Man, it has been busy summer - and we just started. I would have had this posted sooner, but the BGG was down again, so no links or pics were available. First off, last Thursday was a three-way Heroscape match. Erik VonBurg and Nathan Winchester came over and we ended up playing Bridge to the Forgotten Forest: Fall of the Dumutef Bridge. Erik had to hold the bridge against the combined might of Nathan and I. Armies drafted were - Charles: Minions and werewolves, Nathan: Sacred Band and Heroes to match, Erik: Dumutef Guards, Raelin, rats, Valkries, snipers and elven archers. Of course, Erik got reinforcements a couple of times during the game. This one was weird in that nobody drafted a ranged guy - a fact that we all missed until we started playing. Erik took advantage of that by getting some snipers later in the game, but my Minions were able to make a good push to keep Erik off the bridge. The team battle was fun and I got to see a few new combos. All I really see is the need to add more duplicates (more on that later).
Friday night was game night at the Gamer's Inn. The night started slowly and the first group of folks to arrive included Jerry George. Of course, I was in no hurry to sit down to a game with him, and I was waiting for Matthew and Amelia to get in a game of Confucius. After a while though, I got a note from Matthew that they'd be a little late, so I got talked into a game of Go West! with Dion Garner, Ray Morgan and Jerry. I had never played Go West! before and it was neither terrible, nor special. I kidded Dion that the last player (me) was screwed, because I was in WAY last place after a couple of guys scored the board. However, I shot out to a good sized lead and then held out the rest of the game. The trick was really to simply take the first and last territories and control them for scoring. Everyone moved the wagons off the last spot to keep me from scoring them (thus taking them out of the game).
Matthew Frederick and Amelia Boli had arrived as we finished up and they played a quick game of Balloon Cup while they waited. After everyone was done, I setup Confucius and we were joined by Dan Brugman. I have a hard time describing Confucius - it is a worker placement game with a unique little negotiation tool built in through the means of obligating other players to you through the use of gifts. There are a very limited amount of points to be earned in the game, so it has a nice tense feeling to it - I spend most of the game feeling like I either need another action, or that I'm an action behind everyone else and just following them. This game was especially bad, as I screwed up my first turn and then spent the rest of the games counting the number of actions I was wasting. The only thing keeping me in the game was that I appeared to be the only person using the student for the majority of the game (Amelia stepped in to steal it a couple times). Matthew won a close game with 21 points, Dan at 20, myself at 18, and Amelia with 7 points. I think we didn't do the bribery quite right (I don't think you can bribe and official that is un-secured by another player), but I'm pretty sure this only hosed me. The rules aren't entirely clear - I think I need to re-read through them. Regardless, this is a really fun game and might make my top 10 here after another playing or two.
After Confucius, Matthew and Amelia settled on playing a three-player game of Le Havre. I've been playing this a bit on the computer (as the short, solo version) and have found it to be a bit mechanical. Playing face to face (in a full game) is much better - shocking I know. This one is still a bit more mechanical than Agricola, but a good game none the less. This was only my second sit down playing of the game, but I was determined to get a ship (or two) as early as I could to avoid drowning in debt for food. This paid off really well for me (especially since Amelia took all the cattle). Though I felt pretty behind most of the game, it was apparent in the last 3-4 rounds that I had a decent shot. I was able to load up on coal and turn it into coke and then ship it and the cattle I had for really good money in the last round. There is a lesson there - if you build up the energy reserve and have enough ships, you only need to ship once, not lots of times. I admit I had a secret reservation about playing, but I did enjoy it and even got a win. Charles: 175, Amelia: 129, Matthew: 142.
On Saturday, I finished my first game in the online In The Year of the Dragon tournament. This was one of those games where everything that could go right, did go right. I was first player (I'll be interested to see how many first player wins there are) and took the dragon scroll x2. I never looked back. Of course, I'm not doing as well in any of my other games. I think I still prefer Notre Dame over ItYotD by a little bit. Saturday night, Erik came by for a quick game of Heroscape. We played Mirming's Lair, which is a two-player scenario where the first player to kill the dragon and get home with his heart wins the game. Both of us selected teams (rather than draft) and I got screwed. I pulled out a vampire and Major Q9 team. Erik pulled out a Blastitron / Gladitron + Deathwalker team. His soulborgs were immune to my most powerful ability. With very little in the way of power to combat Erik, my troops took their beating in short order. I didn't have the troops to contain him and he was able to get two attack glyphs and high ground that let his Blastitrons tear me up. It was a good army and has me thinking about how to best take it apart.