Friday, April 24, 2009

April 23, 2009 Session Report

In attendance (total of nine): Mike, Paul, Gabe, Greg, Ron, Clayton, Don, Chris and myself. We played a total of six different games, one of them twice: Can't Stop, Roll Through the Ages (x2), Princes of Florence, Show Manager, Rails of Europe (the RR Tycoon expansion) and San Juan. Some details on the games follow.

First up was Can't Stop. After some shuffling of seats after a few more people showed up, the four players were Clayton, Mike, Greg and myself. Mike raced to an early lead, Greg and I failed on our early rolls and had to play catch up. Then Clayton, to everyone's surprise, quit before reaching the top after advancing halfway up the middle numbers. Mike and Clayton each got two to the top, then Mike won by rolling a "3" for his third number. Greg and I trailed with just one number.

Ron had brought Roll through the Ages -- Paul and Gabe joined in. Gabe hit 5 skulls for a revolt in his first roll with 6 dice. Paul went on to win the game. Second game was started once Don arrived. Gabe won the second game, over Mike, Ron and Don. At the other table, Greg was interested in Princes of Florence. Paul, Clayton and I joined him. For Clayton, it was his first time at the game, and Paul was playing it for only the second or third time. Greg and I kind of took advantage of this, as we bid each other up on the Jesters, each got a couple of recruiters and put on 8 works by game's end. In the final turn, it came down to who got the best work bonus and I managed to win by three, 69 to 66 for Greg, Paul had 45, Clayton (who had a really rough time his first game) 23.

I had brought the original Show Manager game (the forerunner of Atlantic Star which has been played at the club before); the four of us from the Princes game played this, Greg being the only newcomer to the game. I managed to score a perfect 30-point Wolf and have it take #1 spot in NY but, alas, Greg took the cues well and won with 60 to 45 for me. Clayton had 27, ahead of Paul at 22. Out of curiosity, I calculated the scores for the two dummies: 44 for dummy #1 and 23 for dummy #2, but remember they didn't have to borrow against any musicals.

Chris had arrived and joined the Mike-Gabe-Ron-Don group to play Rails of Europe (a Railroad Tycoon expansion) which I joined to take over Chris' spot when he had to leave. It was a close game with Ron, Gabe and Mike well ahead on the scoring track, but Ron had taken out 15 (!) shares which dropped him to third in the final standings, which were: Gabe 48 Mike 44 Ron 41 Don 30 Chris/John 24. I totally blame Chris for our poor score.

Finally, there was a three-player San Juan game at the other table, which Greg won going away with both the City Hall and the Guild Hall. Final scores: Greg 47 Paul 32 Clayton 19.

Next week's session conflicts with the first day of Games Days and the annual GCOM meeting. However, the Community Center will be open for gaming at regular hours. Hopefully someone will keep track of attendance and send me a report.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

April 16, 2009 Session Report

Attendance was a total of eight for this week's session. Ray was back for his second session (one more and he will become an official GCOM member), along with Gabe, Paul, Clayton, Doug, Mike, Don and myself. We split into two groups for most of the time.

First game up was Money, a five-player game won by Gabe (400) with Paul (330) second, ahead of Mike (290), Doug (270), Don (150). Clayton and I hooked up in an old two-player favorite, Lost Cities, which was close for the first hand (32-29 in my favor) but I did much better (over 100 pts with the eight-card bonus) in the second hand for an overall 140-56 win.

Doug and Paul joined Clayton and me for a four-player Vegas Showdown game that turned out to be very competitive. I jumped out to an early lead, snagging the Nightclub and later the Theatre. However, Doug was way ahead on the income track for much of the game and did well in the endgame scoring to win by just one point. Final scores: Doug 71 John 70 Paul 62 Clayton 54.

The other three (Gabe, Don and Mike) were willing to give Through the Ages a try and, to my surprise, got through all three ages before the end of the session (first time I think this has happened, because it's usually 4 to 4 1/2 hours with three players, longer with four). Final scores were Gabe 180, Don 140, Mike 90. Don was pleased to finish a spot higher than he has in the past, not sure why Mike's score was so low.

Ray joined us while the Vegas Showdown game was still in progress and I think he picked up the rules, so hopefully he will have a chance to play it with us in the future. With five of us, we opted for Ra (Clayton's choice) and Ray, who was the only new player, picked up the game fairly quickly, and won his first game with 47 (an excellent score with five players), I came second with 40, followed by Doug (35), Paul (24), Clayton (15) after it looked like Clayton was going to do better. The one thing I remember was Clayton bidding really high for any flood tiles, which hurt Doug, who lost about 9-10 points in the process although it only gained 3-4 pts for Clayton. I got all 8 monuments but Ray won by seizing the early lead in Pharoahs, keeping it through the rest of the game, also he did well in collecting Civ tiles.

We then played a five-player Hoity Toity starting around 9, final results (first to last) were Doug, John, Clayton, Paul and Ray. Paul was trailing most of the game but came back with the best collection at the end of the game. I had the second best collection, but needed to be first to finish ahead of Doug. Another close second place, like the Vegas Showdown and Ra games.

Finally, we had about 20 minutes left and began a hand of Slide 5 (aka 6 Nimmt, Take 5, Category 5) and got in two hands right before closing time. Clayton was the winner, with only 10 negative points, followed by Doug (15), John (18), Ray (23) and finally Paul (47), who took 34 penalty points in the first round alone.

Hope to see everyone next week.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Note from Stefan Lundback

Just wanted to post a note I received from Stefan Lundback, who was visiting us from Sweden and attended the March 26 session of our club:

"First of all please let me thank you for a great gaming evening at Laurel Community Centre. I think it was Paul who greeted me and he did a great job making me feel welcome.

Greg, thank you for letting me play my absolute favourite game - it seems that the only time I get to play this nowadays is during my travels. (I played the Disco Inferno map while in Sao Paulo on business last summer)

John, I think that your setup in Laurel is very conductive to bringing new gamers into the hobby - please keep up the good work!

Finally please send Ben, Chris, Paul and the others my regards.

Kind Regards, Stefan."

Thank you, Stefan, for joining our club when you were in the area.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

April 9, 2009 Session Report

With some religious holidays causing some of our regular attendees to miss this week's session, it looked like we were headed for a down week attendance-wise, but I was pleasantly surprised to welcome back Sarah (whom we hadn't seen for several months) and also we had a first-time attendee, Ray, who lives in nearby Odenton whom we hope to see back again in future weeks. Rounding out this week's group were Doug, Gabe, Greg, Clayton and myself for a total attendance of seven.

Games played this week included: Roll Through the Ages, Can't Stop, Bananagrams (x2), Legend of the Flying Dutchman, Puerto Rico, Ticket to Ride (US Map), Wits and Wagers. Some details follow.

Roll Through the Ages: Gabe, Greg and Clayton played this one, first time for Greg, who wound up winning. Scores were fairly close, something like 18-13-12. Sounds like a well-played game by everyone.

Can't Stop: It was Doug, myself and Sarah for this one. Doug got the jump on us and won fairly easily as Sarah and I were playing catch up most of the way, and we just couldn't catch Doug.

Bananagrams: Sarah had brought this game in her compactly stored package of games and Doug and I joined her while waiting for the Roll Through the Ages game to wrap up. It was one of those timed word games, and I had a difficult time of it. When we picked up it, I conceded as Doug and Sarah were far ahead. Later, the two of them locked horns again and Doug prevailed by a narrow margin (something like two letters that Sarah had yet to place). Not the kind of game you want to take on Doug, who is a crossword puzzle expert, IMHO.

By this time Ray had joined us while Doug was teaching an interesting looking game called Legend of the Flying Dutchman (hope I got the name right). It was a game about moving the black (pirate) ship and trying to invest in one of the colors of ships that would be worth the most when the pirate ship hit the island or at the end of the game. You have a limited number of options (three times you can invest, three times you can take more bidding chits, or you can bid for the right to influence or decide where the black pirate ship goes). It came down to a tension-filled final turn where I moved the Dutchman to my advantage, hurting Gabe who was probably in a position to win. As it turned out, however, the winner was Doug who (like me) had two shares in the best color. Final scores were Doug 75 John 72 Greg 56 Sarah and Ray (who played as a team) 51 Clayton 38 Gabe 17. Interesting older game with some unique concepts.

For the next games, we again split up into two groups. Ray, Sarah, Doug and Clayton played Ticket to Ride on the standard US map. Sarah wound up winning with 118 while Ray was second with 96. Strong performance by Ray, who I believe may have been playing TTR for the first time. The rest of the group (Gabe, Greg and I) locked horns in a three-player Puerto Rico game. Greg surged to an early lead in shipping but stalled out a bit when his income generation wasn't as strong as the rest of us. Gabe got an early Hacienda, took Settler alot and wound up with three quarries, building three large buildings plus a factory and a harbor to secure the win by a hefty 10-point margin, 51 to 41 for me and 39 for Greg.

For the final game of the evening, all seven of us took part in Wits and Wagers (2d edition). I started off well, knowing stuff like the approximate dates of Frank Robinson's becoming the first black manager in MLB and the approximate length of FDR's Presidency, but Greg wound up the big winner after showing superior knowledge on a question about the number of movie theatres in the US. Didn't get everyone's scores, but for awhile we actually broke the bank and had to record the numbers on paper. Greg wound up with over 100, none of the rest of us had more than 30 or so.

Hope to see everyone back for next week's session, including some of you who missed this week or in recent weeks. As I have mentioned to several of you, I am working on a special Saturday session in May and will report on details as soon as they have been arranged, hopefully in the next week or so.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April 2, 2009 Session Report

I did manage to make it to the second half of the most recent session, so here's a recap. Total attendance: 9 (Gabe, Doug, Paul, Clayton, Chris, Mike, Michelle, Don and myself). Games played: Incan Gold, Wits and Wagers, Ticket to Ride-Swiss, Settlers of Catan, Through the Ages and Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix.

Incan Gold was a four-player, won by Paul (44) ahead of Mike, Don and Gabe. By then most of the group had arrived, and a seven-player Wits and Wagers was contested which ended in a tie between Doug and Mike. Paul, Don, Gabe, Clayton and Michelle (who was attending the club for the first time) also competed.

Then the group split into two games. Clayton. Doug and Paul played Ticket to Ride-Switzerland, which was won by Paul (106) ahead of Doug (86) and Clayton (53). Chris joined Clayton, Doug and Paul for his first game of Settlers, which was won by Doug. Meanwhile, Mike, Gabe and Don played a two-age version of Through the Ages, which wound up in a win for Mike.

Finally, I got into the action in a couple of races of Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix. Turned out to be a narrow win for Don (450) with Paul (440) in second. Doug, John, Gabe and Mike also competed.

March 26, 2009 Session Report

Having been away for this session, need to get caught up with these reports.

Total attendance on March 26 was eight. Paul, Gabe, Greg, Clayton, Don, Chris and Ben were joined by Stefan, who was from Sweden but in the area on travel and decided to join our group. Everyone was glad he did. Games played: Age of Steam (x2), Ticket to Ride, Agricola, Mamma Mia and San Juan.

Mamma Mia: Gabe and Stefan tied for first, Paul also played. Agricola was played next; final scores were reported as Gabe 33, Paul 22, Don 17 and Clayton 2.

Two games of Age of Steam were played, both with the US map. Stefan apparently won both games. Greg, Chris and Ben also played. Ticket to Ride was a close four-player game, with Paul winning with 100 followed by Gabe (92), Ron (90) and Clayton 69. Finally, a three-player San Juan was contested, won by Gabe (35) ahead of Paul (23) and Clayton (17).

Thanks to Paul for tracking the attendance and games played, and thanks to our visitor from Sweden for helping make this a successful session.