Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Games on Display

There it is. I finally got enough other things done that I was FINALLY able to put together some new shelves and unpack all my games. And here they are in all their glory. I put together a geeklist to share my glorious collection (and of course to open myself to a little bit of ridicule). Well, I guess its back to unpacking the rest of the house and trying to figure out what to do with all the packing materials. Oh yeah, and I still need a real desk instead of this stupid folding table I have. I'd rather be playing games...

Friday, August 29, 2008

MT manipulations

This one doesn't come up in the rules much, but as a general thing, its frowned upon. I don't think most folks really think about it or think about doing it. I actually did it once in like the second math trade I participated in. I'd consider it again if this wasn't Jeffy Jeff's MT. Manipulating the results. yes, it is entirely possible to manipulate the trades when the algorithm for trading is trying to maximize the number of items that get traded. How? Create your own trade chains. Yep, that's right, list your own games as wants. For example, lets say I put in Age of Steam (AoS), Atlantic Star (AS) and Risk. Now, I know that AoS and AS are going to be desired (A LOT), and Risk is a maybe at best. If I want to increase the likelihood of Risk getting used in the MT's chains, I simply use my other items. For Risk I list AoS and nothing else, for AoS I list AS and nothing else, and for AS I build a list of stuff I want - something reasonable that I'd get for Risk - say Nexus Ops. As long as someone will pick up Risk, I will trade off Risk and get AoS, lose AoS (to me) and get AS and then get some game. Now, its likely you'd only pull off a good one like that once since the results would look retarded and obvious (Tatsu trades Risk to Tatsu for AoS. Tatsu trades AoS to Tatsu etc etc). This was something early mods used to explicitly ban. I have not seen anything like that recently. I don't usually go through the results that much either - I don't care what others are doing so much. Either I got what I wanted or I didn't. Oh well. I've also given up on the miracle trade up - just not going to happen. Or maybe it'll happen just once...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Math Trade Time

YAMT (yet another math trade) has shown up on the geek. And yes, I have joined in. Time to clear a bit of the cruft out. Of course the first thing I thought to put in the list was Atlantic Star - if only because it is one of the few games not still packed up. Its also one of the games I acquired mostly for trade bait. The next thing I added were my three expansion packs for BattleLore - Dwarves, Goblins and A Call to Arms. Jason Maxwell and Bobby Warren have also thrown in their BattleLore lots, so there is plenty on non-love for the game early in the trade. I also added Beppo der Bock which is a kids game that is slick, but boring. I don't mind certain kids games that are a stepping stone to other games or semi-entertaining to adults, but this is not either of those. It has a totally unique mechanism with a steel marble you roll down a track that gets attracted to a super strong magnet. When this happens, the ball snaps to the magnet and knocks the goat piece across the board (it is pretty cool). The trick is to aim the ramp the ball rolls down so that the ball will hit the goat from a certain angle and fling him where you want to go - very basic dexterity and planning game(i.e. a good little kids game). Finally, I found two copies of Midnight Party at a thrift store, so I added one of them to the trade (actually one was Ghost Party). I then spent a little time looking at my collection list and there is very little I think I want to get rid of at the moment. There is some more cruft to be sure, but a lot of it may very well fall into the untradeable category. *UPDATE* - I added a little card game - Margin For Error to the trade. There should be a huge number of the game California in the trade and I thought I'd see if I could snag one for the low low cost of shipping a deck of cards...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Game Night

Friday Aug. 22, 2008 - Nielsen's Custard
Friday was game night for the AZ Boardgamers and this week was the trial run of having the game night at Nielsen's Custard rather than the Gamer's Inn. I arrived at around 5:30 and found - nobody. I settled down to wait with a Philly Cheesesteak (very tasty), wondering how many folks would show up. Turned out to be 21! We didn't nearly have enough space (there was a wedding reception or something else taking up most of the rest of their place). I'm not sure how this will work out in the end, but the bright areas and easy access to food and frozen custard is not a bad thing.
Eventually folks arrived and I after finishing my messy diner, I sat down with Dion Garner, Amelia Boli, Matt Cullinan and Thomas Dunaj to play In The Year of the Dragon. I have not played with a full compliment before (having only tried 3 and 4 player games), but found that it played equally well - in fact I like this best with 4 or 5 I think. Dion dumped all his cash early for the double dragon points, despite having double taxation in the first half of the game (turns 3 an 5). That was apparently enough to keep anyone from catching him. He finished the game 8 points in front of Thomas and I, who didn't manage our populations very efficiently (we both dumped people left and right throughout the game). Final tally - Dion:89, me:81 (with tiebreaker), Thomas:81, Amelia:73, Matt: 67.
Next, I broke out Age of Steam, which I insisted I would get to the table when I got back to AZ. We were going to try out the N. Cali map, but when we had newcomer-to-AoS-Ric join us, we switched gears and played Scandinavia. Joining Ric Alpers and I were Noah Antwiller and Matthew Frederick. As is typical when playing with Noah, he sat back and let other players play aggressively and go into deep debt before he did. It also helped that he picked a prime position on the map that nobody else ever challenged him for. Matthew picked a decent position, and promptly put himself so far behind he never recovered. Ric spent far too many turns not moving goods and trying not to die. I'm not sure how he did it. As for me, I started with a good position, but my short sightedness never left me with any endgame routes and while I moved a couple of 5s, I never really prospered. Being few shares in front of Noah, I never had a chance. Final scores - Noah:81, me:56, Matthew:26, Ric:19.
We ended the night teaching Tichu to Linda Sandusky. Matthew and I teamed up against Linda and Noah. The game was not even as close as the score was, as Linda had a number of hands that a more experienced player would have murdered us with. In fact, her first had a straight flush bomb, pairs of kings and aces, the mahjong, and little else. Maybe the Dragon too. All I remember is thinking WTF!!! Noah also had a bomb and the Dog, and we had to laugh at how quickly Linda went out, without having any clue what she was doing. She caught on quickly and Matthew and I seemed to be tired and out of sync. We managed a few decent hands, but nothing special. In the end, we lost 405-295 (we had to retire when the shop closed).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Game Night

Aug. 16, 2008 - Game Depot
The Game Depot (can't find a URL for their store) was holding their monthly Saturday night gaming, and I needed a break from the stress of moving and unpacking. I headed out to meet up with Mike Gingold and/or Bobby Warren and play some games. When I arrived, Matt Cullinan was punching out the copy of Agricola he'd just purchased. Mike really wanted to play (to see if the game was worth the hype), so the two of us sat down with Matt to play. As we were explaining the rules, Dion Garner walked in and asked to join. Mike was the only new player (though the rest of us have only played once or a handful of times), and we butchered our way through an explanation. Mike, being a smart guy (and Agricola not really being that hard to grok after a turn or two), picked it up quickly. After the food-less fiasco of my first playing, I went to town on getting occupations into play quickly. My first let me grab a minimum 4 food anytime I took the Traveling Pants(?) action. The next occupation I got down let me grab a veggie anytime I did the day laborer action. My first minor improvement let me exchange one reed for 3 food during the harvest. These three cards pretty much set me up for the game for food. It also meant that I could spend the rest of the game concentrating on other things. I eventually played a card (riding plow), that let me plow 3 fields instead of 1 twice in the game. I used this to slap down 6 fields (and I sowed veggies twice). Since I wasn't in dire need of food, I was able to eventually build up a store of wood for fences and slapped out three pens (one for each animal). I also put down a guy that reduced my stone costs by one - basically making my upgrade from clay to stone house cost 1 reed (though in retrospect, I wonder now if I played that right - probably not, though I don't think it would have changed the outcome). In the end, my initial beating helped me to play better (it also helped that my cards didn't suck ass) and I won. Charles: 39, Mike G: 19, Matt: 24, Dion: 33. Mike not only had the new player disadvantage, he apparently also had sucky cards - he only had a few that he ever played.
There was only about 90 minutes left, so we ended up going with Mike's suggestion to try out Metropolys. This one is about building cities and has a bit of a Ra like mechanic where each player has buildings 1-13 and the person that plays the highest each round wins a spot on the board. Its a bit hard to describe without just flat out explaining the rules, but suffice to say I liked it and its a lighter game. Mike explained it (he had played once before) and away we went. Dion jumped out to an early lead, and I felt like I was falling rapidly behind. However, I was able to roar back with a load of spaces that met my personal game objectives and Mike and I tied with 34 points (I won the tie breaker since I played more pieces than he did). Dion finished 3rd with 25 and Matt had 22 points. This is one of those games I liked a lot, is probably a good closer (since it'll play 4 players in an hour) and yet I'm not sure I'd get it played a ton if I put it in my collection. It'll probably get to my collection eventually, but we'll see. This is a 7 or an 8. I do have to say the same thing everyone said - man is the board ugly. However, by the end of the game, it isn't that bad and its pretty simple to figure out. I do however love the box art, and its inspiring me for a piece I want to do for my game room.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In the Year of the Dragon

MaBiWeb recently added In The Year of the Dragon to the lineup, and Dion Garner invited folks for a game. Steve Bauer and I joined him and we played a three player game. I went for something of a builder strategy and grabbed a dragon lady early in the game to supplement my score. The game was looking fairly close for a long time, but I was in the back of the turn order 95% of the game and Steve managed to stay out in front enough to have his way most of the game. Final score - Steve: 108, Dion: 84, Charles: 101

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Last Few Games in Omaha

My last weekend in Omaha I had a few guys over for a last couple of games. Mike Garrett, John Davis and Steve Wicklund came on over to see me off. John only had a couple hours to play, so we pulled out something he's played before - Notre Dame. This was the first time I've played with 4 players and the game was about like I expected. I still think I prefer In the Year of the Dragon, but this game is pretty straight forward and enjoyable. Mike Garrett survived the rats the best, while my park strategy wasn't paying off since I wasn't making points left and right like Steve was. I somehow squeaked out more points than Steve through Notre Dame, but was still a ways back of Mike.
After John left, Steve wanted to play Power Grid. I hadn't played this in a long time and agreed (though its only so-so with three players). We played on the Germany map and things were weird. We had a lot of really high end plants get filtered out early - a sign that things would bog down. In fact, there were enough rounds that we sat and did nothing on that bidding for the good plants was insane. mid-20s plants that powered 25 cities were going for 80+ (which as it turned out, was a bargain when the next plant sucked). The huge amounts of cash on hand let me power through to 17 cities and I powered like 11 for the win (yeah, like 11 - I told you the plants came out teh suq).
After that, we finished up with our normal 3-player favorite - San Marco. Steve was at a disadvantage since Mike and I were experienced, and I used that to place the Doge in a territory I was a majority in (which also had no bridge off of) to start the game. We saw no bridge cards for a long time, which allowed me to score a load of time before he finally got moved out of that territory. Those early points let me finish the game well out in front.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Chip Backs

So, I'm trying to figure out whether to go double sided or whether to use something like this picture. Basically, its a Kanji character for Dragon in Japanese (I'll find a little cleaner version). Then it has my name (Hasegawa) circling the outside. I'll probably make the name slightly larger (but maybe not - its hard to get the spacing/sizing right). I'm also undecided if I should add the denomination as an overlay over the dragon character.