Saturday, May 07, 2011

Dominant Species

Friday night saw my third playing of Dominant Species. We played a five-player game with Matt Longieliere (mammals), Nathan Winchester (amphibians), Robert Bolan (birds), and Morgan Burt (insects) - I was Arachnids. Five players was an interesting change of pace from 4-players. With only 4 actions each, some of the choices each turn felt a bit "required". In fact, the first three turns only saw a handful of Domination(scoring) events. However, once everyone had some space carved out on the board, things got interesting fast. Matt was everywhere on the board using his mammal powers to live everywhere. Morgan and I were carving out different sides of the boards with Nathan and Robert in between. At the end of the game, you could see how close the scores were going to be. Matt had a crazy amount of action on the tundras, but wasn't going to score much in domination nor land. Morgan I were the opposite. I wasn't sure I had enough steam at the end, and even with two scorings in the domination phase and two wanderlust actions, I fell two points short of Morgan and Matt. Matt "walked" away with a mammal victory. A couple observations about why I love this game:
  • Matt didn't adapt to anything for the first 4-5 rounds. In fact, you wouldn't have thought he was trying. Then he surged and flooded the tundra and held it at the end of the game. This was bolstered by the fact that not many competition actions were happening.
  • Cards make a lot of difference in the flow of the game. It was a while before we gained an extra action which made the first 4 rounds or so quite different. The other two cards that give you more actions? Last round.
  • We had blight and catastrophe and the other nasty cards in the first two rounds.
  • Water was not en vouge - nobody was adapting to it and so it kept hitting regression - a vicious cycle. With the Tundra and other cards, the end board was mostly covered with seeds. This really hurt Nathan (Amphibians).  There is such a neat balance between fighting other players off, and carving out the world so you can thrive.
  • I definitely thing I want to play this by removing 5 cards from the deck. It just makes the game more manageable time-wise and I can't see how it would make the game worse.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Countdown to the Geekway 2011

Some folks have THE GATHERING. Others have - Essen, Origins, BGG Con, WBC, whatever. I attend the Geekway. The last few years, Nathan Winchester and I have gone and we always have a good time. Besides just the general "sit and play games for days on end" thing, I get to see a number of friends I've made over the years through this hobby. Jay Moore (one of the guys that currently host this event) was actually my BGG Secret Santa the year before my first Geekway. It was nice to get to meet him and since he is an MU fan and I'm a Husker, you'd think we wouldn't have hit it off, but Jay is such a nice guy I forgive him. I also met Chester Ogborn at the Geekway - Chester grew up in Omaha, so he's something of a kindred spirit. I've enjoyed gaming with and chatting with him over the years. Of course, every year I've gone, so have Justin and Jason Easley. These two guys (brothers, not partners) are great and I enjoy just hanging out with them as much as playing games with them. Justin and I have partnered up each year in the Crokinole Tourney as "The Droids Ur Lookin 4". We suck, but laugh the whole time at how bad we are. Last year, I talked a crew of people I knew at Union Pacific into making the trip out from Omaha. They had a good time and are coming back this year (and bringing another couple as well). And then of course there are all the locals I've enjoyed meeting each year - Mike Silbey, Jason Little (though he was only local the first year), Chris Darden, Jeff Hiatt, Justin Heimburger, Timothy Hunt, The Zambos etc etc.
This year, I'm trying something a little different. Every year, I list about 50 games I want to play and I play like two of those. This year, I'm scheduling some longer games in advance to try and actually get stuff in. On the agenda so far? Dominant Species, Mutant Chronicles: Siege of The Citadel, A Game of Thrones, Combat Commander, Crokinole, Princes of the Renaissance and  probably a game of Ca$h and Gun$. Two weeks left.