Friday Night was game night at the Gamer's Inn, though it was a generally quiet night. Mike Gingold and Bobby Warren arrived just before I did and had started a game of Race for the Galaxy, so I went and grabbed some card sleeves and another cardboard card box for my son's Pokémon cards (I had found another couple of cheap pre-built decks at the Game Depot earlier in the day). When they were done, we pulled out Qwirkle Cubes so Bobby and Mike could try it out. I think they both preferred the original over this version, but hey - its Qwirkle. 5-6 other gamers had showed up at this point and they were all facilitated with watching us play, as they didn't pull out any games until we were done. One thing of note in this game was that the vast majority of the first set of cubes played were all stars. Since we all focused on the stars (they were scoring a lot of points, so it was hard not to), it was hard to get a lot of other things going. Bobby went out first and won with 125, I had 117 and Mike 109.
Mike then pulled out Steel Driver and Greg Perschbacher joined us. Steel Driver is something of a stock game with a vaguely Chicago Express feel to it. It is sufficiently different that I'm likely going to end up owning this as well. I probably played this a little too much like Chicago Express and didn't end up making enough money on any one company to compete with the 4 (of 5) shares in black that Mike had. The scores were all close (though I apparently lost them - I'll update when I get them from Bobby), but it was Mike for the win (he was the only one to have played before).
Bobby had time for something short, so he pulled out die Weinhändler - a little card auction / set collection game. I'm not sure what our deal was, but Greg and I were agonizing a bit much over the values of everything and then game dragged on a bit longer than it needed to. I believe that Greg pulled off the win with a very one colored pyramid of wine cards.
Bobby was leaving, so I got Mike to pull out Combat Commander: Europe. This is a really well done sqaud level WWII, CDG (card driven game). Yes, it has chits for the units, but not stacks of them. Yes the rules are a bit technical looking, but they are clear and after Mike explained it, they are not terribly complex. The game is extremely engaging and was a lot of fun. As we started, it looked like I was going to get a newbie squashing, but I took a little risk and was able to eliminate one flank of Mike's Russian troops. My other group of men holed up in a house and were nearly impossible for Mike to dig out, even with his heavy machine gun - thanks in part to TERRIBLE rolls. You'd think I was playing Jason Sato or Rob Smolka (btw, Jason would have LOVED this game). Just when it looked like beginner's luck was going to rule the day, Mike slowly was able to push me back a bit and finally flushed me out of the house and took it over. Now the tide had gone back the other way. The game's timer was getting close to the end and I was pretty sure I was ahead by a few points, so I started discarding cards rapidly when I didn't have orders to fire at the Russians (the goal being to eat through both our card decks to advance the timer further). Mike managed to avoid most of the time cards by re-rolling, but the decks running out forced the end of the game around 8 I believe. We tallied it all up and I had managed a 4 point win. The game took about 2.5 hours with him explaining the rules and this being my first playing - also, as I said, Mike avoided a lot of sudden death checks. I imagine this gets much faster. I need to get my copy punched and cards sleeved. I really can't wait to play this again.