Date: November 3, 2002
Games: Medici, 6 Nimmt!, Wildlife, Star Wars: Epic Duels, Cannes and Winchester
Attendees: Dan, Ed, Jon, Kevin, Mark, Marty, and Susan
Reporter: Susan Rozmiarek
Due to the fact that we had to cancel our normal Thursday night session to take our kids out begging for candy, we decided to hold a special Sunday gaming day. It was perfect gaming weather, chilly and rainy, so there was no need to feel guilty about sitting on our rumps inside all afternoon.
Medici: Dan, Ed, Jon, Mark, Marty and Susan
First up was a six player game of Medici. I've only played this a few times and it was a long time ago, so of course my memory failed me and I started the game by making a blunder right off the bat. I took a couple of sets of cards with low bids, not realizing that by having the lowest face value total, I would get zero points for them (instead of points equal to the face value like I thought). Fortunately, because they were cheap and because they gave me a majority in one of the commodities, I was still in the game after my foolishness. The game became a fierce battle with everyone trying to get the highest valued cards. The winner, though, ended up being Jon, who was in the bonus area for two of the commodities. I managed to get a respectable third, being at the top of one of the commodities. Unfortunately, it was the only majority I had. We were discussing the game afterward and came to the conclusion that getting the score for the highest valued set of cards was not as important as working on getting majorities in the commodities.
Results: 1st was Jon, followed by Marty, Susan, Mark, Dan,and Ed
6 Nimmt: Dan, Ed, Jon, Mark, Marty and Susan
Since Marty needed to leave early, we decided on a quick game of 6 Nimmt! What can I say about this game, other than it was played to the accompaniment of much groaning and cursing. Marty managed to take an astounding 36 ox heads in the first round.
Results: Dan (9), Susan (26), Jon (29), Mark (46), Ed (60), Marty (76)
WildLife Dan, Ed, Jon, Mark, and Susan
Marty left and we settled on a five player game of Wildlife. This was my third playing of this and I'm still enjoying it immensely. This time I got to be the fierce Bär, Defender of the Forest. Ed was the Snake, Mark was the Blue-beaked Eagle, Dan was the Mighty Man, and Jon was the 'Gator. Dan jumped out to an early lead in this game and never looked back. Despite the dire warnings of Ed, savanna cards kept popping up for auction and being snatched up cheaply by Dan. His tribe spread out over the savanna and remained mostly uncontested, garnering him many bonus points for the largest herd. Ed and Mark battled fiercely over the deserts, while Jon and I struggled for control over the forests. In the end, Mighty Man prevailed against the lesser beasts.
I still am totally undecided about what strategy to pursue in this game. There are just so many ways to score and it depends on what cards you get. The biggest herd scoring seems to have a lot of impact. I guess that makes sense because if you have large herds that means you have a lot of your critters on the board and probably are also scoring well for having majorities in regions also. Despite my Bär's dismal showing, the game was still a fun ride.
Results: Dan, Jon, Mark, Ed, Susan
Star Wars: Epic Duels Reported by Ed
Dark: Darth Maul (Jon) and Darth Vader (Mark)
Susan needed to run a short errand and Kevin wanted to get in a game so we let him pick the next one. His choice, Star Wars: Epic Duels. (Not surprising given that he had just watched Episode I the previous day.) It was dad and son playing the Jedi against the evil Darths. The figures were set and the battle begun.
Early on Obi Wan was able to use his clone troopers to pick off one of Maul's battle droids and inflict some minor damage to Maul. However, Vader's powerful use of the force was able to remove Mace's clone troopers before they were much help in the battle. This forced Mace to duck behind some cover gathering his strength for his charge. The war of attrition began and small blows were traded. Obi Wan and Maul took additional damage as Obi Wan's troopers and Maul's second droid were eventually removed from the battle. This left Vader undamaged with both of his body guards and a wounded Maul against a wounded Obi Wan and healthly Mace Windu.
Obi Wan started the final showdown using his Jedi speed to dart in catching Maul off balance. Reeling and unable to counter attack, Maul was forced to flee but could not escape as Mace had finally gathered the force and made his charge. Backed into a corner by the two Jedi, the Darths could not hold off the onslaught as Mace unleashed his whirlwind attack taking out Maul and a storm trooper and doing damage to Vader. Obi Wan barely survived Vader's last ditch attack but then counter attacked the defenseless Vader cutting down the master of evil with two powerful strokes. (The irony of this ending is left as an exercise for the reader.)
Cannes: Ed, Jon, Mark, and Susan
Dan had to leave next, leaving us with four players. We chose our brand, spanking new copy of Cannes as our next game. I love the look and uniqueness of the few Splotter games we own, so I was eager to give this one a go. In brief, the game is a resource management, tile-laying game. You lay tiles, connect to them with a your very limited amount of sticks, and collect resources produced from the tiles that are in your network. These resources can be used to produce other resources (provided the appropriate tiles are in your network) and finally you use these to produce different types of movies that make you money. There is an old boy network that allows you to produce an extra stick to lay in the form of a cigar. The hitch is anyone can use the cigar as part of their network, too. There are other tiles that allow you to jump across the board (phone network), lay more tiles (real estate) and increase the popularity of a particular type of movie (reviewer). On your turn you may either lay two tiles (your turn is now over), or lay one tile, develop your network by placing or moving up to two sticks, and collect resources. Resources have to be carefully managed, as you are only allowed to carry five over to your next turn. With the ever-growing board and your limited number of sticks, in theory (I think) you will be constantly shifting your network to get the necessary resources.
How did it play? Well, very oddly. I am hoping our game was a fluke. The starting player Was Mark, followed by Jon, then me, and lastly Ed. Mark and Jon had some great initial tile draws and together set up a nice little network where the double people tile was next to the old boy's network tile and the movie star tile (both take two people to produce their cigars and stars, respectively). They also were able to lay down and connect to a script tile and the girlie movie tile in the same vicinity. They were soon able to build up their network quickly with the help of cigars and start producing girlie movies. (humorous note: I'm not sure if it was intentional, but what we call "chick flicks" got translated to "girlie" movies in the rules.) Since running out of cigars would bring the end of the game and both of them were able to produce cigars every turn, it looked like the game would be over quickly. In particular, Mark, being ahead, was trying to end the game. Since I followed Jon in turn order, I was able to connect to part of their network. Poor Ed, though. Not only were all the connections to these necessary tiles blocked by the time it was his turn, he was only drawing party tiles, many of which produce nothing. Eventually, he was able to connect to part of the necessary tiles via cigars, but it was too late. Fortunately, I finally drew and laid an action movie tile as far away from Mark's and Jon's reach as possible. Ed and I were scrambling to try to produce a movie with it before the game ended. I was lucky to draw, place and connect to the double computer chip tile. This enabled me to produce two action movies on my last turn which gave me second place. Ed then produced one action movie, but at a lower cost since the value of each movie goes down each time someone produces one of that type. Mark ended the game on his turn by producing the last cigar and yet another movie and took first place. I had squeezed out a second place finish and Jon was third. Ed never even had a chance because of turn order combined with bad tile draws.
So, I'm going to reserve judgment on the game until I've played it again. I'm wondering, does anyone ever just place two tiles on their turn and lose the chance that turn to develop their network and produce? We were too busy scrambling to connect to the lucrative tiles to want to do this. I think (hope) it has a lot of potential. Even when I was losing, the puzzle aspect of the game was pleasurable to me. We'll see how it goes next time IF we can get Ed to play again. Hopefully the board will develop differently.
Results: Mark Jon, Susan, Ed
Winchester: Ed, Jon, Mark, and Susan
After burning many brain cells learning a new game, we were all in the mood for something fun and light as a closer for the day. Winchester fit the bill perfectly. Ed discovered this nice little race game by David Watts at Gulf Games. I hardly gave it a glance at the time as its homemade look and cheap bits did not catch the eye of my inner parakeet. Besides, I knew it involved chess moves (shudder). Ed was quite taken with it, though, a hunted down a used copy from England when we got home. It was published in 1990 by Rostherne Games and comes packaged with another game that shares the same board called Chessington. I assume it is now out of print. The rules give a pretty good summary of the game:
The board is a plain, rolled up laminated sheet and the pawns are plastic, but there is one really nice bit, a large heavy plastic die depicting the various chess pieces on its sides. On your turn, you roll this die and move one of your pawns (four player games you have four pawns) using the move of the chess piece depicted on die. Then, in turn order, each person also moves one of their pawns using the same chess move. Then the die passes to the next player who rolls for everyone and so on. Another interesting feature is not only does your pawn move like a chess piece, it can also "capture" another players pawn and change places with it. So basically you try to set up your pieces to capitalize on certain die rolls and avoid getting captured. I was the first to have a pawn cross the finish line and eventually won the game by getting the most points.
Results: Susan, Jon, Mark, Ed
All in all, it was a fun day. Dan brought his new Sid Meier's Civilization game but we decided that it was too long to play since Marty and Dan needed to leave early. We did, however, get to run our hands through the huge pile of lovely, lovely plastic bits. I am looking forward to trying it sometime.
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