Monday, September 29, 2008

Kendahl's Return to the Nest

For some reason this old Kenny Rogers clip made me think of my Rock Band 2 pals I haven't seen in a few weeks. I hope you are well. Harmonix needs to release a version that lets you play as a swaying hippie chic, such as seen in the video. I think I just might have that part covered.

Oh... sorry...on to the news! SABG Hall of Famer, Kendahl Johnson will be making another brief return visit to SA during the week of October 5th. I suggested he shoot for attending DL on the evening of Monday, October 6th at least for starters. For those of you who never had the opportunity to meet Kendahl, he was one of the founding fathers of this fair group, and, in fact responsible for recruiting yours truly.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Will the RB2 Crowd come out and play?

I mean, I'm just curious.

I'll probably be at Dragon's Lair tomorrow night, likely a touch later than normal (I imagine 5:30 or 6, but maybe later). RSVP in the comments


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bridge over Bexar County

Today I (and my partner) came in 4th out of 28 for the Flight B North American Open Pairs Unit Finals. (The Unit, in this case, is San Antonio & New Braunfels). In both the morning and afternoon session we had a 58% game, which is reasonably good. (50% is average, ~60% can win, ~65% usually wins). Each session was 26 hands, so the total playing time was about 6.5 hours (plus a lunch break). Particularly nice is that the Unit picks up the costs for this, so today was free bridge plus free food.

Here are the hands and the score.

The district (which is basically Texas) finals are in January ... I'm not sure if we're going to play. (It's probably in Austin, in January, I think). I was shocked at how many people qualified to go to Ausin, I figured it would be top 25% or so, but it was over half.

Here's your declarer play problem You open one spade (in third position), your left hand opponent overcalls 2 clubs, and partner dumps you in four spades.

Dummy has
S-KQJxx H-98xx D-A8xx C-void

You have:
S-Txxxx H-AT7 D-Q9 C-AQ9

LHO leads a small spade. Your right hand opponent wins the ace and returns a spade (LHO discarding a the club six. What do you do now? (I'll post the answer in the comments tomorrow).

Incidentally, the Turtle Creek bridge club now has weds night games, which I'll probably start attending semi-regularly.


Sunday Gaming

I'll be open for NFL/Rock Band/other gaming on Sunday starting at 11am. RSVP in the comments. I have NFL Sunday Ticket, so at least from 12-3, football will rule the roost. Please to be bringing pie.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Small victories

I've figured out how to beat Chop Suey consistently, and managed to hail mary my way through Master Exploder once...that may be the only time ever for that song, but at least I can usually get far enough to be saved if there's a group.


So I will be placing a speilbox order in Mid October. After the release of the

It seems to be an interesting addition to the game, more broken that the Z-deck. Since I know there are several other fun Spielbox things, like Agricola stickers, and the Mr Jack expansion, I thought I would see if anyone else wanted anything. Saving on shipping is a good thing, you know.

So you have about 3 weeks. I will email Barbara (the speilbox lady) with the order before the release of the X-deck, since it seems that it might be popular. Just a heads up.

Edit. It is not a good day. Link is now correct.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rockin, Gamin' and Chillin'

The day in brief:

After swinging by to pick up Michael, upon arrival at the casa de Chris there was some rockin'. The band switched between Chris, Steve, Michael and me. We did decently. It took the arrival of Brian to prompt some actual gaming.

We played Tribune, before breaking to order some pizza, and some more band stuffs occurred. Steve convinced me to try a nice, quick, painless war game. I we played Command and Colors Ancients. He won. But I did some damage. I still think he was going easy on me, to give me a feel for the game, but he insists that he didn't.

Then there was some more rock band. Until the pizza came, and Steve left before the pizza came.

And so we decided to play a nice game of Agricola to pass the time until the game started. and Mr Black tried to play in the game bags, with very little success. But he was not deterred. And One game turned into two. And i think Michael won both games.

And then we watched the Cowboys win. And we dispersed and went home.

Thoughts on Tribune: Yet another worked placement game. Similar to Pillars in the fact that you are placing your pieces to take certain cards/actions. There are several conditions to victory, most of which are achieved through the powers bestowed on you by controlling various factions of the roman populous. It was a close game, we were all within about 6vp of each other, and we all achieved the conditions for victory at the same time. I liked the game, fairly straight forwards. I don't think that it will be a massive repeat play like Agricola, since the only variety is which cards come up/the value of the cards. There is not a rule breaking mechanism to change things up extensively. But it is always nice to see a game about the Romans that does not involve a war. Other than perhaps Ostia (which is about the harbor of Rome and not Rome itself) and maybe the aquaduct game, there isn't really a large niche for non-wargamey ancient roman games. Which is a shame, but they were rather efficient at the fighting thing. I think it would be fantastic to have a game about the founding of Rome with Romulus and Remus, populating the seven hills and what not, but that might just be me. I don't know how a game mechanism would deal with the signs from the gods as to which brother was going to be in charge, but thats a different story.

Thoughts on Command and Colors: So I was the Syracusians (i think) and Steve was the Carthiginians. And I was defending my home against the forces of Hannibal Barca, son of Hamilcar. (Though I really think that Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major is a much better name. And the man with the better name ended up winning the battle in reality as least). So other than the issue that what you are doing is significantly limiting. And I didn't really know what my troops were doing. So there was a lot of wait -- how many do these ones move-- how many dice do I get -- if I do this then I can do that???? -- sort of things. But Steve was very patient. And he won with five decimated troops to me three. So what didn't really make sense to me, was the fact that out of the 12 units you start with, you only have to kill off 5. That just seems -- too easy. It really should be at least a majority, or something. But it wasn't so bad. I might even play it again. It is, and I am horrified to admit this, a nice change from the resource management worker placement buts. i am not saying that I loved the game, but i was not opposed to it. It seems kind of light and fluffy, and as long as I only played light fluffy wargames, I might play more of them.

Agricola: So tonight we had some evil killer card combinations. I had the wet nurse which let me pay a food to get a family member every time I extended my house by a room. Which was nice to never have to take family growth. Brain got a card that let him pay one food to steal a wood anytime someone took any wood, which he used just to piss people off sometimes (and by people i mean me) and then Chris played some occupation that he got a wood from the 3 wood space anytime anyone took the three wood space. I am getting a little better at having a consistent score in the 30's. And this pleases me. One of these days i will break 40.

And football was nice as well. It is nice to see the Cowboys win, despite some fumbles and interceptions and things.

monday planning

So who will be attending Monday night at DL? I should be there about 5:15 and should be up for anything.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunday Gaming (changed to noon)

For those who can fit it into their schedule, I'll open Casa de Chris at 11am EDIT: NOON Sunday (I got home early early Sun morn and I need to get some sleep and still take care of some errands). Michael is planning to bring RB2 for those who want to join in. Only caveat: at 7pm, the TV goes to the Dallas vs. Green Bay game. (People are welcome to stay and watch it if they want).

Paths of Glory

World War I was played out at my house Saturday morning when Jose joined me for a game of PoG. I've owned the game for about 3 years and this was my first opportunity to play. Jose started out with the typical German offensives in Belgium and Northern France. I maintained a thin line of French troops while I bringing in fresh reinforcements. My Russians were eager for battle so I massed several armies and began plugging away at Austria-Hungary. Things were looking good...and then I brought Italy into the war. I was initially overjoyed by all the strategic redoployments of AH and German troops down to Trieste and the Alps as they met the Italian threat. The grin on my face turned to despair as AH rolled over the Italians. I was eventually able to bring some British armies down to back up Italy but it was too little, too late. The Central Powers achieved an auto victory in early 1916.
I really like this game. I think it captures the broad scope of the war very well. The decisions are agonizing as you never have enough resources to do everything you want or need to. With all the available strategies and lots of optional rules, I don't see this game becoming boring or repetitive. Our game took about 4 hours to play. Considering the amount of time spent setting up and learning rules, I think a game that lasts until 1918 could easily be played in 5-6 hrs by experienced players. I can't wait to play again. I will definitely be downloading the Vassal module for this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Saturday Morning Gaming


Jeff is sick, so we're going to have to cancel today's gaming at our house. --Amy

In honor of Classic Rob's presence, we'll be throwing open the doors to the Clan Wiles fortress for some Saturday morning gaming. Things will get started around 9 AM, but sadly we'll have to call it quits around 2 PM or so.

RSVP and request specific games in the comments.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Play By Email-ish stuffs

So other that Spielbyweb, I have recently discovered, which has all sorts of lovely lovely games on it. So, I was thinking that I would throw an invite out there, and see if anyone other than the usual quarter of SBW players would like to get some gaming in. I know that Jeff and Sean some games, and it is always nice to shake things up a bit. So lemme know if anything on there peaks anyones interest.

fantasy/roto/sim/strat sports/sabbl

Ok, I am thinking there is an excellent chance that this post will end up as a mere speed bump but what the heck:
Does anybody have any interest in a fantasy or rotisserie hockey or basketball league since both regular seasons are starting in the not too distant future?
re sabbl
I know the plan is/was to end the SABBL regular season at the end of September and then have the world series at the beginning of October. Pending hearing for sure Chris and Jon and Michael's records and pending any other series that actually get played in the last week and a half of this month; I think that the current top 3 are Chris and myself and Sean's team (probably but not necessarily in that order). Unfortunately, it is looking like there is an excellent chance that I will be unavailable for gaming all of October and the first week in November. Thus, I am wondering if anybody other then me still has any appetite to play any regular season games. If not I am wondering if we might play the SABBL world series yet this month? I am hoping that if that is not feasible and if my team or Sean's or both make the series that the series could wait until I am able to return to gaming after my unfortunately timed upcoming hiatus? Thoughts?

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Gaming Sat at Chris'

...or Jeff's, or wherever. I'll be in town this Sat, and I'm in the mood for some gaming (and maybe...MAYBE, a bit of RB2 on the side). Jeff, I can bring Monastery, among other things. I'm sure Agricola will see some play. Of course that is, assuming someone is actually hosting.

Oh, in case you were wondering, that pic is just a half a mile away from where I live. I only had some minor roof, fence, and tree damage. I'm not complaining.


Oh no no no....please stop me from buying this...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Session Report: I am epic fail as a farmer.

Session Report: I arrived late. Apparently Scott, Brian and Sean played Glory to Rome and RftG while they waited for me. They had given up hope when I cam sauntering in late, with my work laden bag of heavy. And I joined them for a game of Agricola that had ALMOST started. And one game was followed by another, and another.....

But I am epic fail as a farmer. I really am. I do not do well at the game. EVER. I am the same mediocre player. Three games in a row of not doing well, with a personal high score in a multiplayer game of 35 :). I tried the grain and veg strategy. I tried the expand my family and home strategy. I tired the a little bit of everything strategy. And I fail. And yet i love the game. I really do. It is so much fun, and so utterly frustrating. So much love for the game. Almost as much as Tikal. One of these days I will win. One of these days.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bait and Switch

(Purely a Rock Band post; everyone else, move along.)

Got the game, but no sale on drums. I'm hearing that they will arrive at several Gamestops on Monday and at Best Buy on Tuesday. I have one reserved at the latter, but I'll see if I can get lucky with the former after class tomorrow. The universe is achieving karmic balance by giving me a record-breaking fantasy football day (11 TDs with 2.5 players still to go, including Roethlisberger).

If anyone is updating their guitar, and the old one still works, I'd like to buy one off someone (Steve, I'm looking in your direction). I don't intend to play it much, but it would be nice to have one for guests.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Mighty Wind

... appears to have passed us by. Yet some of you will need to fill those anxious hours before midnight. So I hereby decree that I will open Casa de Bankler from 6:30 pm until such time as people see fit to leave for gaming. Given that it's last minute, I don't expect a huge crowd, but RSVP in the comments.



Given that it seems the only thing happening this weekend is RB2 Party, which is fun, and I believe that i will be there, I suppose I should bring about the mention of Monday. Who will be there. I might have acquired a copy of Scepter of Zavendor that i want to play. I might even read the rules before Monday. But if no one wishes to play that there is always the Gric, and I'm sure other things will make an appearance. So comment. And plan. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Weekend Gaming: Hurricane Style

So... at this point it seems like we might get pummelled... or we might luck out and stay dry.  I can report that my cat looks nervous, though he always sort of looks nervous when I stare at him suspiciously.  In any event its a little fun to watch the disaster unfold via Google Earth or other similar programs.  Worst case we can ride out the storm by snuggling up to our diesel generator powered X-Boxes or perhaps read game rulebooks via candelight.  Don't forget to stock your Ipod up with lots of board game podcasts before the Net drops.

Assuming we're not all riding in an ark somewhere Sunday afternoon, perhaps there will be gaming.  This is a good spot to post plans, hopes, and desires.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Crimes Against Probability

The Leftorium (my SABBL team) fell from 11-10 to 11-13 after a sweep by Sean/Scott's team that would have crushed the spirit of even the most bad-beat-hardened poker pro. Some examples:

- In Game 1, C.C. Sabathia gave up four runs on the first five at-bats and lost 7-4.
- In Game 2, I rolled on the pitcher's card 24 of my first 29 at-bats, en route to a 1-0 loss. In the 9th I hit my batting cards three times: ballpark single, lineout, double play.
- In Game 3, I lost 11-1 despite matching Scott in hits. I stranded 11 runners, while Scott's fifth inning began something like Error, Single on 1-4 split, Single on 1-2 split, Error, Single on 1-4 split.

Afterwards I watched the tail end of a Shadows Over Camelot game using the Merlin's Company expansion. Sneaky traitor Brian looked to have the game in hand, leading 6-4 in swords and having as many as nine siege engines. But Sean came up with the idea of having everyone mass on the dragon for the last two swords, and played the "everyone teleport to my quest" card to enforce his will. The good guys won 6-6 in swords, thanks to the "we win ties" card Jon had played to much derision thirty minutes earlier.

I joined the second game, making seven players, which allows for two traitors. Despite an early rush of Despair cards, we picked off Excalibur and the Grail in rapid succession, and appeared to be winning so easily that we suspected their might be no traitors. Eventually Sean revealed himself with a Fate card and tried to run up the siege engine count, getting to 10 before we roped things under control. Second traitor Brian tried knocking us off a quest as a last gasp, but Jon's accusation (after he nearly killed half the group by drawing a black card) finished the job 11-1.

I liked the game with the expansion, but then again I liked the game *without* the expansion, so you'll have to ask others how much it improved things. We played the travel cards wrong, so that might change future games.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Monday planning

What should we expect for Monday evening gaming at DL? Will Dennis rejoin us after vanquishing his tenure materials?

(How much will the tenure box resemble a diorama (as was originally suggested by others)? Will Brian's suggested horse's head and Schroedinger's cat get along inside? Inquiring minds want to know but yet are terrified to find out.)

I should be there in the just after 5pm category. I will be continuing my lonely quest to push the SABBL past the finish line. (Will Michael's team come out of hiding?) I am confident something fun will be played; and I might even be able to personally partake.

Post your thoughts/plans (dreams, aspirations, ...) for Monday in the comments.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Bonus Gaming

Early on we had Jon, Michael, Jacqui and I. So we broke out the Race expansion ... well the new homeworlds, anyway. Jacqui was the separatist colony (look at 2 extra cards during exploration, +1 military), Jon was the Ancient Race (Gene Windfall, only keep three cards instead of four at the start) and Michael was the Damaged Alien Factory (Alien Production world, but you have to discard a card to produce). Two of the new homeworlds are shown below. We didn't use the Doomed World...
I randomly rolled for my HW and got Epsilon Eridani (from the base set). I had a great hand, assuming that I got one more military, so I explored +5. Fortunately for me the opening was slow (with Jon trading and Michael producing). Early on, it seemed that we got into a ping-pong rhythm, two people trading one turn, the other two trading the next (since most everyone was on a windfall). Eventually things sorted out. Michael got out the trade league, a few other small planets and tourist world, so he could consume x2 vp and trade ("6 Cards, 6 VP, please"). Jon had put out an early Pan Galactic League (+2 VP per green world, +1 per military) and a contract specialist. The PGL paid off nicely, earning him more cards than he spent over the course of the game, as well as 12-ish VPs. I did get a reasonable start which included the mediocre new economy, but I needed a bit of luck (an explore +1, hoping to get a good card and a bonus card to spend paid off) and I got a huge piece of luck when Jacqui settled on the final turn that I developed, allowing me to end the game before Michael got in an 8 or 10 point consume. (I dropped New Galactic Order and the Lost Alien Battlefleet, for a total of 13 VPs. Those two items allowed me to eke out victory, 39 to 36.

We broke out Glory to Rome with Chris, but Tiffany arrived so we switched to Stage II. Michael has added to the list of categories where he has successfully stated the theme, but only as an off-hand comment and not an actual guess. He also got a theme on the first clue, when the correct answer was so awkwardly worded ... well, you try. The answer to the first question is "The left field fence at Fenway Park." I think Chris won, but I'm not sure. I lost, although I did get a few categories.

Next was celebrities. We did have a simpson, a superhero, but no muppets. We also had Oda Nobunga, Benjamin Disraeli, Harrison Ford, Indiana Jones, Han Solo (that was a brutal combination, all put in by one evil person), the surprisingly difficult 3rd rounder Tom Hanks (I considered putting in Otm Shank, but decided not to), Aaron Copeland, Bon Jovi, Peter Cottontail, Bugs Bunny (twice), the Trix Rabbit and Gregor Mendel.

After that the inevitable split occured. Jon and Michael got the band back together, with the help of some aspiring groupies (Thanks to J&M for letting Rebecca and Aidan play). The rest of us became farmhands. Chris quickly got out the devastating-looking occupation that let him pay to take the first action (and then let it revert to the start player and go around the table normally, so he could get his second action before anyone else got the first). But the real impact play was Tiffany's "You must pay me a food to go on the grain space." This froze that space out for most of the game ... which made my grocer (stack 8 goods, buy them one at a time for one food each) powerful, since the first or second item was a grain. I also dropped the outrider, who gives grain when you take the newest action. I quickly had two grain, and played some acreage (basically, two fields for grain) and had 3 grain fields before the second harvest. Combined with the master brewer (convert 1 grain to 3 food) and I was off to the races. Chris got the first family growth, but was on the bleeding edge of hunger. I got the next two family growths and never had problems feeding my family.

After that the full band played a set or two, and things dispersed... thanks to everyone for showing up!

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation

Not much, really. Went on a cruise. Messed up my shoulder. Played some games. And now that my summer vacation is over, I guess I'll play some more games. Jacqui and I will host this Saturday from 9am until whenever. RSVP in the comments.


Can't we all just get along...

For the grognards in the group... There's 2 or 3 I wasn't even aware of.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Holiday Planning Post

It is a holiday. Which means that for once I have free tome. So this is a planning post. Who will be gaming today. I suppose, unless we hear otherwise things will be at Dragon's Lair. So who is in? And at what time? I am taking Jenn to the station, so she can begin her trip home, and then I am free....

August Ends with a Splash

Above: Frenchy (Steve) and Lady Lauren (Dev) play cards while the rest of the passengers avoid getting a flare gun to the face.

Gaming started earlier than expected with some Rocking Out with Michael and Steve. Either we're getting good, or Jon has really been dragging us down on bass, because we passed every song we tried (including Run to the Hills) except for Green Grass, on which we made it to 94%. Steve blamed his equipment. At 7pm I gave Michael a ride to Jeff's (note this for later).

I was the 9th to arrive, but we were expecting 11. No better way to summon those people than to play a game that can handle up to 10. So we broke out 6 Nimmt, which is almost total chaos with that number. I say "almost", because you do have at least some sense of when you are safe and when you are at risk, you just never know when your "at risk" card will scoop zero, five, or twenty points. We only played one hand, as the game's summoning powers worked perfectly; Chris arrived during the opening deal, while Dev (coworker with Tiffany) came midway through. Brian and I were burned by low cards in our hand and took one and two points, respectively, while Scott came out spotless. I heard scores as high as 29.

We then debated whether to split 6-5, 8-3, 4-4-3, 10-1, etc. We settled on six playing Power Grid and five playing Ra. It was the first game for Steve, Chris, and Dev, but very much not the first game for Michael and I. I took the early lead with pharoahs and multiple civs, while Michael stocked away monuments. In the final epoch Michael, despite starting with 8-6-4 in suns, managed to get three each of three different monuments and seven individually for a 30-point final turn. But I hit most pharoahs on my last bid and beat out Dev for highest suns, 39-38, for a 26-point final turn of my own and a 53-48 win. In all three epochs somebody tempted fate by drawing deep with nine Ra tiles on the board (Steve twice and Dev once), and all three times Ra hammered them for their audacity.

The upstairs group moved from Power Grid to Agricola. Refusing to (a) play popular Euros and (b) think too hard, the same five headed back to the kitchen for Lifeboat. Not Lifeboats, just Lifeboat, a card game that made up half the prize table at the last BGG.con. Each player is a different character in a lifeboat. The player in the front of the boat takes Provisions from the storage chest, takes one, and hands the pile backwards. Players can then row, change seats, or steal from someone. If a target resists a seat change or mugging, a fight breaks out, and suddenly Lady Lauren pulls out a knife *and* a flare gun and everybody chills the heck out. Finally the person in the back of the boat chooses one of the navigation cards drawn by the rowers, which decides who gets thirsty (rowers and fighters are especially vulnerable), who goes overboard, and whether you get closer to shore. Game ends when you reach shore.

The twist to the game is everyone has one "Love" card and one "Hate" card. You get bonus points if the person on your Love card survives, and if the person on your Hate card dies. If you Hate yourself, you are a psychopath and want *everyone* to die.

In Game 1, Steve (Frenchy, the strong-swimming crew member) and Dev (Lady Lauren) had a perfect setup. Each had each other's Love card, Dev had the front of the boat while Steve had the back, and Dev had every weapon in the game. So they steered and stole with impunity, and the rest of us had to suck it up. But they made one mistake -- they brought us home too quickly. Michael was The Kid, the weakest character by far with only three health. If you survive, you get (12 - starting health) points, so that's nine. Plus Michael loved himself, so that's another nine. Plus he had stolen half the Louvre from other players, and ended up winning in a runaway because Lauren and Frenchy didn't toss him overboard. The lesson -- women and children first!

Surprisingly, everyone wanted a second game, even Chris, who seemed to have no control over his fate in either game (though it didn't help that I wanted him dead in both). I drew the First Mate again (highest health with 8), and immediately took the back of the boat with no resistance (health = fighting prowess, and I had a knife). Little did the rest of the boat know that I was a Psychopath. I managed to start a fight that got everyone involved, and then played a navigation card that capsized the whole boat *and* made all fighters extra thirsty. Quickly everyone was dead except me and Frenchy (Chris), and since he had no weapon, I stole his entire hand before steering the boat home for the easy win. Good times.

And with that, it was time to go. I bid my good-byes and headed out. When I got home, I started relating all this to my wife, and when I got to "Michael and I headed for Jeff's", I stopped. Wait a minute. How did Michael get home? I'm pretty sure he left before me. Did Steve take him home? I'm pretty sure he did. And as "pretty sure" was enough for me, I slept the sleep of the innocent.