Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hail Caesar, pass the Dragon...



I arrived to Dragon's Lair to observe the end of the ubiquitous Notre Dame being played by Ted(oops, Ben), Michael, Jon, and Brian. Several people left for a brief food hiatus at the end of this game, so Chris, Brian, Ben, and Myself pulled out Through The Desert. I'm a sucker for interesting looking bits, and not too many games have pastel camel chains... The rules are pretty simple, but the game has the potential to be a real brain-burner. There are always about three more moves than you have time to make, and choosing which to delay and for how long can be torturous. Throughout the game Ben appeared to be losing the "area capture" game, but he was silently amassing a wealth of oasis points and blew everyone out at the end. I was trying to judge the endgame and add one more camel to a color chain that ended up being a three way tie, but I delayed too long...

Next came Stage II, which we tryed to get up and running quickly since Dennis was showing up soon - we wanted a head start to try and have a chance at winning. Somehow I stayed out of last place this time. This is the streakiest trivia game I've ever played - you'll have five or six answers that everyone is racing to get the answers in for, and then five or six that no one has any hope of even stumbling upon. I got one answer correct because I incorrectly thought I had a category clue - "golf club manufacturers", and guessed the city Cleveland based on that. Cleveland was correct, golf clubs were not. Luck is a fickle mistress... Somehow Dennis avoided jumping to the lead (perhaps he threw the game just so we will play it again with him later ;) ) and if I recall correctly Michael pulled out the controversial win.

Ave Caesar came out next, with the "clog the arteries" variant employed - if you were directly blocked by someone you could swap your positions by playing a 1. This apparently caused mass spaghetti confusion, and the folks who were ahead of the mess flew to easy victory. I'm either as amazingly consistent as the tortoise of fable, or else I'm really good at slowing down at least one person who winds up behind me, because I finished next to last in all four races.

Next came the newly purchased and punched Cash N'Guns, which always draws some interest from the spectators. The new version has orange guns to protect players from over zealous viglantes with poor eyesight and fear of styrofoam guns. It doesn't diminish from the play any, and we zipped through two games with only minor argument over optimal play - it's every man for himself, but we all need a little help from our friends!

Finally, with only four remaining, I pulled out my Tichu deck. I really really like this game, and love learning more about it and how to pass cards / control play / work with your partner to achieve victory. The game started off with a total of five bombs in two rounds, which gave the impression that bombs were the norm, but that quickly leveled off. I think everyone at least didn't hate the game - I'd like to pull it out more often.

Please please correct me if I've mis-named or mis-spelled a name - it's a weakness of mine, and I do remember you all, even if I don't remember your names. :)

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7 Comments:

At 2:41 PM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Michael said...

Nice report, only quibble is that Ted actually was Ben.

Card based games are always welcome in my opinion. The variation I used to play was fairly different and I don't exactly recall the differences other than that we used two decks.

I've mentioned this before, but I wouldn't be against trying Barbu out with a group of 3-4 other interested people (it is relatively long especially on the first game).

 
At 3:17 PM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Chris said...

Tichu! I want to learn how to play this one (I like trick-taking card games). Bring it some Monday night and we can definitely squeeze in a game.

I like Ave Caesar, but it's thirty bucks on Thought Hammer, and that's a "price reduction"--ouch. Plus it seems that someone else manages to bring it on Mondays about as often as I want to play it, so I am grudgingly not going to buy a copy.

I've said it before--opening the Stage II box is such a surefire way to get Dennis to show up at DL that it reminds me of Commissioner Gordon and his Bat-Signal spotlight.

"I'll take Yoga Positions for the win!"

 
At 3:30 PM, July 24, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

Sorry Ben. I shall remember in the future!! Names are kryptonite to me.

 
At 4:25 PM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

Some quick notes on Tichu -- we were actually playing with a few minor things wrong:

1) Going out 1-2 is 200 points, not 100.
2) If you play the Sparrow (Bird/Mah-Jongg/1 Card) and ask for a card, the wish stays in effect until someone meets it, and isn't cancelled at the end of the trick.
3) A wish can force someone to play a bomb. (Example, if you lead a 1-5 straight, and wish for a 6, then a player must play a 6666 bomb if he doesn't have a straight involving a six).

The rules and strategy can be found on this page:
Aaron Fuegi's Tichu Page.

 
At 6:54 PM, July 24, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

What? I've been mistaken for Ted again?

Now back to playing Civ 4: Beyond the Sword!

 
At 9:08 AM, July 25, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

Man - I haven't played Tichu on BSW for quite a while. There the computer keeps score, so I never worried about it. So if you call Grand Tichu, and then go out 1-2, what's the score? 400 - 0 ?

 
At 12:28 PM, July 25, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

Answering my own question from the site Brian references : "The 100 Tichu points are given / taken away regardless of the ordinary or double victory points scored - they do not influence them in any way." -- so a Tichu-Double is 300 points, and a Grand Tichu-double is 400 points.

 

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