Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The art of war....

JD and I started things off with a game of To Court the King. He took control of the King and Queen. I made a decent comeback mustering enough dice to try to beat his eight 6's, but unfortunately he did a great job taking control of all the good dice I wasn't able to manipulate my dice enough to beat that. Fun, quick, great as always.

Then we moved on to the main event, along with Tom and Andy. We played Shogun....a LONG game of Shogun. Too long for my tastes, but it was still very enjoyable. First half of the game saw JD running away with it by quite a bit, due to some very nice construction work (temples, castles, etc). I lost an important scoring region that I originally stole from Andy, due to bad timing. Oh well. For the second year, I focused on less fighting, and more recovering from the previous year. JD and Andy were at each other's throats (they were 1st and 2nd place). Andy eventually took the lead, and won. JD and I tied for 2nd, but JD in theory won 2nd (tie breaker is money). Fun game, great theme, cool cube tower, but prone to AP the first time you play.

Then Tom and Andy left. JD and I played a quick game of Dungeon Twister. It's a combination of an abstract puzzle game, with "abstract mechanics", and a fantasy theme (wizards, spells, warriors, etc). Very interesting. Has more depth AND more theme than I expected.

Ok, back to work now.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gaming Princesses Acquire Florence

//I have been working on this write-up for a while now, but since the last sentence was predictive I had to work it into a form to post here, the original is on MySpace/

So Tuesday night(a couple of weeks ago), at my League of Extraordinary Gamers boardgaming meetup, ( join us if you haven't) , I got there at seven o clock, and began to teach a really light game to five people when Tammy and Adam showed up.

So I had to figure out how to break up the group. Mike showed up with Acquire which I have been wanting to learn, since it is the 54th highest ranked game on, and Tom wanted to play it so we moved to our own table...and a few minutes into the rules Dana showed up, but the other table had 5 people already so she joined us in learning Acquire.

Acquire went really kept flying my way even though I did not seem to be doing too much to earn it. I finished in a strong second place. I am not sure if it is a good thing that I can do well in such a money management game relying on my intuition, hehe...its probably not, but its fun anyway to put my Accounting intuition to work anyway.

Meanwhile, I told the other group to play something they could teach...I was basically talking to Tammy and Adam, they brought a version of Settlers of Cataan that I have not played (Starship, probably) some light games, and Princes of Florence. And you serious gamers will be happy to know that they played ...Princes of Florence (Denise and Tommie enjoyed it enough to ask for a rematch).

So it turns out that my group of gaming princesses will play and like heavier games. Two of them really like Puerto Rico, and another confessed that for a while she was hiding her inner gamer...another regularly beats her husband at medium weight games.

But we finished Acquire 30 minutes till 10:00, which is when Mark closes up shop, so I got to play my fluffy game after all, Zirkus Flohcati.

So all of you serious gamers should not come out to my events, if you are afraid of being beaten by a girl.

Gaming on Tues 7/29

I'm hosting once again: Tues 7/29 at 7pm.

Maybe Shogun (the rethemed Wallenstein, not the crappy game by MB) will see some play. If we have 5, Tribune sounds like a good idea...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Self Plug

So... this post has nothing to do with gaming. Just wanted to let everyone know I was in the Chronicle today. You can view the online version here.

And, just to make this post more about gaming, what games would people suggest to play on the plane?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beware of the newbs!

Last night was your regularly scheduled interruption to the weeknight gaming at my place.... the League City Meetup. :)

Once again, there was a strong showing (about 10?). All kinds of light games were played, but a good deeper one was played too. I played R-eco with Tommie, Denise, and Joseph who very surreptitiously stole Marty's spot. Great recycling-themed card game for 3-4 (5 is too many, too chaotic). While we were doing this, there were some card games being played at the "other table".

Then we moved on to the Biggie of the night: Power Grid. We played with 6 players, all of them either newbs or VERY rusty from lack of experience (like me). The game surprisingly only took us about 2hrs to play. For those who don't know, in this game you are trying to establish your little "energy empire": players represent energy companies that are competing to supply electricity to different cities accross Germany. It's not THAT old, but it's one of those TRUE gems in euro gaming that will be around forever.

So we were all pretty much hanging in there in the same peloton for most of the game, until the very last round where Denise, a Power Grid newb, purchased AND powered like 4 new cities in one go as she triggered the end game. Note to the others on the table: beware of the player who goes after all the windmills, saving lots of money that can be used to build houses, then goes on to buy a couple of highly efficient nuclear plants that will cover the player until the end game.... This strategy is just a ticking bomb because of all the money saved from not buying resources. We'll never let it happen again!!!!! Well-played. :)

I made 2 very obvious mistakes... not that they would have given me the victory, but would have saved me from being tied for last. We were going at a pretty good clip to try to finish before the coffee shop closed after all....( yeah yeah, excuses excuses....)

After the store closed, I felt bad that JD drove 1 hr to get to Coffee Culture only to play one game, so the gracious person that I am, I sacrificed myself by inviting him over to my place to play some MORE games. So we got home, and broke out his new copy of Cleopatra and the Society of Architects. I was able to convince my lovely wife (by bribing her with cooking dinner, being a good husband, bathing the dog, etc... the things we do for gaming) to join us in a 3 player game of this. Cool light-medium weight game, with cool theme and mechanics that go well with it. It's not a buy for me (mainly because I have TOO many games), but it's very fun. Players are essentially architects racing to build monuments for Cleopatra. They can "cheat" by using some "evil" powers, but this scores corruption points for the player... and if you have the most corruption markers at the end of the game, you lose (cough... like JD,.... cough). Interesting mechanic that works well in a short quick game like this. I would think it would be a terrible idea in a longer/deeper game.

Then we (JD, and I) played a quick game of Knights, yet another dice game where you influence stuff that gives you stuff, to help you claim stuff. As a dice-lover, this game was 'ok'. I think I'll stick with Airships, To Court the King, etc, but I won't turn down a game either.

Next week you ask? I'll probably host on Tuesday. Stay tuned kids...

Game collections, a list

Please post the part of your games collection that you would be happy to share, here.

Boardgamegeek has a nice way to do this, but feel free to post a simple list or whatever.

Here is my collection

Its incomplete as I suspect most people's list to be....except Robert! hehe

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gaming on Tuesday 7/22

This week, gaming is on 7/22 at Coffee Culture. See you there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A vow of silence...

Last night I was ready for a 2 player game fiasco with Joseph, but ended up pleasantly surprised to see Lewis (who called at 7pm), and JD (who was a 'maybe'). Joseph and I played a game of Hive. It's an excellent quick (10-15min) 2 player abstract, that tastes like chess, but without the extra calories. Oh, and btw, it's the secong game from the left on the title image for this blog that I made on photoshop.

We started with a game of Glory to Rome, where Lewis had an unstoppable free-energy powered VP engine and easily trounced us that wasn't fun.

Then, Lewis craved Tichu, which we were all interested in (it's one of my recent acquisitions), but I had a slightly stronger interest in the new tile-laying game, Monastery. Joseph suggested playing this first before Tichu (which never happened...).

So in Monastery, players represent a group of Monks of a color, that is trying to build a monastery with different buildings, gardens, paths, fields and such around a large central Abbey. Players also gain points for praying in certain buildings, for working in toil buildings, and studying in study buildings. These points are then used to buy/recruit more monks to your team, AND buy letters which are needed to complete the last sentence of the "Our Father" in latin. Yes, you read it right. Needless to say, I was intrigued when I heard the very unique theme. So these letters then become VP's. Add a dash of screw-your-neighbor mechanics, and a bit of luck, and you basically got it.

We played one game that consisted of literally almost 2 rounds. Everyone had a taste of the mechanics, and unanimously decided to restart the game: many had made slight mistakes that were just hard to see if you'd never played before. The second game went well into the third quarter, but we had to end it prematurely because Joseph had to leave. So JD and Lewis were feeling enlightened and blessed and twisted my arm into playing a 3 player game of this. It went by super quick (after all, it was technically our third go with the game). It's amazing how the board changes with each game. By no means SUPER deep, but it's full of interesting decisions, screwage, and luck to keep me interested. The theme and mechanics work REALLY well together.

Then Lewis left, and JD and I finally got to play a game of Soccer Tactics World. JD's team just pummelled my guys to the ground with a score of 3-0 after two 30 min halves. My strikers had various chances for the goal, but it just wasn't their night. I demand a rematch.

Once again, it was a great night of gaming. See ya next week at Coffee culture. Joseph, I'll bring Power Grid.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Last minute invite... 7/15!

Sorry for the late post. I am hosting on Tuesday (TOMORROW) 7/15 at 7pm. If not many sign up, I will move it to Wed, but I seriously prefer tomorrow.

Let me know if you can swing by.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday of WWII and beyond...

Lance came by, which means that Starcraft never happened. That's fine because we still got to do LOTS between 9am and 5pm.

We started with Combat Commander: Mediterranean. As I've said before, if you are a fan of Memoir 44, but want more depth (but not at the hardcore level of wargames like ASL), you should definitively try this out. My Russian soldiers fought desperately, protecting a village from a massive Romanian army (Lance). The enemy had slightly weaker soldiers, but man they made up for it in numbers. He was getting VERY close to capturing key objectives in the center of the village before the scenario ended. Long live the reds.

Then we recreated the events that happened AFTER WWII in Twilight Struggle. It's essentially an area control game where you play cards to trigger historical events, or spread your influence. I played the Russians AGAIN, and Lance the US. Our first game was VERY quick. I won in 3 out of 10 rounds, but in all fairness, that is what is expected from the Russians if the US doesn't play well early on. The US needs to survive the first tough years of the Cold war, and make it to the "Late War" where things start to get tough for the reds. And this he did on our SECOND game of TS. He learned well from that first game. He ended the game with a US victory on rd 9 of 10. Great stuff. I've played this about 6 times, and it just keeps getting better.

Lance, thanks for the all-day brain massage.

THis next week, as usual I'll host on Tuesday or Wednesday. I'll confirm tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lets play... gaming this coming week.

This week, I'm hosting on 7/9, Wed at 7pm.

I have work-related 'stuff' on Tuesday, unfortunately, so I can't make it to Joseph's gaming gig. I do encourage you to try it out. Heavier games are hitting the table....

I'm also hosting on Saturday 7/12 at 9am.

I'd like to play Starcraft. Let me know if you are interested. I'm aiming for 4 players, but if there's really that much interest, I could do up to 6 (which makes the game longer).

Let me know if you are swinging by any of these 2 days...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I'll have my whiskey to go please...

Last night we had a nice crowd: Scott, Ben (The American Pirate), Joseph, JD, and Marty. S, J, JD, M, and I started playing Canal Mania planning to be done by the time Ben got there, but unfortunately he got there 1hr earlier, so he played a spectator for over 1hr (thanks for hanging in there man).

In Canal Mania you are competing to build the best/longest canals, and making the most profitable delivery of goods to the cities in 18th-19th century England. If you like Ticket to Ride and Railroad Tycoon (or Age of Steam), you are pretty much guaranteed a good time. We had a very hard-fought battle with surprising swings in scores, but in the end Marty beat my lead by having a canal monopoly in the south east corner of the map (becoming the sole profiteer of all the goods cubes in that section... he didn't have to share the income for using other players' canals). Nice.

Then Marty and Joseph left before they turned into pumpkins. Ben joined in. So we played JD's copy of Bootleggers. Pretty fun theme (mobsters controlling speakeasies in the Prohibition era), and good area control mechanics. JD, Joseph and I had played before, and my opinion at the time was "It's fun, but it should be better with more players". And it was. Eventhough we (cough...JD...cough) were rusty with the rules, it was still a fun game. It's definitively better with more players. The only thing that made it sort of painful (to me at least because I could have won earlier), was the fact that the game could have ended ~30min before it did if we had played it with the right game-ending conditions. Trimming the extra 30min would have made it even better (specially because it was starting to get late... 1230am... but we pushed on).

At 1230, we pulled out the obligatory "role-selection" game, Race for the Galaxy. It was Ben's first time, and JD's first SLAUGHTERING of all of us. He absolutely destroyed us, using a military strategy WITH both 6-cost developments that provide bucketfuls of VP's for Military strength/planets. It was ridiculous. His score was 37; the rest of us were in the low 20's?

We finished RftG at 1:30am, and Scott's "Hey Ben, now that you know how to play, we can do another quick run of it in 30 min" almost twisted my arm enough to sit down and play again, but we were all tired at this point...and duty was going to call early the next day (today).

All-in-all, it was another great night of gaming. BTW, I got some new games: Monastery (Ragnar Brother's new game), Tribune (an interesting twist on the now tried and true worker placement mechanic...with an ever cool Roman setting), Pillars of the Earth expansion, and Tichu (which I've only played twice, and I think I like it). And btw, the Shogun that I want to bring to the table, is not the classic Milton Bradley Shogun (Scott, Joseph, and I were talking about how they compared).

BTW, yes, I did make the banner (using Photoshop). Joseph asked last night.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cafe Express Meetup

We took the worst beating I've ever had in Knizia's Lord of the Rings on Sunday. In a 5-player game with the Friends and Foes expansion, we were all wiped out in Helm's Deep. It was not pretty. I do enjoy that game system, though I think the theme has a lot to do with it.

I saw Power Grid get played there too. Nice to see a meatier game played at the meetup. This Sunday we'll be at Fuddrucker's again.