Thursday, March 27, 2008

March 27, 2008 Session Report

We had a total of eight gamers in attendance tonight: Clayton, Ben, Paul, Nick, Sarah and myself were joined by Joan (Sarah's mom) and Abe, both of whom we had not seen in awhile. A total of eight different games were played, some more than once: R-Eco, Ingenious, San Juan, Ticket to Ride, Kingsburg, Gin, Can't Stop and Cloud 9.

Started off with a five-player game of R-Eco, which wound up being quite messy as all of us wounding up opening illegal trash dumps and, in the end, only Nick and I avoided negative scores. Final results were John 11, Nick 6, Clayton and Paul both at -1 with Ben bringing up the rear with a -3.

Sarah arrived and we split up into two groups. I played Ingenious with Sarah and Clayton, and Clayton wound up the winner when he successfully blocked any opportunity for expansion in orange, which happened to be the weakest color of both Sarah and myself. Final results: Clayton 9, Sarah 8, and I was last with 6. The other group, consisting of Ben, Nick and Paul, played San Juan, and Nick wound up winning with two "6" bonus buildings and a purple building strategy that netted him 41 points to 32 for Paul and 27 for Ben.

We split into two groups for the next series of games which lasted for the bulk of the evening. Ben, Nick and I were joined by Abe for a four-player Kingsburg, which we played with a variant that rendered "aid from the King" on a 1-3 range instead of the 1-6 in the rules as written. As a result, the winter battles with the enemies became much more vicious (and each year we seemed to be facing the more destructive and vicious enemies), and Abe lost three times and I lost twice, including a four-point building. As a result, the game evolved into a contest between Nick and Ben, with Nick coming out on top with 41 points (amazing -- the same winning score he had in San Juan) while Ben was second with 37.

The other group of Clayton, Paul and Sarah completed two games of Ticket to Ride in less time that it took the rest of us to finish Kingsburg. Sarah won the first game with a score of 104 with Clayton (92) not that far behind. Paul bounced back strongly in the second game, managing to get all his 45 trains on the map as part of the longest route, covering a loop throughout the US map. He also completed all of his tickets for a total of 121, with Sarah second with 99.

By this time Joan had arrived (ostensibly to deliver a set of car keys to Sarah) but of course we persuaded her to join us for a couple of games. She and Sarah played some two-handed gin while the Kingsburg game was wrapping up -- no report on who won. Then Sarah and Joan joined Abe and Clayton in a Can't Stop game which apparently ended with no victor although it observers suggested Clayton might have been in position to win had he stopped after getting one number to the top. In between games, Clayton also demonstrated his skill at card tricks which, as usual, had all observers left shaking their collective heads in amazement.

Nick, Paul and I introduced Ben to Cloud 9 at the other table. After multiple crashes and much "trash talk" about who was the best balloon pilot, Paul won the first game with 51 while Nick came back to win the second game with a score of 57.

I regret I will miss next week's session due to a long awaited vacation but I trust Mr. Nick Schroedl will serve as acting host in my stead, and I look forward to reading his report on ... could it be another record-breaking session?

See y'all in two weeks time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

March 20, 2008 Session Report

We had a total of eight gamers in attendance for tonight's session: Doug, Sarah, Kim (who came with Sarah as a first-time attendee), Clayton, Nick, Gabe, Neil and myself. We played a total of ten different games: Lost Cities, Ticket to Ride, Ingenious, Blokus, Cartagena, Age of Empires III, Quiddler, Boomtown, Skip-Bo and Chrononauts (the Early America edition).

Doug and I arrived first, finishing up a quick hand of Lost Cities before everyone else started to arrive. We split into two groups of four. One group (Gabe, Nick, Neil and myself) chose a longer game, Age of Empires III, in which Gabe came out on top. Final scores were Gabe 121, John 92, Nick 83 and Neil 68. This same group then followed up with a shorter game, BoomTown, won by Neil, and we spent the last 15 minutes trying out the Early American version of Chrononauts, which Nick managed to win "just in the nick of time" before the 10 PM closing time. Since I had won the initial Lost Cities games, it turned out each in our group of four won one game over the course of the evening.

It turned out to be a different story for the other group (consisting of Doug, Kim, Sarah and Clayton) which played a series of six shorter games -- Ticket to Ride, Ingenious, Blokus, Cartagena, Quiddler and Skip-Bo -- all six of which (it was later reported) were won by Doug ! (Don't keep stats, but winning six different games in one session must be some sort of record for our game club.)

Anyway, hope everyone had a good time and will return next week for more fun and games.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March 13, 2008 Session Report

We had a total of eight gamers for this evening's session. Clayton was first to arrive, and Paul, Gabe, Nick, Ben, Sarah, Neil and myself rounded out the group. Started off with a couple of quick games, first a four-player Can't Stop, which Clayton was well-positioned to win had he stopped after hitting his second number. But he couldn't stop rolling and this opened the door for Gabe, who won the game while Nick and I brought up the rear. Ben and Sarah arrived while we were playing, and they contested a single hand of Lost Cities which Ben won, reportedly a close game where both had positive scores.

Once everyone had arrived, we split into two groups, playing a couple of games with some strong alien/space invader type themes. Nick had brought a new game, Estimated Time to Invasion, which wound up with Clayton winding up as the victor, playing the aliens and succeeding in the final round of attacks after it turned out Gabe was revealed to be the "Judas" character. Neil and Sarah joined in, and everyone seemed to have a good time playing the game.

Meanwhile, at the other table, Paul, Ben and I played three games of Race for the Galaxy, which Nick had also brought. Paul, who had done well in a couple of games at the Beltsville club, couldn't seem to get the right combination of cards and finished last in all the games. Ben won the first two, but each games I came closer, losing by four and then losing by one in the second game. Finally, in the third game, I got the strong Military world and parlayed it to a five-point win over Ben with some nice bonuses for my Alien and Rebel worlds.

We then split four and four for the final two games of the evening: Queens' Necklace and Tribune (with my hand-made copy). I had Gabe down as the winner in Queens Necklace, ahead of Clayton, Sarah and Neil. In the Tribune game, I managed to get to the fourth required victory condition in turn four, while Paul narrowly edged Ben for second on a tiebreaker but neither could fulfill more than two victory conditions. Nick, who had done well in his one previous Tribune game, was unable to get the cards he needed to control the Vestal faction which probably would have put him in second instead of fourth of four. I like Tribune because it's relatively quick for a meaty type game.

A couple of announcements: This Saturday there is going to be a special gaming event at the Family Games Store in Savage, MD. And, looking even further into the future, GCOM has once again applied for booth space at the Main Street Festival in Laurel, which will be Saturday, May 10th (an open-air, rain-or-shine event).

Thursday, March 6, 2008

March 6, 2008 Session Report

We had a total of nine gamers for tonight's session, which these days equals our average attendance. Clayton, Doug, Paul, Sarah, Nick, Ben, Neil, Tom and myself were in attendance. We played a total of six different games: Parlay, Masons, Munchkin, Ticket to Ride, Kreta and Target.

The evening opened with a six-player Parlay game, which we picked up after just a couple of hands, after Sarah pulled into a commanding lead with a 195-point score using "Clumpy" for a nice length and poker bonus. We then divided into two groups, four of us playing Masons, which Neil had brought; Ben won a close game by just two points. The rest of us played Munchkin, which Sarah had just bought, and Doug and Nick handled most of the rules explanation. Clayton was the first to get to within one level of victory and thus, had the bulls eye on his back. This enabled me to sneak in with the win after most of the increased combat value cards had been played, mostly to stop Clayton.

The next set of games were also played with two groups: Ben, Nick, Sarah and I tackled Kreta which wound up in a close battle between Nick and myself that concluded in a tie. Ben's farmer strategy (he wound up with seven farm tiles) did not pay off as he wound up a distant third. The other table played Ticket to Ride (won by Paul) and Target (also won by Paul).