Monday, April 30, 2012

Blog on life support...

Upcoming Game Day: May 5, 2012

Sunday, July 26, 2009

July 11, 2009 - Some New, Some Old

Location: Yoda's House
Players: Yoda, Steve, MichaelP, MichaelU, Mark

Since the last Game Day, Steve acquired a copy of Puerto Rico. It was under consideration for the day.

Since Mark wasn't able to be there at 8:00, we started the day with a couple of filler games of Perudo. As before, Yoda won the first one. Then he was first out in the second one, and MichaelP won a showdown with Steve.

We decided to go ahead and try Puerto Rico. After Steve explained the rules, we started in, recruiting colonists, buying plantations, building warehouses, factories, and various other buildings, and shipping goods off to the Old World. It is a game with very simple rules with many complex interactions. Steve won this game as well. This one definitely rates a repeat.

After lunch, we embarked upon our second attempt at Power Grid. We played the German map, and this time we knew to watch the rules for things that they emphasize not to forget - but hide very cleverly by putting said emphasis in footnotes at the end... Yoda zoomed to an early lead which he never relinquished. Apparently Yoda knows power.

To close out the day, we played a game of Quiddler. Yoda won quite handily, accompanied by grumbling from MichaelP that he didn't have any chance to make interesting words when he only got one turn each round.

June 6, 2009 - Two Old Games and a Filler

Location: Yoda's House
Players: Yoda, Steve, MichaelP, MichaelU, Kay

Once again Merchant of Venus started the day. We played a longer game this time since everyone was familiar with the game now. Steve managed to establish control of the best cycle on the map and gain control of the key port of Ice Station. He won easily, with everyone else trailing at a respectable distance.

After lunch, we decided to try LOTR game again. This time we had five players instead of four. Since this spreads the protection markers more thinly amongst the larger number of people, you would think that would make the game a bit harder. We tried applying our learning from the previous session a few months earlier, but it wasn't clear this actually helped all that much. Yoda was sacrificed to Sauron relatively early in the game, and he kibbitzed for the duration. We actually made it all the way to the end of the path on the last board, where all the remaining players have to roll the die to face Sauron. One after another, facing Sauron resulted in yet another Sauron minion... until the last roll, when Kay rolled and won the game for everyone.

To close out the day in the small time remaining, we tried Perudo, also known as Liar's Dice. Everyone starts with five dice under their own cups and engages in rounds of bidding and guessing about how many of what number is hidden by all the cups, until one person challenges a bid made by a player. This game developed such that before the end Yoda had more dice remaining than everyone else combined and was able to convert that to a win. Steve declared that we finally had found a filler game that met with his approval.

May 2, 2009 - Two New Games

Location: Michael and Danielle's House
Players: Yoda, Steve, MichaelP, MichaelU

Today was a day of new games. Since the last Game Day, Yoda, Steve, and MichaelU had made a foray to a game store in Overland Park and browsed for a while and engaged the store personnel in some discussion about games. Between net research, looking at the boxes, and talking with the helpful lady at the store, MichaelU purchased Power Grid. The morning started with a quick perusal of the various parts of this new acquisition before putting it aside to start a game whose rules someone knew...

Merchant of Venus was the first order of the day - a game played previously by Yoda but new to the others. After Yoda explained the rules, everyone set to, revealing the various secrets in the game and settling into their chosen routes. Steve reached the goal of 2000 first, with MichaelU trailing not too far behind.

The ordering of pizza for lunch contained revelations. Pizza Hut's Pizza Mia is a Pizza No-No. You don't get normal Pizza Hut pizzas - you get pizzas made with special crust and sauce (sweeter), both of cheaper quality, no doubt. At least we discovered before we ordered...

Post-lunch, we decided to dive into Power Grid, despite none of us having read the rules prior to Game Day... rules which have been translated from German... poorly... (To quote Bloom County... "Foreshadowing, your key to quality literature" : ) What is a phase? What is a turn? What is a round? All exist in this game, but which is which still isn't exactly clear to us. Sometimes the translation uses the same terms to describe different concepts at different sections of the rules.

Coal, oil, uranium, garbage and wind fire power plants of various efficiencies. Profits from said activities allow you to build your network into more and more cities stretching across the board (the eastern U.S. in this case). Steve chose to become the king of garbage, a position which no one else challenged the entire game. Everyone else fought over the coal and oil, with the occasional dabbling in uranium and serious anticipation of and bidding wars over the truly green plants that produce power without consuming resources.

After navigating the shoals of the various turns/phases/whatevers, Yoda found himself in the catbird's seat with several rounds left to go, and the game marched to its inevitable end. Only after said end had been reached, did we discover upon looking at the rules a bit more that we had violated several of them along the way, making it harder for everyone to get enough resources (particularly Steve as the garbageman), and revealing that the catbird seat was on really shaky ground. We expect to get more things right next time...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April 4, 2009 - Variety

Location: Michael and Danielle's House
Players: Yoda, Steve, MichaelP, Danielle, Kay, Mike, Dave

After our first foray into Illuminati, Danielle had expressed an interest in joining us for a game of it. Others expressed interest in repeating Iron Dragon again while the first game's learning was still relatively fresh. The thought was to put them both into the same day, expecting that each could be completed in a morning or afternoon.

After munching Munchers, Iron Dragon began the day. MichaelP, Steve, Kay, and Yoda played. The game went much smoother and faster than the previous game, since all had some idea from the start. Yoda won just before lunch. Kay was a close second. Steve and Michael claimed this was the expected result given the vast amount of experience those two had at the game.

Danielle returned with the baby and the pizza. Dave came over to watch the baby. Rules were explained to the Illuminati newcomers. A couple of examples were stepped through, and then we got down to business. Money was mostly located in little bowls in the middle in clear view to discourage pilfering. (Michael tried anyway.) The big 50 'bills' were off to the end near Steve and Danielle, and at some point someone noticed that they thought one of them was missing. We decided that Steve must have stolen it, so he became something of a feared target. Danielle had the group which gets to hide its winning condition, so we didn't know what she was trying to achieve. She did a good job of disguising her goal and pulled off a win that surprised all because we had no idea that she was close. (Transfer power Yoda sure she wanted. So sure no other goals watch did he.)

The abrupt end to Illuminati left us with a bit more time to fit in something short so we played a couple of games of Chronology. Mike had shown up late in the afternoon to meet Dave, and we enticed him to join the first game. And he won. He convinced Dave to join us for the second game. And Dave won in a squeeker. (Everyone but Yoda had nine cards and was ready to win with only one more card.) Maybe next time I should let someone convince me to play...

March 7, 2009 - A Day of Kingmaker

Location: Yoda's House
Players: Yoda, Steve, MichaelU

Ah, Kingmaker. A game of kings. A game of nobles and titles. A game of stamina and endurance.

Knowing that it was a long game and with minimal experience in its play, we started straight out. With the starting cards, Steve established a dominating position in the north. Yoda became the Welsh strongman. That left the south for Michael. Everyone grabbed a king or an heir forthwith and consolidated their nobles into large piles and waited for something untoward to happen to someone else. In the beginning, this consolidation process involved solo nobles scurrying from one town or castle to the next as they headed toward the bulk of friendly forces. (about the only time anyone bothered to stay in a town or castle since that's where plagues happen.) Steve proceeded to conquer towns on roads so that he could move long distances quickly. This turned out to be not so bad a plan since he forever was getting yanked back north by special event cards so that he could deal with those unruly Scots.

Morning turned to afternoon. All nobles titles and everything got distributed. An occasional fight would happen where someone would die and get recycled. Michael hid in France with his heir. Yoda lay waiting for someone to be foolish enough to wander into Wales. Steve roared around the board like a toothless lion. A parliament was called and favors were handed out. More death, more recycling. Steve cornered Michael's claimant and killed him off. Another parliament was called, with a different power broker. Steve made someone else be the guy who got jerked north to dance with the Scots. Slow attrition whittled away Steve's forces and grew Yoda's. Round about 18:00, endurance failed, and everyone agreed to end the game without declaring that anyone would win.

Of course, given that Yoda had 3/4 of the forces in the game at his command, the eventual result should be obvious. Unfortunately, Kingmaker isn't that kind of game. Any particular battle can cause either side to lose horrible things they don't want to lose. It doesn't matter how much of a force advantage you have, because even though you can be sure that you have a big enough margin that the other guy will lose, the card which is drawn to determine the 'victor' may dictate that half your force dies along with them. This can have the effect of making one rather reluctant to attack at all... Especially when the other person is the one who will get to hand out all the special goodies when he calls parliament again... Thus the stalemate...

No one is anxious to repeat this game.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

February 7, 2009 - The Voyage Continues

Location: Yoda's House
Players: Yoda, Steve, MichaelP, MichaelU, Nick

Ah, Munchers - a good way to start the day...

To start the day, Steve demoed his two new game acquisitions - Kingmaker and Talisman. Everyone perused the game boards and paraphernalia, asked questions both answerable and unanswerable, and agreed both looked interesting for future sessions.

Next, we started Iron Dragon. Yoda laid out the game and explained the rules (most of them at least : ), prior to getting started. Everyone else was a newbie to this game. This became apparent relatively quickly when a couple of people found themselves in the situation of not being able to deliver a load. Due to inadequate explanations and demonstrations, MichaelU didn't realize that he only got to make each specified delivery a single time and was stranded pretty quickly when he didn't have enough money to build track to make a second delivery. At this point, he became a source of a stream of disasters, as he would throw away his cards every turn and get new ones. Disasters eventually pushed Nick (and very nearly two others) into the same situation. Steve was the only player not to have a very close brush with complete disaster. Eventually MichaelU did get a card which allowed him to deliver something and was able to claw his way back into active play. Nick got money from someone using his track and became active again, so no one was forced to sit out for a really extended period. Networks extended, money came and went, and a remarkable amount of cross-track usage fees changed hands.

The first game ended up lasting until 16:30, as learning such a game leads to much discussion, as well as longer planning and replanning activities as events unfold. By the end of the game (Yoda winning), everyone except MichaelU had connected seven major cities with a network. Everyone understood the mechanics of the game much better by the end, and during cleanup there was a lively discussion of things learned and what different strategies to employ next time. Expect this one to make more appearances in the future.

Unfortunately due to short time remaining, not even a short game was able to be fit in post-Iron Dragon.

Once again, photos courtesy of Steve (this time with a real camera!).