October 22, 2004

Session Report for October 7, 2004

by Susan Rozmiarek

My opportunities to play games have been few and far between lately. Last week we were unable to host game night because I had family visiting. The week before that I had to attend a meeting. Suffering from severe gaming withdrawal symptoms, I was really looking forward to tonight.

 

Station Master

I was absolutely determined to get this to table again after it suffered a lukewarm reception on its inaugural playing a few weeks ago. Jon flatly refused to pay it again, but Mike had thought it okay (as did I) and was willing to try it again. Ed, Peter and Francesca hadnít played it yet so we all sat down to a five-player game.

The game had a much better reception with this group. While the previous game was played with lightning speed and little thought, this time everyone spent more time thinking about their moves and the game went at a slower pace. Rather than just taking my chances and plunking down my passengers early, I tried to hold off and wait, carefully watching whether or not I was likely to have another chance to play on a train before it left the station or filled up with passengers. I also tried to hold back certain cards to play later for possibly a larger benefit, instead of for a smaller immediate gain.

All in all, I was much more satisfied with the game this time. The game was rather tense toward the end with very close scores. Iím thinking of trying a little variant and changing one of the ď1Ē value passenger tokens in each player set to a zero value and seeing if this adds more spice to the bluffing. I also have found the scorekeeping tedious to the point of really slowing down the game. Iíll have to think on that one. Perhaps using poker chips would help. As it is though, the game is still a pleasant, light filler.

Results: Ed 340, Mike 284, Peter 258, Susan 249, Francesca 243

Lost Valley

Ed and I are the only ones in our group that own this game and everyone seems to be really enjoying it the more we play. The few copies that make it over here seem to sell out immediately, much to the frustration of those looking for it. We may have to just do a small, group Adam Spielt order, which is where we got our copy.

Whatís really neat about this game is how differently it plays out with each game. This time, the river developed with a sharp turn to the west. Adam found himself caught on the opposite side of the river from the rest of us, and away from most of the goodies. He quickly made getting a canoe a priority.

I ended up following Clark and later Doug and was able to grab some of the spoils from their mine-building efforts. This gave me a pretty nice lead, although Adam poised a threat as he cleaned up along the river with his ability to travel quickly along it with his canoe. Meanwhile, the river development reached a dead end and the iceberg started to make its way rather quickly down the river towards the waterfall. This game-ending condition was not a factor in our previous games and it certainly added some time pressure and a need for a quick change of tactics. Rather than take the time to go back to the trading post as planned to get the necessary supplies for mining more gold, I instead tried to grab some less valuable gold nearby. Sure enough, the game soon ended which was a good thing for me. With more time, Adam may have been able to catch up to me.

My opinion of this game is rising with every play. Now that weíve worked out the kinks in the rules, itís easy to immerse myself in the theme and some of the strategies are starting to emerge. This time we (actually it was Doug and Clark, I think) even managed to build some of those triangular tiles, although it takes some effort.

Results: Susan 17, Adam 14, Clark 11, Doug 5

The Lost Valley board early in the game.

10 Days in the USA

I find this game so frustrating yet so addicting that Iím unable to refuse a game. As usual, somebody announced they had a route when I had only one more state to go to complete mine. That somebody this time was Jon.

Results: Jon, with the losers being Susan, Clark and Mike

TransAmerica

We had time for one more bit of fluffy fun before calling it a night. A lot of gamers love to pan it, but this is another game that I find addicting. I forgot to record the scores, but I do remember I had my best round ever, drawing several cities near each other in the south/southeast.


Mike, Jon, Susan and Clark play travel agent in 10 Days in the USA.

Mike, Jon, Susan and Clark wind down with a game of TransAmerica.

Other games played: Finstere Flure, Acquire


Budding tycoons Mike, Jon, Francesca, Peter and Ed play the classic Acquire.

Here he comes!

For more pictures from this gaming session and others, see our Gaming Picture Gallery.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at October 22, 2004 5:54 PM

Comments

Would you mind sharing some of the house rules you came up with? I'd like to try them out. Thanks.

Posted by: Jacob on December 6, 2004 9:31 AM
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