Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Fistfull of Points

I missed the "everyone show up at noon" gaming session, but was able to make it after work. I showed just at Ted was leaving, which left us with four, and a game of Tichu began. Michael led off an unorthodox "wish for something fun" strategy, playing the mahjohng and calling for random things he HADN'T passed to his left. It actually worked quite well 3 of 5 times, and only mildly stung his partner (ME) once. We called the game early before Brian and Jon could stage a come-back once Ben showed up, but my favorite Tichu trick ever made it memorable. Brian had called Tichu, and was well on his way unopposed. He led a full house, 10's full of 5's - 40 points right there. I countered with Q's and 3's... But Brian was prepared - he laid down K's & 8's - now the hand is worth 70 (out of 100 possible per hand) points - at which point I bomb in with 2222, and play the Dog to let Michael go out, breaking the Tichu... So one trick stole 70 points, and set up the -100 for the opponents.

Jon decided to bow out, and with the arrival of Al we had five - this led to the obligatory Stage II, where we discovered that you people have played this much too often - starting from opposite ends of the box we've officially met in the middle and are out of cards. It didn't help much on the answers to the questions, but made guessing the theme easier.

Minus Ben, Phoenicia followed with the random beginning money variant, and I engaged in the only good strategy I know - buy both trackers, and a bunch of workers. Luckily my opponents were trying to save money, so delayed auctioning off both of the forts during my low-dollar phases, so the game paced itself perfectly for me to pull out a two-point win... I thought up a strategy question - the items that buy you a large discount - everyone knows that you now NEED those items, and bid you up - does this negate the value of the discount items? I suppose this applies to items that others don't require to win, else they've got to bid over you... but if no one wants it, and just bid it up to a "retail price" level, has the discount helped at all?

Michael had to jet (how did the cat situation turn out??), but Jon returned and next to the table was Ticket To Ride: Marklin. Al had limited experience with TTR, and I've only played the original... after a quick rules recap we were off. The passenger riding is a new twist that I didn't plan well for - Brian and Jon were competing for some big opening points quickly with some well-timed travels. It seemed like everyone needed to cross paths in the southwest corner of the board, as we went from no trains down to about ten different links in that region. I believe it was Brian who brought up that TTR is a giant game of chicken - how long can I wait before you block my route? Jon got connections into three different countries, and completely blocked Denmark from anyone else entering, which limited the long routes available to others. Coming down to the end everyone kept drawing destination cards trying to soak up some extra points, and Jon kept drawing already completed cities... It all came down to the route scores, and although Jon and I tied on number of completed routes, I had one more long route than he did, and squeaked out a victory... ironically, if he had kept his fourth destination card at the beginning of the game (for which the cities needed were linked by his trains at game end) he would have earned a 22 point card, plenty enough to pass me up.

Finishing up the night was Glory to Rome, where Sean gets distracted by all the cool abilities of the buildings he is creating, and ignores the end-game conditions of actual victory points. Brian and Jon ran away with it, Jon with patrons and Brian with his vault, but the vault strategy paid off. I think I almost understand the entirety of this game now, but of course everyone else has played it to death...

As the night wrapped up, it was suggested I should buy a game that everyone wanted to play... :) I'm actually not opposed to the idea, as I'm happy to contribute to the group's enjoyment and all of my "gamer's games" are a few years out of date to y'all. But nothing persuaded me yesterday - maybe some suggestions here are in order, so that I can browse the info and reviews online, and pick out a game or two.

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At 1:39 PM, September 18, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

OK, that's a lot of typing. I've got to learn to create more concise session reports...

At 2:35 PM, September 18, 2007, Blogger Jonathan W. said...

Nice session report.

I did a little editting to change it to the correct people playing the games, you went a little Michael happy when in fact it was Brian.

Also, the newest edition of Glory to rome needs to come out so we can play it more often.

At 2:42 PM, September 18, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

Thanks for the edits. I'm admittedly horrible with names, and try really hard to do better remembering them.

At 3:37 PM, September 18, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

Just a quick comment or two:

Before you showed up we played Britannia, which was good and I'd like to try with four.

I'm not burned out on Phoenicia (or Glory to Rome) but I could do with some new games, or old games that I haven't played 20 times this year.

Looking through your collection, you could bring:

* Acquire (especially if you have a spiffy set)
* Take it Easy (which I actually brought a few weeks ago)
* Vegas Showdown (which we play ev'ry now and again)
* Verrater (I haven't played that in years, and don't have english rules).

But yes, buy new games.

To be fair, everyone should buy Race for the Galaxy when it shows up in 6 weeks.

And everyone should play Phoenicia online.

At 4:14 PM, September 18, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

I have Meuterer too -- picked both up at BGG.con garage sale last year, and haven't played either. And my version of Acquire is the 60's 3M Bookshelf - it's sort of the opposite of Spiffy. :)

I need to update my collection on BGG as well...

And I'm not opposed to buying games, I just don't know what's good, or interesting.

At 4:34 PM, September 18, 2007, Blogger Michael said...

I like the 3m version infinitely better than the cheesy newer version. Sure the new version has bigger tiles, but those hotels make it look like we are playing mouse trap or something.

I really should bring 25 words sometime soon.

All turned out ok with the kitty litter, the whole thing just took 30 minutes more than necessary.

At 8:35 PM, September 18, 2007, Blogger Michael said...

Regarding the not wishing for what you passed. At least 3 of those were instances where Brian had passed me the same card I passed him, so I felt it was unlikely to cause him much pain to part with it. The other times were when I had split a pair in the pass, at least mildly changing the chances that the card I passed was helpful.

At 10:23 AM, September 19, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

I certainly think that buying new good games should be encouraged. However, there's little point in you buying a game that the group already owns several times over (unless you love it it, of course, and want to bring it out at every opportunity. Michael's love of Stage II is legendary, so it was right and just for him to buy his own copy).

I'd just start at the BGG Top rated games and work down until you find something that we don't have that we'd play. (Given our group, you can safely skip the top 100. We have all those). I've heard little about Arkadia, but DLair has a copy and it's in the Top 200. Of course, San Marco was almost in the Top 100 and I just traded it away. No guarantees).

I have played Vikings, but only the basic game. It was good, not great, but I've been wanting to try the advanced game.

I've no idea about Ponte Vicchio or the other new games they got in over the last week.

I have the 3M version of acquire, too. My real issue is that the tiles are hard to read (on my copy. I think. I don't know that I've played my copy this decade). But otherwise it's fine

At 10:27 AM, September 19, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

It might be better to sort games by "Plays this year" when looking at BGG. That suggest Thurn und Taxis (which isn't bad, and a SdJ to boot, but I'm only lukewarm on it. I'd play it, but not buy it).

That also suggests Pillars of the Earth (not as good as TuT). And playing more Tichu.

I suggest just looking at what's interesting, and if you aren't sure to read the BGG reviews.

At 7:13 PM, September 19, 2007, Blogger Ben said...


Other than new releases, I can't think of a single game that is decently rated that someone in the group doesn't own. However there are a slew of upcoming releases that I'm sure you can help us acquire. Maybe just wait to go to BGG and sample a bunch, see what you like, then decide what you want to buy.

At 5:43 PM, September 22, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

A Modest Proposal

Invest your $$ in an IRA and continue to play games for free. If you have some strange guilt pangs, then buy people cokes or something, and invest the rest.


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