October 21, 2009

Participants: Jon, Nadine, David, Gili, Eitan, Emily

Eitan and Emily came later again, so we didn’t mix gamers much.

Dominion

Jon 23, Gili 17, Nadine 17, David 7

Dominion has become the filler game of choice for us. In fact it’s middle weight, and can work as a main game, too. Especially because we’ll sometimes play two games straight in a row.

In this game, we played with Witch, Market, Bureaucrat, Smithy, Thief, Villagers, Black Market, Moat, and two others I can’t recall. It was a strange, low scoring game.

I was fairly convinced that I was doing poorly until close to the end game, because I was still working and working to get anything going in my hand, and nothing did. I bought Black Market, which I usually don’t do, but David got to use Black Market four times before I could. He took Festival from it, and passed on Chapel. I really wanted Chapel, but could never get it at the right time. Eventually David took that too. The only thing I nabbed from BM was Council Room (?? The one that doubles any other action). CR is a fantastic card, and I got it together with Market, Moat, or BM on several occasions. I also had an early Witch that I managed to use three times during the game.

I saw soon that I was never going to get to 8 (actually, I did once, for one Province), so I started buying Duchy’s. But I kept careful count on everyone else’s purchases, and as end-game started I realized that I was slightly ahead. And two of the piles – Villagers and Moat – were finished, with two other piles – Market and Black Market – close to finishing. When the time came, and I was fairly sure I was still up a point or two, I chose one of them to end the game.

I should also note that I had managed to purchase two Golds during the game, and lost neither of them to repeated Thieves.

David, meanwhile, had an awesome start, with Villagers, Moats, BM’s, and some Markets, but his hand also didn’t quite gel. He got to 8 once near the beginning of the game, which made us all a little afraid. But he never bought any treasures, and with all of his drawing and drawing, he was rarely able to get to more than six purchasing power.

Gili and Nadine both used Bureaucrats and Thieves. For some reason, I bought the only Witch.

Eitan, Emily

These guys played this when they arrived, as the four of us were in the middle of another game.

Vegas Showdown

Jon 48, David 42ish, Nadine, Gili

I don’t remember the exact scores. First play for David, second play for Gili.

This is another game I don’t get out often, and I was wondering if the others didn’t like it enough that I should toss it into the trade pile. It just turns out that David had never played it and Gili had forgotten about it. While the graphics are dumb and some of the components a little flimsy, it’s actually a great game of money and space management. The event cards and building order add the only real luck into the game, but not enough to ruin the fun.

The events helped David out at the beginning of the game, but at the end of the game, the last event card spoiled his plans by a single dollar, giving me the win (or at least a more secure win; I may have won anyway). David passed the first round, and then overtook the rest of us for a while as we scrambled to gain more money. He neglected nearly entirely the blue side of his board until near the end of the game.

Nadine neatly filled in both sides as well as a corridor between the two. I gained a 6 point boost early on from a lucky event, and then concentrated on victory points with slightly more focus as the game wound down to the end. Although I explained the end game bonus points when we started play, I should probably have repeated them more often to ensure that the others didn’t neglect these. I ended up ahead in both income and population, for instance, which the others shouldn’t have let happen, and probably won’t next game.

In the end, we all really liked the game; a definite keeper. We might try playing with one or more of the event cards on top of the deck revealed, so as to increase planning and minimize luck swings.

Puerto Rico

Emily 49, Nadine 46, Eitan 41

Eitan and Emily played this once, as their second Eurogame, and found it somewhat overwhelming. Now, with several other games under their belt, Nadine got them to return to it, and I think they had a clearer grasp of the game. Nadine didn’t ship much, but she and Emily both got big buildings. Emily’s good shipping and two big buildings apparently clinched the game.

I didn’t see the game, though.

Magic: the Gathering

David+, Jon

We drafted and only managed to get in one game. I had nearly all white, with splashes of Black and Red. Unfortunately, I never saw a Mountain, so the red creature removal cards in my hand just sat there. I knocked David down to 6 points with early weenies, but then I just help on while he built up stronger forces.

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