Monday, February 20, 2006

Monday 2/20 at Dragon's Lair

Despite my initial thoughts that I would easily get up at 9 to be there right as everything opened up, when the alarm went off I couldn't bring myself to get up so I arrived about an hour and a half into the Doom game. I made a quick dash to the four kill limit because of the awesome special abilities I drew when I got there but couldn't finish the job as Jeff pulled out his fifth kill against Ben before I could find any more action. BFG is pretty freakin rude.

I liked Doom alot. I would love to try CTF, campaign or deathmatch again. I had a potential variant in mind that might mitigate the luck of the cards we got that gave us special abilities. Perhaps at the start of the game we could deal out cards enough for the players+1 then have an auction where the bids are in bonus frags positive or negative. The player who wins none of the cards at auction would take one of the remaining two with no penalty or bonus. I dunno, it sounded reasonable to me, because if I had been there to start with the same cards, I think my dumb luck of drawing those in particular could outweigh skillful play.

A similar thing could be done except with teams bidding flag captures on cards for CTF. I dunno just an idea.

After lunch, Arkham Horror hit the table x2. Ben, Simon, Jon and myself at one table, Dennis, Chad, Jeff and Rob at the other. They managed to win really quickly with no problem while we struggled. We quickly sealed four portals, but struggled to get the last two closed. Finally, with time literally running out (damn real life), we got the last two closed, no thanks to the colossal choke by the proxy Simon who decided teleporting to the dark woods was better than finishing the job of sealing the portal.

Finally we had a five player game of Coloretto, a quick game that scoring wise seemed a little similar to Palazzo but the other mechanics were totally different. Somehow I pulled out a victory with the insane strategy of feeding Rob and Dennis what they wanted.

A great day and I'm looking forward to the day that Doom and Arkham Horror hit the table again.



At 8:01 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I'm kicking myself for letting Arkham Horror sit unplayed in my closet for close to a year. Wow, what a fun game! We really had to work together as a team to pull it off.

In hind sight, I should have purchased a firearm for the professor so he'd have been able to take on more of the load killing monsters. Discarding three of my spells at the beginning to kill a nasty Rumor card hurt too. Still, I enjoyed the challenge of playing a magic-oriented character.

Apparently there are those that think the game is too easy, suggesting hard core rules like eliminating the gate sealing victory condition (i.e., only closing all gates or killing the Ancient One wins). I thought the game was well balanced, and could have gone either way without careful play. I can't wait to play again.

Doom was great as well. The Marine powers were perhaps unbalanced just a bit, but I think skill was still the deciding factor.

At 8:19 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Cool game. I've always been a First-person shooter junkie, and I have to say that the FF guys did a great job transforming the feel for this genre into a board game. Definitively looking forward to a CTF or regular scenario game.

The game has moved way high on my list. I was pleasantly surprised. Very deep game, with many options, AWESOME theme, mechanics that REALLY blend well with the theme unlike other games I've tried (cough Beo cough wulf...), too may cool characters to choose from, too many cool bosses to fight, lots of different monsters, the event cards... what can't I say about this game. All this complexity, and I still felt the turns moved really fast. Definitively the best coop I've tried to date.

Carcassonne: The City
I was in the mood for a light light euro, so Dennis, Chad and I played this while we waited for Ben's gang to finish up with their Arkham game. It was fun, light, low confrontation... just what I needed to cool off my brain after two consecutive intense games. Dennis swept the board.

Awesome filler card game. It's quick, and deep enough for gamers to enjoy. I had tried this for the first time two weeks ago, and I just had to get it today. No regrets.

All-in-all a great fun day with the best gaming group in town. Still, even super mega gaming days like today are not enough to quench the thirst for gaming: so many games I want to try with y'all....Fury of Dracula (which Chad has), Acquire, Memoir 44, Puerto Rico, Samurai (again), Fearsome floors, Ra, etc etc.

BTW, I'm off this week... if anyone wants to play anything during the day, give me a call.

At 8:32 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

Rob, if you leave your number here I'm up for some gaming this week during the day.

At 9:41 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Doom Deathmatch was pleasantly surprising in how well it played. I constantly found myself considering my moves just like on an online FPS. On a note about luck of the cards, I'd just like to add that it's the combination of cards you get rather than any one specific card itself that makes your marine shine. Because of this, it's hard to even out the luck of the draw which is why I let people draw one extra card and pick two between the three (though there are still extremes, Exhibit A: me vs. Michael). And there’s no way I will add any crappy Euro auctions to my beloved hellspawn fragging! CTF looks like it'll be even more fun, but honestly we need to get in a regular game. I have yet to use the figures for the love of everything holy!

Arkham Horror was fun but let me be the sole detractor on the game, unfortunately. Basically, I thought it was way too long for what it was. Even an hour before I left I started to feel it drag a bit. I will say that the game seems to be the right difficulty and is also a good deal of fun, but it needs a seriously faster ending mechanism. I think the other table got a bit lucky on Mythos draws which enabled them to finish so hurriedly.

Oh, and I’m glad to see that my crummy luck carried over to my character even after I left (I rock!).

...Is it bad that I still want to play stuff even right now as I type? Name the block game and I’ll be there, Rob. Or whatever works if more people are interested (the more the merrier!).

At 9:46 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

I'd also like to echo Rob's comment about "the best gaming group in town."

This really is a great group and I couldn't be happier with the people we have in it and the great times we get to have blowing the brains out of each other in cardboard form.

We'll win best gaming group on BGIA 2006 baby (2005 was fixed, I swear it)!

At 10:06 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

Heh sorry, I love auction and drafting mechanics and it just slipped out. Won't happen again. I am definitely willing and probably able to do stuff any day any time other than tomorrow during the day. Our house is available during the day as a potential location. Just give me a call on my cell 609-306-6844 or home phone 201-568-7188.

At 10:39 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

well.... I won't be leaving my number here. Sorry. Schizoid-paranoia (is what the Arkham asylum doc said)...

I'll send you the no. by email.

At 10:46 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Simon...I totally understand. Hence, the last paragraph in my long post.

Any block game? Crusader rex baby! or HotS! or wizard kings... or the more wargamey of my block games: ROMMEL! I've never tried that one, so I'd have to sit down and review the rules. It's a lot more complex (ie some tables to lookup, etc), than WK, Crusader, HotS.

At 9:01 AM, February 21, 2006, Blogger Jeff said...

I'm free some this week, too. Is it actually possible that four of us could get together during daylight hours for gaming?!?!?!? Shock!

Doom was excellent. I really like the Descent/Doom mechanics - they make for a fast-moving game where you have plenty of options.

Arkham Horror was a lot of fun, too. I'm glad Chad (with a bit of assitance from Dennis) was tracking all the intricate rules for us (I'm sure Ben had his hands full with the same task at the other table) so that we could focus on playing and not having to learn all the fiddly bits as we went along. Not one I feel the need to own, but one I'd not mind playing again (and again and again).

At 1:41 PM, February 21, 2006, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

Due to having a real job (ahem), I arrived in the middle of the rules explanation for

Arkham Horror
I had played the original version of this, which I didn't much care for. Events were particularly dull, as they involved rolling dice, consulting a 30+ page booklet of events (one lookup table per location), and reading off the result, which was largely unaffected by a character's abilities.

I liked this version much better. It both oozed theme and allowed a lot of planning and decision-making, once I realized that each location tended toward testing certain abilities or giving specific rewards (go to the Newspaper for cash, for example).

I was playing the part of "Ashcan" Pete, who now bears the title "High Planes Drifter". He's a simple man, with no possessions but a large ashcan, his trusty dog Duke, and a stack of books he can't even read...but he's seen things, man. Bad things. Thanks to a high Sneak, an early Elder Sign, and some fortunate die rolling, Pete amassed a stack of 10 clue tokens at one point and became a gate-sealing machine, not even entering combat until the next-to-last turn. It's a pity we had so many early Elder Signs, as our sense of panic pretty much peaked in Turn 2.

The concerns I have with the game are (a) length, and (b) it seemed ridicuously difficult for Cthulhu to appear, especially once you've sealed a couple of gates. There are some great variant discussions on BGG; I'm tempted to get the game and play solitaire just to monkey around with them. My favorite thus far --
Open a gate: Place gate and monster, no doom counter
Draw an already open gate: Add monster and doom counter
Draw a sealed gate: Add doom counter and one monster per gate
This accelerates the game as it goes along, and makes closing rather than sealing gates a more reasonable alternative. I also liked the idea of adding a doom counter when the terror track reached 3, 6, and 9.

Carcassone: The City
After one play, I'd put this as my second-favorite Carc version, just behind Hunters & Gatherers. The market mechanic is similar to the animals in H&G. I also liked the length (a bit shorter than vanilla Carc), and the fact that I had to hold back meeples for juicy soldier points (my biggest struggle in Carc is not running out of meeples). Not sure I liked how field edges didn't have to match up on adjoining tiles, though; it wasn't as pleasing to the eye, and so many 1-tile fields made for some absurdly powerful scoring opportunities (I had two meeples score 22 and 20 at the end).

This game left me feeling repeatedly abused and screwed-over. Which I think is why I like it. All the sensations of Diplomacy in one-tenth the time. At least I managed to take 20 out of 21 possible colors over the three rounds.

After two visits, I have to say how thrilled I am to (a) find a group of folks who play knowledgeably and fast, and (b) to see that grand-strategy, theme-heavy games seem to be making a comeback. I've bought only six games in the last two years, but I see some heavy splurging ahead.

At 3:18 PM, February 21, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Argh! I did botch one major rule in our game that would have sped things up a bit towards the end and perhaps eased Simon's frustration.

I forgot that when you close a gate, all monsters bearing the same symbol as the gate (i.e., diamond, circle, cross, etc.) instantly vanish with the gate. This wouldn't have effected the monsters spawned by the experiment gone awry (since these weren't gate generated), but it would have cut down on the traffic in the streets somewhat, making the endgame proceed quite a bit faster.

Sorry guys! It's a pretty complicated game, but a very rich experience is the dividend.

At 5:37 PM, February 21, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Hmmm....don't know if we were following that particular rule.

I'm happy to hear that we have another splurger added to our ranks. Hehe.

Interesting ideas by the way Dennis.


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