September 23, 2009

Participants: Jon, David, Emily, Nadine, Bill, Avraham

A fine collection of nice people for gaming.

Dominion

Nadine 48, Jon 39, Emily 28, David 14

First play for Emily. This seems to have become the default filler game, though it’s a tad long for a filler. And it’s nearly non-interactive, the way racing games tend not to be.

We played with: Envoy, Mine, Moneylender, Adventurer, Thief, Festival, Workshop, Market, Militia, Moat.

I’m still unsure what it was that happened to David on his first few rounds, but he somehow didn’t get what he wanted, and then declared that there was absolutely no way he could win the game anymore. He spent the rest of the game taking Coppers and Estates. Perhaps he can elucidate.

Emily took Mines and Thieves. She played Thief a few times, but even though my deck was stuffed full of Golds and Silvers, she only managed to trash one of my Silvers, and the rest of the times only Coppers. She, Nadine, and I also took Militias. Nadine also took many Festivals and Moats to draw cards and protect against Militias. This was the winning strategy.

I knew that my Festivals wouldn’t draw cards, but somehow, instead of taking either Moats or Envoys, I bought Golds and Adventurers. It looked decent, but not enough to beat Nadine.

Odin’s Ravens

Bill 4, Avraham 3

I introduced the game to Bill and then he and Avraham played one round. They opted not to continue. It’s kind of an “eh” game.

Antike

Jon 9, Avraham 6, Bill 6

Yay, I got to play Antike again. Antike is simply the best “warfare”-lite game, in that it has the elements of a war game, and the tactics and strategies that implies, but a) with no dice, and b) with victory points that do not require any combat to achieve. By setting the win condition one victory point less than suggested, occasional skirmishes occur and combat always looms, but it is minimal.

Instead, the game requires you to focus on the points you need to win, and not just concentrate on building up an impressive armed force. Just like Cities and Knights of Catan, a large army is nice, but it’s not necessarily the quickest way to victory.

Avraham discovered this. At 5 points, I was already pretty much set on where my remaining 4 points would come from. Avraham was behind me in points, and already at 15 cities, but still building more troops and trying to conquer more areas of the board. I suggested to him that this was the slow way to do things, and that turned out to be true.

He also lost a temple when he calculated incorrectly that I couldn’t take it out. He forgot, or didn’t realize, that you could use one set of troops to clear out obstructing armed forces, and then a different set of troops to pass over the now cleared area to attack. In most situations, I would have told him this. But seeing as he was so aggressive to me during the first half of the game, I merely asked him a number of times if he was sure that he wanted to end his turn before I played.

My first moves were: marble, temple on gold, gold, and know-how. I ended with five out of the five earned victory points in Known-hows (that shouldn’t have happened), as well as one destroyed temple, three temples, seven seas, and five cities.

Princes of Florence

David 77, Nadine 61, Emily 58

First play for Emily, and another three-player game of PoF, which doesn’t quite follow the rules and expectations of those familiar with four or five player PoF. There are so many good things in the auctions, that bidding is never that high.

On the other hand, it still isn’t a good idea to let one person get three early Jesters, which is what I got last game and what David got this game. He even picked up a fourth on his last turn.

Race For the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm

Avraham 60, Nadine 35, Bill 31, Emily 22

First play for Emily (first play of any RftG game). First play of the expansion for Nadine and Bill.

RftG is kind of fun, but I’m concerned about the amount of luck in the game, and the mechanic of being able to end the game early by super building annoys me. It’s very convoluted, so I’m willing to play it, but not overly thrilled.

The expansion with its missions and some changes in the cards looks like it might be a somewhat better version of the game, though it looks over-priced for what you get in components.

Magic: the Gathering

Jon+, David+

David and I foisted them all onto RftG so we could Rochester draft and play this. A good time, as usual, though the mana distribution problems in the game still suck. My homemade fix is still the best way I know to ease the problem. (Each player may once, up until turn five, either randomly toss a land out of the game to pick a random non-land from his deck, or randomly toss a non-land out of the game to randomly pick a land from his deck).

This allowed me in the first game to make a go at the game, despite an initial land glut. I even won. In the second game, I had land, but none of the color of the cards in my hand, so I still got mana screwed. My fix is meant to ease the problem, but not guarantee a great hand each time.

I played R/G/W, with some decent creatures and red and white removal. David played B/G/U. I don’t recall what he had, but it looked like an inferior deck to mine, generally speaking.

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One thought on “September 23, 2009

  1. MtG: I agree that my deck was inferior to Jon's. If he hadn't had mana problems he probably would have won the second match also. In any case, as usual, we both have immense fun in the draft and play.Dominion: The reason I basically gave up is that I planned on the following strategy: Use the +3GP from the moneylender to quickly afford Festival. Then continue with Moneylender and festivals to trash coppers and purchase more festivals and Workshops. After a few times through my deck I would have only 4 or 5 festivals, two moneylenders and some workshops with no coppers. That would allow me to draw my whole deck each turn and get a province each time. At least that was the theory, in practice my early moneylender came up as the last card in my final draw and I only had two coppers in the hand so I was one short of Festival. Then, on the 3rd and 4th times through my deck, I was hit by Militia's and could never get to 5. By this time, I was short even on copper pieces! During the whole game I reached 5GP ONCE, over half-way through the game (though to be fair, I had already given up).

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