Friday Feb. 13, 2009. I arrived at the Gamer's Inn Friday Night, planning to play a little Senji and Vinci - and played both. The night started with a light game - Gem Dealer, which Dion Garner wanted to try out. Basically, Gem Dealer is the poor cousin of Ivanhoe. By poor, I mean that it takes out all the fun parts and makes this a simple luck of the draw game with very little in the way of interesting decisions. In addition to Dion and I, also bored by this playing were Noah Antwiller and Eddie.
After that, we pulled out Senji and setup. At first, I wasn't sure that we weren't going to have a minor incident before the game, as one of the six folks that wanted to play was Jerry. Prepared to play where myself, Dion, Matthew, Amelia, Noah, and Jerry. Matthew had a brief discussion with him about preferring not playing with him, since the last game they played in Jerry quit part way through. Jerry denied any wrong doings, but Dion backed Matthew's claim. We eventually let him play, but it was clear we were not particularly thrilled with him. That aside, we covered the rules and started and I managed to hose myself early on through my poor ability to sit next to Jerry and concentrate (or something). I'll cover the actual game of Senji in another post, but about 45 minutes into the game, Jake pointed out we were very badly misplaying one rule and we called the game. I think that most of the players will give it another shot (albeit without Jerry I'm sure), which I'm glad for, because I think there is an interesting game here.
After the Senji fiasco, we broke up, with some guys going to play Le Havre. Amelia and I decided to play Vinci with some other guys that were still finishing their game of Power Grid, so we pulled out Poison and played a few hands with Jerry and Jake. Amelia got hosed the whole game, while Jake, Jerry and I did ok, getting hosed about once each over three rounds. In the end, Jake got hosed the least for the win.
Amelia and I switched tables after that and were joined by Steve Bauer, Matt Cullinan and Rob Smolka for our game of Vinci. I like this game a good amount and had been bringing it for a couple weeks now. Steve had told me last time he wanted to play, so I made a point of making sure I had it with me this week. My first civ came into contact with Rob's slavers very early, so I put them into decline and then watched in amazement as they were left nearly untouched for at least three rounds (scoring me at least 7 points each round). My second civ had forts (which EVERYONE has been mis-playing and nobody realized are way overpowered) and I loaded up that civ with forts in the forests while riding my declined civ for points. As we neared the endgame and the others attempted to slow me down, I was able to get a pretty large sized civ which let me take out Steve's declined civ, taking him out of contention. I didn't suspect Matt had a chance, but he came up one point short of beating me after I passed the 100pt mark.
We finished up the night with a 6-player playing of Himalaya. Matthew, Noah and Dion were done with Le Havre, so they joined Matt, Amelia and I. I avoided trying to make deliveries in the first third of the game (to nab points for goods), but I didn't get a load of points, nor did I get any decent goods. In fact, I had trouble with goods most of the game and didn't see a green all game. I also discovered I had been misplaying a rule (this appears to be a theme for the night) with the stupas - stupas in bigger town are worth more than the smaller towns (ie 3,2,1 pts, not equal). This makes a difference in the strategy to be sure. It didn't matter - I could hardly get three deliveries done the whole game, mostly following other players around and watching them do what I hoped to do before I did it. Matt voiced his dislike for this game with 6 players (though surprisingly he does like it with 4), though I kinda think that the only thing extra players bring is stronger competition for the political majorities since with more players, you have more towns with goods and deliveries. Dion (on his birthday no less), survived all the eliminations for the win. I still enjoy this one enough to play with any number 4-6.