Date: May 29, 2003

Games: "Paris, Paris", Der Herr Der Ringe-Die Zwei Turme das Kartenspiel, Settlers of the Stone Age, Mississippi Queen (with Black Rose)

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

Reporter: Susan Rozmiarek

Paris, Paris Susan, Roxana and Doug battle for the best business locations in Paris, Paris.
Paris, Paris: Doug, Ed, Roxana, Susan

This was my third playing of this and it has only gotten better. Everyone is getting familiar with it now and it plays very quickly. It packs a whole lot of game into just 30 minutes. Sure, there is lots of luck with what tiles are drawn each turn, but the decision about which to choose is just so interesting. You have to sometimes decide whether to go for the quick short tour scoring, or try to set yourself up for possible grand tour megapoints. Or you might choose so that a grand tour is triggered or not triggered. Or you might choose a location to keep someone else from getting it. Decisions, decisions. Perhaps after a lot of plays, these choices will become obvious, but for now, I'm loving them.

Results: Doug in first place, followed by Susan, Roxana, and Ed

Die Zwei Türme A close up of Der Herr der Ringe: Die Zwei Türme - Das Kartenspiel.
Der Herr Der Ringe-Die Zwei Türme das Kartenspiel: Doug, Ed, Helen, Roxana, Susan

If I could change one thing about this game it would be the name. Whew. What a mouthful! Otherwise, this is turning out to be a better game than I originally thought. It has just taken me a while to wrap my head around it. This time, instead of desperately trying to get in on the goodies at every location, I just chose a few and tried to build my hand around them. The strategy seemed to work and I was able to squeak out the win.

Results: Susan, Doug, Helen, Ed , Roxana

Settlers of the Stone Age Mark, Susan and Helen check out the early migration from Africa during Settlers of the Stone Age.
Settlers of the Stone Age: Helen, Jon, Mark, Susan

Happily, I still stand by my glowing review of this game. Everyone in our group who has played it seems to really like it and it has stood up to many repeated playings. With the several different paths to victory and the luck element of the Settlers' system, no game is the same.

Given that we were mostly experienced players this time, we opted to use the more advanced setup rules and chose our starting locations. Not having those free explorers to start out with made resources all the more precious in the beginning. After a slow start, Doug and Helen started racing to be the first to explore the edges of the board, while I started to plunk down camps as quickly as I could. I decided to forego exploring and see how well I could do just building camps and trying for the 2 VP Expansion card. Mark was the whipping boy this game. He spent much of the game resource-poor, partly due to his African hexes being the first to turn to desert. It helps to be on the same hexes as the super explorers of the game. Mark wasn't. My strategy had me in contention most of the game, and it came down to a race between Jon and me. He was able to place a final camp before me for the victory.

Results: Jon, Susan, Helen, Mark

Settlers of the Stone Age Doug, Anye and Robert wait as Rick (blue shirt) determines which way the current is flowing.
Mississippi Queen: Anye, Ed, Doug, Rick, Robert
Reported by: Ed

One of the nice things about having new people join our gaming group is the chance to pull out older games and introduce the new members to these titles. (Although it has been coming a running joke that we mention which titles are out of print before playing the game, just in case one of the new members wants to buy the game.) This week I pulled out Mississippi Queen and introduced Robert and Rick to floating down the mighty Mississippi picking up Southern belles (and having to chance to use all of those "picking up women" jokes). We were joined by Doug and Anye who had both played before, but not for a while. We played with the tiles from the Black Rose expansion, but not the Black Rose itself.

We got off to a fairly even start, but Robert (white) had a straight shot at the first belle pick up dock. I had hoped to grab the second belle at that early dock but Doug (grey) edged me (red) out so I had to wait for the next best chance. The race was the typical back and forth with several leaders as the boat captains stopped to pick up their needed passengers. The coal stops were spread out and used by most captains to refill their coal at least once.

A couple of interesting board layouts caused some unique situations I had not seen before. The first was when the river took a right hand bend around the first coal stop which was on a large island in the middle of the river. This caused the right hand side of the river to be blocked by two islands and caused every boat to go single file on the left side. The second situation was when the first sand bar tile came out. The layout of the river was such that there was only one best route. So again, the boats took a single file path over the sand bar. This had the effect of stretching out the pack.

Doug was the first to pick up his second belle and was able to crank up the paddle-wheels on his boat and pulled out to a big lead over Robert and me. But as often happens with the race, it came down to the end. Robert was able to catch Doug on the final tile and bump Doug's boat out of the way and behind a small island. This allowed Robert to sneak in for first place as Doug (who was out of coal) had to go slowly around the island. Although I was far behind, I had plenty of coal and was able crank up the speed and barrel in to the dock ahead of Doug. I burned three coal on the last turn to slow down and reach the finish just before Doug.

Results: Robert, Ed, Doug, Anye, Rick

Other games played were Alhambra, Exxtra and Nobody But Us Chickens (coming soon from Diet Evil Games).

Current group favorite Alhambra gets another play.
Helen, Roxana and Dylan watch Doug roll his Exxtra dice.

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

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