Thursday, January 31, 2008

January 31, 2008 Session Report

This week's report will be a bit shorter than the one from last week. Probably due to threat of inclement weather (which didn't materialize as of our 10 PM close time), there were just six of us: Clayton, Paul, Gabe, Nick, Ben and myself. We played a total of three games: Can't Stop, Power Grid, and Atlantic Star.

Can't Stop was a four player, another virtuoso performance by Clayton whose "all or nothing approach" got the job done once again, while the other three players (Paul, Gabe and myself) did well to just get one number to the top rung. Then Nick and Ben arrived, Nick with a newly-purchased copy of Power Grid. I happened to have my new Power Plant deck in the bag, so we mixed and match, playing a game with the new deck on the US Map. I played with Clayton as my teammate, and things were looking up until we came up about 7 electros short of ending the game with a plant capacity of 14 (15 was the victory condition). The game ran another turn, into Phase 3 power plant purchases, and Gabe managed to catch up and we both built to 16, Gabe winning on the tiebreak (most money). Nick and Paul powered 14, and Nick won the most money tiebreaker while Ben, who wound up the game with more dough than anybody, could only power 13. The game, with the new Power Plant deck, moved quite smoothly, clocking in at just around two hours.

Final game of the evening was Atlantic Star,which I managed to win on the final cruise by waiting and picking up two good cards after others were spending to flush through the depleted deck. Final scores were John 47, Ben and Gabe 41 (Ben second on the tiebreak), Nick 36, Paul 30 and Clayton 29.

Hope the weather holds up and we have better attendance next week. Came close to our all-time Thurs night record attendance (which is 14 from March of last year) last week and would like to see it smashed some time soon!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 24, 2008 Session Report

Attendance was good again this week, in spite of the cold weather. Gabe was back to join us, along with Paul, Rodney, Sarah, Nick, Doug, Abe, Eric, Ben, Tucker, Bob, Val and myself == bringing total attendance to 13. We played a total of seven different games: Quiddler, Formula De, Lost Cities, Kingsburg, Incan Gold, Citadels and Category Five. I almost didn't make it as it turned out when I was ready to leave at quarter til 6, my car wouldn't start. Fortunately I was able to get some road service help through my extended warranty insurance, which it turned out is a good thing to have.

When I arrived at quarter past seven, there was already one game in the books and another well under way. First up was Quiddler, in which Doug and Sarah finished one-two playing against Gabe and Paul. The Formula De game roped in most of the attendees at the time, and (after a few crashes) it wound up Doug first, Gabe second and Eric third. I arranged a quick Lost Cities game with Abe, who did admirably in his first effort although I got a nice score due to the 20-point, 8-card bonus. By this time Tucker and Bob had arrived and we set up Kingsburg, a game which I had taught them at another club. Ben and Abe joined us, and the game took just about the rest of the evening. Final scores were close, with Tucker edging Ben (46-45) based on some handy VP bonuses from the last battle, followed by me (43), Abe (39) and Bob (36).

The other table played three more games in the time it took us to wrap up Kingsburg. Seven played Incan Gold, and Doug made it three in a row, winning a close on (25-24) over Gabe in second and Paul (22) in third. Gabe got some measure of revenge in the next game, Citadels, snapping Doug's winning streak in the process. Sarah was second and Nick was third. By this time Val had arrived from her bowling and got in the final game, Category 5, where Doug was once again the winner == making it four out of five for the night. Well done, Doug! Sarah was once again second, with Paul finishing third.

Abe joined Nick and Sarah's mom, Joan, as new members of the Games Club of Maryland. I hope to turn in the paperwork soon to make it official.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 17, 2008 Session -- CANCELLED

Sorry for the late notice, but I just received word that the Community Center will be closed at 5 PM today due to the inclement weather (we have about three or four inches of snow in Laurel right now). Therefore, tonight's gaming session is cancelled. Please drive carefully.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 10, 2008 Session Report

Another bump up in attendance this week with a total of 12 gamers in attendance, including several of you whom we welcomed back after a bit of an absence. Doug, Paul, Nick, Clayton, Sarah, Ben, Abe, Rodney, Joan C (Sarah's mom), Stan, Val and myself were the attendees, and Nick and Joan were here for their third meeting, qualifying for GCOM Associate Member Status. Woo hoo!

Regarding the games played, we got in a total of eight different games, two of which were played twice. We had a couple of long games that pushed us up against the 10 PM time limit, and unfortunately we were unable to work Val into a game although she seemed to enjoy kibitzing on the Container and Puerto Rico games.

First to arrive were Doug and Paul who worked in a quick hand of Lost Cities; both scored well, but more handshakes resulted in a win for Paul, 76-39. Nick and I joined the two of them for the second game, R-Eco, and all the scores wound up in single digits: Paul 8 Doug 4 Nick and John 2. Paul was the only non-dumper in the group, and this probably made the difference.

By this time Sarah and her mom had arrived, and Sarah managed to best Joan in Lost Cities. Ben, Abe and Rodney joined us and we split into two groups: Doug taught Race for the Galaxy (a relatively new game) to Sarah, Ben and Rodney; meanwhile Clayton, Joan, Paul, Nick and Abe tried an older, borrowed Euro I had borrowed (courtesy of Scott Fisher) called Knockout. Knockout is a boxing theme game with betting that was reminiscent of Slapshot with some Wits and Wagers style betting action mixed in. Nick's Champion Heavyweight, Robin Zerros, was toppled by Clayton's top fighter for the SuperChampion belt, which set up Clayton to pick up the bonus pot. However, when the scores were read, some adroit betting by Abe put him ahead, 232 to 202 for Clayton, followed by Nick (173) Paul (152) Joan (87).

Race for the Galaxy was a low-scoring affair, won by Rodney (20) with Doug (17) and Ben (16) not far behind while Sarah (13) did not appear to be headed towards a repeat of her success of last week (see Jan. 3 report). The same four players contested several hands of Quiddler, won by crossword puzzle expert Doug (291) followed by Rodney (202), Sarah (172) and Ben (138). Doug pointed out a helpful but little-known rule that you can't have a negative score for one round, something useful to remember when you don't see any vowel cards.

Stan had joined us as we then split into three groups: four of us chose Container, five played Puerto Rico, and then Abe and Clayton squared off in a couple of games of chess (perhaps as a result of their close finish in the Knockout game). The chess games were split, Abe and Clayton winning one apiece. The Container game saw Joan make up for her last place result in Knockout by managing to pay off both loans to score an impressive win (39) to 30 for Stan, who had the highest container score but two loans outstanding. Paul (who didn't have a loan the entire game) was third (19) ahead of me, the "game teacher," last with 13. Still trying to figure this one out.

The Puerto Rico game was really close, Rodney finishing one point ahead of Ben, 51-50, followed by Sarah, Doug and Nick, who supplied the game. Wish I could have played PR, but too many fun games out there and too little time to play them ...

Hope to see everyone back next week for more gaming fun !

Thursday, January 3, 2008

January 3, 2008 Session Report

We got the new year off to the right start with a significant jump in attendance, up to double figures (10) for the first time in awhile. Paul, Clayton, Sarah, Nick and I were joined by Matthew, Olivia, Joan and Val (whom we hadn't seen in awhile) plus a newcomer, Abe, who was a first-time attendee at the club. We wound up playing a total of nine different games, including one game that was played twice.

Paul and I started off the evening with a two-player game, KGB vs CIA, playing with a variant that seemed to make the game a bit more strategic and somewhat less luck-oriented. Then Clayton, Sarah and Nick arrived and we played a 5-player Ticket to Ride with the 1910 expansion set. Nick liked the larger-size train and ticket cards, but Sarah seemed to prefer the older version. It turned out to be a fairly brutal game, and no one completed more than three tickets -- most of us being lucky just to complete the three we started with. Everyone seemed to be getting in each other's way, particularly Sarah and myself. I managed to pull out the victory with Paul in second by completing a 18-point ticket (LA-Miami) on my last track lay.

Olivia, Jane and Matthew had arrived and played what is becoming the family favorite, Blokus. The game wound up in a three-way tie -- all of them got their pieces down -- as they didn't play with the rule for a neutral fourth player. This turned out to be a warmup for a really competitive four-player game, which wound up in a win for Sarah (5) over me (7) with Olivia coming in third ahead of her mom -- reportedly this was Olivia's first non-winning effort in several plays at the game.

Meanwhile, Olivia's dad, Matthew, joined Clayton, Nick and Paul in a Settlers of Catan game. Nick ran away with the game, getting to 10 points well ahead of Matthew, who did well to finish second (5 pts) his first game out. The other group (Sarah, Jane, Olivia and myself) played two more games -- Ingenious and then Cartagena -- with the same result -- wins for Sarah who was now on a three-game win streak. High point of the evening was Sarah's six-tile play to win the Ingenious game, taking each of her six colors to 18 on the same turn, something I have never seen or even heard of happening before.

Abe (Nick's roommate) had joined us by this time, and his first game was a five-player Hoity Toity which turned out to be a win for Nick (two in a row) with Paul in second, followed by Abe, Clayton and Matthew.

Finally, we wrapped up the evening with a quick round of TransAmerica that wound up being abandoned after one round as some of the players had to leave. Joan, who was later replaced by Paul, wound up winning for the Yellow train. This left seven of us to play Cloud 9 until closing time, with Clayton and myself playing as teammates. The game wound up in a tie at 42 between Val and Paul (Val winning on a special one balloon flight tiebreaker that Paul created before we found the real tiebreaker -- most cards in hand in the rules). I was third at 41 followed by Abe (32), Nick (22) and Sarah (16).

Everyone seemed to have a good time tonight, hope to build on tonight's session and keep this strong attendance going next week.