Friday March 28, 2008 - Game Shoppe
I headed out to the Game Shoppe in Bellevue for some Friday night game goodness(tm). Mike Garrett and I had planned to try and play a few things and had invited a number of folks, not knowing who might be there. I invited a guy I work with whom I discovered also likes games - John Davis. John was already there as I got to the store along with another guy, whose name I missed. The three of us were sitting down to play Queen's Necklace when Mike Spoto dropped in, so instead we switched gears and played Race For the Galaxy. John hadn't played before, but had played San Juan, so the mechanics were only slightly new to him. I started out with super sucky Old Earth as my base planet and a hand full of military planets and high end alien worlds - the worlds most awesome sucky hand. I spent a couple rounds trying to do anything while John built like crazy and the other guy built a crazy VP engine. However, I started getting military power in play and my last world was a windfall world which also saw a consume in the same turn for one VP - the one that happen to win me the game 31-30-30-13.
Of course, Mike Garrett had walked in seconds after we started and had been waiting around with some other guys he knew. John had to leave soon, so I suggest Wabash Cannonball (being fairly short and I wanted to play my new revision of the map to figure out if I liked the stock grid). I explained the rules and John decided he better just take off rather than get halfway through, so it was Mike and I and his friends Bryce and Jon Carper. Mike won the red stock, I got blue, Bryce yellow and Jon green. The turns started out as they have every time I've played this game - green and yellow sprint north and south, and red (always Mike) cuts off blue. I fought back by putting a red share on the block, which Mike foolishly bought. Meanwhile, I was getting nowhere. And I never got anywhere. Bryce managed to leech off everyone (except blue) for an easy win. I like the game and always feel "this close" to getting it - a lot like I used to be with Samurai.
Bryce took off after killing us, and Justin Kosec arrived, so I got out Himalaya, which Mike and I have been wanting to try out. Himalaya is a pickup and deliver, programmed movement, and area control game all rolled into one. There is a bit of randomness in the goods and deliveries to be made, but the rest is pure plug in the orders and hope someone doesn't hose you. I liked it - probably because I never got screwed. I actually think it'd be ok with 6 players, but Mike didn't care for the chaos. I won fairly handily and would happily play again. I liked the mix of mechanics and who'd have thought I'd like the guessing what the other guys are going to do piece to the game. As you'll notice in the first picture - I had NOTHING on the board after 5 turns, and yet managed a pretty good sized win. There must be luck or something going on, because I have no mad skilz.
It was getting late and Jon took off. We were debating being able to get in In the Year of the Dragon - something we all wanted to play. Mike Spoto came over and wanted to join, but we all agreed they'd close the store on us before we could get done, so instead we got out Tichu and taught Mike S and Justin. I teamed with Mike S and after a couple of vanilla hands, we were down about 100 points. Then I scored us a Tichu and we were in the running. Then Mike G called Tichu and I managed an over-Tichu on him and we were well out in front of Justin and Mike by the time we got kicked out. Not a bad way to end the night.