Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 23, 2010 Session Report

We had a total of nine participants this week: Don, Paul, Mike, Doug, Greg, Clayton, Patrick, Rodney and myself were the attendees.

Games played: San Juan, LeHavre, Carson City, Slide 5. Two rather long games and a couple of short ones.

Paul, Mike and Doug were first to arrive and they contested a three-player San Juan. Final scores: Paul 33, Mike 32, Doug 23.

Don, Greg and I played LeHavre, which Don had brought. It was Greg's first play. The game occupied just about the remainder of the session. Greg proved a quick learner, winning by a fairly impressive margin with 172 points. Don, who was behind on building, constructed a Luxury Liner to pull into second, 145 points to 143 for yours truly.

Patrick arrived and he and Clayton played Carson City with the three from the San Juan game. Final results: Patrick 52, Mike 36, Doug 31, Paul 27, Clayton 24.

Final game of the evening was Slide 5, which was won by Rodney, who had patiently waited for the Carson City game to finish. Looks like seven rounds were squeezed in right before closing time. Final scores: Rodney 62, Paul 76, Doug 78, Clayton 128. (I keep trying to tell Clayton this is a game where high scores are bad, low score wins!)

EDIT: One late addition. After finishing the LeHavre game, Greg, Don and I had a few minutes so I introduced them to Innovation, we played a few turns but were nowhere close to finishing. Greg and Don each had one achievement, I had none, which meant I was losing at the time we were forced to pick up the game as the session ended at 10.

Friday, September 17, 2010

September 16, 2010 Session Report

We had eight in attendance for tonight's session. The group consisted of Ron, Paul, Doug, Gabe, Tim, Don, Clayton and myself. We had two games going for just about the entire session. Games played: Defenders of the Realm, Tour-Cycle Free, Beowulf and Ticket to Ride-1910. Some details follow.

Ron had brought Defenders of the Realm back for a second try; Paul, Doug and Gabe were the other players in this cooperative game. No details, except that, for the second week in a row, the players lost. From what I could tell, the game went a bit faster this time, ending around 8:30 or so.

I convinced the rest of the group to try Tour-Cycle Free, a new cycling game I had downloaded the rules and most components, using some plastic cyclists from other games. The game has six-man teams of cyclists based on real-life performance in races like the Tour de France. Tim took the purple cyclists from the SaxoBank team, featuring Fabian Cancellara (nicknamed Spartacus) from Switzerland and two-time Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck. Don opted for the RadioShack team (wearing red) included Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer. I went with the winner of the last two Tours, Alberto Contador and the Astana team (in yellow). Clayton, who arrived while we were still setting up, wound up with the blue team (featuring Cadel Evans of Australia). To test the game over various terrain types, we used a stage from this week's Tour of Spain that seemed particularly challenging.

The race took an interesting turn when Tim put his top rider, Andy Schleck, in an early break. The rest of us stayed with him, but with lesser cyclists while holding our top guys back in the Peleton. Tim really stomped on the pace at the front of the Peleton with Cancellara, who was rated high on everything except the challenging high mountains that were coming. Since this was my first play of the game with live humans, there were some rules issues -- not sure I had all the right answers. Anyway, we decided to end it early after the finish of the first really tough climb. With this understanding, everybody sent their key men out on a break. It came down to a battle of six cyclists with the top rating on the mountains, and in a sprint, it went to Contador (John's team) by a narrow margin over Evans (Clayton's team). Third was Schleck (Tim's team) followed by Leipheimer (Don's team). Lance Armstrong didn't figure in the final sprint as his mountain rating in this game was one lower than the others.

Thus abbreviated, the cycling game was on its final turn when the other table was finishing up. So, we re-split the groups and played two more games: Ticket to Ride and Beowulf. Ticket to Ride, using the 1910 Mega version with the US map, finished first, with Doug coming out on top with 146, John 122, Tim 101, Clayton 61. Tim went for long routes but didn't take additional tickets. I focused on additional tickets but most of mine were of the single digit variety although I did get the bonus for most completed tickets. Doug had the winning plan, completing all his tickets, most with higher point values than mine. We actually forgot to award the 10 points for longest train (as you can see from the scores, it didn't matter), but I think Doug would have gotten that as well.

The Beowulf game barely got done before closing time. Final scores were Ron 28, Gabe 26, Paul 20, Don 9. Sorry, no details on the game, as everyone had to pick up and leave.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 9, 2010 Session Report

Attendance of nine (9) for this week's session: Mike, Ron, Doug, Don, Rodney, Eugene, Tim, Clayton and myself. List of games played: Defenders of the Realm, Settlers of America, Chess, Lost Cities, Quiddler, Wits and Wagers. Slide 5.

Ron brought a new game he had just brought, Defenders of the Realm. It is a cooperative game. Ron, Don and Doug were the players. Took most of the session, and the players lost when there were too many negative tokens on the board. Seemed to take awhile to sort out the rules. I was originally in the game but dropped out when Clayton arrived and we had an odd number.

Clayton and I played a series of three player games: three games of Chess (I won them all); Lost Cities (three hands, Clayton won two out of three); Quiddler (full game of eight rounds, very close up until the end, final scores were John 242 Clayton 221.

The other table had Eugene, Mike, Rodney and Tim playing the new Settlers of America game which Eugene had brought. This game also took most of the session and came down to a very close finish with Mike winning. Clayton and I then joined the four of them for a six-player Wits and Wagers. Very close finish with Eugene and Rodney going into the final question as the two leaders, with Clayton not far behind. Rodney went "all in" on what proved to be the wrong answer. Clayton wound up the winner with 24, Eugene 16, John 11, everyone else (Rodney, Tim and Mike) wound up with all they started with (two free chips and no money). We went on to play a second game without Clayton, who took a break. I managed to win by remembering that Julia Roberts, who certainly looked like a million bucks in the movie "Pretty Woman," made a lot less than a million for playing that part.

There was time for one final game after the Defenders of the Realm game finished. It was Slide 5, we got in one hand, final scores Rodney 0 John 7 Doug 9 Ron 11 Mike 11 Clayton 19 Tim 25 Eugene 29. We had to keep explaining to Eugene that it was low score, not high score, that wins.

Thanks to everyone who attended and we hope to keep the momentum going next week.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September 2, 2010 Session Report

End of the summer brought a really good crowd out this week -- a total of 14 people were in attendance, but really only 11 people actually participating in playing games, so here is the list: Ron, Paul, Mike, Eric, Doug, Clayton, Patrick, Tim, Eugene, myself, and (joining us for the first time), Dee. Also present for part of the time were Eric's wife, Mary Jean and two sons Ryan and Nathan, also saw his daughter Rebecca very briefly. Hard to keep up on all the games played, but here is at least a partial list: San Juan, Can't Stop (played twice), Forbidden Island (played at least twice), Puerto Rico, Hollywood Blockbuster, and Ryan and Nathan were playing with dominoes not to mention several of the other items in the storage room.

Started with San Juan and Ron joked he might be playing with "John 1" and "John 2" since he'd only played the game once before and Mike, Paul and I had played it quite a bit. Actually, it turned out to be "Paul 1" and "Paul 2" as Paul, sitting on the same side of the table, was Ron's main adviser and it worked out well with a 1-2 finish for Ron and Paul. Final scores were Ron 30 Paul 28 John 25 Mike 20.

Meanwhile, the next four to arrive (Eric, Clayton, Doug and Patrick) played a four-player Can't Stop. Word has it Eric won the game, Pat and Doug got one number to the top each while Clayton got shut out -- zero.

Then Tim arrived and we re-split the groups. Five of us (Mike, Eric, Clayton, Patrick and myself) played Puerto Rico while Ron, Doug, Paul and Tim tried their luck at the cooperative game, Forbidden Island. I heard the players won the first game but got no report on the second or any subsequent games. Then Eugene arrived and that table continued with a five-player Hollywood Blockbuster. Turned out to finish right before closing time, with a big win for Eugene: 111 (Eugene) with Ron in second (59), Paul (52) Doug (48) and Tim (39 but no Academy Awards) were the also-rans.

By this time, our Puerto Rico game had finished. No one had a manned large building when the game ended, and I had the Factory-Harbor-Wharf combination, something you don't often see in the same player's hands. I mayored as Governor on the final turn when I saw my two main protagonists, Eric and Mike, had the money to buy a large building but no one else did. This led to a narrow win, John 42 Mike 40 Eric 39 Patrick 30 Clayton 24. Fun game, Mike and Eric were very competitive as the scores would indicate.

Dee who I have seen at other gaming sessions in the Baltimore area happened to be in the area and dropped in while we were trying to wrap up our Puerto Rico game. Unfortunately, there were only about 10-15 minutes left so we got her into a quick game of Can't Stop with Mike and Eric -- but time ran out before anyone could get even one number to the top.

Eric informed he is in the process of setting up something in the gaming session arena for a Wednesday night, once per month session, at the West Laurel Community Center. Will try to keep everyone informed as to dates and times when we have something more specific to report.

For next week, we should be back to our regular non-summer hours of 6 PM to 10 PM, and also back in our regular meeting room, the pre-school room although being in the larger Multi-Purpose Room (closer to the storage area) these past few weeks was nice.