Saturday, February 27, 2010

Game Night

This evening's game plan didn't quite go as expected. The original plan was to play a quick two player game of Starcraft: The Board Game at my place with Robert Bolan and I. Robert ended up having to move some stuff, and unexpectedly, Nathan Winchester and Matt Longieliere were available, so they popped in and we played 3-players. We random picked factions with Matt as the Protos (yellow), Nathan the Terrans (red), and myself as the Zerg (green). It has been a while since I've played and so of course I had at least one turn where I did my orders backwards. Not only that, I forgot what color I was when looking at the scoring track, so I thought i was winning. As it turned out, the end game came on pretty quickly and I was not in position to win like I hoped. Both Nathan and I had our sudden death victory conditions, but he was leading in the point standing. Oh well - next time.
After we finished, we waffled about trying to decide what to do. It was getting late and sounded like there were a load of folks at the Gamer's Inn, but I just wasn't up for heading over there and waiting forever to start playing something, so Matt Nathan and I mulled over my collection a bit and eventually settled on Java. I really enjoy this game from the Mask Trilogy - the spatial game and the puzzle solving aspects are really fun to me. I jumped out to a big early lead with the water (which Nathan and Matt overlooked as being huge point opportunities until I scored a bunch) but Matt and Nathan made up for that with private palace festivals. I saw my chance near the end of the game to end the game and score first, so I took advantage of that, but didn't get out far enough in front - Nathan and I end up tied.
So, I got to play two good games I haven't seen in a while, but I didn't get to head to the Inn to catch up with some old friends who were in town. Luckily for me, they will be moving to Mesa soon enough.

Monday, February 22, 2010

PBEM Olympics - Puerto Rico Game 1

Another game in the books. Yes, we finally finished the first heat of Puerto Rico. For the record - I suck at this game. I finished dead last, in large part from a failure to generate any kind of income to start the game. I had far too many rounds where I passed builds from lack of funds. Chester won with a massive 65 pts. He shipped early and often. Justin was in second with his 54 pts. Justin thought he had no chance, but his 24 pts in buildings + 14 bonus brought him up a lot. Nathan was in third at 49 points and I was no where in the building with 39 pts (no bonus pts). Even if I had got my bonus building set with a worker, I was only going to nab another 7 points. I need a serious comeback in game two to even have a chance at a medal.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Uchinoke Islands

After all my recent games of Samurai, I found some of the alternate maps that I had looked at at one time or another and finally spent a little bit finishing one. This map is one of the alternate maps that came with the Klear games version of Samurai. I had to add in the markers for 1-2-3 cities on the map and add a title, but otherwise pretty much just re-sized the images and put them all together. The map, once correctly scaled to the normal playing pieces comes out around 20"x24". Now I'll just have to get this printed. The internet printer I've used before requires that you purchase 2 prints, so I'll probably have to work up another one of the alternate maps as well. Then I'll just need to find something appropriate to mount them on.

PBEM Olypic Standings

Medal count after 1 event









PBEM Olympics - Samurai Game 4

The last of four games of Samurai on MaBiWeb finished today. In this game, Nathan (green) needed to win and have Chester finish last in order for him to medal at all. Justin (blue) and I needed to ensure Chester (yellow) didn't win while beating each other out to get gold. Nathan and I began with pieces on Edo (3-spot) while Justin went to the southern island and Chester a bit to the northern island. I used a lot of power pieces early in an attempt to try and limit Justin to almost only rice pieces. Nathan was kicking ass, while the rest of us looked to be pushing equally forward. In fact, it was my concern that Chester was going to storm back at the end that was my own undoing. I counted up the pieces and setup the board such that Nathan would have to end the game (he'd win, Chester would be last). Unfortunately, I made a major mistake and Justin beat me out for second place. By no means will I claim that Justin's Gold Medal for the Samurai event was due to my poor play - he played really well the whole set of games. I looked back later and I'm pretty sure now that I couldn't have prevented Justin beating me. I just didn't have the right pieces I needed at the end of the game. Congratulations to Justin for the gold medal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

PBEM Olympics - Mykerinos Game 1

After finishing our first game of Mykerinos for the PBEM Olympics, a couple of things became apparent:
  • Justin is going to kick our asses
  • I don't really care for the game. I don't hate it, but I struggle to wrap my head around it or something. I seem to do ok at times, and other times, I really suck.
  • Chester doesn't seem to care for the game.
I looked at the 4-player records for the players. Justin (including this game) has won 6 of 8 games on MaBiWeb. I don't think any of us have a load of experience with this game except Justin. Maybe we're pouring our energy into Samurai, but this one lacks the same tension that our other series has acquired.
At any rate, Justin did indeed win the game with a final score of - Justin: 48, Charles: 46, Nathan: 34, Chester: 31. Going into the last round, it was apparent to me that I had no ability to keep Justin from scoring points, nor any ability to collect more than he was going to be able to. In my head, I think I had him scoring more than he actually finished with, but it doesn't matter - a win is a win.

LotR - TC:DE

After finishing his homework the other day, my son asked me to teach him a new game. I looked around and realized I had just the thing. Lord of the Rings - The Confrontation: Deluxe Edition. This is one I managed to finally snag in a trade a little while back, but hadn't even gone so far as to read the rules on. At any rate, I pulled it out, scanned the rules and set about explaining how to play. Luckily, the rules are pretty straight forward - move forward. Attacks are like Stratego, but with a twist - you also play a card from your hand. Most have more numbers, but some let you play a card you've already played or some such. In addition, each piece has text that allows you to win over another or break a rule. Ashton took the forces of Sauron, whilst I took on the Fellowship and attempted to return the One Ring to Mt. Doom. I apparently make a bad Frodo, as Ashton came out with the victory. This is a Knizia game and after playing, I can see where a few plays to get a feel for all the pieces will not make the game stale, but rather will bring the game to life. My son has apparently taken a shine to the game as well, as he has already asked for us to play again after school tomorrow.

PBEM Olympics - Samurai Game 3

The third game (of four) of Samurai on MaBiWeb finished today. This game saw Nathan (green) take his turn getting abused. With Chester (yellow) in the back of the standings and following me in the turn order, I did what I could to feed ideal setups for stealing pieces from Justin (blue). I also managed to really hurt Nathan three turns in a row and he only squeaked out four pieces by the end of the game. We had a situation near the start of the game where it looked like Chester and I might tie all three of the pieces in Edo, which would have made for a very tense sudden-death game. It didn't come to pass though. So now we are on to the final game and things should really heat up. This game saw us finish - 1st: Chester, 2nd: Charles, 3rd: Justin, 4th: Nathan. With this, the standing through 3 games are: 6pts: Charles and Justin, 4pts: Chester, 2pt: Nathan. This means that Nathan needs to outright win the last game while putting Chester into 4th for Nathan to medal at all. Justin and I will be battling for position, as the one that finishes ahead of the other should win the gold - unless Chester wins the game and Justin and I finish 3rd and 4th, since he wins the tie breaker. So basically, we all have a pretty vested interest in beating up on Chester.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oh the Horror

I was reading about Jason Maxwell's adventures in solo Arkham Horror, so I had some time today and thought I'd give it another solo whirl. I went with three investigators (at random): Monterey Jack (aka The Archaeologist), Vincent Lee (aka The Doctor), and Gloria Goldberg (aka The Author). The town of Arkham and was pitted against Ithaqua. Well, with an inexperienced player, some bad dice, and a bad card draw, the town and its inhabitants never had a chance. Five rounds in and I hadn't closed a gate, hadn't had a gate collision (so the doom track and gates were at 5), and my best shot at closing a gate had gone up in flames when Gloria tried and tried to kill a horror in another dimension and couldn't roll 3 passes on 8 dice. My 6th round card was one that put 5 monster on the card and one new one each round. When it got to 8, the terror track shot to 10 and I just never had a chance after that. Now, I've never played this with a group, but the thing that seems to take the longest to me is simply the setup of the game. I can get through monster movement and such pretty quickly, I'm not sure what all the fuss is. Even if I was doing it for the group, it isn't a big deal. No, the real problem with this game is that it gives me a similar feel to Pandemic while being 8x more fiddly. In all fairness, AH oozes with theme. Ah well. I'll probably keep pulling it out on occasion, but it still is just so-so.

Monday, February 08, 2010

PBEM Olympics - Samurai Game 2

The second game of Samurai on MaBiWeb finished today. This game saw Chester (yellow) get brutalized. It always feels like one person gets the short end of the stick and it was Chester this time around. Nathan (green) and Justin (blue) took a couple of turns in the mid-game stealing everything in sight. I was positioned slightly out of the path of the storm and was just trying not to get screwed like in the first game. As the game winded down, I was worried that I was not going to be able to secure a majority - it looked a lot like Justin or Nathan were going to tie my two strong suits - hats and rice. Fortunately for me, Justin never got his swap tile until it was too late (ie - it was his last tile drawn). Nathan was able to end the game, choosing to let me win rather than give Justin a huge two-firsts in two games. I somehow ended up with 12 totems (two majorities no less). 1st: Charles, 2nd: Justin, 3rd: Chester, 4th: Nathan.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


My son asked to play something today and opted for a game we've tried before - Airships. This little dice game works well for the two of us - he can handled the limited math and seems to understand the scoring system surprisingly well. I had to glance through the rules to get myself back to understanding the system again, but once that was in place, we were racing to improve our Zeppelin building empire. Ashton managed to get a couple of good cards with victory points on them early on. I pointed out that he had only a single red dice to use most of the game, but despite that, he was doing well and kept scoring Zeppelin cards. I was trying to keep up, but in the end, he won by a good margin 21-15. This is another game that I may have to tote along to the Geekway - I think we'll have a couple of games we play that need a side game ;)

Game Night

I had some friends over to my place to play a few games on Friday night. Nathan Winchester, Matt Longiliere, and Robert Bolan were the first to arrive, and so I pulled out Buried Treasure for us to play while we waited for the rest of the players to arrive. Buried Treasure is a little Sid Sackson card game. Where each round the person with the most (and second most) cards in each of the four colors scores points. The amount of points are randomly determined each round, making some colors vastly more valuable than others. One twist - if you tie for the lead, neither you nor your other tie-er can vie for points, thus making the next person in line the winner of the points. In the basics game, you simply take turns taking cards from the various piles and then add up the points. In the advanced version, each person has a small set of cards they can play rather than drawing. We played two games - one basic and one advanced and I managed to sneak out wins in both!
By the time we finished, Liz Longiliere, Matthew Frederick and Amelia Boli had arrived. Matt L joined the newcombers to teach/play Dungeon Lords. Nathan Robert and I pulled out Khronos to give it a go (hopefully by playing the rules correctly). I continued my winning streak with a hugely lucky streak of cards - every single hand of cards I had was awesome. I won 53 to 30 (Nathan) to 14 (Robert) thanks to the great cards. I still like this game and am starting to see how to play it. With three players, most of the action takes place in the first two boards. With four players I can see where the action moves to the later stages. Though I don't know that this will see a ton of continued play, it is still a decent game and not a terribly long one - and still has interesting decisions and play.
Next up, Nathan wanted to play a little Samurai (which Robert really wanted to learn), so I pulled this and Sushizock im Gockelwok for us to play. Yes, two games. Sushizock is fairly light and good filler while the other players take their turns in other games. Robert being new to Samurai meant he had no chance at all against Nathan and I (this is the most played game I tracked on the BGG). This also meant that when Robert attacked the pieces I was going after and not so much on Nathan, that I was going to have a hard time beating Nathan. In the end, Nathan and I each had a majority, and the same number of other pieces - however, Nathan had a single piece more than I did overall, and thus got the win. As consolation, Robert won two games of Sushizock while learning Samurai.
We finished the night by playing a game of Thunderstone. Our setup had us with the Thief, Fighter-Thief, Fighter-Cleric, and Fighter (outland guys). The monsters were Humanoid, Undead-Doom, and Doomknights. In our village, we had only one weapon and one major spell - fireball. The rest of the deck was pretty meh. Though we seemed to be fighting against the fact that none of us could see (ie we had very little to no light in our decks), we had a load of attacks that pretty much let us past this obstacle. When we finished, Nathan had slain the most and most worthwhile monsters (38 points), I was nearby with 33, and Robert at the back with 13. Though a pain (the same as Dominion) to setup and put away, I still like this a little better. The theme just seems better to me. Even with an uninteresting setup like we had, it was no worse than Dominion. When you get a fun or interesting set of cards, the game gets even better. In our case, the monsters were of a similar type and taken out with the fighter types and cleric-fighter easily enough. If there had been some magic types, it might have changed the dynamic a lot as you'd have to ready your deck for either.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

PBEM Olympics - Samurai Game 1

The first event to get started this year was Samurai on MaBiWeb. This was a really interesting game - not in the general play of it, but in the way the game finished. Typically in a 4-player game, one of the players gets screwed the whole time. Apparently, this was my game to be the guy being bent over. As the game neared the end, I realized I had ZERO chance of being anything but the biggest loser. Thus, I positioned the game such that Justin (blue) would win the game (I was going with the assumption that Chester (yellow) was going to be the harder player to beat of the two of them and didn't want to give him a leg up in the points). What happened next, I hadn't planned at all. We decided that the positioning for the game would be based on: After determining the winner, the next place would be determined using the normal scoring rules for Samurai, but simply taking the winner and their pieces out of consideration. Thus, after awarding first place to Justin - Nathan (green), who didn't originally have a majority, suddenly had a majority and beat Chester out for second place. When it came down to Chester and I - I suddenly had a majority in rice. When the other pieces were counted, I had more and thus placed third. Chester, who had played a good game and looked likely to win a turn or two earlier, suddenly found himself in forth place. An odd twist of events. Now, I'm not smart enough to play this game for that kind of positioning, but I'm guessing the next couple of games should be pretty interesting.

PBEM Olympics

After a recent online game of Samurai, Chester Ogborn had an idea for a PBEM Olympics. Together with Nathan Winchester, and Justin Easley we are going to play a series of different PBEM games. Chester compiled quite the list of games from various sites (a good number of which none of us have ever tried). The plan is to play 4 games of each game, awarding points and then a medal after each game series. The Olympics then start to take on something of its own meta game, since if one person starts to pull away in any one event/game, the other players are likely to make choices in other games to simply hurt their overall standing. I imagine this will be going on for a long time :)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Game Night

Friday Jan 29, 2010 - Gamer's Inn
This particular game night at the Gamer's Inn was Robert Bolan's first night sitting down with us. Robert is one of my co-workers who I convinced to come out to join us. In addition, Nathan Winchester and Matt Longieliere and his wife Liz Longieliere were present. We started the night out with a little Ticket to Ride. We simply played the base game, as I realized my 1910 cards were at home. However I did bring my Mayday Deluxe Train set, so we all played with the wooden trains in stead of plastic. Whooooo whooooo! The game chugged along at a steady pace, with the only thing of note was Matt taking tickets early and often. Myself, I ended up connecting San Francisco to LA to New york and Atlanta. I took a couple more tickets, but mostly started throwing out sets of cards to extend the length of my line. When we finally added it all up, I felt like I was in pretty good shape - all my tickets were done (and I had some good ones), I beat out Nathan by a couple of trains for the longest line, but ended up in a tie with Matt. As it turns out, the tiebreaker is number of tickets. It looked like Matt had about half the deck of tickets, so he easily won that tie breaker.
Next up I pulled out Age of Empires III.This is a game I always really enjoy, but don't play half as much as I should. I ended up last in the turn order to start the game and didn't have much in the way of options, so I grabbed a number of specialists and loaded up the discovery section. I also purchased a capital building to give me an extra colonist a turn. In the next round I sent a number of guys to the new world and did a discovery. By this time, Matt had cornered the ships and goods (he had a merchant or captain each turn) and was not letting anyone else in on his action. Liz had a captain in the discovery box each round and thus it looked like she'd be my main competition for discoveries. Nathan didn't seem to settle on a particular strategy and when he committed to making some discoveries, had a run of bad luck losing to the natives three times. Robert also didn't quite settle on a strategy until the end of the game when it was to little too late. I dove head first into sending a bazillion folks over to the new world using the missionaries and the Cathedral (making each missionary worth three colonists). I was a bit worried about Matt and all the goods and ships he had, but his devotion to that as nearly his only victory point engine was his undoing. Robert sent soldiers over to the new world to thin me out, but it wasn't until the last two rounds he was able to start his ethnic cleansing. By that time, I had a good lead in points and enough people that I was able to weather most of his efforts. I was fairly certain that I had screwed myself in round three of the game, so was surprised I won. In the third round I had the chance to buy the capital giving me an immediate $20 - I also had a chance to place a guy to give me two buildings. Instead, I placed my last worker in discoveries and built a different building. What I realized right after I did it was that I needed to go with my original plan so that I'd have the extra cash to purchase a capital right away at the start of the second age. Instead, I headed into round four with $4 (not the $14 I needed). I was so frustrated that I was playing so poorly, but stuck with it and did well enough to win. Sometimes you just need a little stick-with-it-ness. Final scores were: me 87, Matt 72, Liz 71, Nathan 68, Robert 42
We ended the night by playing a little Frank's Zoo. It has been forever since I've played this (I looked it up and it has been nearly three years since I've played this little gem). Everyone else was new to the game, so I went over how the game works and we began. For the entire game, Matt was able to always be in the right place at the right time - not only going out first, but grabbing those stacks of cards loaded with lions and hedgehogs. It took about 4 hands for Matt to win the game and nobody else was even close.