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.