Thursday, January 19, 2006

Boardgames with Scott 1/18 Session report


Schedules aligned in a fortuitous way so that Amy and I could both head out to Patrick's for a Wednesday night game session. We picked up visiting gaming dignitary Scott Nicholson from his hotel on the way.

First up was Hunting Party. Amy and I had seen the demo, but it was a new experience for Scott. Patrick sat out to make it the optimum three players. Amy hired the Knight early and then proceeded to make good use of his 'females cost you one fewer share' ability. If you'd asked me before the game "How many hunters could you have in your party?" I'd have answered "If you've got three you're probably stretching yourself pretty thin. If you can get three and still have kept enough shares to yourself to earn some cash, you're doing very well." Amy had five hunters at her peak. The Spy, the Summoner, the Sorceress, the Enchantress, and the Knight all served her well and helped her divine the hiding place of the nefarious Shadow. Scott had amassed a decent stockpile of gold and placed in a respectable second, while I was sent to the poorhouse with barely two coins to rub together.

Next up was The Princes of Florence. I love PoF. It's an absolutely brutal resource management game where you have to start planning practically your entire game on the first turn. The idea is that you're a merchant prince who's trying to hire and pamper artisans to produce works of art that are more impressive than the ones the other princes have. It lasts seven rounds. In each round there's a series of auctions where each player will win exactly one item, and then each player gets two actions. With only fourteen actions allotted to you for the entire game, limited cash on hand, and not enough artisans to go around, you can never do everything you'd want. Things moved along fairly smoothly and by the fifth of the seven rounds I had managed to pull ahead of the pack by about ten or twelve points. Let me go off topic for just a second. You've all heard of the World Boardgaming Championships, right? Well, at the WBC last year in the championship round of The Princes of Florence there was a magnificently bearded fellow named Scott Nicholson. In rounds six and seven Scott showed us what world-class PoF play looked like. His plan that he'd been setting up for the whole game came together in a flurry of magnificent artworks. He didn't lap us on the scoring track once; he lapped us twice. I didn't think PoF scores that high were mathematically possible. The rest of us did quite well. We all had scores that would have won any other PoF game I've ever played in. We ended up within fifteen points of each other (Scott 189, Amy 98, Jeff 90, Patrick 87) and Patrick's performance was extremely impressive given that it was his first game - PoF is not kind to the inexperienced.

It was a great evening. I wish Scott could have met more of the SABGers and vice versa. We had a really good time chatting and gaming.

1/20/06 edit - Apparently, the scores for PoF listed above are wrong. That's what I get for not taking notes and writing the session report from memory the next morning. Discussion with Scott (read: he talked and I listened) has confirmed that he only lapped us once. The second lapping was an optical illusion - it only felt like we were getting beat that badly. In addition, we had all misremembered how to convert work value to gold and prestige points, so our scores are artifically inflated (like Dolly Parton!)

4 Comments:

At 10:40 AM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Patrick said...

A fantastic time it was. Its always nice to meet some of the few celebraties in the community. Scott was top notch. Funny, generous(he paid for the greasy pizza) and damn good at games. I've never been so thrashed in any game in my life. Jeff put it nicely, but I was actually the only one to get lapped twice. PoF will probably never be one of my favorites, but I really like the way the auction is put together. I've found that in order for an auction to be fun, there must be enough information to render a good bid. PoF does this nicely. But, this is not one of those where you will ever laugh. If you do, you're probably gonna lose. No time for laughing in this game...you gotta be planning non-stop.

 
At 12:09 PM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Awesome post, Jeff. I'm glad everything worked out in meeting up with Scott. He seems like a very nice guy. I'm bummed I missed out on the gaming session, though I'm sure if I was there I would have been lapped three times!

 
At 3:06 PM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Kendahl said...

I am doubly bummed that I missed it since I was planning all week to go. Alas, sicknesses in the family kept me from the gaming goodness...

 
At 4:09 PM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

A board game each day keeps the doctor away...

 

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