Friday, August 22, 2008

August 21, 2008 Session Report

Before getting to last night's session report, here's an important notice: NEXT WEEK's SESSION, scheduled for Thursday, August 28, has been CANCELED. The Community Center will be closing early for some renovations over Labor Day Weekend this year. Our next session, which will return to the regular 6 - 10 PM time frame, will be Thursday, September 4th.

Last night we had a total of seven in attendance: Doug, Paul, Nick, Clayton and myself were joined by Mark Love, who was so inspired by our Decathlon replay effort that he even brought a nice prize for the winner. (Later we were joined by Rodney, who arrived a bit too late to get in on the decathlon, but helped "roll" during the 1500 meters so we could finish the event a bit faster.) We wound up dropping the Russian athlete, Kuznetsov, after his miserable first day performance (due no doubt to the person rolling the die, because I have a book at home quoting Track and Field News in 1962 talking about how Kuznetsov was "the most consistent Decathlete of them all.") Paul once again took control of Milt Campbell, I was Rafer Johnson, Nick once again tried to direct Jim Thorpe's efforts, while Mark took over with Bill Toomey, Doug was Bob Mathias, and Clayton did his best C. K. Yang impersonation.

Campbell pulled ahead with a strong effort (14.3 time) in the hurdles (which was equalled by Thorpe), but then gave it all back and more in the discus, where Johnson hit on a huge (187 foot) throw to pull out a 100-point plus lead in the overall standings. Then C. K. Yang did his thing in the pole vault, as he was the only decathlete to clear 15 feet. Mathias and Yang were the only two to go over 200 feet in the ninth event, the javelin. So it all came down to the grueling 1500 meter run where, with the help of Rodney's die rolling, we got through the event, with my man (Rafer Johnson) coming home last reflecting some tiredness due to taking an unnecessary eighth attempt in the pole vault and paying for it.

As expected, Thorpe and Toomey dominated the 1500 meters, but it was not enough for them to claim the Gold after factoring in the handicaps. Here's a summary of the final results:

Rafer Johnson 8205 (0 Handicap) 8205
C. K. Yang 8010 (+190 Handicap) 8200
Bill Toomey 7935 (+240 Handicap) 8175
Milt Campbell 7905 (+120 Handicap) 8025
Bob Mathias 7810 (+95 Handicap) 7905
Jim Thorpe 8240 (-345 Handicap) 7895

So, Thorpe pulled ahead on the raw scores with the last event but wound up sixth of six after factoring in the handicaps we agreed to use. Looks like an even closer finish than the 1960 Rome Olympics where Johnson and Yang -- who were teammates at UCLA -- finished 1-2. I decided to award Mark's "prize" to Clayton, who made up alot of lost ground after taking over Yang for the second day of the competition.

I am going to probably put this game away for about four years now but will try going through the game once this weekend during the final few days of the real Olympics, using more athletes (like Bruce Jenner and Daley Thompson) with new files and charts downloaded from the game's page at BoardGameGeek. I will try to post a session report there with the results, for those interested. And, as I said, for those who don't care, the good news is you won't see me bringing the game to a session for another four years.

We still had time after the Decathlon for several other games. Rodney, in particular, made up for lost time by going undefeated the rest of the evening, winning a three-player Race for the Galaxy with Paul and Mike, and then besting Paul in a two-player game. At the other table, Clayton, Nick, Doug and I played a certain prototype card game with alot of shuffling, which I won after several of the players seemed "cursed" alot. The real version of the game is scheduled to come out later this year. By then Mark had left and Clayton was taking a break, so we ended with a five-player For Sale game, also won by Rodney who as I said was undefeated for the evening.

Once again, no session next week so see everyone in two weeks' time (Doug wanted me to remind everyone that next week the Rockville-South group will meet for gaming at the Dream Wizards store, 7 -11 PM).

Friday, August 15, 2008

August 14, 2008 Session Report

Wow, a great crowd tonight, perhaps no small credit due my co-host Nick, who had a group arrive with an after-session party for birthday boy, Abe, who was also among those present. Also, good to see Pete coming from Pennsylvania which also helped boost our numbers. Final attendance count was 13, our best session attendance since last February and one of our best Thursday night sessions ever. The total group included Paul, Clayton, Doug, Ashley, Gabe, Nick, Ben, Abe, Brandon, Brian H, Mike S, Pete P, and myself. We played a total of six different games: Decathlon (the old AH/SI game), Race for the Galaxy, Tumblin' Dice, Kingsburg, Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix and Kingsburg. We had a bunch of nice-looking games on display, as Nick brought his Tumblin' Dice and Heroscape while I brought some of my highly prized out-of-print cycling games from Europe that I am still trying to figure out how to play.

First up, in honor of the Beijing Olympics, we played a suitably themed game, Decathlon (which was originally a Sports Illustrated/3M game from the 1970s that was re-printed by Avalon Hill). The game uses features several all-time Decathlon greats and performance numbers (through die rolling) roughly based on actual results. To get through the game quickly and to maintain excitement, we only ran through the first five events and plan to wrap up at next week's session with the final five events with the medals at stake. Standings after five events (final number in parens is the handicap to be added or subtracted to that athelete's final score):

1. Rafer Johnson (John) 4425 (0)
2. Milt Campbell (Paul) 4405 (+240)
3. Jim Thorpe (Nick) 4280 (-345)
4. C. K. Yang (Brian) 4275 (+190)
5. Bill Toomey (Ashley/Gabe) 4190 (+240)
6. Bob Mathias (Brandon) 4175 (+95)
7. Vasily Kuznetsov (Pete) 4010 (-90)

Factoring in the handicap, right now the favorite would be Paul (Milt Campbell). Jim Thorpe, who should be running away with it, distinctly underperformed, perhaps due to some poor strategy calls by his coach, Nick. Yang and Toomey are still in it, as they have some good events coming up (Yang briefly held the world record in the pole vault) and good handicap numbers. Can't same the same for Pete's athlete, the Russian Kuznetsov, who suffered an injury and is pretty much out of it at this point. Next week people can reclaim their athletes, and it will be first come first serve for athletes for those who don't return.

Other games, don't have a report except for Kingsburg, which I taught to Pete and Ashley (with Gabe's help). Final scores were John 43, Pete 34, Ashley 33, Paul 28, Gabe 19. Gabe got nicked by the Enemies right after building an early Farm (which then burned down and had to be rebuilt). I won by moving on the Embassy Row, but a very low help from the King die roll would have given the game to Ashley, as it was much closer than the final scores indicate.

I know Doug, Ben, Clayton, Brian, Nick and Brandon played Det-Cleveland Grand Prix, Ben, Doug and Clayton played Race for the Galaxy, and just about everyone but the five-player Kingsburg group was involved in Heroscape, which saw two different scenarios being contested.

Looking forward to wrapping up the Decathlon and more fun and games next week. Only a couple of more sessions in August, then after Labor Day we will return to the 10 PM closing time.

Also, want to wish one of this week's attendees, Brian Hahn, well. In a week or so, Brian is scheduled to ship out for his second tour of duty in Iraq.

August 7, 2008 Session Report

This was a session that several of us missed because of attendance at the WBC in Lancaster, PA.

Three attendees for this session: Clayton, Doug and Paul. Games played: GemLock (brought by Doug, first time played at the club, Doug won the game); Qwirkle (Paul won the game); Pandemic (cooperative game; the players lost); Ticket to Ride (Paul) and finally Target (two-player, Doug and Paul, not sure who won). All other games except Target included Clayton.

Thanks to Doug Hoylman who kept track of the attendance and games played.

For those interested, here's a link to my personal recap of WBC activities:

Will follow up with last night's report shortly.