Monday, September 24, 2007

Gaming Update and other stuff

I haven't posted any session reports recently since I've been either at my son Matthew's baseball games or on the beach (a much needed vacation). Also, I wanted to write down some thoughts on other articles for this site and playing games solitaire.

I've been writing some other reviews (in my spare time which seems less and less these days) and also drafting some strategy articles (in particular on War of the Ring). I will try and get these posted in the next few months. Also, I have kept a log of all games I've played this year and at the end of 2007 or early 2008 I'll review the results. (This log doesn't include the solo games I play -- see rest of this article below).

I also started playing in the first War of the Ring online tournament and it is a lot of fun. One of the playtesters for the expansion wrote a java program that allows two people to play against each other over the computer and it allows players from around the globe to play each other. I have done little in on-line gaming since I prefer face-to-face games but even though I love WotR it is hard to get it to the table (plus it is best as a two-player game). The program is fun for playing the game solo also since you can save the game and pick it up when you have time without leaving the big game out. I played a lot of solitaire games when playtesting the expansion and this program would have really helped speed those games up.

Speaking of playing games solitaire... I really enjoy this (maybe it is just me). My new "Big Game" purchase was World of Warcraft, the Boardgame and the first expansion for it. I played as 6 characters in the basic game to get the feel of the game and even though it took me most of a day to play it was a lot of fun. I like to learn a game thru solo play and then re-read the rules for any mistakes before I try and teach it to others. Even after this, I often miss-up some rules but it gives me a chance to understand the basics clearly and see the direction that the game can go. Other games I still enjoy solo...
  • To Court the King -- easy to play solitaire and very enjoyable to try multiple strategies.
  • Magic the Gathering -- seems like a difficult game to play solo but I use an old MS Access based program called Magic Suitcase to demo various deck designs against each other.
  • Puerto Rico -- I play this one using an MS Excel version of the game
  • Carcassone H&G -- okay this one is a stretch but sometimes I'm just bored and there is no one to play games with...
  • Lord of the Rings (Knizia co-op game) -- this one is quite fun trying to "beat the game" with any number of hobbits. It is a little harder to solo with the Sauron expansion but I like to try to win against the "Full game" (excluding the Battlefield expansion since I don't own it)
  • Marvel Heroes -- I enjoy this one solo especially with all my new heroes and villains

Another thing that I run into that is similar to playing solo is playing more than one player in some games. My wife, Barbara, and I do this quite often so that we can play 4-player games with only two people. Puerto Rico, Power Grid, Princes of Florence, Ticket to Ride, Ra, Tigris and Euphrates, Settlers, Amun Re, and Caylus have all been played by the two of us playing a 4 player game. This can get quite confusing in auctions (and trading) but we try to play both players to win and it allows us the chance to try unusual strategies quite easily. Hopefully, when the children get old enough for these games we will have family game night to get in these games with 4 people!

One other note: Please feel free to add comments, questions, or whatever to any of my posts. I am always interested in feedback from fellow gamers and blog readers.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Session Report September 4, 2007

Attendees(6): David, Mary Ellen, Sharon, Troy, Steve, and Michael

We met at David's after Memorial Day for Tuesday gaming.

David has really enjoyed this game and everyone except Troy had played before. We added the Queen to the standard 8 characters and it added a neat twist. I was robbed early and it took me a while to get going but I also wasn't a prime target so I was able to build up over time. Steve built 4 different Merchant buildings which made anyone taking the Merchant a target for the Thief and Assassin. David ended up going out and with 5 colors for both bonuses and this put him out of reach while the rest of us were within 5 pts of each other. Final: David (30), Mary Ellen (24), Steve (22), Michael (20), Troy (20), and Sharon (19).

Vegas Showdown
This was an Avalon Hill game with a lot of Euro mechanics and a solid American theme. It works very well and I think everyone would be willing to play it again after one game. The only problem was that most of us underestimated the income generation and overbid for many early tiles. Once again David was in a good position as he kept his money and was able to position himself to get both the coveted Dragon Room and 5 Star Steak House. Troy made a good late run and finished second followed by the rest of us. Final: David(75), Troy(53), Michael (46), Sharon (45), and Mary Ellen (43).