Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Spin the Bottle -- Monday Session Report

I arrived to find the Stalwarts finishing up a game of Scepter, which probably ranks as the least surprising statement to appear on this blog. Rob had to leave, but Michael, Jon and I decided to try our fortune building Fast Food Franchises. Jon had apparently sold his soul for some luck, and soon Ice Cream Scream dominated the nation. [Just to give an example ... one event card said "The franchises in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago and Detroit (or wherever) can each expand right now at half cost." All four franchises were his.]

By then Al had joined us, so we went off to San Juan. After a brief caloric interlude, we started Boomtown. By that point we had enough people to split ... it was a touch too late to play Struggle of Empires, which I will get to the table some day. Anyway, Jon and I played The Football, while the Ted, Michael, Al, Amy & Jeff visited sunny Puerto Rico. Another high-scoring affair saw me with the lead for most of the game, only to lose it in late in the second half. I scored the tying goal with about one minute left on the (hidden) clock.

After that people drifted away, so the remaining four played Indonesia. After that, we wrapped up with the most tightly themed card game ever made -- Flaschenteufel (aka the Bottle Imp). This little gem is based on the Story by R.L Stevenson, where a young man gets hold of a demon in a bottle who grants wishes. But there's a catch. You can't get rid of the bottle unless you sell it for a loss (less than you paid for it). And if you die while owning the bottle, you go straight to hell.

In the game, the cards are numbered 1-37 in various colors, the reds are dollars and are mainly in the high end, the blues are cents in the middle, and the yellows are centimes. Like all trick taking games, you have to follow suit. But the bottle has a value (it's selling price). All cards lower than the selling price are trump. If you win by trumping, you get the bottle ... and it's price falls.

It takes a few hands to get your head around the game ... and I forgot two rules. First, there is some card passing (in addition to seeding the kitty with negative points for that poor unfortunate soul). Secondly, the bottle's owner gets to lead to each trick (I don't actually remember that rule ... I may have missed it from previous plays or it may be a mistake in the player aid I saw).

In any case, after three close rounds I had eked out a narrow lead but the final round ... well, I took a lot of tricks, but it profit a man nothing ...


At 7:52 PM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

I have a couple of requests:

Don't people find that the gaming sessions are better if they end with a fun party game?

Also, we could always split into two groups with two of us playing soccer and the others playing something else.

At 7:56 PM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Great session report.

-- "The Ted"

At 10:29 PM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Michael, no.

And if you die while owning the bottle, you go straight to hell.

Niiiiiiicee..... that line intrigued me.

Ditto on The Ted's words.

At 8:37 AM, November 08, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Michael, what's your take on spelling nice the way you say it?

At 8:54 AM, November 08, 2006, Blogger Jeff said...

If you spell nice the way Michael says it, I'm pretty sure there's a Z in there.

I'm really glad to hear that the screwed-up Bottle Imp rules did not involve any of the counter-intuitive rules. I sacrificed several little grey cells to understand what was trump, what won each trick, etc, and it would have been a shame to see them die in vain.

So who's in for Struggle starting at 6:30 Monday the 13th?

At 10:27 AM, November 08, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Count me in. I'm interested in how it compares to Conquest of the Empire 2, which I really enjoyed when we played it.

At 11:30 AM, November 08, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Rob, Jeff: You could always look up the South Park script to that specific show to see how they spelled it.

At 12:21 PM, November 08, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Ah yes... the school teacher. Now I remember the reference.


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