Monday, March 30, 2009

Tikal Again

We fired off another online game of Tikal with Nathan Winchester, Dion Garner, and Matthew Frederick at SpielByWeb. Matthew ended the game with three 3-sets of artifacts while neither Nathan nor I managed better than a pair of 2s. Nathan however, was able to lock up a huge number of temples on one side of the board while Dion and I floundered around. In the end, it wasn't enough to catch Matthew. Final scored looked like - Matthew: 111, Nathan: 103, Dion: 91, Charles: 89

Friday, March 27, 2009

No Wisdom Game 2

Nathan Winchester got his wisdom teeth removed this week, so we started our second game of Samurai on MaBiWeb. Again, two players with the two-player Astroglide variant (the first player may not take his 2-ship in his initial tile set). This time I wasn't sure what would happen. I started much better and always felt like I had good tiles, but never felt like I had a good play. This game was near the end when I took the last Buddha and edged Nathan by one piece. Nathan: 1 - 5 - 9, Charles: 1 - 6 - 9

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Nathan Winchester and I discovered, which lets you play a number of games online - the GIPF series and of course, Hive. We played a quick game and the interface is pretty decent. I did manage a win, though I still don't yet grok the strategy yet. Nathan and I both like abstracts, so I imagine this will continue to see play with us as it is fast and interesting. And yes, this picture is the outcome of the game (I was white).

No Wisdom For Nathan

Nathan Winchester got his wisdom teeth removed this week, so we started another game of Samurai on MaBiWeb for while he was at home. Two players with the two-player Astroglide variant (the first player may not take his 2-ship in his initial tile set). The game was close and we filled the board, but Nathan edged me by one piece for the game. I didn't take a great hand to start the game, and knew it was a losing effort from the start, but Nathan played well. We're likely to play a series of games here, so I suspect the play will evolve a little each game.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Game Night

Game Night was Friday for me again this week, so I headed out to the Gamer's Inn. When I arrived, I sat down with Dan Brugman, Noah Antwiller and his brother Miles Antwiller and we finally agreed to start with Rumis, which is short and sweet. Dan, having never played before, was at a disadvantage and Miles made it pretty obvious early on that he'd be winning this game. We played the pyramid, and Miles managed to isolate one whole side to himself. When we tallied it up, it was Miles-18, Charles-15, Noah-13, Dan-5.
Next up, Noah pulled out Citadels and we were joined by Rob Smolka, Amelia Boli, and Matthew Frederick. We pulled out the king and the warlord roles and replaced them with the Emperor and Diplomat roles from the Dark City Expansion. Now, as is likely to happen with this many players (and pretty much any Citadels game), a couple of players got hosed repeatedly and early (specifically Noah and Matthew). Pretty much Noah didn't get to play much in the first 3/4 of the game and by the last part, he simply gave up. I don't think I'll be willing to play this again with anything more than four players, and even then I have loads of other games I'd rather play with exactly four players. I also suspect that this won't see table time with the group for at least a year (if that soon).
After the Citadels fiasco, we decided to pull out something a little lighter - Smarty Party. This is a fun little trivia game that is marred by some sometimes strange answers in their lists. For example, if there were six characters from the Flintstones, you'd think it'd be Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, Pebbles and Bam Bam, but it might be not be Pebbles and Bam Bam - it could be Dino and some other random re-occurring character. Minor annoyances aside, this is fun enough to wash out the bad taste from Citadels. Dan and Noah tied for the win.
Dan and Rob went off to catch a movie and Miles had to work in the morning so he left. Noah, Amelia, Matthew and I decided to play Tichu with Amelia and I teaming up against Matthew and Noah. Noah started the game with a Tichu and 95 of the points, making things look not good for us to start the game. After 4 hands, we were down 130-475. After that, Amelia and I roared back with a couple of Tichu 1+2 hands and ended up winning 1055-850.
We broke up at that point, and Amelia and I were joined by Dave Thompson and Paul Contway for a short game of Nexus Ops (we only played to 10 points instead of 12). Amelia was the last player, and didn't immediately find a mine outside her base. I thought this would be a disadvantage to her, but she plowed through all of us for an easy win, hitting 10 well out in front of Dave or I. Had there been one more round, I might have got to 9 points, but would have needed like two more turns after that, as two of my energizer cards were for lava leapers and dragons and thus no help. Neither were any of my secret mission cards. I've commented before that this is a good short Ameri-trash game that should get played more, and I was right, this needs more table time :)


"We are Sparta", or something. The old collection hit 300 officially here recently. I say officially, because my BGG record shows 300. Actually, it shows 300 games and expansions. To commemorate this, I present #300 - Evo. This was picked up recently in a math trade (where else?). And yes, I know that it means it wasn't really the 300th game, but I don't record the games as mine until it arrives, so when it arrived, it pushed the count to 300. It all very complicated. So now I have a shrink wrapped Evo sitting here and I probably won't open it for a while. Evo is OOP and thus still worth a bit in trades. I never really expected to hit this number of games, not after I started trading. I suspect the collection will still grow and I'm waiting for the expansions to surpass the actual games. I don't expect that I'll actually end up with 600 games either, but time will tell.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Game Night

This week, my wife made plans with a friend for her and the kids, so I headed over to the Gamer's Inn for a bit of gaming. After waiting a little bit, we had a small crowd, so a few of us sat down and I grabbed Mykerinos for us. Joining me were Amelia Boli, Nathan Winchester and his fiance Niecy. I was the only person who had played before (which was no advantage at all, as I'm terrible at this game). After the first two rounds, I had a rainbow of patrons, which is not what I had hoped for. I was able to get a few people I wanted in the last two seasons/rounds, but Nathan had managed to get a large number of patron cards and he outscored me down the stretch to win by a point.
We had a few minutes to wait until other folks finished their games before we could start the main attraction of the night - Indonesia, so I pulled out Hive, which Nathan had asked about earlier. He had read the rules, but just needed to play it so it could gel. It was close and I managed to lock down his queen just before he could do the same to me.
As I said, Indonesia was the game of the night and we had 9 folks willing to play. We set up two games side by side and I covered the rules for everyone. At my board were Amelia, Matthew Frederick and Noah Antwiller. I took a rice company in Bali, then a southern shipping company. Noah took merges early in the game, and when he choose to merge the shipping of Matthew with my company, I outbid Matthew, which I believe to be the start of my downfall. Realistically, shipping as a strategy is viable only if the board has been setup in such a way to support it. Our first round did not have spice at all, and thus we immediately grew two cities to size two. Shipping works when you can eat half of someone's profits, not when you make 5 or 10 each time a company ships. At any rate, I ended up with a shipping company and a small hull. Nathan - as he did the last time we played - hung out and then scored a load of cash on rubber and won the Siap Faji company, which made it obvious he would win less than 2/3 of the way through the game. Amelia made an outstanding comeback, but Nathan held out for the win. Despite liking this game a lot, there are a couple of blemishes I'm starting to see. There is something of a runaway leader problem. If you allow any player to get way out in front, they are nearly impossible to pull back. AND, it takes a group effort to do so. No one player can really bash the leader. I've rated this an 8.5 and will probably drop it down to a flat 8. Its a good game, and I'll still play it, but the runaway leader issue makes the last hour of the game a bit tedious. If all the players can keep one player down, its a nice tense game all the way.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I started another game of Samurai on MaBiWeb - this time for four players and got Justin Easley, Nathan Winchester, and The Fonz (aka Mike Garrett) to play along. Mike was able to "steal" the capital city for next to nothing and whether by luck or strategic play, didn't play his ships or Ronin until the end of what was a really tight game. Justin had gone north, but Nathan intruded upon him and thus held him back a bit. I had committed to the main land areas was just trying to hold on - never felt like I had many opportunity plays in this game. The biggest thing was that Mike was EXTREMELY efficient with his play and at the end, I could neither force a tie nor win, so surrendered and ended the game (Mike was going to anyway).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Game Night

Friday, March 6, 2009 - Gamer's Inn
This was a game night that I hoped to get in a little Age of Steam - specifically I wanted to get in a new 4-player map: Secret Blueprints. When I arrived, there was not another boardgamer in the store and it was nearly six before Rob Smolka and Dion Garner arrived. Rob had a sub he was eating, so I pulled out Hive to have Dion explain it to me. Despite his clear explanation, I simply didn't pay attention and he worked me over in about 5 minutes. This is a nice little abstract and I'm sure I'll get some plays in with Nathan Winchester soon. It wasn't long after that that more gamers arrived, so I pulled out AoS. Joining me were Matthew Frederick, Amelia Boli and Ray Morgan (I can't believe I don't have a picture of Ray). Ray had not ever played AoS, so we explained the basic systems to him. I don't think this is even close to appropriate to the right map for a teaching game, but I wanted to try the Secret Blueprints out, so wasn't going to switch. The Secret Blueprints are 4 individual maps that each player works on independently and hidden from the other players. Each map is fairly small and has three cities on it (meaning players may not deliver any number of their goods). Unlike regular AoS where you can take "un-optimal" moves, in these maps you often just get screwed and have turns where you move nothing. Also, since you all work on individual maps, you can build and move each round simultaneously, which speeds up the game (unless you are playing with the new guy). Overall, it takes some of the tension of the main game and moves it. The trade off is that 4 experienced players could probably do this in under 90 minutes. Ray actually did well and ended up two points shy of me at the end of the game (two more tracks for me for the win!). The most annoying/cumbersome part was just finding a way to hide our maps. Turns out that four large box lids worked pretty well. I'd play this again assuming we were short on time.
We had Jake Troken and Dan Brugman waiting, so I pulled out Q-Jet 21XX (aka Ave Ceasar) for a quick game while we waited for the other group of gamers to finish Le Havre. I like this race game, because its tights and offers loads of chances to screw everyone else. As usual in a 6-player race, a couple of guys (Ray and Jake) came up short of the finish line. Being stupid, I let Dan have the outside lane on the last move and he finished ahead of me, making me last of the finishers. Matthew and Amelia jostled for first, with Matthew just crossing before Amelia.
Our last game of the night was a playing of Matthew's prototype Elven Craft. Dan doesn't care for the game, so Greg Perschbacher took his place. Since I'm not sure how much he wants details out yet, I won't go into too much detail about the current rules or my feelings about the playing since the next version may be quite different in feel. It was a bit different than my playing a few years ago and I'm glad to see my friend closing in on finishing this game.

Friday, March 06, 2009


After teaching Nathan Winchester Tikal, I got him online in a game with Dion Garner at SpielByWeb. We played without the auction (since that just is painful online) and ended up Dion, Nathan, me for turn order. Nathan had done well getting treasure in our two player game and tried to translate that to this game, but that didn't pay off for him. Dion capped two 8s early on (the first costing him a huge number of workers including his prime). This was interesting because it kept any of the other pyramids from reaching 9, except for the one I got to 10 (and capped). I was able to push a load of stuff that was hard to get to to 6s and my treasures gave me enough of a boost for the win. I pulled this out 119-112-96

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Le Havre

Without sticking my neck out too far, I'm making Le Havre the game of note for March. I know that it appears to be the current hot game with Matthew and Dion and I know that Mike G and Bobby like it. I suspect I'll really like it too, so I'd like to wrap my head around it before I sit down with the experienced sharks. Le Havre is Uwe Rosenberg (of Agricola fame). Apparently, Le Havre is also an "engine" game ala Agricola, PR, Caylus, etc, but more "gamery" than Agricola. I can't really go into more detail, because I just don't know any more than that. I suspect that I'll become a fanboy too - because what I really need is another longer game to grab my interest...

Monday, March 02, 2009


Nathan insisted we play another game of Samurai after our face to face encounter the other night (and by insisted, I mean he created a two-player game and sent me the info). So looking for a little redemption (or revenge) I agreed. Ok, I would have said yes regardless. We started with random hands, and the random draws conspired to hurt me. I drew my 0-replace-a-tile tile very early and didn't see my swap tile until the last draw (never played it). I also didn't see but one ship that I got to play for effect. Interestingly, I wasn't in bad shape most of the game. I forced a tie in the 3-city and we each got one totem. In fact, Nathan followed that by gathering a huge number of rice - but that's almost the only thing he got and I finally positioned the game to end with him having nearly all of the rice, and only like a couple other pieces. My two majorities were then good for the win. I'm up to over 50 plays of this game, and I still love it - though as I told Nathan, I'm prone to playing a lot then avoiding it for long periods of time.