Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 25, 2009 Session Report

Well, attendance was down this week. There were just four of us (Mike, Paul, Clayton and myself); although others were expected (including a game designer), we were the only ones to show. We played a total of four games (San Juan, Dominion, Vegas Showdown and finally R-Eco). Mike was the big winner for the evening, taking first or a share of first in all four games.

First up was San Juan; three-player game which we finished in about 30 minutes. Very close game, final scores of 29 for Mike and myself, 27 for Paul. Mike and I also tied on the tiebreaker, with no cards in hand or goods. I had the Guild Hall and needed a couple of more bonus points; Paul had the Palace and Mike, amazingly, tied for the win without the benefit of any bonus buildings.

For the next game, Clayton joined in and we played Dominion selecting 10 Kingdom cards randomly but tossing the 6-cost adventurer for the 2-Cost Chapel. There were Spies, Thieves, Bureaucrats but no Moats. Clayton said, "You can't have enough thieves" in this game. Turns out, Clayton's thieves did not win out in the end, as Mike won with a huge score of 64 (getting a fifty card deck with like eight Gardens), followed by Paul 44, John 42, Clayton trailing at 20.

We then played an old favorite, Vegas Showdown. Mike claimed it was only his second play, but he played a strong game, building up a strong income stream and benefiting from some nice in-game and endgame bonus scores. I got the early Nightclub but kind of stalled out around mid-game. Clayton got his standard five Lounges, but he only had two of them in play when the Lounge Lizard card came out. Paul did lots of renovating but I don't believe he even got a connection bonus or any diamond points for his efforts. Final scores were Mike 69, John 49, Paul 40, Clayton 38.

Final game of the evening, with about half-hour left, was R-Eco. All four of us dumped over the course of the game, so noone earned the ecology bonus. Paul and Mike collected the most chits, and Mike kept his winning streak going, winning with 8 points to just 2 for Paul and myself; Clayton brought up the rear with a -2 count which isn't as bad as it sounds in this game, where high positive scores are difficult to achieve.

Hope to see more people next week. The Community Center will be open Thursday July 2 for its regular hours and we will be gaming again next week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 18, 2009 Session Report

Attendance of nine this week: Ron, Don, Doug, Paul, Greg, Clayton, Eric, Christie and myself. We played Ingenious, Ticket to Ride - Nordic, Grand Prix Circus, Snow Tails, Power Grid (Benelux map) and Cloud Nine.

Greg, Doug and Paul played a couple of games while Ron, Don and I were busy for most of the first hour with Grand Prix Circus. They played a couple of three- player games, Ingenious, followed by Ticket to Ride-Nordic, both of which were won by Greg.

The Grand Prix Circus game was the first race of a season-long series where Don, Ron and I are controlling Formula 1 Grand Prix race teams based on real-life results in 2001. Ron did well in the first race of the year at Australia, with a one-two finish for Hakkinen and Coulthard, but Don (the Williams team) and myself (Ferrari) expect to change things in upcoming races. Thanks to Clayton for helping to get us through the initial race in a timely manner. Based on the first race, looks like it takes us around an hour to complete a race with all the paperwork.

By this time Eric and Christie had arrived, so we split into two groups for the main games of the evening, which were a five-player Power Grid using the Benelux map and a four-player Snow Tails game. No report on who won in Snow Tails, but I know Don, Ron, Clayton and Doug were handling the "mushing" duties. Since I was in the Power Grid game, I can report it came down to tiebreaker (money) between Greg and me, with Greg getting the nod by about 15 electros. Good, close game that finished in around 1 hour 40 minutes, even with one new player (Christie) who didn't seem to have too many problems picking up the rules fairly quickly.

That left us with about 20 minutes for a favorite short filler to take us up to 9 PM, which once again was Cloud Nine. Christie and Eric were first-time balloon pilots, along with Doug, Paul, John and Greg who had all played before. However, Greg looked like the novice, crashing the balloon four times in a row and taking a long time to even get his token on the board. By that time Doug was already around the 30-40 point range, and Christie had a nice 20-point solo ride (with aid of a well-timed Wild Card play). As the clock struck nine, Doug bailed out of the balloon to trigger the end, going to 51 points. But Christie survived one more pilot die roll to pass him, bailing out to get one more point at 52. The balloon then crashed before anyone could beat her score, so Christie was the winner. Greg, who had come into the Cloud Nine after winning all his prior games for the night, finished well behind in last. Nice going, Christie.

Friday, June 12, 2009

June 11, 2009 Session Report

Good turnout again this week: Clayton was back after attending the funeral of his father who passed away, and Jonathan also returned after missing a number of sessions. Mike, Paul, Greg, Eric, Doug, Ben, Don, Ray, Christie and I were the other attendees for a grand total of 12. Therefore, we had two, and sometimes three, games going for most of the session. Games played included TransAmerica, Lost Cities, Catan-Germany, Power Grid-Nordic Countries, Roll Through the Ages, Mastermind and Qwirkle Cubes.

TransAmerica and Lost Cities were the two short "starter" games played while waiting for others to show up. TransAmerica game completed just one round, reportedly won by Eric, ahead of Mike, Greg, Paul, Doug and Jonathan. Ben and Clayton got through a hand or two of Lost Cities, no report on who won. I meanwhile had set up our Grand Prix Circus game from last week but again, no results reported, this time because one of the participants (Ron) was absent.

At this point Greg displayed a Power Grid map he had downloaded from BoardGameGeek for the Nordic Countries; he quickly rounded up a full table of gamers. One of the interesting features was the connection costs for Iceland, which ranged from the 60s to the 90s. The Power Grid game took up just about the entire time for the rest of the session and it turned out five of the six players were in a tiebreaker situation, with Don getting the win over Jonathan, Eric, Mike and Greg with Ben bringing up the rear. Everyone seemed to enjoy playing this unofficial Power Grid variant.

Meanwhile, at the other table, Doug had expressed interest in another game of Catan-Germany which I had first brought to the club a few weeks back. This time, as it turned out, it was the same four players (Doug, Clayton, Paul and myself) so not alot of time was needed to teach the game. In part because of the balanced setup, it was a very tight game, and Paul and I were within a point of winning when Doug finished the game off by retaking longest road for his 10th victory point. Clayton was not far behind, either.

Ray and Christie had arrived by this time, and they entertained themselves by playing a couple of two-player games while waiting for our Catan game to finish. They played Roll Through the Ages, which turned out to be a really close, high scoring game that was won by Christie, 38 to 36. (This made up for the negative score Christie had recorded in her initial try a couple of weeks back.) Then Christie asked if we had the game Mastermind, and -- although I wasn't sure we had it -- I suggested they dig through the tub of donated games. Sure enough, the game was there. This, too, was a win for Christie (I don't think Ray had played before) who broke the code in six guesses, don't think Ray was able to break the code in the second half of the game.

There was time for one more game and, with Clayton having to leave early, it was a five-player Qwirkle Cubes. This time Ray did alot better, winning the game with a score of 78 to John (60) and a three-way tie for third at 56 among Doug, Paul and Christie with Doug and Paul actually having had an extra turn before Ray ended the game.

Friday, June 5, 2009

June 4, 2009 Session Report

We had a total attendance of nine (9) for this week's session: Doug, Ben, Paul, Don, Greg, Ron, Christie, Chris and myself were present. A total of six different games were played, a few of them had multiple plays: Qwirkle Cubes, Lost Cities (x2), Power Boats (x3), Grand Prix Circus, Ghost Stories and Too Many Cooks.

We started with Qwirkle Cubes. This game was won by Doug, who took an early lead and just ran away with the game. Second place was hotly contested between Ben and Paul, I finished last. Final scores: Doug 113, Ben 84, Paul 79, John 62. The six-point bonus for going out first was needed for Ben to take second place ahead of Paul.

Lost Cities once again proved to be a nice filler while people were waiting for games to finish. Don (playing against Greg) and Chris (playing against Christie) won the Lost Cities games, not sure they had time for more than one hand per game. Power Boats was played on three different occasions; no report on the first game, but I was in two of the later games which Don won easily. Grand Prix Circus is a formula 1 management and racing game that Don, Ron and I trotted out and plan to try out in the next few sessions. We barely got started, so no results thus far although things look promising for Ron's McLaren team headed into the first race of the season.

Ghost Stories is a co-operative game, and I am pleased to report that Ben, Doug, Greg and Paul worked together to exorcise the ghosts and win the game despite things looking a bit bleak early on in the game. Nice going, guys!

Finally, there was a four-player game of Too Many Cooks, which Greg brought, final scores were Paul 18 Greg 14 Doug 14 Ben zero. To make Ben's score even seem worse, keep in mind everyone starts out with five points in the bank to begin with. Nice going there, Ben, but at least he played a major role in helping exorcise the ghosts.

Hope to see everyone back next week, along with some of the folks who have been absent in recent weeks (you know who you are).