Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In search for Michael's missing 4/8 session report...




Where's Michael's session report? If no one can find it I'll just start off, but I'll make it short and sweet. These are busy days for me.... except for days like yesterday.



Bonaparte at Marengo
It was my weekly day off, so Simon came by my place to play this game early morning. It wasn't as smooth of a ride as I expected because we both were kinda rough on the rules, but it was a sweet game. Unlike the "traditional block game" a la Columbia Games, I felt that maneuvering was so much more important than actual battles. Good maneuvering leads to lots of punishment for the opponent; maybe the reason I like Rommel in the Desert so much. I found it very cool because it is so much different. And I value originality. We have to try it again (I'll reread the rules now that I understand how it plays).

So by noon Michael, Jon, and Simon went to have lunch while I took care of placating my conscience... which doesn't tolerate using up a whole day off just for games. I stayed home, and mowed the lawn.


Wyatt Earp
By 1:30pm or so, I met with the three above at DL. They were playing WE. I'm sorry Amy, but I thought this game was really cool. The theme? So pasted on on a super modifed Rummy game, you can see the Elmer's dripping. The luck factor? You know, light games with lots of luck I enjoy (it's the deep ones that require more time and energy investment, that can be frustrating). I actually almost won the game.

Family Business
Then I finally played this first with 4 players, then with 5 (Brian joined in). I have Tom Vasel to thank for this one. It is a fun light "take that!", or better yet "eat it!" game. Thanks to me this game led to expressions like "kicking him in the groin while down!?! you are evil!". Hey, it's not personal; it's business.

Cash n Guns
What can't I say about this game. So simple it's mechanics, such a great fun game. Another one that joins the ranks of games like Bang!, Family Business, etc. We played with the police variant...which made me realize, I'm a horrible Werewolf/Mafia player. I don't even know how many times we played (3? 4?). It's a great game, but I think I had my fair share for now. I didn't win, but by playing it quiet like in Wyatt Earp, I had somewhat decent scores.

No Thanks
A game that definitively goes in my category of best light short strategy fillers like Coloretto. It's probably better because of it's length. This will probably be my next buy at DL. It's the least I can do for the DL guys.

Crusader Rex
Thanks Rick for playing this with me. It's a great block game that needs some ironing out of the rules. And it seems to be working better with each revision. The duties of a playtester....

Ok I said short...so I'm stopping here. I know there was some WotR, TS, and Pitch car action.... anyone care to step up to the mic?

13 Comments:

At 10:45 PM, May 09, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

Sorry about the slacking. My schedule is getting funky because of the end of the semester(I'm sure you noticed me ducking out of DL way before most people left).

I enjoyed Wyatt Earp as well. I think I've discovered that I love pretty much all light games unless their mechanics are horribly flawed.

The other games I got to play were repeats for me and my opinion hasn't changed much about them.

 
At 6:28 AM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Great session report. I really, really like Family Business, and it has now been added to the Thought Hammer shopping cart! What a fun game. I'm trying to figure out why I like it so much more than Cash-n-Guns... I think it's the wider variety of cards versus just bang, click, bang-bang.

Brian did a good job spanking me all the way back to my dark hole in Mordor once again. I kept three armies garrisoned in Orthanc, but three groups Ents all came to the tea party on the same turn and planted poor Mr. S. I snipered off Strider and captured Lorien early, which made my big Eyeball jump for joy, but for some reason I could not roll a single kill versus Rohan armies. So, a million Rohan horses rode north with Gandalf the White and recaptured the burned out stump of Lorien. Witch King and Friends waltzed over and punted Boromir and his crew from Minas Tirith, but at that point those dang hobbits chucked my precious into the big hole.

 
At 8:18 AM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Sounds like some great gaming. I need to play WotR, and Nappy @ Mar sounds really cool. From what I gather it sounds like there's some chess-like elements.

 
At 9:06 AM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Every time someone brings up Napoleon at Marengo, I get hungry for Chicken Marengo...

 
At 9:38 AM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Kendahl said...

I really like Family Business...for a different reason. Back before the reprint it was a hot commodity. I acquired several copies (including one at bgg.con for $5) and turned them around for an average of $65 on ebay. My collection grew thanks to this one!

 
At 2:49 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

I like when days are very long and consist of nothing but gaming...well, there was that crappy final that harshly butted in, but...Anyway, on we go:

Bonaparte at chicken Marengo

I've never claimed to have any sort of mastery over the rules of this game, but I think Rob and I played pretty closely to how it's supposed to go. I tried my hand as the French and narrowly managed to contain the Austrian's rapid expansion while very slowly falling back. My right flank totally dissolved on the second to last turn of the match, but Rob couldn't sprint over to the objective areas to control for tie breakers fast enough. Rob played much better than I did on my first outing and took to the system quite well. I really love the game, but it’s hard to wrap your mind around at times.

(Jon, Michael, and I took a short recess eating at the local Pizza Hut whose apparent mission in life is to make pizza that is 99% bread and air. Then on to the DL:)

Wyatt Earp

Think Mystery Rummy but for group play and with a few luck elements thrown in and you've got Wyatt Earp. I thought the theme and production quality was great but the game still had the standard Mystery Rummy type problems. If you get stuck with too many one-per-turn sheriff (gavel) cards in your initial and subsequent draws, you're pretty much sunk. The "shooting” mechanic was also a bit letdownish, but we started thinking of variants (like last place player gets a bullet that lets them auto pass a shoot check or play two sheriff cards once during that round) that might help.

(We then whipped out a quick game of Ricochet Robots with no 4 or fewer routes allowed. I regained my puzzler reputation a bit by winning 2-3+.)

Family Business

This game is what Guillotine should have been - in your face! The rules are pretty similar except it's last man standing and carries a heavy "take that!" edge. We ended up playing again later in the night, but the first few games with Rob "kick 'em in the nuts when they're down" Ramirez made the game immensely more enjoyable. It was a raucous time of backstabbing glee. I think the blue cards might be a little too powerful though, as I easily won with a good hand of them earlier and lost without a single one in hand later.

Ca$h n' Gun$

Ah, the unofficial game of the month here at SABG continues not to fail me. We played with the cop variant which was pretty fun. I think it's pretty hard to win as the cop though, since I never had the policeman role and consequently managed to take most of the games. Brian did pull off a stupefying police victory however. He revealed himself and had one wound to death and two rounds to go. Naturally, I figured we should kill him, right? Wrong. Everyone shoots me for some reason on the next turn and scores all three wounds for an instant death to Tino...Huggy walks away with it for a sole win...Wow.

(Quick game of No Thanks and I'm off to school for a five question final worth 60% of my grade (blech!)...Upon my return, more family business and finally:)

PitchCar

The first group consisted of Dennis, Kirk, Jon, Chad, and myself. I took to the ramps and creamed everyone on the first track. After expanding the circuit into a second track I decided to switch gears and try the "play and lose as horribly as possible" strategy. It worked great! We played a full game with some DL wanderers thrown in (that employee guy, some Hawaiian dude in a muscle shirt, and an army fatigue chap who picked his nails with a knife). They were all ringers I suppose as most of them did pretty well kicking the crap out of everyone (except Dennis who placed second). In hindsight I think that straight piece with two curves on it isn't the best for track building. It penalizes people for accidentally shooting on the inside and forces them to spend turns backing up and around. This in turn bottlenecked a lot of players and kept the exciting comebacks that make PitchCar shine from really happening. Having said that, it was still an enjoyable game in my book.

Ok, that's all I got. My final final is tonight and I gots to get studying...Later all.

 
At 3:51 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Kendahl said...

Simon, you must be one smart cooking to be able to play games all morning, then trot off to a final (worth 60% of your grade). I would have had my nose crammed in books all day to try to get some last-minute edge. Braniac...

 
At 3:52 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Kendahl said...

cooking should have been cookie...not sure that cookies are really smart though.

 
At 3:57 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

I left two hours early to cram. The class was statistics and I got a perfect on the midterm (40% of my grade) so I wasn't terribly worried. Four of the questions I'm 90% sure I nailed and on the fifth, I at least got a good chunk of the credit...

 
At 6:47 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Amy said...

As I said, Jeff and I only played a two player game of Wyatt Earp. I'm sure it's much different with more than two, and I'd like to try it sometime -- if I ever GET some time...

 
At 10:20 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Completely forgot about ricochet robots. As before, it's just a sweet hight tension game.

Simon: that employee guy, some Hawaiian dude in a muscle shirt, and an army fatigue chap who picked his nails with a knife
...sounds like characters in a game.

Amy: I know you said two-player. I only quoted you to encourage to try it again with more players.

 
At 5:34 PM, May 11, 2006, Blogger Chad said...

Everthing was new for me Monday night. No details about who played or who won, just my impressions.

Alhambra: It reminded me of Vegas Showdown. Buying tiles and creating a little building/complex/whatever. Instead of Showdown's auctions Alhambra has a nifty multiple currency thing going on. The only thing I didn't like about the game is that how you lay your tiles down doesn't have much impact on the game outside of where you put the walls. If someone were to mix the buying style of Alhambra and the multiple factors that come with Showdown's tile placing, that'd be one snazzy game.

Cash n Guns: Any game where I get to play out a mexican standoff has to be cool. There isn't much to the game other than trying to out-bluff people, but its a lot of fun. I just wish the art wasn't so cartoony but that's a minor gripe.

Ticket to Ride Marklin: I can see the appeal of this game, but it didn't do anything for me. For the most part its just a glorified version of Go Fish. "I need this color card to make this track on the board, so I try to get those cards out of the deck or draw them from the available cards." That's pretty much it. Yeah, there's the whole ticket thing and the passenger thing that adds some significance to what tracks you buy, but in the end it wasn't enough "oomph" to make the game more than a card game with an elaborate scoring board. I see why the series is considered a good beginner game but its a bit too bland for me. Maybe if it was about something other than trains I'd find it a bit more appealing.

Family Business: Pretty much another iteration of Bang, this time with a bit more screwage and a slightly less interesting theme. Decently little game but if I'm gonna play a quckie game I'd rather play Bang or Cash n Guns.

Pitch Car: Not really much to say other than, despite sucking at the game, I love it. And yes, next time, no straight pieces with the narrow curve bits. Or at the very least just have one somewhere that's not at the begining of the track.

 
At 9:08 PM, May 11, 2006, Blogger Rick N said...

When Kirk and I arrived, the place was vacant. For a second I thought we were victims of some cruel hoax. Normally, you guys are already hard at it. Dennis, who thought he would be late, arrived next and seemed as dumbfounded as we were. Then Chad (Landon?) joined us (nice to meet you) and we decided to play a fast game of Alhambra.

Casually frittering away their days building their palaces, it's no wonder that the Andalusian princes were unprepared for the bloody onslaught that was the Reconquista. Using time lapse photogrphy and the wonders of gaming magic, we managed to complete the project of a lifetime in less than an hour. I disagree with Landon about tile placement. Where you put the tiles can be decisive in determing the final victor. Do you play conservative and begin to close off you alhambra early, or do you play a riskier game and play your tiles to open up a larger palace? The different currencies also present agonizing decisions: how many times should you overpay for specific tiles? Should you instead try to pay exact amounts as much as possible and take what is given?

In any case, Dennis was the man of the hour (and a half) winning both Alhambra and the ensuing game of Cash and Guns. I believe both were firsts for him. Congratulations!

 

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