Monday, September 01, 2008

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.


At 9:58 AM, September 01, 2008, Blogger Brian said...

The upstairs group played Wysokie Napięcie (Power Grid in Central Europe. If that's not the Polish Nmae for Power Grid then it looks too polish for its own good). We also used the new power plant deck, which is interesting.

In the Central Europe map, several of the regions are nuke-free, you can only bid on nuclear plants if you have a base outside of them. Also, Vienna is a dump, so anyone there can buy trash cheaply.

In typical Power Grid fashion, everyone shot themselves in the foot. Jeff and Amy bought huge power plants on turn two, then followed up with huge power plants on turn 3. Tiffany started in an expensive part of the map. I'm not sure exactly what Scott did, but he had some pretty impressive resource costs and, during the endgame, had three roughly equal plants which made the final upgrade not very efficient. Tiffany's Friend (Gina? Jean?) was a new player and therefore excused. I bought a wind power plant I couldn't really use and whose price kept me from getting to my fifth city quickly (with my main power plant supplying five cities). In the end, my foot hurt less than everyone else's, so I won.

We then broke out Agricola. We just shuffled all the cards together and I think I'm going to start doing that. The "I" deck has some amusing card, particularly Tiffany's occupation where she became the used car dealer for Grain. This bother me less than anyone, since I had the seasonal worker (who can get grain from the Day Laborer spot). I got two early house builds, so had my family up to 4 people by the end of the second harvest.

FYI, that's a pretty good strategy.

I spent the next two turns ensuring my food supply (getting the stone oven, which let me convert 2 grain to 8 food) and then went to work on my farm ... I believe everyone else had scores in the 20-29 point range (even Tiffany, who did a bit of begging).

I didn't score 187 points, but I did win.

Thanks to Jeff and Amy for hosting, and Ian for (mainly) sleeping for five consecutive hours. An impressive feat for one so young.

At 1:30 PM, September 02, 2008, Blogger Tiffany said...

187 points. I mean I know I failed at the game, but really, this is.... outlandaish. My 54 solo points look pitiful now. Need to work on strategy, thats for certain.

At 3:34 PM, September 02, 2008, Blogger Amy said...

Excellent session reports, all!

At 3:38 PM, September 02, 2008, Blogger Brian said...

That 187 point game was game 8 of a solo series, so you start with multiple occupations already on the board (7 in this case) and some bonus food. It tends to elevate the scores.

At 3:59 PM, September 02, 2008, Blogger Tiffany said...

And I think he hand picked the minor improvements for the game. I forget which one he said he did. It still doesnt make me feel better about my feeble abilities. And I think i was playing the forester card wrong. I need to read the wording again and ask for clarification I think.


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