Thursday, September 25, 2008

September 25, 2008 Session Report

We had a total of six for tonight's session: Don was back for the third week in a row (making him eligible for Games Club of Maryland associate membership), joined by Clayton, Paul, Nick, Ben and myself. We played a total of six different games: Lost Cities, R-Eco, Pandemic (twice), Monastery, Vegas Showdown and Cloud Nine.

Paul and I arrived first and got in one hand of Lost Cities. Can't remember much about the game, it was reasonably close and kind of low scoring, I won by something like 35 to 26. Nick, Clayton and Don joined up so we played another quick game, R-Eco. Nick won with a high score of 10 compared to 7 for Paul, 6 for John then 3 each for Clayton and Don.

We then split into the two groups. I had a new game, Monastery, which was played for the first time. Nick, Ben and I had our monks running around gaining blessings, constructing buildings, praying, studying and toiling, winning abbot elections, and finishing out words that were part of the Lord's Prayer in Latin. Turned out to be a really, really close game, with Nick at 26, Ben and I at 27. We checked the tiebreaker, and it favored Ben (based on starting position) but this one has to have a big asterisk as we determine too late that one of Ben's tiles was illegally played. Kind of an unusual game that all of us had trouble getting our heads around.

Meanwhile, at the other table, the good guys (Don, Paul and Clayton) were busy saving the world from plague and pestilence, winning two successive games of Pandemic starting at the 4 level. Well done, guys.

The last two games of the evening were Vegas Showdown, won by Nick after Ben got off to an early points lead but never got his income up. Finally, we found an old favorite, Cloud 9, after much trash talking it wound up a tie (51 each) for Nick and Paul.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

September 18, 2008 Session Report

We had a total of seven gamers for this week's session: Doug, Don, Paul, Clayton, Ben, Sarah (welcome back to Sarah) and myself. We had two tables going for most of the time and played a total of seven different games: R-Eco (twice), Vikings, Settlers (using a new variant idea I came up with), Ticket to Ride - Nordic edition, Sticheln, Power Grid - Korea map and For Sale.

Don had brought Vikings and was itching to give it a go, and since Doug was familiar enough with the rules to do the teaching, four of us (Paul, Don, Doug and myself) played. It was a fairly close contest among three of us (Don, Doug and myself) until we got to the endgame scoring and realized how important getting those little blue guys was. Doug pulled away for a comfortable win, with 53 to 45 for me, 41 for Don and 27 for Paul as he was the only one to feed all his guys.

Ben, Clayton and Sarah tried out my new Settlers variant, which was to roll four dice (Can't Stop style) and then pair them together for two production numbers (with perhaps a robber or two thrown in). I was surprised by how quickly the game ended, perhaps because there was all that extra production. Ben won, getting a couple of cities up early. The game took around a half hour and there was very little trading that took place.

The Vikings group had started early and we played one hand of Sticheln which barely finished while the Settlers game was being cleaned up; Doug had high score of 11 and everyone was positive even though some took some tricks with negative scores. Sarah, Doug and Clayton played a couple of quick games of R-Eco (both won by Doug, although one was really close between Doug and Sarah) while Paul, Ben, Don and I tackled the new Power Grid-Korea map which I had just brought. Main feature of the map is two separate resource markets, one for North Korea, a different one for South Korea, you can only buy from one each turn. I managed to win by building to 17 when I had the plants and resources to power 15 while no one else could get to more than 14. Ben tried an interesting strategy of building all four of the cheap connections in Seoul on the first turn; he eventually got blocked in though, hurt by the fact he was going last in subsequent turns. Need to try the game some more to see whether or not this is a viable strategy; my guess is that it is not.

Meanwhile Doug, Sarah and Clayton broke out another new game, Ticket to Ride - Nordic Edition, which I had managed to obtain at the Family Game Store in Savage (big plug for them -- they are now an official GCOM location, hosting sessions every Saturday night). Another close game, won by Doug with 99 to 95 for Sarah. After this game and Power Grid finished, there were only about 20 minutes left in the session, and those of us still left played a quick game of For Sale to wrap things up. Final scores: John 60 Ben 55 Paul 53 Doug 39 Clayton 38. See everyone next week, and don't forget about Congress of Gamers this weekend.

Friday, September 12, 2008

September 11, 2008 Session Report

We had a total of seven gamers in attendance: Paul, Doug, Clayton, Nick, Rodney and myself were joined by Don Tatum, who was attending his first session here. Good seeing you Don and hope you can make it to future sessions.

I decided to unveil this out-of-print cycling game I got from Europe for a pretty penny. Name of the game is Maillot Jaune. It's a fairly heavy duty cycling sim, and it ran a bit longer than I would have anticipated. The protagonists (after a couple of dropouts) were Nick, Clayton, Don and myself. We each had a team of eight cyclists. The course was not an easy one, including three major climb sections which slowed most of the cyclists down. Nick tried a strategy of holding back, then coming on strongly at the end. Clayton had one of his guys in the lead, but he got caught by a large group and, by the end, we all had a chance to win after Nick failed a 50-50 roll on a late breakaway attempt. So, in the bunch sprint at the end, justice prevailed and Nick managed to win after failing his breakaway roll.

The other group of Rodney, Doug and Paul played Stone Age, which Rodney had brought. No details on the game, but I heard Rodney won. Stone Age was just added as Wild Card game at EuroQuest this fall.

There was still time for more games, so we played a four-player Hollywood Blockbuster and a three-player Ra. The Ra game (with Clayton, Rodney and Paul) was won by Rodney; the Hollywood Blockbuster game (featuring Don, Doug, Nick and myself) was won by Doug with a very impressive score of 101. I edged Nick for second while Don's excuse was it was his first time playing the game.

Once again, a plug for some upcoming events, Congress of Gamers in Rockville is weekend after next and EuroQuest is later this fall.

Friday, September 5, 2008

September 4, 2008 Session Report

We had a total of five gamers for last night's session, with Doug, Clayton, Ben and Greg joining me as we returned to the 6 to 10 PM post-Labor Day four-hour session times.

We played a total of four games. Doug and I arrived first and played a hand of Lost Cities. Low scoring game, I had 37 to Doug's 28 as none of our double-handshake colors panned out for big points. Ben and Clayton joined us and we played my playtest copy of Homesteaders. Ben continued his winning streak at this game, getting the Church when I was one action short but could have outbid him. Ben had the actions but was short on cash and had to take on much more debt that he would have liked. Fortunately, he had the Bank that let him retire one debt a turn (dipping into the till, so to speak). Final scores were 10 points top to bottom (a close game) with Ben winning with 53, I had 47, Doug 46, Clayton 43.

Greg wanted to learn a couple of games that were recently added to the club's collection, so we played Pandemic, a four-player game but Clayton and I played as teammates. Since it was a cooperative game anyway, we played with open hands and tried to fight the diseases. We managed to cure three of them but came up short as the unwanted final epidemic came out right before we had the cards to cure the fourth and final disease. Tough game.

Finally game was the new Cartagena II, which we finally worked into the schedule. Unfortunately, it we didn't quite finish the game by 10 although it looked like Greg and Ben were closest to winning. Clayton, Doug and I also played.

Hope to see more of you next week. A reminder that the Congress of Gamers game convention is coming up in two weeks, here's a link to the website: