June 29, 2001:
6 Nimmt!: Ed, Susan, Blaine, Janet
Summary to come.
Game 1: Susan 13, Ed 29, Blaine 46, Janet 67
June 28, 2001:
Attendees: Ed, Jeff, Jon, Doug, Mark
Die neuen Entdecker: Ed, Jeff, Mark, Jon
Results: Jeff 75, Mark 70, Jon 68, Ed 58
Exxtra: Ed, Jeff, Mark, Jon, Doug
Results: Mark, Doug, Ed, Jeff, Jon
June 27, 2001:
Pangea: Ed, Jon, Dan, Mark
Pulled out Die Magier von Pangea to give it a try today. This has gotten some pretty decent reviews on the net and has a couple of people thinking this was their Game of the Year so I was expecting a nice strategy that could be played at lunch. The rules only took about 10 minutes to explain so we were able to jump in quickly.
Jon got off to a bad start by placing his tower on a forest tile when none of his minions produced goods on that type of tile. He had meant to place it on a grassland tile instead. He did not realize this until his second turn, so it was a little late to correct this. On top of that, he placed his tower on the opposite side of the board away from everyone else.
I on the otherhand was able to place my tower on the '4' desert tile which happen to have a mountain and moor tile next to it. These were the three types of lands that my minions liked. This allowed me to quickly move my initial minions to the correct land type to get several goods early.
Results: Ed, Jon, Dan, Mark
June 24, 2001:
Formula Dé: Ed, Susan, Kevin
Wow, fourth time to play this in just over a week. I guess that is a sign of a good game that people like to play. Today was a two lap family race on the Netherlands track with a team of two cars a piece. The starting order turned out to be by team with Susan's two cars taking the first two spots, my cars getting 3 and 4 and Kevin's two getting 5 and 6.
I was very interested to see how the two lap race worked, would the luck of the dice even out with the longer race. I was very pleased with the results. The race started out pretty even but after the first three turns, the field started spreading out as cars fell short on a turn or hit it with good dice rolls. My two cars were near the lead along with one of Kevin's and one of Susan's. Kevin's second car was just off of the pack while Susan's second car fell way back with a series of bad rolls.
At the end of the first lap it my lead car had a large lead over the field and it looked like I would keep it as my car hit the first turn coming out of the main straight. But, how the dice turn on you. With a couple of low dice rolls on the next turns, I ended up short on the next corner and was forced to down shift to hit the corner. This allowed my second car and Kevin's lead car to catch up. What appeared to be a break away turned into a tight race again going through the main series of corners. Kevin's lead car took the overall lead when he got a good 5th gear roll and his second car caught up with the leaders as well turning it into a four car pack. But with his lead car in a high gear, he was forced to double down shift and come out of the 'S' turn a gear behind the others. The final two straights were a 5th and 6th gear roll off between my two cars and Kevin's. My lead car was able to catch Kevin's lead car in the final corner with a lucky 6th gear roll and took a commanding lead on the next turn.
The finishing positions were Ed, Kevin, Kevin, Ed, Susan, Susan. Using the standard points of 10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 for the first six positions, I was able to take the race based on points.
In the end, I was very pleased with the results of the race, and not because I won. There were a lot of lead changes during the race and the longer race did provide for a chance for the luck of the dice to even out some. Also, my fear of pole position dominance was put to rest. The pole does have a slight advantage, but it does not guarantee a good final placement.
Results: Ed, Kevin, Susan
June 23, 2001:
Die neuen Entdecker: Ed, Susan
Summary to come.
Results: Ed 85, Susan 82
June 22, 2001:
Formula Dé: Ed, Mark, Jon, Jim
Summary to come.
Results: Mark, Ed, Jon, Ed, Mark, Jim, Jim, Jon
June 21, 2001:
The first meeting of what might become a regular Thursday night gaming group.
Attendees: Ed, Susan, Jon, Doug, Mark
Evo: Ed, Susan, Jon, Doug, Mark
The game started slowly as usuall but with a couple of twists due to the climate. The first climate roll was a '1' so the marker moved backwards. This was followed '4' next round so the climate moved in the "normal" direction but then the third round saw a '2' climate roll so the marker stayed on the yellow/beach spot. This weird movement caught everyone off guard and there was very little growth or movement during these early turns. Also, several parasols had come up during the first couple of auctions so these were pretty useless in these early rounds. On top of that, no fur genes came up, so the range of the dinos was very limited.
Results: Ed 49, Susan 45, Doug 44, Mark 43, Jon 42
Way Out West: Ed, Susan, Jon, Doug, Mark
Results: Doug 42, Ed 28, Mark 24, Susan & Jon 19
June 20, 2001:
Formula Dé: Lunchtime Gamers: Ed, Mark
I wanted to show the Lunchtime Gamers Formula Dé today but only Mark and I were at lunch. We decided to play anyway with a team of two cars each. We ran a one lap race on the Monaco track using just the basic rules. After covering the rules we rolled for pole position with my cars getting spots 1 and 3 and Mark's getting 2 and 4.
The race got off to an even start with each car rolling a 2, this kept the cars close together. In fact the cars stayed pretty close during the first third of the race with several lead changes. The pack started to spread out around the 3 stop corner near the half way point. Mark's and my lead cars were able to come out of the 3 stop turn a turn ahead of my second car with Mark's second car trailing by another turn. The lead cars spread out when my car got a very lucky 20 on its 5th gear roll this gave the car a 9 space lead over Mark's lead car. My second car also got a lucky high roll and caught up to Mark's lead car and was only two spaces back.
My lead car was able to get a couple more good rolls and was able to finish out the lap a turn ahead of Mark's car. After closing to two spaces from Mark's car, my second car got a couple of low rolls which causes him to miss getting into a turn. This allowed Mark to pull away and finish second.
The interesting thing is that the order of finish was the same as the starting positions. I would like to play a couple of two lap races to see if this holds up as a pattern or not.
Results: Ed, Mark, Ed, Mark
June 17, 2001:
Formula Dé: Ed, Susan, Kevin
What a great Father's Day! Games and power tools, my two favorite things. The boys had picked out Formula Dé for me since I had played it down at one of the local game stores, but had never gotten around to buying it. Kevin was eager to give it a try so he, Susan and myself gave it a test drive this afternoon. We held a one lap race on the Monaco track with Susan and I running a "team" of two cars and Kevin having one. (After seeing how well Kevin handled his car, he could have easily handled two cars.) To keep things simple we just used the basic rules.
Kevin won the dice off for pole position, my two cars ended up second and third with Susan's cars in 4th and 5th. One of Susan's cars got lucky coming off the line with a "flying start" role of 20. This allowed her card to pass both of mine coming off the starting line and challenge Kevin for the lead. That pretty much set to tone for the entire race. Kevin and Susan battled for the lead during the entire race, my two cars battled for the next two spots and Susan's second car was way out of the running after getting some poor early rolls.
Kevin had a nice lead going into the last corner before the final straight but Susan got a lucky roll in the previous corner which allowed her to gear up going into the last corner. This allowed Susan to hit 5th gear for the final race to the checkered flag. Her car pulled ahead of Kevin's and was able to reach the finish first. My two cars were a whole turn behind and Susan's second car was yet another turn back.
Everyone really enjoyed the game. Susan likes "push your luck" dice games and Formula Dé fits that mould. I'm sure we should be able to Kevin to run a car or two next time we play. I am looking forward to trying a longer two lap race with the chance for a pit stop and more time to average out the die rolls. I don't see us starting a league or anything too soon but I will definitely be adding a few tracks and some extra dice on to my next game order.
Results: Susan, Kevin, Ed, Ed, Susan
June 16, 2001:
The Grimm family and Mark Hamzy came over again for another afternoon and evening of gaming. If this happens much more, we'll have to start a real gaming group. Darn.
Attendees: Ed, Susan, Jon, Roxana, Doug, Mark
Der Garten des Sonnenkönigs: Ed, Susan, Mark, Jon, Doug
This is a bidding game with a couple of different twists. The players are bidding on 24 plots of land that make up the king's garden. The plots combine in different ways to form ten different "projects", many of which overlap. Each plot contains two or more glass stones that represent the payout values that the king will pay when any project is complete. The players get one stone when they purchase a plot of land and one more each time a project on the plot is completed. The stones range in value from 1 to 3 points. A project is completed when all of the plots of land that make up the project are sold. At the time any project is completed, the King will pay the players based on the work they have completed (i.e. the stones they have collected). Therefore, plots purchased early will get you stones that will payout several times during the game. You also want your projects to complete so you can collect the additional stones for larger payouts.
The last interesting feature is that the next plot up for bid is determined by the amount bid on the current plot. For each unit bid on a plot, a marker gets moved to the next plot to the right. For example, if some one bids 6 on the current plot, the marker gets moved 6 plots to the right. This throws a kink in the basic bidding because there are times you will want the bid to increase so you can control the next plot of land up for auction.
With most bidding games, the first time you play them you really don't know what are "good" bids for the items up for auction. This game was no exception. The first bids started off very small but then jumped up quickly. I really didn't have a strategy but I saw after the first couple plots of land went fairly high that money would be an issue. You only start with 30 units of money (I forget what they are called) so bidding in the 15+ range for a single plot seemed really high for me. I made an artificial limit of two times the value of the glass stones on the plot as my limit. As a result, I was the last one to buy a plot of land on the 6th auction. But by that time I had more money than most of the others since no one had triggered a payout by completing a project. This allowed me to pickup several plots cheaper than the earlier plots as Mark and I would have small bidding wars as we had the most money.
After the first couple projects completed, Mark and I had the lead in stones and money and had more control. The others sensed this and tried to pick up plots and get stones. This caused them to spend their money as Mark and I would bid them up. Midway through the game the control of what plot would be up for auction next came more into play as we saw people bidding on plots just to move the marker so a particular project would or would not complete. This is a very neat mechanism.
In the end the multi-payout effect of having stones early helped Mark and me to maintain our lead. I was unable to catch Mark as one of the project for which I had a couple of plots did not complete where as Mark was able to get a complete of his completed. This is a very neat and different bidding game and I am looking forward to playing it again.
Results: Mark 96, Ed 87, Doug 57, Jon 44, Susan 36
Der fliegende Teppich: Ed, Susan, Mark, Doug, Jon, Roxana
The group was spilt on this game. I hope to get some rule clarifications or make some house rules from the questions that came up and give it another try. Unfortunately, at least one person disliked the game so much that he does not want to play it again.
Results: Ed, Doug, Roxana, Mark, Jon, Susan
Drakon: Ed, Susan, Mark, Doug, Jon, Roxana
Results: Mark 5, Jon & Ed 4, Susan 3, Roxana & Doug 2
6 Nimmt!: Ed, Susan, Mark, Doug, Jon, Roxana
Round 1: Roxana 9, Ed 10, Doug 14, Jon 14, Mark 16, Susan 20
D'r Af: Ed, Susan, Mark, Doug, Jon
Results: Susan, Jon, Mark, Ed, Doug
Cartagena: Ed, Susan, Mark, Doug, Jon
Results: Jon, Doug, Mark, Susan, Ed
June 15, 2001: Lunchtime Gamers
Torres: Ed, Jon, Mark
This game is easily in my top 5 game list. I know some people find this a dry game, but I just love it. Maybe it's the fact that I usually do fairly well with it, but I also love the mental challenge presented with the puzzle of out scoring the others by building on their works and using the right action card to sneak in some place where they weren't expecting it.
The first round went as usual with not much scoring as we were spending lots of action points to bring out knights and move them around the board. The biggest difference in the scores was that Mark did not make it to the King's castle and missing out on the King's bonus. The second round saw two large and one medium castle develop. By some clever placement of the King by Mark, he and Jon had no work to do to secure the King's bonus for the round while I had to work to move a new knight onto the board and into the right spot. I thought that this might cost me as it took an entire turns movement, plus an action card. Jon made a mistake of adding too many knights to the board and seemed to be a step behind in scoring on the three main castles. We all three scored the same number of points in the King's castle but I was two levels higher than both Mark and Jon in a 5 area castle while Mark was one level higher than Jon and I in 6 area castle. As such, I was able to keep the lead with Jon failing back to third. This was good since Jon was to my left and with him in last and going first in the last round, it would mean I would go last during the round, something I like.
I was able to keep one step ahead of the others during the last round. I still held 4 action cards and with only 3 turns in the last round, I would be playing a card each time. Jon's placement of the King was devious and made securing the King's bonus a challenge. After some thought I was able to use one of the action cards to jump Jon's knight and escape a tight spot and secure the bonus for the third round. On my second turn I was able to place an extra knight as a blocker to keep Mark from building up in the medium castle and on my last turn I was able to tie Jon for the lead in the largest castle.
Round 1: Ed 27, Jon 24, Mark 20
June 13, 2001:
Wow, over a week without playing a game. Between vacation and being ill, today was the first gaming I had done in over a week. Shudder... it almost feels like game withdrawal.
Auf Heller und Pfennig: Ed, Susan
It didn't take long for me to see my lunchtime luck carried over to the evening. The one knock I have on this game, like many blind draw tile games, is the luck of the draw. It can really make or break your game at times, you only hope that the luck evens out over time so that good play comes through. Tonight it seemed like everything was going Susan's way. Several good draws in the first round allowed her to either help herself or hurt me several times. I on the other hand seemed to draw tiles that did had little to no effect on the outcome. This gave Susan a strong lead after she doubled up my score in the first round.
I hoped that the luck would even out in the second round and allow me to at least cut her lead in half. After a couple high valued tiles were laid out I risked putting out my '4' market hoping for a big score. Guess what happens, Susan draws the minus 6 tile on her next turn and just about kills my chance of a big score by placing it in my '4' row. The round was not a total waste, but I was only able to outscore Susan by 4 this round, leaving her with a decent lead going into the last round. This was not good since I had use all my '3' and '4' markets by now and only had two '2' markets left. Susan had one '2' left and no '3's or '4's either. I felt my chances of scoring enough to caught up were slim.
The third round was fairly uneventful with defensive play on Susan's part and me being fairly lackluster in my play. About two thirds of the way though the round I felt that I was doing better than Susan, but still didn't think I would catch her since I had not had any really good draws. As things turned out, the one extra '2' market I had was the difference in the game. With some of my draws, I was finally able to hurt Susan and cancel out some of her points. This caused her to only score 29 points in the last round. In tallying my points it did not seem that I would catch up until we scored the last '2' market for me. I was able to score a decent value of 38 with it, and with the points, pull ahead of Susan. We were both so surprised that we actually rescored the round to double check and it was the same result. I guess that this is just another reminder not to give up and always play the game out.
Round 1: Susan 94, Ed 44
Durch Die Wüste: Lunchtime Gamers: Ed, Jon, Mark
The game started off OK. I thought I had some decent positions with chances to touch all of the oasis, rope off some areas, and score some decent points. My opinion changed fairly quickly as Jon cut off one of caravans with his first play and my plans just went downhill from there. It wasn't long (about a third of the way through the game) when I thought I was already falling behind. Everytime I thought I had a start on something and could turn things around on my next turn, either Jon or Mark would do a perfectly good play for them that screwed me. Sigh.
Of well, the final results were as expected with me way behind the other two. I'll probably not suggest this game in the future but will jump at the chance to play if someone else suggests it. I'll be thinking, "Maybe this time will be different." Just like Charlie Brown and Sally with the football.
Results: Jon 81, Mark 79, Ed 61
June 3, 2001:
No official game session, just several of us Lunchtime Gamers wanted to get together to play some of the longer games we don't get to play at lunch. Mix in a couple of wives and a brother and you have a good sized group ready to play some meaty games.
Attendees: Ed, Susan, Jon, Roxana, Doug, Mark
On the table: Ohne Furcht und Adel, Favoriten, Princes of Florence, Stephensons Rocket
Ohne Furcht und Adel:
I was randomly chosen as the King and was able to start off with first selection. Since we were playing with six, we had started each round with one random card discarded face down on the table. This turned out to be the King in the first round, so I knew I was going to get first selection in the next round again. There was a lot of pre-game talk about the King being a good assassination target early, so I hoped that would play out in the first round. So, I took Merchant to get the bonus gold piece. Sure enough, the King was axed and I escaped the Thief, therefore I had 5 gold on my first turn and was able to build the Cemetery to get off to a strong start.
I had a good card mix and avoided being the victim of the Assassin and Thief the entire game. I was able to complete one district of each color with my first five cards and this allowed me to have a great deal of flexibility in getting extra gold. This fact and the ability to be the Architect a couple of time to get extra cards allowed me to always take the two gold and not a draw card on my turn. I was able to have a continual building program, building something on just about every turn, including three five point districts, two three-pointers and two two-pointers. I changed my strategy to protection late by getting the Soldier in a couple of the last rounds so no one could destroy one of my smaller districts.
Going into the last round I had a strong position with 25 points on the table, a one point card to build in my hand, one gold and second choice of character. Luckily the assassin was still available and I snatched it without hesitating. I wanted to go early to finish my eighth district this round. Being the Assassin, I killed off the Architect since two others had 5 districts, guaranteeing that I would be the only person getting the 8 district bonus.
It turned out that the bonuses are what won the game for me as Mark and I tied with 26 points of districts cards (Mark was able to build both of the 8 point districts).
Results: Ed 33, Mark 26, Jon 23, Roxana 19, Susan 18, Doug 16
The races all seem to follow the same general pattern, but the details do differ and make it fun. There is never any betting in the first round before the horses leave the starting gate. In the second round, at least three or four bets are placed on the lead two horses. Once that happens, most people will try to get in on the action of those horses because you want to make sure each of your betting markers scores points each race (you only have three markers per race). Also, there is usually one horse that starts off slow and no one bets on it. Therefore everyone uses a low roll to move this horse. The fun stuff centers on the third and fourth horses a lot of the time because people will spread out their bets between the two. The horse coming in fourth brings no points to those who placed their markers on it.
Today's races followed this pattern and there was a lot of encouragement towards the other players as people tried to convince others to move horses that would benefit them. A fun game that really came down to Mark's placement of his last betting marker. We had both bet on the two leading horses, but he had gotten there before me and would score more points than me no matter the placing of the horses. He had a choice between the green and yellow horse for his last marker. I had bet on yellow and if he had placed his marker also on yellow, he would have kept up with me had yellow came in. As it was, he gambled and bet on green where I had no bet. Yellow came on third and I scored but Mark missed out on 6 points and I was able to hold on for a 2 point win. Also, Doug showed the danger of being the only person who bets on a horse. In the second race he had bet on the black horse but no one else had, so everyone but Doug would use a low roll to move the black horse. Needless to say, the black horse did not place.
An interesting tid-bit here, the order of finish was the same as our first game, just without Roxana.
Race 1: Mark 54, Susan 47, Ed 46, Jon 26, Doug 16
Princes of Florence:
I was looking forward to trying out some of the strategy tips I have read on the web and in the newsgroups, I was really interested in the Jester strategy and decided to try for that first. Luckily, in the first round, a Jester was not placed up for auction until after three items had been auctioned. So it was my turn to place an item up so I selected a jester. Well, Mark didn't want it so I got it for 200, a steal. My luck held out in the second round when I got a second jester for only 300. That's when my lovely wife piped up, "I know what you're doing" and proceeded to tell the rest of the table. Sometimes I wished she didn't read the same things I do. Needless to say, when I was the first player in the third round and placed a jester up for auction, I didn't get it for a steal. In fact, I didn't buy it, Jon did. And since I really was looking for a builder, park or forest, I didn't care too much, but it did drive up the price for Jon. I was able to pick up a third jester in round six.
I was trailing for most of the game, but planned on playing my works during the last few rounds. I wasn't sure that this was going to work, but I was able to pick up a couple of prestige cards in the later rounds that would get me 9 prestige in the end. My last four works were good ones, netting 16 to 20 work points, but each time they were a point or two short of the best work, which Doug and Jon seemed to be getting each time. Those extra 3 points added up for them. Jon was able to pick up a recruiting card for cheap that he really didn't want in the last auction. This allowed him to make an extra work on the last round and the prestige points from that work gave him his winning margin.
I'm really itching to play this again. I am starting to see what everyone on the net is saying. I can easily see why this won the Gamers' Choice Award.
Results: Jon 69, Doug 59, Ed 57, Susan 47, Mark 43
This game has so many options and like a typical Knizia game, it's hard to tell how the game will score in the end. Many times people would just look at the board on their turn and say "I don't know what to do." We only had a few vetoes during the game, and the bidding was usually not high. I was overridden once but I didn't care that much because I was worried about shares at that time and not about where the track was going. I was a little slow in getting my stations out early on. I was trying for placements that had a good shot at being linked to. As such, other beat me to several spots and I had to do some maneuvering to get a couple stations on.
For the second half of the game everyone was thinking that Mark was going to win because he seemed to be picking up a few thousand pounds almost every time something scored. By some luck and some quick talking in a veto round, I was able to get a station added to the gray line on my last move, this allowed me to take over second place in stations for the line. I already had the share majority so I ended getting 21,000 for the gray line in the final payout which helped me edge out Mark for second place. Doug had ended up with the station majority on both the gray and orange lines which both turned out to be 14 city train lines, scoring him massive amounts of money and the win. Jon, who only got one station on the small red line was a distant fourth.
Results: Doug 89,000, Ed 75,000, Mark 74,000, Jon 41,000
June 1, 2001: Lunchtime Gamers
Evo: Ed, Mark, Jon, Andrew
It was a dinosaur fight for survival at lunch today. We played the standard version (one mutation per person per round) on the large four person board.
The game had a good amount of interaction as the dinos spread out and got in each others way early on. The second round of mutations contained two horns which were won by Mark and me. This allowed us some protection early on and Jon's dinos developed a horn about midway through the game. This left Andrew's' poor defenseless dinos hornless for the whole game. This cost Andrew several dinos during the game. Andrew made up for it by developing fast (5 feet) and productive (2 eggs) dinos. We ended up calling Andrew's dinos roaches because they scurried around the board, reproduced fast, but were being squished by the other dinos.
My dinos started off growing some extra fur, developing a horn and increasing egg production. I had hoped for one of the early parasols or feet but was out bid on them. As it was, I was not able to get an extra foot until the fifth round. By then I had a well rounded dino herd and was able to grow my population and keep it large.
The climate acted very strangely during our game as three 1's where rolled in a row. This caused the climate indicator to move backwards from the gray/mountain back to the green/grassland, this messed with everyone's plans. Then to make the planning worse, Andrew then played the card that moves the climate marker two times in the clockwise (3,4,5,6) direction causing it to move from green/grassland to the gray/mountain. The climate never made it back to the yellow/beach region.
The game ended on the first try as the asteroid made an early arrival. (This was probably good as the cafeteria workers were moving the tables for some celebration party and they were waiting for us to leave and move our table.) My dinos had been very productive and fast on their feet for the second half of the game and I was able to score 7 or 8 points per round. This allowed me to pull away from the others for the victory. Although it was only a moral victory since everyone's dinos were wiped out by the asteroid, as they always are.
Results: Ed 51, Jon 43, Andrew 42, Mark 37
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Copyright © 2001, Ed Rozmiarek