Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 24, 2008 Session Report

Well, it was just four of us in attendance this week as Clayton, Gabe, Paul and I played a total of four games: R-Eco, San Juan, Kingsburg and Empyrean.

First up was R-Eco. An environmental/recycling game seemed appropriate for Earth Week, but it turned out to be counterproductive as each of us (myself being the last) managed to visit the illegal trash dump more than once. Final scores were Gabe 14, John 9, Clayton 4, Paul 2.

Still thinking more people might show, our second game was another quickie: San Juan. I managed to build out to 12 buildings with the Guild Hall/City Hall combo giving me 17 bonus points for a total of 36. Gabe, who had the other Guild Hall, finished second with 29, followed by Paul (27) and Clayton (16).

At this point it was around 7, so we just decided to opt for a bit longer game -- Kingsburg. We played with the standard rules and, with some good "aid from the king rolls," noone suffered a defeat in the winter battles (making the game too easy perhaps?). Gabe was plagued by some low die rolls early in the game, while Clayton raced to an early lead with Gabe and I not far behind, with Paul trailing early. Then Clayton and Paul filled out the Embassy (bottom) row and started to catch up. I went for some good defensive buildings and, by the end of the game, three of us had a Wizard's Guild (plus 2 in battle) but noone had the Farm for the extra die but -1 in battle. Gabe was behind in buildings, but benefited from the extra die in the spring and use of the Envoy. The die rolls seemed to even out in the end, as Clayton's good luck turned sour, and Gabe got some better rolls. In the end, it was a really close finish: final scores were Gabe and John 45, Paul 40, Clayton 37. Gabe and I had to check the tiebreakers -- most cubes (still tied, we spent them all on soldiers and had none left) and finally, most buildings, so I came out on top.

We finished Kingsburg in just under a couple of hours and had time left for another game, so Gabe taught us Empyrean, Inc. which proved to be an interesting set-collecting card game with some different twists. The taxation phase is a great equalizer and, along with turn order considerations, proved to be a decisive factor in our game as I got a set started that Gabe really wanted for himself. The game came down to the wire with Clayton one card away from winning when I got the two cards I needed to fill out my sets and win the game.

Next week, a few of us will be at Games Days but the club will be open. We dropped off some flyers and will be promoting the club both at Games Days and at the Laurel Main Street Festival the following week.

Also, some good news ... there will be some funds available for purchase of new games, but we need to prioritize the list as not all the requested funds were approved. Please post suggestions here or forward them to me -- I plan to submit a list to John Goon (who is the key contact person) by Wednesday.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 17, 2008 Session Report

Once again, we had a total of six for tonight's session. Gabe, Paul, Nick, Doug, Ben and I split into two groups for a good part of the evening. Ben wanted another test of his fishing game, Open Water, and Paul and Doug obliged -- Doug wound up the winner, as apparently some recent changes with some smoother mechanics while providing players with choices were the primary added new features.

Nick, Gabe and I played Airships, a relatively quick-playing dice game that I had brought. Nick came out on top, 11 points to 7 for me and 4 for Gabe, who had some bad luck with his die rolls. In spite of the heavy luck factor, I kind of like the relatively quick-playing mechanics. Gabe had brought Parthenon, which I hadn't played in a while, and the three of us spent the bulk of the evening going through the ups and downs of perilous seas and random events in this risk management game. I won by finally getting my second Wonder completed with one season left in the game. Nick had all his buildings save for the second Wonder, while Gabe got both wonders built but was short two or three of the acropolis buildings.

Ben, Doug and Paul got in two games of For Sale, resulting in one win for Doug and one for Paul, Ben finishing second in both games.

Finally, all six of us hooked up for a couple of quick games of Cloud Nine, which is rapidly replacing Category Five as the end-of-the-evening favorite. Ben got through the first round of balloon trips unscathed to score a 65 to 62 win over Gabe in a game where I was the only one not to reach 50. Second game, which put us right up against the 10 PM close time, had Paul the winner with 58 points.

Nick has worked up some nice looking flyers for our club which I hope to get copied and have available in the next week or so. We hope to hand these out at events like Games Days and the Laurel Main Street Festival in an effort to bring in some new blood to the club.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

April 10, 2008 Session Report

We had a total of six for tonight's session: Paul, Nick, Clayton, Doug, Ben and myself. We wound up playing only four games, as one game that was new to most ran a bit long (sorry about that).

First up was Olympia 2000, which was a five-player as Clayton had not yet arrived. Ben and Nick were new to the game. Nick's athletes prevailed by a narrow count of 10 to 8 for Doug and 7 for Paul as Ben and I brought up the rear.

Second game was Cloud 9, and this time we had a full complement of six amateur balloon flyers. Paul emerged the winner when he accompanied Clayton on a 25-point journey to the top of Cloud 9, after Ben and Paul had succeeded in an earlier effort after Nick bailed out at the 20-point level. Final scores were Paul 50+ to win, Nick 43, Clayton 42, Doug 32, John 30, Ben 28. Kept stats on the crashes, too -- Nick failed three times and I didn't have the rest of us crashing more than once.

Next we tried a longer game mainly because it played with all six and we weren't prepared to break into two groups. I brought Falsche Fuffziger, an older Friedemann Friese design that is now pretty much out of print (got it second-hand through a private sale on BGG last year). The theme of the game is about counterfeiting, and the game has some interesting but possibly flawed mechanics regarding who goes first. I started out well with the coin auctions but warned everyone that -- while I was in good shape for the short-term, long-term things may not work it. This proved prophetic as I (along with a couple of others) didn't anticipate the 100 presses going away so quickly after the 50 presses in what proved to be the penultimate turn. The six bonus coins for most "real" money put Nick over the top for the win, with 20 to 17 for yours truly, followed by Doug at 14, Clayton 12 while Ben (8) and Paul (5) tried some things that didn't seem to work out.

Finally, for the second week in a row, we tried Ben's invention, a fishing game with the working title of "Open Water." We managed to get in a few turns to get the mechanics down when all of a sudden it was closing time. Next time, hopefully we can start it a bit sooner (apologize for the length of the prior game) so we can finish a complete game.

A couple of announcements: 1. Nick Schroedl has agreed to serve as Co-Host for the Club.
2. In cooperation with Games Club of Maryland, we will once again be operating a booth at the Laurel Main Street Festival on Saturday May 10th. The plan is to have TWICE the space we had last year, more room for folks to stop by and learn games. It will be a great opportunity to try to attract new folks to the hobby, so I am hoping for good weather. More details once the event draws closer (and we have specific booth assignments) ...

Monday, April 7, 2008

April 3, 2008 Session Report

I was out of town last week, but -- once again -- Nick Schroedl has produced an excellent session report describing last week's festivities. Can't wait for this week's session. Here's Nick's report in full:

Nine of us battled the rain, sleet and traffic jams to play this past Thursday night. First game of the night was Target between Gabe, Doug and Paul. It appeared to be a mix of poker meets rummy, I was unable to tell who was winning or losing as the game progressed and all were surprised when Paul won out (even Paul). Final scores were Paul 25, Gabe 22 and Doug 18.

After the game of target Clayton, Doug, Gabe, Paul and I (Nick) played a game of Beowulf. Having never played before I found it to be an interesting mix of auctions, card collection and gambling. Strangely I can't recall any of these being in the book or movie, ah well. Clayton displayed nerves of steel risking more often than most and it paying off quite frequently (to my determent). I did well until getting shafted on bonus squares I didn't plan for. Doug got the worst of it by far, and was mercilessly scratched and wounded though out. After all scores were counted, Gabe eeked out the win with a 26, closely followed by Clayton and myself with 25, Paul 20 and Doug -1.

While the game of Beowulf was going on Ben, Abe, Brandon and Mike showed up. Ben started setting up the prototype to his new game he's designed tentatively named "Open Water". While they waited for Beowulf to end and after much deliberation Brandon, Mike, Abe and Ben played a quick game of Transamerica which ended in a tie between Brandon and Mike, then Ben and finally Abe.

After Beowulf, Ben sat down with Paul and Abe to teach his fishing game "Open Water". From what I've heard each player is a captain of a fishing boat that sets crab traps, nets and avoid disasters. Reminded me of that show on the Discovery channel 'The Deadliest Catch'. The game lasted the rest of the night. Ben got plenty of feedback and ideas for how to tweak the game. I'm looking forward to trying it out!

At the the other table we had a six player game of The Great Space Race going. It's one of my goofy games with ties to Roborally. Clayton, Doug, Gabe, Brandon, Mike and I set off on a one lap race with mines and ramming galore. The last turn yielded two major events that set everyone's speed down to one and one that sent a hail of asteroids all over the track. I was able to cross the finish line first closely followed by Gabe. The rest of the contestants called the race since they were slowed so much by the event and it would've taken several turns to get back up to speed again.

After that we finished up the night with one of Gabe's card games, Car of Cthulu. Playing was Doug, Mike, Gabe, Brandon and myself. Plenty of passing and damaged cars. Doug seemed to have an endless supply of cancel cards that made him untouchable. The dice viciously turned on me as I lost every single pass attempt. I still think my car was the coolest, The Satanic Pushcart. After all was said, Gabe won with two successful laps. By far its one insane, crazy, random game.