June 05, 2008

Participants: Jon, Binyamin, Nadine, Gili, Bill, Shirley, Ari

Shirley is Bill’s wife, come to the group for the first time. Binyamin won every game he played tonight.

Mykerinos

Binyamin+, Jon

Nadine opted to sit this out, which I believe she has come to regret seeing as how long her Puerto Rico game ended up taking.

Mykerinos is actually an elegant game. When I first played it, I thought certain moves were fairly scripted, but this is not the case. It’s definitely a game of tradeoffs, all the time. Unfortunately, in the fourth and last round, decisions really are sort of scripted, since nearly every move is a simple math calculation (in two player).

I haven’t played this in a while, whereas Binyamin had. Therefore, I forgot a few rules and was blindsided by them when they came up in play. For instance, at the end of the game I forgot that after one person passes, the other players have only one more turn. I kept thinking that the other player can play himself out. This made a real difference.

I knew, but kept forgetting as I actually played, that control is for quadrant, not per board. As a result, I completely screwed up the first set of placement actions. I insisted that we stat again, since having played with the wrong goals in mind, I had lost every single quadrant. I restarted the game after the next two placements again, because I started out doing it again. Only on the third try did I finally get it.

I still lost by a great amount, because I neglected the library. That was totally my fault, however.

Mississippi Queen

Binyamin+, Ari+, Jon -2

I had played this only once, but the rules were fairly easy to remember. The only fuzziness was, when you pushed another player, did you drop speed as well as movement, or only movement?

It was a close game, not too long, and worth playing again.

Race for the Galaxy

Binyamin 36, Jon 35, Ari 31

Binyamin is convinced that the game is simply too short, and should be extended to 20 buildings and a lot more VPs. I am convinced that, if not the winner, then the losers are fairly well known by turn five, making any game extension simply more torturous to them.

Meanwhile, I’m convinced the, while there are multiple paths to victory, some people are going to draw a cohesive set of cards, and some aren’t. The former have the potential to win, while the latter don’t. Which makes the game torturous to the latter, anyway. But then, I can’t explain how David K and Binyamin always seem to beat me. So I really need to study some strategies before I make any final conclusions.

To appease Binyamin, I thought we would try that the game ends when someone has built 8 devels or 8 settlements, and not simply 12 cards. And we added 12 more VPs. I think 10 would have been the better number, as the game was still nearing its end as Binyamin dumped 1 point devels nearly every round.

To me, any game where the end can be “hurried” when someone is ahead is problematic. It’s what sinks Lost Valley as a game, too.

Power Grid

Binyamin 17, Ari 15, Jon 14

We played in Central Europe, and with the new deck of power plants. And, as usual, with the top four cards of the power plant deck face up (but still accessible only in order). We played in the three Eastern provinces. I started in the middle of the board, which squashed my expansion and that was nearly that. I had more capacity two rounds before the end, but less cash, and so I couldn’t solidify my capacity and buy the fuel I needed and also buy the eight or so cities I needed in the last two rounds.

Binyamin adds: We totally forgot about the -1 discount for garbage [in Wien]. I had the 21 plant – 3 garbege for 5 cities – for at least 4 rounds and didn’t take any discount. That might have made an absurd change, as if I had more money and as I thought Ari has lots of money. I might have tried to go for a 7 plant and not finish the game, which would have been wrong, of course, but I didn’t know that. Interesting thought, how a bit more money could actually make me, maybe, be lose the game.

Puerto Rico

Shirley 57, Nadine 44, Bill 40+, Gili 40-

During the time it took us to play half of Mykerinos, Mississippi Queen, Race for the Galaxy, and Power Grid, these guys played one game of Puerto Rico. It was Shirley’s first game, and Bill’s second game. Shirley really loved it, and winning by a mile didn’t hurt.

She ended with 36 shipping points and Custom’s House. Bill had some good shipping, but no big buildings. Otherwise, I don’t know what happened.

Nadine adds: I enjoyed Puerto Rico even though it was very slow. Part of that was for multiple explanations, which I don’t mind. Bill got a Wharf near the end. He had enough for a big building afterwards, but it was too late to mayor it. Shirley was third and had a Sugar monopoly for a long time, Bill had early Tobacco, and got a Factory. Shirley had Harbor which gave her a lot of points. Gili produced Coffee and Indigo only. I had a Factory and Wharf and Coffee.

Bill had 3 corns and shipped 5 corns on his wharf at least twice, he also had a small warehouse.

It’s Alive

Shirley 57, Nadine 53, Bill 45

Again, Shirley’s first play and Bill’s second. Assuming that Shirley finished her board first, it looks like she won with the board completion bonus.

Nadine adds: I finished my It’s Alive board first, because I always pretty much play the basic version, but it wasn’t enough this time. Shirley had the some score in Puerto Rico and It’s Alive, and won all her games too, though two isn’t the same as 4.

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3 thoughts on “June 05, 2008

  1. I think Nadine is like a chess grandmaster. Remembering every detail of every game she has played since age 4. At least I assume that is the case, since her winning record at Puerto Rico is amazing (at least when played live, she breaks out in hives when she has to deal with computer interfaces). Beating her is a real feather in your cap.

  2. Thanks, but any experienced player, including David, would remember Bill shipping corn on a wharf. I’m OK playing PR by computer, it’s the Amun Re interface I had a hard time with. I don’t win PR so much in person, especially against Jon and Rachel. I enjoy teaching it because it’s such a great game and it’s fun to see smart players like Bill and Shirley appreciate the game.

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