Date: May 1, 2003

Games: Money, 6 Nimmt!, Carcassonne- Traders and Builders, Liberté

Attendees: Anye, Doug, Ed, Helen, Jon, Mark, Rick, Robert and Susan

Reporter: Susan Rozmiarek and Anye Sellers

We had one of our biggest turnouts yet, with nine players total by the end of the evening. If this keeps up, we might eventually have three tables of games going at once!

Money: Doug, Jon, Mark, Susan
Reported by: Susan

The best way to get late people to arrive is to sit down and start a game. After hovering around the snack table for several minutes, Mark, Jon, Doug and I decided to pull out Money, a nice little card game by Knizia that gets easily lost amongst the stacks of other nice little card games.

Money consists of a deck of cards with each card depicting a bank note in one of seven different currencies. The values on each card range from 20-60. The object of the game is to collect sets of the same currency. You start with a hand of 6 cards. Each round, two sets of 4 cards each are randomly drawn. Players place secret bids using any number of the cards from their hand and these are simultaneously revealed. The person who bid the highest total face value gets to pick one of the sets OR one of the other players' bids. He takes his chosen set of cards, puts them in his hand, and puts his bid down as a new set. Then the player with the next highest bid chooses and so on. At the end of the game sets with a face value totaling more than a hundred are scored and highest score wins. There are a few additional bonuses as well.

This is a game of hand management and balance. On the one hand, you are trying to collect certain currencies, but on the other hand you also need cards to use as bids. This creates some tough decisions and sacrifices. I was only able to collect a large set in one currency and fell way short of the winner, Jon, who had two big sets.

Scores: Jon 590, Mark 520, Doug 390, Susan 380

Yep, a steady stream of people started showing up, but we were still short an expected few. Time for yet another short card game. This time we chose one of our group's all-time filler favorites, 6 Nimmt! A few of our newer folks had never been introduced to this frustrating little game played to the accompaniment of much moaning, cursing, and crying.

6 Nimmt! 8 player 6 Nimmt! - Where almost no play is safe.
6 Nimmt!: Anye, Doug, Jon, Rick, Robert, Mark, Susan
Reported by: Anye Sellers

Funny that I hadn't heard much about this one before but I've seen it mentioned several times today. There were seven players until the third round in which there were eight. It took me a round to figure out how the game worked; by that time I'd racked up 45 points. Ouch! (Susan then verified that I knew that I *didn't* want to accumulate points, thank you very much :P ). I did better the second round and only accumulated 16 points, but that left me within six points of the evil 66. In round 3, Doug (who I shall spend the next year ganging up on in revenge) made the conscious decision to ensure the game ended by taking the pile that my card would have gone in, and forcing me to drop it in a 13 point pile. ARGH. Other than that pile I only took ONE point that round, so the game would have lasted another round if he hadn't done that. Oh well. I shall have my revenge... I did like the game quite a bit though, it reminded me of "Tightrope" (can't remember the German name for it) except without the balancing part. Maybe it was just the many numbered cards part?

Results: Doug 17, Mark 23, Susan 36, Jon 39, Rick 41, Robert 62, Anye 73

Battling for France Anye, Doug, Mark and Jon battle for control of France in Liberté.
Liberté: Anye, Doug, Jon, Mark
Reported by: Anye Sellers

Another new one for me, it had pretty colors and lots of wood pieces and the other table hadn't yet decided what they were playing so I joined that one. It turned out to be like a much more complicated and longer version of Imperium (the Rome version) but without the simultaneous action mechanics. Players play cards which allow them to play governmental influence tokens in various provinces of France (it's a French Revolution game, by the way). There are three factions designated with Red, White, and Blue. Each round whichever of the colors gets the most influence will lead the government, and if you are the lucky player to have the most influence in that color you get 5 points.

Liberté A view of the Liberté board during the first round scoring.
The 2nd place in that color gets 2, and whoever has the most influence in the 2nd place faction gets 3 points as the "loyal opposition". The first round, that's how you get points. In later rounds, you can get points by doing battle (if you have General cards that allow you to do so and you spend your action placing tokens in the Battle Box instead of as influence on the board) or by having the most influence in specific territories. I liked the way the complexity builds over the four rounds by adding these additional ways to get points. Plus, since the majority of influence tokens played stay on the board, each round is "tighter" than the last because the round ends when one of the factions has all its tokens played.

As to how the game went, I was leading by a landslide for the first three rounds, then was ganged up on in the fourth, so Doug managed to sneak in and tie me for first due to a valiant Battle Box battle and unseating me as the government leader. I demand a rematch!

Results: Doug/Anye, Jon, Mark

Raaaaa!!!!!! Susan and Helen look on as Robert contemplates the tile he just drew in Ra.
Ra: Ed, Helen, Robert and Susan
Reported by: Susan

We've been making an effort to play some of the older (if you can call 4 years "old") games in our collection, and I hadn't played Ra in at least a year. This is a game that truly deserves to come out more often. It is my second favorite Knizia auction game, being narrowly beaten by my favorite, Träumfrabrik, but a cut above Medici and Modern Art. The worse thing is the scoring, but this is made so much easier with the color player mats available at BoardgameGeek. This mat is also handy for explaining the game. I don't think I could play without it now. I have finally played this game enough now to look beyond just what I need and to try to bluff, entice and manipulate the other players' bids. It doesn't always work, but it is fun. In this game I was able to jump out to an early majority in Pharaohs, which I was able to hold on to for the entire game. A large number of Niles and Floods in the second epoch helped too, although I couldn't get a Flood to score them again in the third.

Scores: Susan 31, Robert 15, Helen 13, Ed 7

Carcassonne - Traders and Builders: Ed, Helen and Susan
Reported by: Susan

I had tried this new expansion one other time in combination with the first expansion. That game had been waaay too long and the developing board just got too big for me to see all the possibilities, especially in regards to farms. So when Helen expressed an interest in trying T&B, I agreed, as long as we didn't play with both expansions. We did decide to use the Big Meeple from the first expansion, however.

I decided to go with a farming strategy and had an early claim on a large, central farm. Unfortunately, Helen was able to sneak in with her Big Meeple to steal it from me. I spent the rest of the game desperately trying to draw a tile that would allow me to take it back, but to no avail. Both Helen and Ed were able to complete several cities and roads, with Helen getting a majority and a tie in commodities. My builder (I call him the chef) got stuck in a city that I wasn't able to complete. I did manage to get the majority in wheat. Helen won by a large margin with the help of her big pig farm and I lost by an equally large margin, with Ed in the middle. Very sad.

I like this new expansion when played by itself with the basic game. It bears some similarities to Hunters and Gatherers including the potential to play an extra tile on your turn and the incentive to finish other players' cities. The mechanisms to do so are a little different, though. H&G never really clicked with me, but this new expansion retains the feel of the original game while providing a couple of interesting twists.

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

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