Thursday, May 07, 2009

Geekway to the West 2009 - Saturday

Finally getting around to posting about day two of the Geekway. Saturday is always interesting, because for us, its the last day and there is a ton of stuff going on. There are tourneys and of course the trade table. The trade table lets you put in 1-10 games and after everyone has a game in, they draw one lucky starter. That person gets to pick a game and then the person that got picked picks one and so forth until the table is empty. This year's table took about 10 hours for them to get through, but went smoothly. I took three games out this year: Shear Panic, Scotland Yard, and Qwirkle. Shear Panic was an ok game that I had played once, liked and traded for. Then had NEVER even pulled it off my shelf. I decided this was a good time to trade this, as I wouldn't have to ship the fragile pieces. I had received notice that Qwirkle Cubes had been released, so I ordered those before leaving and decided to get rid of Qwirkle. The wooden blocks in Qwirkle were too irregular for me and the colors were too hard to see in dim light - the cubes looked to be much brighter (they are a bit brighter). Lastly, Scotland Yard was a thrift find (the box was a bit worn, but the contents were like new) and I had another copy, so I decided to trade off the large box version here rather than try and ship it later. Qwirkle went early (to my surprise) and I grabbed a NIS copy of Hamburgum. A decent trade up, even if I just trade it away later. It took a while before I got a second pick, which ended up happening when Shear Panic was taken. At that point, there were a lot of bundles (not appealing since I had a limited space to take things back) and a lot of stuff I already had. I ended up taking a NIS copy of Arkham Horror. Ultimately tradable and I missed it a little. Now, Scotland yard was getting to be a really late pick. By the time it got taken, there wasn't much left on the table - however there was one thing I wanted. Scream Machine. Since I got Scotland Yard as a thrift find, it was an equal trade for me (and a huge trade up in space).
Before I begin the session reports: Yippie Aye A - Mini Sirloin Burgers. Game on - Galaxy Trucker! - 6:30 AM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter Saturday morning we arrived and I grabbed Galaxy Trucker off the Play to Win table as a good starter for us (Jason Easley, Justin Easley, Nathan Winchester and I). All of us had played before except Nathan, so we explained the rules and got started. The first round was quick and uneventful, but in the second round Justin had a small mistake which I caught while examining his ship. He had not flipped his board, so we had to redo round two. Then, in the third round, things got interesting. Galaxy Trucker. Nathan 51, Charles 44, Jason 35, Justin 24 and finished the last race with only his start pod. - 7:56 AM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter Jason started by almost immediately cutting of the right side of his ship. Then during the race, Justin's ship was picked apart until he had only his starting cabin and a sole survivor. He lucked out and there was not any open space left and he sailed across (drifted across) the line. He even managed to win the beauty prize as his four exposed sides were the least of all of us. Nathan managed to squeak out the win here and it was a good start to the day.

Age of Steam - Scand. Jay Moore, Michael Pennisi, Nathan and myself - 8:40 AM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter Next up for the day was a scheduled game of Age of Steam with Jay Moore. Neither Easleys felt like playing, so Nathan and I found Jay and he also grabbed Michael Pennisi to join us. We had a lot of maps to choose from and settled on Scandinavia. Jay, Nathan, and I all spent money early to get a sea lane, while Mike worked by himself on setting up a line across the bottom of the map. The sea lanes are not nearly as important as in Ireland and for the cost, are hit or miss. Mike struggled for the first couple rounds, but after that he was in great shape (as is usual when someone gets left alone in AoS). In the end, he won by exactly the amount he saved by taking less shares than me. Age of Steam final - charles 57, mike-69, Nathan-23, jay-45 - 11:08 AM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter

Crokinole vs chad stierwalt and bobby stierwalt. We won 100+ to 35. - 12:09 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter After the AoS game, we managed to get in our first Crokinole match of the day in Chester's Crokinole tournament. Justin and I played against the father-son combo of Chad and Bobby Stierwalt. We actually only played one game (not recognizing that it was best two of three), which we won. Later in the day, we realized the error and finished the match with a super fast game where Justin and I nailed a number of center shots. The board we played on was significantly slower than what I was used to, and it took me a while to not short shot everything. None of us were great, but we all had a good time.

Pulled Bombay from the play to win table to try out - 12:10 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter The Easley brothers and Nathan and I were trying to figure out what to play next, so I pulled Bombay off the Play to Win table. This Ystari game certain looks nice, so I thought we should give it a try. Though I don't have an official "Stinker of Geekway" award, this would be the 2009 winner for all of us (Manilla wins for last year). As we setup and went through the rules, Jay Little noticed us playing and pointed out that by passing each round, you could score 18 points and thus any score less than that should be considered an abysmal failure. Well, as it turned out, the scores were 18-18-18-14 (Nathan won the tiebreaker if anyone cares - we didn't). Nothing about the game was really compelling and we were all a little disappointed. Bombay is basically a pickup and deliver game that is short and with a bit of hidden scoring. Sounds good. Looks good. Nothing special. Bombay - Nathan 18(win), Charles 18, Justin 14, Jason 18. Jay Little pointed out that we could have passed and scored 18 points... - 12:41 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter

Next up is Confucius from the Play to win table. - 1:02 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter On the flip side of that stinker was this beauty - Confucius. This was also a Play to Win game that not many people checked out. Likely because nobody knew what it was. I wish we had played this first, because I would have liked another play of it. We pulled it down and started going through the rules, which took us forever. The rules are a bit wordy and filled with examples, we had trade table stuff going on in the middle - plus Justin and I had to finish our Crokinole match. However, once we got going, we had a great time. This is something of a action/worker placement game with a Chinese theme (duh). There are a limited amount of ways to earn victory points which makes things tight (most of the points are not awarded until the end of the game, so there isn't always a clear idea of who is leading either). The game also has a unique system where players can buy and then give gifts to other players, obligating them to you (or you to them). In many cases, the obligation is mutually beneficial and there are a number of ways to cancel the obligation. We all really liked this one and it moved to my must buy list. Nathan won a close game by a point, with the scores being 16-15-14-13. Rules on Confucius took forever for a number of interruptions - however, the game is pretty fun. This is now a for sure wanted item. - 3:20 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitterCrokinole round two coming up. The Droids UR Looking 4 (us) vs team War Rocket Ajax (Chester Ogborn and scott reed) - 3:33 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitterSomewhere in the middle of this game, Justin and I took 5 minutes of time out to go get killed by Scott Reed and Chester Ogborn in Crokinole. Like we had done to the Stierwalts, Scott did to us - center shot after center shot. It was bad. Totally schooled by War Rocket Ajax in Crokinole - 4:59 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter

Playing Chicago Express with Justin, Jason, And Nathan now. I still blow at this game - 5:01 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter Nathan wanted another shot at Chicago Express and I wanted another entry in it for the Play to Win table, so we grabbed this again. I warned Nathan that the four-player game would be dramatically different this time around. In fact, this game was unlike any of the other CE games I have played. Justin won red, Jason green, Nathan blue and I won yellow. I went before Nathan and managed to cut off blue almost immediately. We also diluted red immediately. Justin ended up with only one more share (yellow) the entire game. Where this got weird is that Justin managed to manipulate the game to an ending about 5 turns in. Despite his two stocks, he lost by only a point. I wasn't paying attention and bid on a share right before he ended the game. Had I not done that, I'd have easily won instead of placing fourth. Jason realized a nice win here, with Nathan being in a mostly confused 3rd. There are a lot of things that shape the game, including the initial turn order and seating at the table and initial line growth. I'm starting to see the strategies here and much like Samurai - once it started to click for me, became even more interesting. This has now moved into my top 10 games.

Crokinole - Nathan and me vs the Easley's - 5:56 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter Justin and Jason were planning to take off for the night (and con), so I talked them into a quick match of Crokinole to finish the Geekway (for them). Nathan and I took on the brothers and we squeaked out a win. This is really a great team game and can be played really quickly. I'm glad Chester was able to get a tourney going for the Geekway this year. After we were done, we went and grabbed a quick bite at Taco Bell and then said our goodbyes. I had a great time playing with those Easley brothers and wish they were closer as I really like playing games with them. Hopefully we'll see them again at a convention next year.

Going to try out 2 de Mayo - 7:33 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter Nathan had been wanting to try 2 de Mayo all weekend, but it had constantly been checked out. We finally were able to track it down and try it out. Basically, its an abstract (one guy tries to keep all his pieces on the board, the other has to move his to certain spots AND eliminate the other guy) themed around something that happened in Madrid on May 2nd 1808 between the French and Spanish. I'm the French - better just give up now - 7:41 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter I was the French and needed to surrender immediately (that's what they do, right?). Failed to kill all the guys and Nathan's spanish won - 8:16 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter I didn't manage to eliminate Nathan, nor did I effectively use my powers and lost by a wide margin after 10 turns. This one had a lot of plays and I need to give it another chance, but that evening I was tired and the game didn't impress me much.

Last effort to get in something - I taught him to play Race For the Galaxy. We got through the rules and played 1 card - 9:35 PM Apr 25th from TinyTwitter Nathan had asked about Race for the Galaxy - there had been a tourney and so on - so with about 15 minutes left before we had to go, I grabbed this and went through the rules for Nathan. Not really a play, but at least he got an idea of what the game is. I'm sure I'd have to re-explain before we could play again, but he got the jist of it.


Jaybird said...

2 de Mayo is nothing special. Until about the 3-4th play. It would work really well if you played it with someone who understood it on the same level. But it is not until you play it 3, 4, or 5 times that you "get" the game.

I think our setup for Confucius was about perfect.

1. You, who just about everybody pays special attention to beating in any game.

2. Nathan, the innocent newcomer (at least to us).

3. Justin and I, the two brothers who try to stay away from backstabbing each other, but you just never know, do you?

Good group dynamic, and I think the game really took off because of it. The way we played the game (even though I don't think we came close to seeing the tremendous amount of positioning that could be done) was memorable because the game was good and the guys playing it were pretty diverse and more than slightly suspicious of everyone else.

Confucius is a standard Euro with a huge dose of political skulduggery tossed in. It also seems to me to be one of the more dynamic games we played.

Matthew Frederick said...

I'm totally with you on Bombay. Such a disappointment, I'm really stunned that it's a Ystari release.