Friday, May 29, 2009

May 28, 2009 Session Report

Strong attendance of 11 for our first shortened session (new close time of 9 PM); Ben and Ray returned, along with Paul, Mike, Gabe, Don, Ron, Christie (back for her second session), Tim (making his first appearance at the Laurel club in many months), Rodney, and myself; all these people despite missing two regulars (Clayton, who was still out of town and Doug, who was co-hosting at another games club). We played a total of five different games: Ticket to Ride (1910), Agricola, Hoity Toity, Cloud Nine (x2) and Roll Through the Ages.

Ticket to Ride-1910 was a five-player game, saw everyone building into New York to set up some long run tickets, then later things got crowded near Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I was stuck on the short end of the stick, unable to complete two long tickets before the game ended. Everyone else did well, garnering over 100 points. Tim won with 147, followed by Paul, Christie, Ron, yours truly in last. Tim had the honor of lapping me on the scoring track as I had a final score of just 44.

The other group (Gabe, Mike, Don, Ben and Rodney) played Agricola. I understand, with some players new to the game, they elected to play the Family Game which still ran about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Winner with 39 points was Gabe (an excellent score if they were playing without those extra cards in the main game), followed by Rodney (28), Ben (21), Don (20) and Mike (16).

Ray joined the five of us from the Ticket to Ride game for Hoity Toity, which is the six-player version of Hook or Crook (aka the art collecting game). Lots of thieving and just about everyone was fairly close on the scoring track heading into the final few game turns. Christie, who had gone out to an early lead, stalled out a bit as she had both her thieves in jail and was down to only a handful of art after being the victim of repeated thievery from the other players. I managed to put together the best collection at the end, and finished ahead of Ray (who led into the final show), then Paul, Christie, Ron (who had second best collection) and finally Tim, so Tim and I reversed positions from the prior game.

There was still time for a couple of more games before the 9 PM closing time. Paul, Rodney, Tim, Ron, Ray and I played Cloud Nine, Paul won the first game with Rodney in second, we started a second game which had Ray ahead until a late balloon crash put him behind Paul right before we had to stop. They both had around 40 points or so.

At the other table, the game was Roll Through the Ages. Gabe won that one, 24 points to 13 for Mike and just -12 for Christie whose people suffered mightily from pestilence spread by the others. Oh, well, it was Christie's first play of the game, so there's always next time ...

Hoping for continued strong attendance next week ...

Friday, May 22, 2009

May 21, 2009 Session Report

In this, our final 2009 session before the shift to Memorial Day and the earlier 9 PM closing time, we had a good turnout with 10 gamers, including one newcomer to the club, Christie. Don, Mike, Paul, Ron, Gabe, Doug, Chris, Gabe and I were the other attendees. We played a total of seven different games and had two games going on for the entire session.

Mike had brought a game we had played once before but not recently, LeHavre, and Doug, Don and I joined in. Don was new to the game while the rest of us had played a few times before. We played the full 20-turn, 4-player game which took up just about the entire session time. I thought Mike was doing well but he stalled out about midway through after having to take out a couple of loans, and fell behind in the shipbuilding arena despite owning both Wharfs. Don built some nice buildings that proved quite popular, and he was in a position to win had I not pulled it out with some well-timed sales at the Shipping Line and the Bridge in the endgame. Final scores were real close, John 143 Don 141 Doug 128 and Mike (the teacher for this game) last with 109. Think Don would have won had he understood how to convert goods to points in the endgame a bit better.

The other table made up for our group in terms of numbers of games played. First up was Boomtown, which Gabe won (81) ahead of Chris (74), Christie (53), Ron (47) and Paul (33). Then, in probably the closest contest of the evening, Qwirkle Cubes was a one-point win for Paul, 65 to 64 for the Chris/Greg team (Chris started the game, Greg finished) and another point back at 63 was Gabe, then Ron at 62 and Christie in last at 57 despite being only eight points out of first.

Slide 5, where a low score is best, was won by Ron (7), then Paul (29), Chris (42), Gabe (48), Greg (50), Christie (55). Then, another six-player game, Incan Gold, no report on the scores, heard Greg was the winner (hope I have that right). Also have Roll Through the Ages on the games played list, no report on who played or who won (perhaps that game was not finished).

Then, final game of the evening, Vegas Showdown, everyone had played before except Christie, who was new to the game and the winner was ... Christie, with 47 to 43 for Greg, 36 for Ron, 31 for Gabe, and just 27 for Paul. (Even with five players, seems like a relatively low scoring game, one stack of tiles must have run out fairly soon ...) Congrats to Christie on her first win in her first session at the club.

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 16, 2009 Special Saturday Session Report

This is a session report for the special Saturday session that was jointly hosted by our club, along with the Columbia GCOM club (hosted by Norman and Amy Rule). As announced previously, the session took place at the Canterbury Riding Clubhouse in West Laurel, from 5 PM until 1 AM. Big thanks to Lee Mewshaw who did most of the work in securing the facility for this session.

Total attendance: 13 (This includes Laurel club regulars Ron, Greg, Eric S, Rodney and myself; Helen, who has been to the Laurel club in the past; Norman, Amy, Marcy, Lee, John M. (Lee's husband) and Nessa who are Columbia club regulars, and Michele T., who I met for the first time whom the Columbia group is claiming so they outnumbered the Laurel group 7-6 assuming we count Helen. Now, rumor has it their group could have done even better were it not for some "Wine in the Woods" event going on in Columbia at the same time, but there's no way of verifying the accuracy of those statements. Also, I was a bit disappointed not to see a bigger turnout from more of our Laurel club regulars, as everyone there had a great time, ordering Chinese and pizza from across the street, making liberal use of the refrigerator for sodas and snacks.

Now, on the most important part of the report: the games played list and summary. With as many as four different games going on at once, it was a real challenge to keep track of everything. After conferring with Norman, Amy, and others, I came up with the following list of 18 different games played, a couple of which had multiple plays: Dominion (x3), Ricochet Robot, Qwirkle Cubes, TransAmerica, Too Many Cooks, Roll Through the Ages, Skip-Bo, Big City, Power Grid (Korea map), Ticket to Ride (standard US map), Railroad Tycoon (also with the standard US map), Uno, Container, Carcassone-The Tower, Monty Python Fluxx, Powerboats (x2), Snow Tails, and (last but not least) the Vallco Championship Drag Racing game.

Now, at the start of the session, I put one sheet for tracking results of games played but unfortunately not everyone wrote down the games, who played what, final scores, so this session report will be a bit incomplete and probably more focused on the games I was playing, but here goes.

First up for me was Qwirkle Cubes, a three-player with Greg and Amy. I believe Amy got out to an early lead, then it went back and forth for awhile, before Greg pulled ahead about midway through and went on to a decisive win. Final scores were Greg 130, John W. 98 Amy 88. The other initial games were Ricochet Robot (which included Norman and Marcy, no report on who won) and Dominion, for which I have scores of 37 for Lee, 35 for Nessa, 26 for John M. and 13 for Michelle.

Eric and Rodney had joined the group, and next game up was Too Many Cooks, which I believe was one of the games Greg had brought. It was a fairly interesting quick-playing card game, and Eric edged out Greg for the win (19 to 18). Rodney, Amy and I were the other players in this one.

I have John M., Michelle and Lee playing SkipBo, which was won by John. Then there was a four-player Ticket to Ride, another close game, Michelle came in first, 138 to 136 for Lee. John M. and Marcy were the other players. The Carcassone-The Tower game ended up as a real tight three-player affair, final scores were Lee 261, John M. 250, Michele 246.

Eric was interested in playing Big City, a game I had brought, and this one was a really big win for Rodney, 73 points, with Eric coming in dead last with just 27 points behind John W. (53), Amy (51), Greg (48). Most of Eric's "8" neighborhood properties were covered or next to factories, and noone got the big 30 point Shopping Centers in play although we did see both Churches come out.

Greg had brought and wanted to try Container, a favorite of mine that I don't get to play very often. We roped Ron into the game, and the scores were reflective of everyone's relative experience level: John (had played before), first with 39; Greg (had read the rules but not played before), second with 24; Ron (totally new to the game and clueless at the start), third with 19. Think the game plays a bit better with a full table of five (although it would also take longer).

Powerboats was played twice, first race saw Ron come from behind after both Greg and I veered far off course. (Remember what they said about the hare and the tortoise, "slow and steady," well that was Ron in the first race.) Second race, Norman joined in, Greg seized the early advantage and held off a late surge from Ron to win, well ahead of Norman and I. Keeping on the race games theme, we then turned to Snow Tails, a game of Alaskan dog sled racing; Norman won, Greg was second, I had the satisfaction of coming in ahead of Ron for once. Final race game of the evening was a matchup of Ron versus Greg in the Vallco Drag Racing game, Ron kept Shirley Muldowney's winning streak (going back to Games Days a couple of weeks back) intact, taking a real close one over Greg (using Gary Beck's card) via a "holeshot" victory.

Unfortunately, I don't have results for the other games, but I do recall Ron saying the Roll Through the Ages game was a relatively high scoring, close game (something like 29 to 28, I believe Helen one). Another tight finish was reported in the Power Grid game, where Amy was two dollars short of winning, which of course meant the game went another turn and Rodney won by a narrow margin over Eric.

After the event, Lee told me she was interested in trying something similar in the Fall, so here's hoping that will come off and we can attract an even bigger crowd.

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 14, 2009 Session Report

Attendance was down slightly for this week's session, we only had six people but still split into two groups for the first round of games. Don, Paul, Doug, Ron, Clayton and myself were on hand, and we played the following games: Mississippi Queen, Ghost Stories, San Juan, Hoity Toity and Daytona 500.

Mississippi Queen was a three-player, with Don, Paul and Ron playing the role of riverboat pilots. Don won the race. Meanwhile, I had borrowed a new cooperative game from the GCOM collection called "Ghost Stories" and was joined by Doug and Clayton. We managed to survive for awhile, but about two-thirds of the way through the deck the ghosts began to get the better of us. This is a very tough cooperative game, even on the easy level, and I am open to some strategy tips and hope to do better next game.

Don continued his winning streak, taking his second game of the evening (San Juan), final scores were Don 37 Ron 24 Paul 14 (Don had both the Guild Hall and City Hall).

For the final two games of the evening, all six of us participated. We played Hoity Toity; it was a real see-saw game with the lead going back and forth, Ron moved ahead and triggered the game-end, but I managed to sneak past him with the best collection. (Had Ron been able to move just four spaces for second best collection, he would have won.) Doug was third, with Clayton, Don and Paul trailing.

Final game was Daytona 500, which Ron had brought. We barely managed to finish two of the scheduled three races. Ron and Don were the two best drivers, each with a win and a second, but because Don had been bid up to 90K for a pole position car, Ron was the overall winner. Final dollar scores: Ron 730K, Don 700K, Paul 520K, Doug 500K, Clayton 450K and yours truly in last with just 400K.

A reminder this Saturday is our joint session with the Columbia club, for details either go back a few weeks earlier or you can also access the information from the Columbia club's webpage at:

Hope for a good turnout of our Laurel club members on Saturday. The Columbia club has been averaging around 10-11 folks per session, pretty good attendance for a new club.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Laurel Main St. Festival a Success

Thanks to GCOM-Elkridge Hosts Eric and Michelle Hymowitz, GCOM-Columbia Host Norman Rule, and also Rodney, Paul and Lee who helped run the booth at last Saturday's Laurel Main Street Festival. The rain held off and we got to play and teach several new games, two of the more popular ones being Cheeky Monkey and Qwirkle Cubes. Everyone who stopped and played games seemed to have a good time, and we actually ran out of a couple of the flyers!

Friday, May 8, 2009

May 7, 2009 Session Report

OK, onto the report for last night's session. We had a really good turnout, total of 11, one new attendee, Abraham, who said he read one of the ads in the local newspapers which proves they are still running our ads. Others in attendance were Don, Ron, Gabe, Clayton, Mike, Paul, Doug, Ray, Ben and myself. We played a total of five different games over the course of the evening (two games getting multiple plays for nine games total), and usually we had at least two and sometimes three games going on at once.

First up was Catan-Germany, a new Settlers variant I had tried and bought last week at Games Days. It features these neutral buildings that are slightly less expensive than a city (one ore and one wheat less) that give you a VP and an immediate benefit in cards or resources. I managed to win a fairly close game over Paul, Doug and Clayton. The other group played Small World, and reportedly Don scored a crushing victory over Gabe, Mike, Don and Abraham. Once Ray arrived, he and Ben hooked up in a series of Roll Through the Ages games; reportedly, they completed four (!) games, three wins for Ben and one for Ray.

By this time Ben had arrived and he talked five of us into playing a favorite game of his, Terra. Paul appeared to be banking some high value cards (who knows for sure, because we never checked them) and the players came close to winning with only a couple of cards and one crisis to go before the deck ran out when we got hit with the seventh full-blown crisis which we couldn't manage. Doug, Ray, and I joined Ben and Paul in this one but, as I said, all players lost because some of us may have been a bit too greedy.

The final series of games included a second Small World, a four-player won by Ray (90) to 82 for Paul, 74 for Ben and 63 for Clayton. Looks like y'all did better than I did in my first game. Gabe had brought another favorite of his, Parthenon, and it wound up being a six-player game that didn't quite get through the end of year two. When we picked it up, Ron had 11 structures; Don, Mike and Gabe each had 10; Doug had 9; I trailed with 7 after not rebuilding two starting villages that got hit by Hubris (or was it one of those other disasters?).

April 30, 2009 Session Report

Here's the report for last week's session, which I missed. Thanks to Paul for collecting the information.

Attendance (7): Ron, Clayton, Paul, Gabe, Mike, Ray, Chris.

Games Played (4): San Juan, Small World, Roll Through the Ages (x2), Grand Prix.

San Juan was a four-player, Mike won (34) followed by Paul (32) then Gabe (26) and Clayton (16). Then a recently released game, Small World, which was a five-player, won by Gabe ahead of Ron, Mike , Paul and Clayton. Chris and Ray arrived and contested the two Roll Through the Ages games. Experience won out, Chris won both games, with some high scores (in the 30s). Final game was Grand Prix, a six-player, Ray won with 630, comfortably ahead of Mike (410), Gabe (380), Paul (350), Ron (340), finally Clayton (260).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Upcoming Club News

No session report this week, as I am attending Games Days. Hope for an update from those who attended this week's session some time next week.

I can tell you that on Saturday, May 9, Games Club of Maryland (including members from our local chapter) will once again be manning a booth at the Laurel Main Street Festival. Our exact location will be booths 512-A and B on the south side of Main Street, near Fifth Street, which is the same approximate location as the past two years. A reminder that the Festival starts with a parade at around 9 AM and continues until approximately 4 PM.

Additionally, the following Saturday, May 16, we are co-sponsoring a special Saturday gaming event with our sister club in Columbia (a new club that became a GCOM location in January). I have copied details from a flyer we have put together recently, will have copies on hand at next week's Thursday session.

The Laurel and Columbia Chapters of the Games Club of Maryland Present

Join us to play your favorite games

Saturday, May 16, 2009 5 PM to 1 AM
Location: Canterbury Riding Clubhouse
9240 Canterbury Riding
Laurel, MD 20723

There is a refrigerator and microwave in the Clubhouse. Menus will be available from local carry-out and delivery restaurants. We will break for dinner at approximately 7 PM. Feel free to bring your favorite beverages, snack foods, and [of course] games. We are asking for a small voluntary donation of $5 per person to help defray the cost of the facility.

Directions:   From I-95, take the 216 Exit East toward Laurel.  Stay to your right and take the ramp for Stephens Road.  Make the first right on to North Laurel Drive (Sterling Drive goes in the opposite direction).  Then make the first left into the Canterbury Riding Townhouse Development.  Make an immediate left inside the development and follow the road until you come to the parking lot entrance for the clubhouse.

We will have balloons at the parking lot entrance for the clubhouse. The clubhouse is to the right at the end of the parking lot, adjacent to the pool.
From Laurel, take 7th Street (Rt. 216) towards I-95.  Make a right on to All Saints Road.  Go through the next light and make the first left into the Canterbury Riding Townhouse Development. Make an immediate right and follow the road until you come to the parking lot entrance for the clubhouse (see note above).

Please do not park in the clubhouse parking lot. Please park on the exterior road facing the trees. Also, the Clubhouse is located in a quiet residential neighborhood. Please be considerate and quiet as you come and go.

One More Thing: HAVE FUN!