Saturday, May 31, 2008

Epic Zama

After spending the day under duress, I finally found myself left alone for a short while this evening, so I set up the epic version of Zama from Command and Colors:Ancients. Solo gaming is not always possible or entertaining in some systems, but the dice and cards do keep CnC:A unpredictable, and it is very light with regard to workload.

The game was a lot of fun, and it has interesting differences when compared to Epic Battlelore and M44. The Romans had a 13-11 lead, and only needed 1 more flag for victory. Despite having three excellent cards that all had multiple ways to eliminate that last unit, every combat roll failed to eliminate its opponent, and in many cases a lucky retreat flag allowed Carthaginian units to get out of trouble. Having lost a unit to a battle back, the Romans were then manhandled by the heavies (Hannibal's veterans) and lost 14-13.

Well worth the effort. By the way, for those who happen to like toy soldiers, check out Wargames Factory using Google or your favorite search engine. These guys are putting out everything needed for a miniatures version of the 2nd and 3rd CnC:A expansions. I pre-ordered 4 boxes tonight (2 Caesarian Roman and 2 Celtic) for a total of 192 foot. Cavalry and chariots are coming, not to mention English and French from the Hundred Years War. The incredible part is that these are in HARD PLASTIC and will make wonderful game pieces. I haven't decided yet if I want to paint them myself, send them to Sri Lanka, or just spray paint them the same solid colors as the blocks from the game.

The price is great, shipping is free, and even a scofflaw like myself can afford them after I settle my debt to society.

The Battle for Bastogne

Friday, several of us gathered to play our first Memoir '44 Overlord Scenario. The setting was part of the Battle of the Bulge, specifically the siege of Bastogne (in Belgium). The scenario did not actually involve Bastogne itself, but rather the German effort to capture the area south of Bastogne, thereby closing the ring around Bastogne and (hopefully) leading to the subsequent elimination of the American 101st Airborne forces within. As the German Panzer divisions moved south to capture Sibret and Assenois, two small villages south of Bastogne, American infantry and armor moved from the south and met them head-on to try to stop them, and the resulting battle was fierce and devastating for both sides. Perfect for Memoir '44!

First to 12 VPs is the winner. So, the Allied forces, commanded by Steve while I acted as the field general of the right and left wings, started by quickly taking the village of Remagne and moving into Moircy (which happened in real life), with each of these villages worth a victory point for the Americans as long as they could control them. The Germans, with Ben in command and Ted running the right and left wings, pushed the Allies out of Remagne and took Moircy right back (which also happened in real life). To the west, the Germans used the momentum of their supporting armor units to swing around and flank the Allied armies. Although their attack stalled, the Germans moved forward enough (and eliminated enough Allied forces in the process) to prevent any viable counterattack and attempt to retake the villages in that area. Just to the north of this flank, German infantry dug in and entrenched themselves in a line (you can see them behind their sandbags in the upper left part of the above picture if you click on it) such that any forces that came out to attack would open themselves up to multiple simultaneous counterattacks.

To the east, the German armor advanced toward Sibret, worth up to three VPs (you can see the VP markers in the picture with the Allied tanks out in front in defense) if they could take and hold it. The 11th Armored Division moved forward and pushed them back, taking a lead in victory points at the halfway mark. As the Germans reinforced from the center and fired their artillery, they pushed back again (kind of like the style of boxing seen at the end of all the Rocky movies where they just slug each other and land haymaker after haymaker, back and forth, without putting their hands up for defense). Near the end, the Germans got to the outskirts of Sibret but slowed to take out a few heavily wounded armor and infantry units. Now the door to Sibret opened up. Although the Germans didn't have enough forces to control all of Sibret, they were close enough to march in and claim enough to be one or two VPs away from the win. Finally, in one last valiant push, the Allied armor and artillery to the east took out some of Sibret's potential captors while the armor supporting the 87th Infantry Division just to the west rolled forward and finally punched through the entrenched infantry line to get the victory!

In real life, the Americans kept the Germans from capturing their intended targets but suffered heavy casualties in doing so. The game pretty much mirrored this (Memoir '44 and "heavy casualties" usually go hand-in-hand). The Overlord rules set up a Commander who draws cards (used to determine which units get to move and attack) and hands them out to a player running sections of the board, which is divided into thirds. With only two players per side, the Commander also runs the armies in the center of the board, while the other player runs the right and left flanks with the cards that are given to them. Theoretically, the Commander is not allowed to talk to the Field General running the flanks (because he's geographically located in the center with the troops there as he commands them), so he can "wire orders" (by handing out cards) to the Field Generals on the right and left but is too far away to meaningfully discuss how to strategically execute those orders. This sounds neat in practice, but in reality doesn't work too well with only two players on each side. Instead, we found ourselves talking as a team more and more as the game went on and pointing out to each other how best to execute certain orders, even for armies that were under our teammate's control. As we played, not only was it tough to NOT talk to our teammate, it felt too contrived in my opinion. As we decided to relax and permit open planning, the game flowed better and felt like it was more fun for everyone playing, especially since we didn't have to be the "No talking!" police for the other team. So, as neat as this part of the rules sounded, it just wasn't fun and we abandoned it. Overall, though, the rest of the game was really great fun, and we'll hopefully get together to do it again soon.

EDIT: Oh yeah, this is for Steve:

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Saturday and Monday

When I arrived (after many problems due to San Antonio's stupid road closings ...) Travis and Tiffany were breaking out the T. I joined in and promptly justified my feelings with a last place finish. (I don't actually hate Tikal, but I don't really care for games where you make a move, then can leave the table for 5 minutes).

Scott and Chris showed up, and played the beisbol. Travis left, so Tiffany and I broke out Blue Moon, then Dry Gulch Junction. At this point the series was over, so Scott and I played a few games of Race, and then called it a day. Then I found out my car's AC had broken. Lovely.

So, may as well make this the Monday planning post, and add a few notes:
  • Next Saturday is the World D&D day for 4th edition (or some such). Which means Dragon's Lair will be stuffed like a bag of holding, sans ambiance. You have been warned.
  • The Fun in the Sun Math trade looks pretty good, if you ask me.
  • Games I need to get to the table: Starcraft, Hannibal (Rome v Carthage), Combat Commander (Med or new Scenarios).
  • I'm still playing Bridge online (as TaoGaming) on BridgeBase.
  • I'll be at DLair on monday at 5:30 ish.
Until Monday ...

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Time to make our nefarious (weekend) plans...

Wow, it seems like we just played games. But Saturday is upon us once again. Anyone interested in getting a little group together for some more gaming? MWAHAHAHA...

UPDATE: Moving to Dragon's Lair due to my early morning commitments. Start at 10am (when they open).


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's a Trap!

In the runup to our Monday gaming mayhem, I had left out the boxes of Descent next to the big table with the thought that enough people that liked Descent were coming over and it might see some play. And it did. And the phrase of the day gives us the title of this post.

We started with Brian, Ben, and myself and opened with Glory to Rome, in which Ben built many things and ran away with the win. During the game, Travis and Steve came by. Brian departed to go spend the day with his family (a very normal thing to be doing on Memorial Day), and the rest of us squared off in a lively game of Nexus Ops. Steve started with a cash crunch, I made a beeline for the monolith, and Ben and Travis fought over the valuable mines, with Ben holding a reasonable advantage in this department. Although I controlled the monolith for about half the game, the end result was mostly ineffective Energize cards and an exposed soft underbelly as Steve swept in and killed my little guys while my big units were up enjoying the view from the monolith. After retreating to lick my wounds and reclaim some territory closer to home, Ben and Steve clashed over the monolith while Travis built up a very sizable army, although he assured us that they were just having a reunion and not really an army at all. Before he could mobilize them, though, Ben built some impressive big units and seemed in a position to control the outcome but forgot one vital part of Nexus Ops strategy: roll well. Ben rolled ones and twos and got bogged down in several stalemates while Steve gathered victory points and marched to the win. Really a fun game, probably the most fun I've ever had playing the game (probably because Ben the aggressor sat opposite me and generally left me alone--apart from trying his "Go get Chris!" Jedi mind tricks on Steve and Travis to helpfully remind them which direction they should be focusing their attacks).

At this point, Steve and Travis also left to go spend time with their families, leaving Ben and I to gleefully rub our hands and pick something to play next. Ben and I tend to like the same kind of games, but often they are not games that other people really want to play. So we had the opportunity to pick something we both liked. We narrowed it down to Arkham Horror and Descent. Since Arkham Horror (just realized I can't abbreviate it AH because my eyes instantly transform "AH" into "Avalon Hill") is coming out with an expansion in about a month, we decided to postpone that and try Descent. Now, I didn't play Descent on Saturday, and Ben's always up for inflicting some Overlord punishment, so this was the perfect opportunity.

So we picked up where the party left off on Saturday, and I played the characters in the third level of the dungeon while Ben planned their untimely demises. We played a level with three red leaders, all of whom had Undying. In addition, they all had Knockback, which isn't so much KnockBACK as it is Knock-"move the character three spaces any direction you want with each attack." Plus, there were three large sarcophagi at the end of the room, which functioned like big trash cans. If a character were knocked back into them, they would fall in (taking a wound in the process), and the sarcophagus lid would close over them, trapping them inside for a whole turn. So two characters took hits, got slam-dunked into the sarcophagi, and disappeared for a turn each. Still they managed to survive and kill off the leaders and other spawned creatures. But during this time, the traps began to appear. My character survived a spiked pit, but a stone block then crushed him into dust and sent him to town for resurrection. Then, at the end, after all the monsters were gone, Tiffany's character ran (surviving a stone block to the noggin in the process-they need to build the ceilings better) to the end of a distant hall which contained a glyph and a chest. Now we were down to four Overlord cards left; if Ben draws them, he decks and gets Conquest which is bad. So I've got to get out of the dungeon within two turns. As Tiff's character got to the chest and ran out of moves, I thought, "I'll open the chest, get the treasure, step on the glyph in the next square next turn, and teleport out."

This was wrong thinking. I should have stepped on and activated the glyph first (worth Conquest to the heroes), THEN moved to the chest, opened it, gotten the treasure, moved BACK to the glyph, and teleported out. As Tiffany opened the chest and lifted the treasure out (you got a slightly better robe, Michael), the chest went click-BOOOOM! And poor Tiffany went with it, with the trap inflicting 8 damage and ignoring armor. She reincarnated in town and kept the treasure but now no time remained to get back to the unactivated glyph before Ben ran out of cards. The remaining heroes fled through the exit portal just before Ben drew his last Overlord card but had learned a painful lesson. Go for the sure conquest points first. The heroes still did ok, getting several thousand gold and 15 Conquest themselves just on the third level (4 conquest per level 3 leader killed plus 3 for a glyph I DID activate) but it should have been 18. Arrrgh.

P.S. Jon, I don't think Ben much cares for your character's combination of two moves and two attacks (sandwiched aroud a guard action) every turn. I think his new nickname for your character is "broken."

P.P.S. Jon, since I ran all four characters, my character took your character's +3 armor and gave your character a nice plush Bathrobe of Relaxing +1 in return. Thanks.

At this point, seeing two characters die (and not knowing what the party's plans were on the overland map) was enough for me, and we packed everything away and settled down for a final game of Memoir '44. Now, with it being Memorial Day and all, I thought at least one game involving military forces was in order. As an aside, earlier in the day, Steve, Ben and I had started tossing around the idea of an Overlord scenario (different from the Descent Overlord) in which up to 8 people can play at once. We're getting pretty excited about this--I think it should be a blast. We have room for more people. Don't worry if you don't know how to play; the rules are VERY easy, and the social aspect should be a lot of fun, so PLEASE post if you want to play, because we're definitely going to play it within the next few weeks. The hard part is lining everyone's schedule up, but we're working on it. ANYWAY, I played the fine upstanding Germans while Ben played the evil Russians as they tried to hold the line and defend a French Russian village (my bad; maybe I lost because I had no idea what country we were in) from their German liberators. A quick airstrike softened up both of our heavy armor units, and the fighting in the village became fierce, with Ben controlling the village perimeter long enough to claim victory just as the Panzers got ready to roll in. A great game, quick and bloody in a very manageable amount of time. I can't wait to play the Mega-Memoir soon.

P.P.P.S. I was joking about the armor switch, Jon. Definitely joking. Probably.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

A few of us are planning on getting together Monday morning for Memorial Day gaming. Please confirm your interest here in the comments.


TI:3 Review

After my first full game of TI:3 yesterday, I am pretty positive about this game. I am left with the impression of a big, epic universe.

As Carlos mentioned, we used the variant where all the public victory point conditions are known for the whole game, and I think this really contributed to the feeling of vastness. You are given some objectives and some starting resources, and then after that you are free to explore the galaxy. You can create a lot of technology, but that's not necessary. You need some armies, but you can build a huge war machine if you want. The freedom contributes to an impressive sense of scope and scale not found in your typical 2 hr euro. You can even ignore the objectives completely and just do whatever you want. You won't win doing that, but the look of fear on your opponents faces when your armada of war suns and dreadnoughts arrives might be worth a lot of satisfaction.

At the same time, you have a sense that the game doesn't end at the edge of the map, so to speak. During the game you'll have laws passed that change some of the rules. Those pesky politicians can't leave well enough alone! Luckily, the players have a lot of influence in the senate. In our TI:3 game yesterday we had a particularly irksome law passed that limited the production of each space dock to 2 units so workers could have a 20 hr work week. This had a significant impact on the last half of the game. The TI:3 universe has a lot of stuff going on outside your little corner.

Any good space game has a cool technology tree, and TI:3 excels in this regard. There are four tech areas, and about 7 techs in each area along with complex interdependencies. I cannot imagine that anyone could ever get all techs simultaneously. Certainly, you couldn't do it and accomplish much else in the game. Since each race has different starting technology, people will end up different technology, although some, like war suns, will probably show up in most games.
Finally, there's a wide selection of races with different abilities and special racial technologies.

Taking together the diverse objectives, the freedom of action, the large board, the potential laws, the expansive tech tree, and the many different races, you have a game of epic scope. These same things, together with the random board creation, ensure the game will never feel the same twice.

The only downside to this game is the logistics, but I can't see any way around it. Even just the game box is huge; storing this in the closet is not simple. Setting up and tearing down require some effort to be sure. Carlos had a great method to mitigate the table space problem. Each player gets their own 3 ring binder with cheat sheets and storage for action cards, political cards, and planets (it takes a big binder to store planets, but Carlos spared no expense.) Then there's scheduling an all-day game for 5 or 6 people. Still, these issues are more than compensated by the grand sweep of the game.

One minor thing I might change would be to use a few more objective cards to better fit the grand size of the game. We had 10 turns and 10 public objectives plus 1 private objective. At the end Dennis and I had done almost the exact same things. It would be nice to allow a bit more freedom. I think it would be cool to have more objectives than you can possibly accomplish, so that two people can be winning from completely different angles.

Not a game for every day, especially given the length. Once in a while, however, you need to try to conquer the galaxy. A smaller game just won't do.


Saturday in Review

At least from me.

Michael and I finished off our series. Despite being up 5-2 when the rain delay started (two weeks ago), a late almost-rally had me worried and I won the second game 5-0. The last game was an unexpected pitcher's duel when Barry Zito inexplicably had a good day, giving up 1 ER and 4 H in the first five. Still, I had no trust and pulled him late in the 6th for Marmol, to keep it a 1-0 game. At the top of the ninth Matt "I'm supposed to be pretty good" Holliday finally did something and hit a solo HR to tie it. Carlos "Me too" Beltran hit a single and stole second, then scored on a Garrett Atkins hit to go up 2-1.

Alas, Marmol was a bit wild, hitting Troy Tulowitzki, then giving up a home run to Robinson Cano, so Michael avoids the sweep. I've now finished my first tour, and am 8-10.

After the series, Michael and I played a few games of Race waiting for people, then one group did Descent while I taught some more bridge. We ended (at least I did) with a game of Tichu.

Thanks to Chris and Mr. Black for hosting.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Yummy TI3 Cake - and good for you too - if you are a cyborg!

Today we had a game of TI3 at my house. This was a game that was supposed to be for those have not yet played. Mark and Ted had been saying that they wanted to play this for a while and so we planned this a while ago. However at the last minute Mark was not able to play, so I recruited my son to take his place.

This was a great game. Ted literally came within a single role of the die from winning. He and another friend of mine were neck & neck the whole game, with Ted in control of Mecatol Rex. He was surrounded on two sides by war suns of two different players and assaulted on other fronts all at the same time. But he kept his cool even as the “Iron Jaws of Vissage Grim” closed in. His mighty fleet at Mecotol Rex was annihilated by one of the War Sun fleets in a titanic space battle. And although he lost in space he managed to cripple the attacker (Hacan) while a single ground unit of his held on. He was able to persuade the other War Sun fleet to leave him alone. But finally another very powerful fleet of dreadnoughts, cruisers, and fully loaded carriers finished off the crippled (Hacan) fleet that was besieging Rex and finally finished Ted’s single ground force.

What made this such a spectacular end was this was the last turn with Ted (The Cyborgs) at 9 points and ready to gain a 10th in the final status phase. Dennis, the 2nd place guy (Jol-Nar) occupied Rex with a tattered fleet (from the battle with the War Sun) with four damaged dreadnoughts. Had just one of the dreadnoughts been destroyed, the Jol-Nar would not have been able to use his Bureaucracy card to claim the two points he needed to get to 10 before our very own Ted could gain his one point in the Status phase. This was a SUPER example of a well played Bureaucracy card by my friend Dennis.

Although Ted and I fought some big battles, I was rooting for him at the end. After all – we are all part of the order of San Antonio Board Gamers.

But I think that Ted had a good time and I am confident that he will be ready and willing to play TI3 again the next time we roll it out!

BTW – Please wish him a belated happy Birthday as well as congratulations for a game brilliantly executed! Please notice the delicious work of art that his wife provided for us. Did you notice that it looks like the Supernova in TI3?

Friday, May 23, 2008

He's here!

Ian Christopher Wiles was born Monday at 11:04 PM. He was 8 lbs 15 oz and 22.5 inches. Mother and son are home and doing well.

FYI for new guys like Travis and Raab: Amy and I used to be active SABG members. This why you haven't seen us around. We'll be back to gaming with people in real life in a few months, I hope.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mid-Week Random Thoughts

It seems like forever since I had a solid 9-5 day of board gaming. Perhaps this holiday weekend will fix that. I have been super duper busy the past few weeks, and 36 hours of house painting over the past four days have eaten up a bit of free time. Heck, I've had a large, sealed box from Thought Hammer looking at me for almost a week, but I'm just too pooped to enjoy the experience of cracking it open. In that box alone are probably enough games to keep me happily engaged for the 6 months: Empire of the Sun, Blackbeard, Here I Stand, Aquaretto.

Kevin Wilson just released a wonderful Build Your Own Hero tool for Descent. Now we need the build your own monster tool... We need to get RtL back to the table.

Rob: When are we playing Europe Engulfed?

I hear rumors of a TI:3 game in NW San Antonio this weekend. I wish you all well! I need to play again.

While painting this weekend, I listened to a 12-hour series of podcasts on ancient warfare. One interesting factoid was that the word decimate comes from the Roman practice of executing one out of every ten surviving soldiers from a legion if they lost a battle. Now if I could only put that into practice at my job...

GTA4 is still wonderful. I'm progressing slowly still, but having a blast. I think my real life driving skills have devolved a bit, as I now find it excruciating to sit through a red light.

Okay, I'm getting the bedtime summons. Have a great week! Let's play games on Saturday!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Notes from an Exhibition

Let's see ... Sean and Scott played a series, including half an exhibition game!

Sean brought a new person in, Mike.

We mainly played Race for the Galaxy and Bridge. Bridge can take a while to get to the point of comfort, and then you spend forever getting better. So here are some links to try to get towards comfort...

1) Richard Pavlicek's site has good lessons. The 5th Chair Foundation also has a reasonable series of bidding lessons. I can't vouch for the American Contract Bridge League's "Learn to Play Bridge" software, but it's probably pretty good. (Click on the "Free Lesson Software" link).
2) You can play BridgeBaseOnline for free. There are beginner tables, and you can just watch some deals. It has some lessons somewhere, too.
3) The Turtle Creek Bridge Club is local. In general, I advise calling and asking about classes or novice games. (They do have a novice game on Tuesdays at 1).
4) I have several introductory books on card play I can loan out. Sadly, I don't have any books that summarize bidding that are appropriate. I may swing by used book stores to see if I can find any.... you can also try the library for the ACBL sponsored "Club Series" (by Audrey Grant).

In general if people want to play bridge I'm happy to teach, although I'll try to just set it up and answer questions. I have plenty of first hand experience about how "playing bridge" is basically following instructions for your first X hours. That's not really that fun, I know. I'll try to reduce the bidding basics further.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bridge ... to Monday

So at 10:05 am this morning J said "Oh, I'm taking the kids ... have fun!" So I decided to go to the local bridge club. (I thought about seeing if anyone was available, but I knew that Trinity had commencement and Rule #1 was still in force, I think).

Anyway, I made a call to ensure I'd have a partner and moseyed over. And then "Oh frabjous day" ... today is the yearly free game. (Normally to play bridge you'll wind up paying 'card fees' which mainly cover rent, etc). Needless to say, it was packed.

Overall I did OK. Basically an average game, excepting one disaster caused by having only discussed bidding system with a new partner for five minutes, and a few errors of judgement. (So a 44% game). I'm still annoyed that the Turtle Creek Bridge Club doesn't have a Weds night game (when I could consistently play), but I think I'll try to get in a game every other friday or so. I know that Dennis and Michael play, but I've also got 3-4 others. If people want to learn I don't recommend going to a duplicate club to do it (unless you can make the novice game) but I can teach and recommend/loan a few books.

Anyway, the amusing story, during those five minutes my partner and I came up with the following conversation.

Partner -- "Are we playing Bergen raises?"
(FYI -- Bergen Raises are 3C or 3D over a 1 of a Major opening).
"Fine, but I normally play reverse Bergen raises."
(FYI -- This flips the meaning of 3C and 3D).
"That's OK. Actually, Bergen himself originally played reverse, but someone else reversed them and that's the one that got named Bergen, so Reverse Bergen Raises are actually normal."

.... 2 hours later....

I open 1 of a major and partner bids 3D. I alert.
Opponents: "What is that?"
Me: "Bergen Raise."
Opponent: "How many points?" (Which is equivalent to asking "Regular or Reverse?")
Me: (Thinking back) -- "Uh, I'm not sure. We agreed on Reverse Bergen but then partner said reverse was not reversed. I think she was just stating an etymological curiosity, so uh, Reverse."

Fortunately it didn't matter .... partners bid was enough to get me to game (and not to slam), no matter whether it was reversed (7-9 pts) or not (10-12). It did annoy my opponent though, mainly because we didn't suffer. (And partner actually had an ugly 10, but downgraded the hand).

For the curious, we suffered by not discussing our system to deal with NT interference where I wound up in 3NT down when 4H was cold for 5. All the other mistakes were real (bidding judgement or play). Anyway, I may actually go on BridgeBase more often. (I'm "TaoGaming"). There's a sectional in San Antonio the first weekend of June...

I'll be at DLair on Monday at the typical bat-time (around 5:30).

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Playing Unassisted Triples

In the real world, Asdrubal Cabrera turned the 14th unassisted triple play last night. Good for him. (He then tossed the ball to the fans and, at least according to one report, let out an anguished "Oh no!").

In the SABBL, I hosted Chris's league leading team. The whatever he calls them.

In the opener, I only had 6 hits, but four of them were HRs (and I had several warning track shots). I won 5-3.

In the second, Chris rolled 6-9 six times during 9 innings (about 40-45 rolls). Unfortunately for me (and Micah Owings ERA), that's a triple double split. So Chris, in that one game, got as many triples as I've gotten all season (3). (And yes, Micah Owings pitched 7 fatigued innings. He only had one strikeout converted to a single, but those damn triples kept popping up). I pulled together a 4 run rally in the 8th, but managed to lose 13-4.

In the last game, Barry Zito was yanked in the top of the fifth after giving up a walk and run (breaking up his perfect game and no hitter, respectively), since it was a high-leverage situation and I had Marmol up. Sadly, Marmol's card didn't enter into it and my one run lead vanished. I lost 4-1.

The only other stat of note (since I can't bear to look at my stats) ... Moises Alou sat all three games. Slacker. He's sat out 8 of 16 games.


Sunday, May 11, 2008


Today is Mother's Day, when we celebrate Mom.

Tomorrow is monday, when we celebrate gaming.

I'll be at DLair at roughly the normal time.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Play Games at Dragons Lair, We Will

Saturday, 10 May 2008
Jon and I are planning to start it up at 1100 hours. The more the merrier. Bags of random fun games will be brought to the store. See you there!


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Gaming Friday Night

Jacqui and I will host a session on Friday night. Random games, the usual. RSVP in the comments.


Weekend Planning, Beisbol

I will be out of gaming again for the next two Saturdays, so I just wanted to put that out there early in case someone else wanted to start plans for the weekend.


Jon and I got together for the 2nd and 3rd games in our series. In the first game played about 2-3 weeks ago, I jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings, followed by Jon loading the bases and calling his shot, saying "One eight" and then eight, which equated to a 2 out grand slam and a fatigued starter on my part before I was out of the third. He proceeded to run away with it as my guys shut it down after the demoralizing blow, winning something like 9-4. That was the setup for the second game in the series. This time, my players realized that the keys to success were 1) more than a 4 run lead against Jon, and 2) not having the starter get fatigued before the end of the 3rd inning. I sent 11 players to the plate in the top of the first and the rout was on, with HIS starter getting fatigued before getting out of the first. Jon left his starter in to learn the error of his ways, and I managed to touch him for at least four fatigue-singles throughout the game. The good news is that his starter pitched a complete game. The bad news is he was on the losing end of the 15-4 decision. But only 12 of those were earned, so that's something.

The third game, the rubber match, lived up to the hype, as the two teams fought and scratched the entire way. A-Rod hit a solo shot in the first to give my team the early lead. We managed to get out to a 3-0 advantage after 3 innings. In the fourth, Jon said "breakout inning." And there was a breakout inning. And it was good...for him. He got a clutch two-out two-RBI hit that gave him a 4-3 advantage. By the end of the fifth, Bonds had jacked a solo shot to make it 5-3 for Jon. In the sixth, I put my first two on by a walk and a single. My backup DH came to the plate (starting DH Glaus wasn't "feeling it" and had decided to sit this one out). At this point, Jon and I talked about when a sitting player could come in to pinch hit, as I asked whether or not Glaus could come in off the bench. We looked up the posts on this blog and could only find Brian's reference to "no early game substitutions." Jon conceded that the sixth was no longer "early game" and allowed the sub. (Maybe we need to agree to a bit more specific definitiion of when sitters are allowed to come in as substitutes for the benefit of all the players in their future games?) So, Glaus strides to the plate...and blasts a pinch-hit 3 run home run to take the lead, 6-5. (For what its worth, the HR came off the pitcher card, so the sub was inconsequential when all was said and done.) Jon got runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth, but I sent in three relievers over the last two plus innings to hold on for the nailbiting 6-5 win, with Papelbon getting the last out for the save.

So Jon and I are both 8-4 after 12 games played, which I'm pretty certain is the league lead right now (+4 differential). I've gone 2-1 in all four series I've played against Dennis, Sean, Scott and Jon. I think this leaves Brian and Michael for me, and I'm not sure who's up next for Jon.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Monday Surprises - a short report.

I didn't think that I would be gaming tonight, but circumstances arranged themselves in such a way that I indeed made an appearance at DL. Much to the surprise of those present. When I arrived Chris and Brian were playing Blue Moon with some of the expansion decks. Brain won with his gangs of evil smiting while Chris made a valiant effort, but he could not stand strong against the gangs or their smite.

Sean arrived and after some debate about what to play. Dry Gulch Junction made it to the table and we all began our valiant efforts to build a town -- and claim the most VPs. I can see Sean and Brian's point that a second time through makes it easier to strategize, but I didn't do horribly for the first time, and Chris seemed quite at ease sneaking away with the victory.

Jon arrived as we were ending the game, and The Big was pulled out and played. I must say that I was thoroughly trounced. It was bad, but Chris, Jon, Brian and Sean were fighting it out neck and neck for a while. Til Jon put 11 bits into the Castile and changed end of game scoring drastically in his favor that is. About that time things broke up, and Sean and Brian were left to fend for themselves.

I was glad for the distraction. I needed the distraction. I did not wish to yet go home. I still don't, but some things j cannot be avoided. I appreciate you all letting me crash the party this evening. And not letting me just sit and watch things. It was enjoyable. You all are the best. I owe ya'll.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Gaming at Seans, and Baseball

Dennis and I arrived at the same time, so played the Federally Mandated game of Race while others arrived. Tiffany and Travis made their appearance, and we broke out Ra. As usual, a bizarre little game that saw me waste 2 gods, but my 3rd grabbed a critical civilization tile. Alas, that only tied me for Dennis, who was himself one point behind the leader.

By this point, Ben, Jon, Scott and Steve had commandeered the back table to use as the pacific ocean for their game of Pacific Typhoon. I wager that there were winners and losers. We ordered pizza, I narrowly edged out the title of "Galaga player of the afternoon." We set up Cash and Guns Yakuza, then had the caloric interlude. Charlie also had some cheese, but was generally disappointed by a lack of "the dropsies." Sorry, Charlie.

Both games of Yakuza were run aways. (I actually prefer vanilla CnG to Yakuza, but it's a mild preference, and with 7-9, what can you do?)

After that we thinned out to 5 and played Typo. Then we trimmed to three and tried out Dry Gulch Junction. I like it, but need to play again to see how much I like it. It's much faster than Dry Gulch, which is nice.

Finally Sean and I played our first series. You non-Baseball people can stop reading now.

In the opener at Camden Yards, I shellacked Matt Halladay for 7 runs in 6 innings (he started the seventh, but never got an out). Meanwhile, Jason Marquis was cruising to the win (and smacked Dustin Pedroia out of the series, for good measure), but I left him in way too long in the 8th and he gave up 6 runs. [Because I'm playing games out of order, I wanted to save my bullpen. Most of the damage was with 2 outs, and if I could have gotten that third out then I could use Wagner to close and be able to play in either the prior or next game]. But in the bottom of the 8th Orlando Hudson hit a double, and then Matt "Still bad, but improving" Holliday singled him in, which stood up. So I won 8-7.

The 2nd game had Ted Lilly (Sean) vs Lincecum (Me). Let's turn to the 2nd inning.

Lincecum gives up a walk. Then a wild pitch, then a walk (I think). Then a wild pitch. The next batter hits a bloop down the 1st base line, and Victor Martinez fields it, but then makes a throwing error to let the runners get an extra base (hit + error). Then a (you guessed it) wild pitch and a single. Three runs score on 2 hits. A few more runs score for each side, but the damage was done. Sean wins 4-2. Marmol pitched 4 scoreless innings, but chucked a sympathy wild pitch (after a walk).

The rubber game saw Weaver vs Matt Cain (for me). This time the RockOrioles got the big second inning, with 4 hits (+ a HBP and walk) to score three runs. Again, a few other random runs scored, but I win 4-2, and take the series. I'm at 6-7, Sean is 3-6.

Series notes -- Camden was totally on my side, until it went home early in the 8th inning of the last game. I missed perhaps one Infield Single split (those are 1-9R, 1-6L), and Sean made only one split the entire series, until the last two innings where he made 1 each. The HR splits didn't show up much, though. Chone Figgins (1e12 or 1e16 SS) gave up two errors during the series. Garrett Atkins (4e30 1B) had a check and rolled a 3d6 17 ... which is the only non error in the range 12-18, I think.

RockOriole Notes -- Matt Holiday had 4 hits (including 2 doubles and a HR) + a walk in 15 PA, which helped him out. He's still .180/.288/.340. The team did much better on Strikeouts, only whiffing 15 times in the series, which lowers their K rate to .172). After 13 games, Mariano Rivera has 1 Save. The rest of my team has none. My bullpen has as many wins as my starters.
Of course, this continues my massive disparity between my starters and bullpen.

Starters -- 82 IP, 5.73 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, .270 BAA, 1.12 K/BB, 6 HBP
Bullpen -- 31 IP, 1.44 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, .130 BAA, 4.75 K/BB, 0 HBP

Quite a bf the bullpen is just Carlos Marmol, who has 20 IP, with 6 hits and 1 walk, 21 Ks, and 3 earned runs.

If someone wants to trade me a great starter and mediocre reliever for a great reliever and mediocre starter, let me know. (I could trade Billy Wagner, Juan Cruz, Mariano Rivera or Pedro Feliciano).

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Should I finish with my poster presentation -- or get REALLY close -- by Monday night I will be there. Who else might or might not come?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Saturday Planning

Sorry for the non-clever title - allergies are killing me today. I wanted to start a Saturday planning post - Amy and the kids are gone for the weekend so I'm available. If our usual host is not available or needs a break, my house is available. Anyone up for some Saturday gaming goodness?

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