Friday, July 27, 2012

July 26, 2012 Session Report

It was looking for awhile like the hot weather may have kept many people away, but in the end we had a total of 10 for this week's session, including three first-timers.  The attendance roster was Ben, Tim, Jay, Neville, Patrick, John S (who had been to the club once before) and myself, plus the newcomers:  Scott (who had driven all the way down from PA) and two local Laurelites, Troy and Heather.  A total of three games were played:  Tour:  Cycle Free, Outpost and Cheeky Monkey, which was played twice.

Scott had come specifically to try out Tour: Cycle Free, a free PnP Tour de France style cycling game designed by Luke Morris that I have been championing for awhile.  After a bit of coaxing, we were able to talk Patrick in to joining us.  I gave everyone their choice of teams.  Scott went for the bag with the green cyclists (representing the Italian Liguigas team).  Patrick originally had the bag with the yellow cyclists (representing an Albert Contador-led SaxoBank team) but then said he wanted the team with "that British guy" who had just won the Tour, so I handed him the black cyclists pieces of the Sky team, led by Bradley Wiggins who just recently had become the first British Tour de France champion ever.  I selected red cyclists representing a hand-picked Radio Shack squad, mainly because I knew they had Sammy Sanchez (drafted on to the team for my 2011 replay series) as he had done quite well in my recent 2011 Tour de France replay.  We only had time for one stage, so we tackled the very tough Stage 19 from last year's Tour, the Alpe d'Huez stage, partly because it was a section shorter, but also because it would likely provide some exciting action.

Each of us put a cyclist in the early break, I went with Johnny Hoogerland, can't remember who the other two were, but I noted they were doomed because of using up too much energy early.  Undeterred, Patrick made the unusual move of sending Wiggins out to chase after the break, eventually joining his teammate up the road.  Then all heck went loose when Scott decided to attack with both his top guys, Cunego AND Basso. This put me in a tough spot, so I rotated three guys (Brajkovic, Greipel and Horner) at the front while trying to save some energy with Sanchez and my #2, Andreas Kloden.  Water bottles came out around turns 4 and 5.  Next thing I remember was the break being reeled in but then Patrick sent Geraint Thomas off on a power move.  So, heading into the final climb up the Alpe, Thomas had a minute on the Peleton, but I had messed up with an illegal play with Kloden, trying to escape with both he and Sanchez at the same time, which of course shot my whole strategy to you-know-what.  In fact, I never got Sanchez out ahead of the Peleton in a small group where I would have a chance to use his special 8-star ability.  Anyway, we finally had an incident on one of the downhill sections, which seemed to please Scott (who was cheering for more and more carnage), and we each lost a couple of guys but one of them was Scott's best guy (Cunego) who lost a minute and never caught back up.

To make a long story short, Thomas got reeled in on the final climb, and everyone -- including the aforementioned Bradley Wiggins -- got tossed back to the cars except for five guys:  two from Patrick's team, two from mine, one from Scott's Liquigas team. It came down to a sprint for the win, and who had the most form points remaining (which we had kept secret the whole time).  Sanchez, not a great sprinter, had one left, so 6 +1 = 7 but Scott had Sagan at the front with a higher sprint rating and a form point left over.  Patrick's guy at the front, Gadret, had no form points left and was out of it but , wait a minute -- his second guy, Uran, was in the middle and had THREE form points left.  However, this just left him tied with Sagan and ties go to the guy in the front over the guy coming from the middle.  So, final results:  1.  Sagan (Liquigas) 2. Uran (Sky) 3. Sanchez (RadioShack) 4. Kloden (RadioShack) 5. Gadret (Sky).  Everyone had a fun time, and I enjoyed playing a game I usually only get to play solitaire or via email.

Sorry for the long post, but on to the other games.  Outpost was a 5-player, won by Jay, he had 76, Ben was second with 68, Neville and Tim had the same score (59), John S was in the 40s but that doesn't include his final turn.  Jay won by collecting both Data Labs and ignoring the Titanium stuff.  He the got into Science and Research in a big way, had four New Chemical plants up and running by game end.

Cheeky Monkey was played by Troy and Heather, no word on who won.  I then played a game with Scott as Patrick took his leave, and the Outpost game was still going on, gaining some measure of revenge for my defeat in the cycling arena, scores were John W. 53 Scott 41.

Next week I will be away at WBC in Lancaster PA (as will Tim) but expect Mike to be back after a hiatus and taking over as Co-Host.  Hope to see everyone in two weeks' time then.

Special thanks to Scott for coming down and playing the cycling game, it was alot of fun.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 19, 2012 Session Report

After a long run of good attendance, the numbers took a dip as we only had six for this week's session.  Jay, Patrick, Doug, Rembert and myself were the attendees, along with Peng, who was a first-timer at our club.  For most of the evening, we split into two groups of three.   One group played Olympus, which Patrick had brought.  Jay (playing the game for the first time) proved to be a quick learner, winning with 55 to 44 for Patrick and 27 for Rembert, who was also new to the game.  The other group of three (Doug, Peng and myself) played Endeavor, which all had played before, although a couple of us were a bit rusty on the rules.  It was a competitive game, with Doug coming away the winner, with 51 to 48 for Peng and yours truly was third and last at 46.

The group then spent the final half hour of the session playing a couple of games of Tsuro.  Rembert proved to be the Tsuro "master," winning both games, the first a six-player and then a five-player after Patrick had left.

Hope to see attendance pick up, although I will be away week after next due to WBC.  However, I expect to see one out-of-town visitor this coming week who has requested to play Tour:  Cycle Free, a Tour de France-style cycling game that I am a big fan of.  Hope some of you will join us.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 12, 2012 Session Report

Eight for tonight's session:  Patrick, Jay, Ben, Tim, Rembert, Neville, Alex and myself were the attendees.  We split into two groups and, in a bit of a departure from the normal routine, we played two longer games that took just about the entire session.  One of the games was Agricola, and the players played with the World Championship expansion deck which had some pre-set Occupation and Minor Improvement Cards that were supposedly fairly balanced to pose an extra challenge.  Winner of the game was Ben, with a score of 37, followed by Tim (34), Alex (28) and Patrick (22).

The other game was Founding Fathers, and this one ended in a bit of a controversial tie between Neville and myself.  There was a question about the interpretation of the event text on one of the cards, and it happened to be one that Neville played the card once, I played it twice, all three times for alot of points. According to a rules Q and A on BGG, we played the card (George Mason) correctly, but what we did not do correctly -- something Jay pointed out at the conclusion of the game -- is start with the appropriate (historical) side up on all the articles up for debate.  This led to a skewed outcome, favoring the Anti-Federalist faction (which the Mason card benefits) whereas it should have been the Federalist faction with all those articles passed in its favor.  Anyway, the final scores of this game (with a double-asterisk now) were Neville and John 21, Jay 16, Rembert 13.

Hope to see everyone next week, hope you all remembered to sign up for the GCOM Family Picnic which is this Sunday, July 22nd.  Looking forward to seeing co-Host Mike back at the club soon after his trip to Japan.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 5, 2012 Session Report

"Only" eight for this week's session, snapping our longest run of double-figure attendance in the club's seven-year history.  Attendees for this past week's session:  Alex, Patrick, Tim, Jay, Doug, Rembert, Stan and myself.  Games played:  7 Wonders, Blood Bowl Team Manager Card game, Wyatt Earp, Chrononauts, Modern Art card game.

7 Wonders was up first.  Scores were John 54, Patrick 52, Tim 52, Alex 51, Jay 47, Doug 45, a total of three points separated first from fourth wit Patrick edging Tim for second on the money tiebreaker.

We then split into two groups.  One group played the Blood Bowl Team Manager card game.  First play for Rembert and myself.  Jay edged Patrick by one (36 to 35) while I had 31, Rembert 26.  Enjoyed this one alot, think it has alot of thematic flavor and variability.

The other group got in three games.  Wyatt Earp was a win for Tim, with 32.  Doug had 28, Alex 21, although there's a note on the scoresheet indicating Doug's score may be off.  Next, this same group played Chrononauts, won by Tim with Doug and Alex considered tied for second.  Then, Alex left but Stan had arrived, so there was a three-player game of Moderen Art - the Card game.  One round had been miscored, so it was a win with an asterisk for Tim, who had 127 to 88 for Stan and 75 for Doug.  Good night for Tim as, assuming the scores were reasonably accurate, he won his last three games in a row after coming very close in the 7 Wonders game.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

June 28, 2012 Session Report

Our string of double-figure attendance continued with this past week's session, as we had 12:  Patrick, Mike, Jay, Tim, Eric S, Neville, Rembert, John B, the rest of the Sokolowsky gang (Ryan, Nathan and Mary Jean) and myself.  Games played:  J. Patrick's Grand Prix racing, Puerto Rico, Power Grid-Russia, 7 Wonders, Cheeky Monkey and Too Many Cooks.

For the past couple of weeks, Patrick had promised to bring a racing game of his own design, and this was the week.  He also brought some very nice-looking expensive models that I recognized from my youth in Indianapolis as models of several former Indy 500 winning race cars from the late 50s - early 60s.  As for the race, there were five of us:  Tim, Neville, Rembert, the game designer (Patrick) and myself.  Neville won the pole but drifted back in the pack as he eased off the gas too much heading into the first corner. Patrick stormed into the lead, but it turned out he went into corner #2 a bit too quickly and went off course, dropping all the way from first to last.  Tim and I battled for the lead, then I moved to the front by taking some not too risky chances.  Patrick was the first to head to the pits, while the rest of us waited until lap two.  I managed to come out ahead of Patrick, who obviously was familiar with the track and the game system, and he gradually began to put on the pressure.  With just minutes left in the session, I managed to spin out, and  Patrick went past to claim the win.  But, because we didn't quite finish the full three laps, it was a win with an asterisk.  Great fun!  Thanks to Patrick for sharing this game.

Other games, can only report on the participants and the scores.  7 Wonders, it was Nathan 49, Mary Jean 44, Ryan 34.  Cheeky Monkey, at first I thought it was some poor handwriting or a misprint, but yes, Ryan won with 72 to 26 for brother Nathan and 6 for Mom, Mary Jean.  Puerto Rico was a three-player, with Jay winning, 41 to 34 for Mike and 24 for Eric. 

Eric still found time to get in two more games, Power Grid: Russia, which was very close:  John B winning, 19 to Eric's 18, second on the money tiebreak ahead of Jay (18) and Mike (17).  Then, Eric took on Nathan at Too Many Cooks and managed to win that one, 24 to 1 for Nathan (another misprint on that score?  I doubt it).

Anyway, pleased with the attendance these days which generally means a choice of what games to play when showing up at the 6 PM start time.  Let's keep it up.

Two news items:  There's been a price reduction at this year's GCOM Family Picnic, and the pre-reg deadline (Friday July 13) is little more than a week away.  Remember, this is a pre-reg only event, so sign up and check it out at the GCOM website!, click on "Family Picnic" at the middle, bottom of the main page, for more details.

Second, this Friday evening there will be an unscheduled gaming session at the Laurel-Middle Earth club, hosted by Rodney.  It is replacing the regular Elkridge gaming session, and it offers a full nine hours of gaming from 5 PM to 2 AM!  For details, check out the "Gaming Calendar" and click on the location information for Friday, July 6th.

Happy Fourth of July!  Hope to see y'all on the 5th at the Community Center.