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.