Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Session Report Aug 7: [Insert Catchy Title Here]

I'm excited about the session last night, but I guess all my creative juices were sucked dry. Rather than wait for a catchy title to come to me, I thought I'd create a simple post and others can add on later.

The session last night was a great. I think we had 10 or 11 folks, including the elusive Kendahl in a nearly farewell appearance. We had a wargamers corner, and they would emerge occasionally for carbonated supplies, and then duck back for more action. Princes of Florence built elaborate villas, the bad-guys showed up with Cash *and* Guns, but not before the bookies had visited Winner's Circle.

Meanwhile, we had a clash of 4 Titans: Amy, Jeff, Brian, and myself. Titan was my only game of the evening. As billed, it's a monster slug-a-thon. Despite a lot of dice, it's clearly a game w/ a lot of skill and learning curve. I liked the game, and I'll play again, but not in the near future. It was a little funny/intimidating that Brian was able to keep track of our stacks better than we were. I think the strategy in this game primarily revolves around movement and recruiting on the main board. The tactical combat strikes me as much less important. I suppose that makes it more of a maneuver & recruit game than a battle game, per se.

I think there were some other games played, too, but I wasn't able to keep track.

10 Comments:

At 9:59 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Clever post. I liked the Brian The Stats Handler bit. I've come to realize how valuable this is (i.e having a "Dungeon Master" running a game) specially when playing these complicated games.

First game played was Family Business. Simon, again got there late at 1610. Jeff and Amy, Jon, Michael, Brian, and I, who live at DL, were in the thick of it, attacking each other for no other reason than to be the last family standing. I was the poor schmuck who bit the dust first, just in time to meet with Ben and start our Shifting Sands marathon. Next time we play FB, I'll try creating family alliances to see if I can last longer, and beat the meta-gaming curse.

SS is a rich game. So much going on, so many desicions to make, so little resources to use. I love the way the war slowly unravels and expands to cover the whole map: you start off in a small section between Lybia and Egypt, and slowly involve the rest of northern Africa and Near East. I'll type a more detailed report later (if I can recall everything that happened in the "half game" we were able to play in ~4 hrs).

 
At 10:18 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I'm still a little too fried to do much of a session report on Shifting Sands. I think we did everything pretty well correctly, but because we were being careful, we spent a bit of time with our noses in the rulebooks while playing. I'm confident we'll be able to play at double speed next game when we're more comfortable with what we're doing.

One cool thing was seeing the game designer add an answer to the key rules question we had last night in the FAQ this morning. Very timely!

Overall, I was very impressed with how tightly designed the flow of the game seems to be. There's a lot of variability in events and strategic options, yet I never felt we were way far out of how things could have developed in real life.

 
At 10:22 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Ted: If you like Titan, you'll enjoy playing the Java version on-line called Colossus. Colossus is a great way to develop good Titan skills as well as try out some very cool variants (e.g., undead and demon units; different terrain types). The AI is actually pretty challenging, at least for me.

 
At 11:21 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

In Titan, I would concur that it is rare to win the game on the battlefield.

Still, if you can do well-timed suicide attacks to take out critical creatures in your enemies recruiting chain, you can set them back a few turns in their quests for uber-creatures. Also, if you can bleed the enemy's Titan stack dry over several attacks without giving him too many points, you can then be in a better position to take him out.

Of course, you need to do all this while the others are trying to do the same to you....

 
At 11:48 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Kendahl said...

I am not sure if it will be my last gaming session...if so I truly am sad to be leaving. I had a great time and realized how great our group really is. I didn't like Winner's Circle the first time I played it (the original), but with Simon, Jon, and Michael, it was a blast. I enjoyed Roma, a game that likely gets better with more playings. Cash and Guns is always fun for a laugh and as usual, I continually got hosed in I'm the Boss, and I was wrongly accused of being the werewolf, er, I mean cop.

I'd love to have an "official" farewell gaming event. I am not sure about hosting since we are in the midst of getting ready for the move, but I will try to clear it with the wife. But I think it would fun to get together and drink a few root beers and eat some pizza and play games for hours. Who's in?! I really am going to miss this group...

 
At 1:26 PM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Stop it man.... sniff sniff....

funny thing is, that will be me come June '07.

Yes kendahl, Michael can make even Mancala a fun slugfest. hehe.

Hey, I'm always in for pizza and beer (root, of course).

 
At 2:15 PM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Brian said...

Ben said: "In Titan, I would concur that it is rare to win the game on the battlefield."

I have to dissent, at least partways. It's shockingly easy to lose a game on the battlefield. The flee/concede/negotiate/fight rules encourage players to skip obvious battles, so most of the battles fought are, by definition, close or important.

After 5-10 games when you have the masterboard & recruiting trees down, judging when to fight battles (especially battles you should lose) is probably the biggest skill.

Titan has had decade-long strategy debates. If you look at the Colossus source code, there was a comment that said "Randomly determine split strategy -- CMU style vs MIT style."

 
At 2:43 PM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Brian,

Sounds like the chess books I used to read where they would say things like "white is lost because of his king-side pawn structure."

 
At 4:13 PM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Good points, Brian. Very interesting. I hope you'll continue to bring the game. I foolishy auctioned my copy off when it was selling for only $100!

 
At 4:14 PM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Kendahl: Just name the time and place, and if I'm not TDY I will be there!

 

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