Sunday, March 28, 2010

Things of No Interest

  • Well, what's new and not interesting? I think I'll have more nickles in 2010 than ever before - mostly thanks to the PBEM Olympics. By playing a load of four game series, I'm right there at the cusp of the nickle. In many cases, I've had to play one game just to get the rules down or re-figure the game out. I've also been a lot more inclined to play a lot of my older games than I have in the past. I don't know why - probably a combination of things. I've hit the saturation point on my collection. A lot of games I see or look into are just derivative of a game I have and the crop of recent games aren't over the top interesting (the exception being Chaos in the New World which is great). I'm also enjoying getting into the potential I saw in a lot of games by getting multiple plays. The flip side of that is that there are games that didn't deserve four (let alone five) playings. Puerto Rico, I'm speaking to you.
  • Speaking of the PBEM Olympics, things are as Chester Ogborn suggested they might be - the metagame is almost as interesting as the games themselves. Thus far in our games, there is usually one guy who jumps out to a lead in the heats leaving the rest to fight for second and third. It also makes for "playing just to screw someone" moments. Sometimes you do something that screws the guy in third place instead of the leader, because you need to make sure the guy in third stays there. Sometimes you screw that guy because he screwed you in another game. Regardless, it is fun and adds a bit of unpredictability to some otherwise predictable games.
  • I really like Heroscape. I LOVE the comic hero version. It is too bad that Hasbro / WoC decided (or were forced to) take the comics off the table. It is pretty cool that the Heroscape community has so many customs that can use cheap Heroclix minis because they really are a blast to play.
  • I have WAY too many cards for A Game of Thrones LCG. Especially since I've only played it once. I finally broke down and bought a 3200 card deck box and dividers. Now, I don't have 3200 cards, but I'll load it up with all the CCG/LCG stuff I have (and maybe even Thunderstone).
  • When is a deal too good to pass up? When it is Roads and Boats + &Cetra for $115 (plus $12 shipping). I don't know if I really want/need this, but $200 worth of games for $127? Worse case scenario, I'll math trade them.
  • I swapped out all the little tiny wood bits from Through the Ages for glass stones. It is a small little parts upgrade, but the glass stones really look nice.

Putting the Hero in Heroscape

Since we had our big map already built (and since I wasn't going to take it down without getting a couple of games on it first), Ashton and I decided to get a couple more games of Heroscape in this weekend. On Saturday, we grabbed all of Ashton's comic heroes. I went with the Fantastic Three - The Thing, Mr. Fantastic, and The Human Torch (The Invisible Woman suffered a tragic "dog" episode). Ashton then chose Annihilus, Ghost Rider and with the last 50 points, he chose the Tarn Viking Warriors. Ghost Rider is pretty cool, getting to move really quickly and with some good attacks that let him go after two adjacent guys - and to top it off, he's really cool looking. Annihilus has a load of defense and pretty good attack if he doesn't move, so once he's in a spot, he is tough. The FF (FT) work best as a team, so I ran The Thing up to meet the Vikings and he took them out quickly. I then used Mr. Fantastic to pin down Annihilus while the Human Torch worked him over. Annihilus was having none of that and took out Mr. Fantastic. The Human Torch and The Thing were left facing off against The Ghost Rider who managed a couple of good attacks and took the The Thing down to one life. In a last ditch effort, The Thing pulled off a wrestling move and sent the Ghost Rider to the land of the dead.
For our game on Sunday, Ashton wanted to pick first this time. He again chose Annihilus, but then grabbed The Thing (after seeing how awesome he is) and Hawkeye. I decided to give The Thing a match with another bruiser and chose the Hulk. I also grabbed a flying ranged guy with Thanos (who also has the ability to come back after dying). With my remaining points, I chose the Mandroid. I started by running the Mandroid to the defensive marker while the Hulk and Thanos used their massive moves to cross the board and start the attacks. The Hulk flew into a rage immediately and took out poor Hawkeye. Annihilus devastated Thanos with a huge roll of 8 skulls. The Hulk took revenge on Annihilus immediately, but the damage had been done and Thanos never made it back to the board. The Hulk and The Thing then squared off for an epic battle and the Thing pulled off a win by the skin of his teeth, holding only a single life. Ashton then raced The Thing to the healing marker and with his rejuvenated hero, he hunted down the Madnroid and smashed him.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Ashton has been trying to get me to play some Heroscape with him, so I set up a map for us the other night. I looked around and found a fairly complex but cool looking map and got it setup. Despite the fairly sever elevation changes, I went with a straight forward Samurai army rather than a load of flying guys. Ashton wanted to play with the new elemental guys, so neither of us took advantage of the terrain at all. As we battled back and forth, the biggest problem for me was that I didn't have the firepower to take out his Ice Elemental and despite destroying the rest of his troops, he won by pounding me with that guy.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Gaming

Friday March 26, 2010 - Gamer's Inn
The day actually kicked off a little early as I taught Robert Bolan how to play GIPF. I really enjoy this one for its opportunities for clever play and the speed with which a game can be completed. Robert and I weren't playing too heavy and we simply played the basic rules so he could learn something new. I whittled him down until he had nothing left to play.
The night at the Gamer's Inn started later, with Nathan Winchester and I meeting up with Robert, Jake Troken, Matt Cullinan, and Brendan Coffee. I pulled out Power Grid and we gave the Korea map a whirl. I'm not a huge fan of this six players, but this game was ok and the plant distribution worked out alright. I started well in back, but made my surges at the right times and pushed us into step two and grabbed my end game plants early enough for the late surge. Unfortunately, I mis-played in purchasing fuel and came up short one city in the second to last round. In the final round, Matt and Jake each powered 14 cities while I was my one city back. If I had not screwed up, I think I would have won the game. As it was, Jake won with $5 in his hand to Matt's zero.

The last game of the night was one that I specifically requested from Steve Bauer, who was happy to bring it out. I had asked him to bring Amun-Re. This is the next event in our online Olympics and I wanted to get in a game before we started and Nathan wanted to get the lowdown on the rules. Steve went through the game, but then Nathan bailed out for the night. Steve still wanted to play, so he and I were joined by James Smyth and Rob Romano. For the record, I just don't enjoy this game. My biggest complaint with the game is that the cards can really favor you, or go against you. With this game being a standard Knizia tight scoring/auction game, I dislike this part of the game. The rest of the mechanics are fine and this is probably one of his best themed game, but I just don't care for the game. At any rate, I led after the first half of the game and knew I was screwed after the first turn of the second. Rob and I tied with 33, James was second with 35 and Steve killed us with his 41. In the second half, I never got a scoring card for my lands (I could have used farmers, Upper Nile, Off the River to score 3 points, but never saw a single bonus card in the second half of the game (and only 1 bonus card the whole game). Blech. The main reason we are playing this next in the PBEM Olympics is that Knizia games are getting yanked from the internet. I'll be only too glad when that game is done.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

PBEM Olympics Standings

Medal count after 2 events






PBEM Olympics - Mykerinos Game 4

Our last game of Mykerinos for the PBEM Olympics finished with a decent (to me) result. First let me say congratulations to Justin who nearly swept this event and now leads the competition with two gold medals. The score were such that he had clearly won the gold after three heats, so we were playing for the last two spots. I was in good position and needed to just finish ahead of Nathan (and hope Chester didn't win the last game). My turns were mostly spent making sure that Nathan wasn't scoring many points. Chester got some early positions in the museum and Nathan had nearly no spots near the end of the game, which seriously hurt his score. Nathan was able to hold of Chester and for the second game series in a row we finished: Justin-Charles-Nathan-Chester.


After a false start (because we had no real clue) Robert Bolan, Nathan Winchester, Matthew Frederick and I got in a game of Bus on Spiel By Web as a followup to our face-to-face first time game. Well, I'm not sure if anyone else benefited, but I'm as lost as I've ever been. Oh sure, I get the rules, but I still don't see this game yet. I ran out of actions a turn before everyone else and finished third (6pts and tied with Matthew). Nathan managed a clean win with his 9 points. One thing to note - Nathan started the game and won. I've heard that first player has a good advantage, and I believe it. Things are so tight in this game, that a free action like that is definitely an advantage. I think if I play it face to face, I'd argue that if the first person takes a bus in the first round, they have to pay 2 for it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

PBEM Olympics - Puerto Rico Game 3

Game 3 of the Puerto Rico series didn't go well for me. Overall, the competion tightened up as the scores were much much closer. Chester started in the first position followed by Justin and then myself, with Nathan at the rear. I went full on into the "corn" strategy. With the Hacienda by my side (and a little luck) - I had 5 corn fields pretty early in the game, which made my play pretty easy - ship every time I had the chance. Unfortunately for me, the end of the game saw me locked out of doing just that. I needed one more shipment to win and never could get it. Instead, I came in last. Justin and Chester tied at 54 points (Justin won the tie breaker and probably locked up second place here), while Nathan had 52 and I had 51.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Game Night

March 19, 2010 - Casa de Hasegawa
Matthew Frederick and Amelia Boli dropped by for a bit of quiet gaming on Friday night. Amelia mentioned not wanting to play anything too brain-burnery, so I pulled out FITS to give a spin. I love Tetris, so FITS should be a good fit for me. The only problem being - it is similar to, but not the same. If you make a gap, you can't slide something in sideways to fill the hole. At any rate, we played the first game and Amelia and I tied with 24 points with Matthew right behind us at 21. We then played MOTS (More of The Same) - a print and play expansion which I made. This expansion really is more of the same and is pretty similar to the original. The 4th (8th) board is more brutal than the original 4th board, but otherwise these really are about the same. For MOTS, Matthew killed us with a whopping 34 points to our 24 (Amelia) and my 23.
Erik VonBurg showed up right as we finished our game of MOTS, so next we played some Heroscape. I had built a giant map, so we broke into two teams and Matthew and Erik took on Amelia and I. Erik went the Sniper route while his partner had the robo-rats and vampires. I went the Marro route and Amelia had something of an assortment of guys. Amelia and I were able to grab a load of the good glyphs, which was a huge advantage for us (especially the defensive one) - an advantage offset by getting our asses kicked to start the game. The defensive glyph allowed us to hold our own for much longer than we thought we could and the game came down to a couple of common units and one of Matthew's vampires against a solo marro unit which took as much as he could before dying out.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

PBEM Olympics - Fearsome Floors Game 1

The first heat of Fearsome Floors was completed on March 11th. Chester (as the first non-medal-ing kid) got to pick the next event and went with something lighter. We tried for one site, but I couldn't ever get registered. We ended up trying and after a little hiccup, got started. We played the basic game with the default setup for this first round. Nathan and Justin were new to the game and didn't quite know what was in store for them. Normally this game is middle of the road for me, but for whatever reason, this game was a lot of fun this time. There was A LOT of carnage and chaos. I was channeling my inner-Sato and sacrificed a number of guys just to see a rampage by the monster. well worth coming in last. Nathan won the first round, with Justin in second. Chester had an early guy out, but lost all his guys right at the exit. It was a beautiful sight watching the monster rampage his way through the people. And for the record, Daniel Karp was the first guy to exit.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

PBEM Olympics - Mykerinos Game 3

Our third round of Mykerinos for the PBEM Olympics finished with a less than interesting (to me) result. Chester got the first (early) brown which he felt gave him a leg up. He finished second with 43 points. The winner? The same game that said this on March 3rd, "i think i'm going to take last in this game..." That would of course be Justin, who clocked in with 48 points. Apparently, my hoarding of the yellows so that I wasn't getting screwed on pyramids wasn't much help. To be fair, my wimpy 36 points was also due to my having 4 less tiles than Justin (5 including his 5pt tile). Gah, looks like Justin will likely win the second gold of this competition without a whole lot of effort. After a good finish last game, Nathan came in with only 31 points this time. I don't know. This game is ok, but I just don't grok it. I'm dropping its rating as I just don't think I'll get it played too much after this event.

PBEM Olympics - Puerto Rico Game 2

Well, Chester is definitely making up for any ass kicking he took in Samurai. Another game in the books. The second game of Puerto Rico went pretty quickly this time around. As in the first game, I struggled to make any money and it hurt a lot. Chester didn't just beat us, he spit on us as he lapped us. He scored a mighty 76 while Nathan and I each had a respectable 48 (I won the tie there). Justin brought up the rear with 40. There doesn't seem to be much chance at overtaking Chester here, so I think the three of us (tied at 2 pts each so far) are playing a two-game race for silver and bronze.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Game Night

Friday March 5, 2010 - Gamer's Inn.
Time to do a little catching up. This evening started out with my teaching Nathan Winchester how to play Hey! That's My Fish!. This isn't the greatest game in the world, but it is fast and more importantly, it is a game we'll likely get to eventually in our PBEM Olympics. I just wasn't seeing the game very well and it really didn't take very long to see that I was making a lot of mistakes and Nathan was going to clean up on me. At any rate, it was a good starter and while we finished, a number of other players arrived.
We were expecting Liz and Matt Longieliere anytime and we had a good number of folks, so I suggested another quick and light game - Incan Gold (which the Gamer's Inn has a player's copy of. Joining Nathan and I were: Matthew Frederick, Amelia Boli, Dion Garner, Robert Bolan, Noah Antwiller, and newcomber Mike McCarthy. The first round saw Robert and Dion bail out early. A couple of us bolted later and left Noah to gather a huge windfall. The next round Noah was able to bolt with an artifact and some gems and somehow, the next two turns had nearly immediate ends with disaster cards coming fast and furious. It was no surprise Noah won this game (and yet I missed recording his score). The final scores - Mike McCarthy: 8, Nathan: 11, Robert: 8, me: 14, Dion: 22, Matthew: 7, Amelia: 11, Noah ?
After our adventures in pyramids, Nathan, Noah, Mike and I settled down into a game of Steam (basic rules). I wasn't excited about trying to teach Steam from scratch, but it turned out Mike had played Railroad Tycoon, so teaching this to Nathan (Age of Steam player) and Mike was easy. As we started the game, I felt like I was half asleep - I made at least two or three HUGE mistakes. If we had been playing Age of Steam I'm sure I'd have gone belly up. In some ways it is disappointing that this version of the game allowed me to stay in the game. That I was not in dire straights and in fact made a run to the win at the end of the game says something about the overly forgiving nature of Steam. Despite making some large end game deliveries, Noah had an abundance of short routes on the board and I couldn't quite catch him. Final scores -
Noah: 50, me: 48 , Mike: 47, Nathan: 42. Now, I still think there are good things about Steam, but the money is just too easy. If I had made one less mistake, I'd have easily won a game where I was sure I was dead. Again, if this had been AoS, I would have been. I know not everyone appreciates the brutality of the game, but I really do. I appreciate the action tiles (taking out the need for the auction) and the goods for production and urbanization, but I think the split VPs and income track make things way too easy on you for cash.
After Steam, things mixed up a bit and Matthew joined Nathan, Robert and I for a game of Bus. We went through the rules and settled in for a playing that was simply brutal. I had brought this out to get a handle on playing this with Nathan. This is a game that has an online implementation that both of our PBEM Olympic opponents are familiar with and we wanted to familiarize ourselves with the game. As I said already, the game was brutal. We found ourselves playing a cutthroat game of chicken and decimated each other's stockpile of actions. If you have no clue what I refer to, then you probably haven't read the rules. At least, you didn't MIS-READ them like I did. Really, the rules are pretty simple. The complicated part of the rules are in laying the lines, and we got that part. But we mis-understood that the person(s) choosing the lines actions and new building actions first get the good number of actions - they just do them in reverse order. We thought that you placed in reverse order and GOT THE BENEFIT in reverse. Thus we figured that the first person to take place lines would get screwed by people placing after them. We also didn't realize that the board starts with 4 passengers sitting in the middle of the streets (probably since that rule isn't in the setup - its in the middle of the rules). Combine those small gaffs with a group that had no clue on building placement and you ended up with a game where passengers weren't going anywhere and a group of players running out of actions from being screwed by the other players. At any rate, the game came to a close with Nathan scoring late in the game to win the tie breaker over Robert. Now that we have it figured out, I'm interested to see how the game actually plays!
The four of us finished the night by playing a quick game of Undercut. Robert grabbed a couple of quick scores, followed by Matthew. Nathan and I scored once each for a couple of low scores, then held out for the rest of the game until Robert imploded. Nathan's lone 2pts made for an easy win for him.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Bye Samurai

Yesterday, MaBiWeb had to say goodbye to Samurai. Knizia pulled the plug on playing for free (apparently he has licensed the game to an iPhone/iPad development team). That sucks as I really REALLY like this game, but I certainly understand - no point in making an application to play on the phone and expect folks to pay you for it when you can play for free on the same device you are targeting. That still sucks. I'm glad our olympics did Samurai first (we had no clue this was coming). Hopefully the plug won't be getting pulled on any more Knizia games in the near future. At any rate, here are my Samurai stats from my games played on MaBi.
Game2 players3 players4 players5 playersTotal
Samurai2921 (72%)2112 (57%)195 (26%)-- 6938 (55%)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

PBEM Olympics - Mykerinos Game 2

The second game of Mykerinos for the PBEM Olympics is in the bag and the results? Much closer. Justin: 41, Nathan: 41, Charles: 40, Chester: 38. I think Chester has about given up on this one having posted two losses now. Of course, he's getting better and I suspect this one will be close unless the third game is Justin's. The points work out that the gold is still up for grabs between Nathan, Justin and I (though I suspect any gold I get here will be luck more than anything). This was something of an odd game in that there was one Mr. Brown in the first round, and one in the second. The absence of his power in the early game spread out the points I think. Chester had a lot of cubes each round, but he didn't nab a bunch of old ladies nor red guys with which to use all his cubes. in the first couple of rounds. He made a valiant attempt, but Justin's DOUBLE RAINBOW was too much. Nathan made a huge point swing at the end of the game and the two of them tied for the game.