
  • Paul Czarnota
  • Nick Ferris
  • Jennifer Glinzak
  • Henry Ho
  • Randy Hoffman
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob & Carol Jones
  • Rich & Ben Parker
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Kelsey Smith
  • Stephanie, Sammy & Chris White
  • Chris Wottawa
Welcome Kelsey, Chris Wo and Ben!

Games Played (scores in order of place):

Yspahan - Bob 78, Ben 65, Chris Wo 64, Kelsey 58
Tichu - Nick + Jenn 1195, Leslie + Paul 205
Lost Cities the Board Game - Shannon 395, Aubrey 385, Eric 355, Randy 275
Splendor - Sammy 15, Chris Wh, Stephanie, Carol
Cheeky Monkey - Randy 30, Eric 22, Shannon 17, Aubrey 15
Cheeky Monkey - Shannon 39, Aubrey 36, Eric 16, Randy 13
Adel Verplifchtet - Leslie +3, Chris Wh +3, Sammy +2, Jenn -2, Nick -11
Qwixx - Leslie 74, Randy 50, Eric 40, Sammy 29, Chris Wh 27
6 Nimmt - No scores recorded (Sammy, Chris, Leslie, Eric, Randy)
Show Manager - Chris Wo 59 (tiebreaker), Paul 59, Ben 38, Bob 34, Stephanie 18, Kelsey 14
Praetor - Henry 196, Doug 189, Laura 177, Howard 166, Rich 77

Praetor image by deeug deeug on BGG.
Posted by Bob on 08/20/14.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kosmos Two Player Series - Hera & Zeus by Richard Borg

Hera and Zeus depicts an epic struggle within Greek mythology. One player plays the father of the Greek gods, Zeus (Bob), while the other plays Zeus' wife, Hera (Carol). Zeus has kidnapped Hera's favorite human, Artus, while Hera has kidnapped Zeus' lover, Io. The players battle it out to rescue their hostage by deploying various mythical figures.

While each player's deck has its own beautiful artwork, each is identically strong, consisting of numbered cards which represent the card's strength in battle (0 to 7), to cards with no combat value but some mythological power, and some cards with both. The game starts with each player drawing nine cards and playing three face down in front of him to make three columns across from the other player's cards. Throughout the game you will play cards down into these three columns.

Hera goes first. On your turn, you have as many actions as you have columns. Actions include playing a card down into the playing field, drawing a card into your hand, attacking an opposing card in your opponent's front row, or playing a mythological action card from your hand. When you play down onto the playing field, you can put the card anywhere, even in front of other cards, with a maximum of four cards in any one column. The cards in your front line may fight the cards in the same column from the other player.

Combat is simple. If I want to use one of my front cards to attack its opposite number, I flip mine face up, declare the attack, and my opponent flips their card up. If they have a number card, we compare numbers and the smaller number is defeated and discarded. (Yes, it's somewhat like Stratego.) Cards behind it in the column move up one space. If the defender's cards have a mythological action, that action is activated and resolved.

The mythological cards have a variety of powers. The Medusa, for example, turns anyone who attacks her into stone but is defeated by the Hero or Amazon. Pythia (strength of 0) has several powers including being played from your hand to look at your opponent's hand or turn up all the cards face up in one column, or played on the playing field to beat the most powerful cards, Poseidon and Nemesis. Pegasus (strength of 1) can be played into the playing field as a numbered card or can be played from your hand to attack a card in your opponent's hand or on the playing field. There is a Hera card and a Zeus card and while they're played, you get four actions a turn, regardless of the number of columns. Sirens let you draw a card from your opponent's discard pile, while Hades lets you put a card from your own discards back into your hand.

What is really interesting about H&Z is that there are numerous ways for each player to win. You win if your opponent is forced to discard their hostage (Io or Artus) through combat or various mythological cards, if your opponent can't use all his allocated actions, if a player starts their turn with no cards in their playing area, or when Pandora is activated in the same column or hand as the hostage. Strategically, while you want to expand quickly to get your powerful cards into play, you have to be careful not to draw your hostage from your deck too early because the only time it's absolutely safe is when it's in your draw deck.

Bob's paltry forces

I started out badly, challenging one of Carol's front cards before I had built up my playing field and so was reduced to two actions for a couple of turns. I recovered and was lucky that Io stayed safely in my draw deck for a long time. There was a lot of back and forth with Carol having the upper hand most of the game and me struggling to keep up.

Unfortunately for her, Carol drew Argus and had to either get him down to the playing field or keep him in her hand where I might find him with Pegasus attacks. She put him down into her biggest column which was opposite an empty column on my side. I played Pandora opposite of this column and Carol attacked. Attacking Pandora is bad as it destroys all cards in the entire column for both players. In this case, that included Argus, giving me the game.

Coming up:  We return to Middle Earth with Lord of the Rings: The Search.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Germantown 08/04/14

Attendance:  15

  • Leslie Barkley
  • Aubrey Bell
  • Paul Czarnota
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Henry Ho
  • Randy Hoffman
  • Rebecca Holte
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob & Carol Jones
  • Eric & Laura Reinhold
  • Gordon Rotter
  • Alf & Cynthia Shupe
Games Played (scores in order of place):

Gemblo - Bob 7, Ethan 8, Carol 9, Aubrey 11, Paul 15, Leslie 15
Thurn & Taxis - Doug 20, Eric 17, Laura 12, Henry 8
Drunter & Druber - Doug 11, Randy 10, Henry 6
Thunderstone - Gordon 21, Leslie 16, Aubrey 14, Alf 11, Cynthia 1
Qwixx - Alf 73, Cynthia 61, Leslie 61, Aubrey 59, Gordon 54
Splendor - Doug 16, Randy 8, Henry 7
Splendor - Henry 18, Randy 8, Doug 8
El Grande - Rebecca 102, Carol 101, Bob 99, Ethan 90, Paul 87
Qwixx - Carol 76, Leslie 62, Paul 44, Bob 37

Drunter & Druber image by Tomasz Serafin on BGG.

Posted by Bob on 08/17/14.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kosmos Two Player Series - Gone Fishing! by Michael Rieneck

In Gone Fishing!, one player represents two Anglers (fishermen) out for a day of sport and the other represents the Fish. Each player plays one round as the Anglers, working their way around a lake, and one round as the Fish, trying to avoid being caught. Players only score points when they're the Anglers, and the highest score after each have had a go is the winner.

The Anglers confront the lake

The board is a four by four grid on which sixteen Lake tiles are placed by the Fish player so that the other player can't see them. The tiles include ten fish in a number of values, worthless junk like a tire, hat and shoe, and a diver who is also worthless but never comes out of the lake when caught. Surrounding the lake are a bunch of piers from which the Anglers try to catch fish in the row or column where they are moved.

Once the tiles are set, the Angler player moves one of his Anglers clockwise any number of spaces. The Fish player must then reveal to him one tile in that row or column. Typically, you show the Angler a tile he can't catch or one of little value. To catch a tile (not necessarily the one revealed), the Angler now plays one of his twelve Catch tiles (three tiles each of values 1 to 4) representing a distance. If he plays a 2 value Catch tile, for example, he'd catch the tile two spaces away from his Angler. He keeps whatever he catches, unless it's the Diver, discards the Catch tile from the game, and then must move his Angler an additional number of spaces, equal to the Catch tile played. Since the Angler only moves his two Anglers once around the lake, he has to be careful to not move them around too quickly. The diminishing number of Catch tiles also starts to limit his options.

After the Angler catches a tile, the Fish player can then move three Lake tiles through empty spaces. This is key as it allows him to move fish out of danger and onto spaces the Angler can't reach with his remaining Catch tiles. Early on, there isn't much room to maneuver, but as the tiles start being caught, good tactical moves become possible and really important.

Finally, each player has a few special tiles they can play on their turn. The Angler has one tile that lets him peek at a Lake tile and one that prohibits the Fish player from moving tiles that turn. The Fish player has three special tiles, two tiles that move an Angler forward one pier, and a tile that lets him switch any two tiles.

After one player has played the Angler, the two players switch, and the other plays the Angler. At the end of that round, whoever caught the highest value of fish wins.

Bob's catch.

I started out as the Angler and did pretty well, catching 24 points of fish, including the large 6 point fish. Carol was only somewhat effective in moving them into positions I couldn't reach.

Second round from the fish's point of view

On Carol's turn as the Angler, I was much more effective at moving my fish out of the reach of her Anglers. She didn't catch the high value 6 point fish, but did catch a lot of small fry, scoring 17 points.

Carol's catch

I enjoyed Gone Fishing which is certainly lightweight, although there is some strategy involved. As the Angler, there's a memory element where you try to remember the revealed Lake tiles in order not to waste your Catch tiles. As the Fish, there are lots of tactical decisions as you try to limit the Angler's options.

Coming up:  We play Greek Gods in one of our favorites, Hera & Zeus.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Kosmos Two Player Series - Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League by Heinrich Glumpler

 Perry Rhodan is a popular science fiction book serial in Germany. In the game, each player is a trader, moving his ship among the six planets of a solar system, picking up and delivering goods and passengers. Each delivery wins the player the currency of the galaxy, the Megagalax, and the first player to accumulate 70 Megagalax wins. At the start of the game each player has five cards in hand, one container for holding goods, and may replenish his hand by one card at the end of his turn.

Goods awaiting shipment

On your turn, you may execute up to two Planetary Actions, one Flight, and may play up to two Intervention cards. Planetary Actions are (1) load a container, (2) unload a container, or (3) buy a technology. Loading and unloading is pretty straightforward. You take all of the cards on your current planet that have the same destination and put them on your container card. Containers can only be loaded once until they reach their destination and are unloaded, at which point the container can be reloaded with goods destined for another planet. When you unload goods, you get paid the value of the cards in Megagalax and flip the cards over to reveal the next destination on the other side. If you flip two cards that have the same destination, they are removed from the game, meaning that the goods available for shipping is constantly dwindling.

Buying a technology requires you to pay Megagalax to play a card from your hand to the table in front of you. Technology includes things like additional Containers for shipping goods, additional replenishment actions so you can redraw more cards at the end of your turn, and cards that let your ship move faster, farther, or execute Planetary Actions from orbit. The first technology card you play cost 1 Megagalax, the second 2, and so forth.

Taking one Flight on your turn means moving your ship from planet to planet. At the start of your turn you roll a die and may move that far. If you roll a one, you get to roll again and add the new number. What's interesting is that traveling towards the star is more efficient than traveling away from it (gravity and all) so it's faster to travel inwards.

Intervention cards can be played out of your hand. They let you do things like steal goods from the other player, execute an additional flight, switch the positions of the two ships, load goods from another planet, and deliver a passenger for 3 Megagalax. They can be cancelled by the other player playing an identical card.

The star acts as a score track

Carol and I stayed pretty close during the game. There's a similarity to Jambo in that you constantly gain victory points and then must spend some to increase your abilities. I really enjoyed the planning that went into efficiently picking up and delivering goods and the way that clever card play could foil your opponent. We both added technology and moved cards quickly. As we approached the goal of seventy points, we were almost out of goods to ship. I managed to secure the last couple of valuable lots and made it to seventy just ahead of Carol.

Coming up: We switch gears and take a leisurely afternoon off in Gone Fishing.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Germantown 07/21/14

Attendance:  18
  • Leslie Barkley
  • Noreen, Dave & Andrew Fair
  • Nick Ferris
  • Jennifer Glinzak
  • Ethan Goffman
  • Henry Ho
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Bob & Carol Jones
  • Cynthia Lewis
  • Sarah Pimsler
  • Gordon Rotter
  • Bill Salvatore
  • Arne Schwettman
  • Marianne Szlyk
  • Howard Wagner
Tonight we bid farewell to our good friends, Sarah and Arne, who have been with us since August 6, 2012, all too short a time. Recently married, they're moving back to Oklahoma for Arne's job. We wish them all the best and hope we'll game with them again soon.

Arne & Sarah

Games Played (scores in order of place):

Circus Flohcati - Dave 91, Andrew 86, Noreen 54
Uptown - Dave, Noreen, Gordon
Ticket to Ride: Asia - Howard/Leslie 152, Ethan/Marianne 145, Cynthia/Doug 142
Glen More - Jenn 48, Henry 43, Carol 43, Bob 42, Nick 18
Stone Age - Sarah 199, Andrew 192, Bill 150, Arne 116
Small World - Marianne 114, Ethan 94, Doug 87, Gordon 82,
Tichu - Howard/Noreen 1165, Cynthia/Leslie 735
Power Grid (America) - Henry 16, Dave 15, Nick 15, Carol 15, Bob 15, Jenn 14
Qwixx - Cynthia 108, Andrew 103, Gordon 93, Sarah 93, Noreen 84, Bill 80, Leslie 73, Arne 59
Qwixx - Arne 77, Bill 76, Leslie 55, Sarah 54, Cynthia 52, Noreen 46, Andrew 45, Gordon 33

Posted by Bob on 08/03/14.