December 30, 2009

Participants: Avraham, David, Gili, Sara

I had a wedding scheduled, so tonight’s game night, the last of 2009, was hosted by Abraham. Here is his session report …

Four players, four games, and four winners in a balanced game night.

Jamaica

Avraham 29, Gili 23, David 18

David hadn’t played it before, and Gili had forgotten what it was like, and
so they felt like trying it out. I explained the rules, David absorbed them
easily, and Gili remembered how it was once I started explaining. David
asked for strategy advice, I said that food is better at the beginning, gold
is better towards the end, and that you can pick up treasure by taking
advantage of shortages. I also said that moving forward is good, but I
didn’t explain well why it was so, and so Gili and David didn’t take that
advice to heart. By the time we shuffled our cards mid-game, they
understood why it was important to be moving forward.

We each rolled a double on our first turn as captain, taking a good amount
of decision-making put of the first round. Gili had a lot of cannons at the
beginning, but lagged behind and so didn’t make good use of them. David
floundered in the middle and somehow managed to avoid the treasures that
Gili and I didn’t pick up. I took an early lead, used it to get first crack
at the treasures, and mostly maintained the lead until the end of the race.

Gili 29, David 28, Avraham 24

After the first game, David felt he had the hang of it and wanted to give it
another shot, and Gili and I were willing as well. Our pirate ships in the
second game were much more belligerent. Gili would plunder David, and I
would plunder both Gili and David. I had the treasure that gave me +2 to
all my combat rolls, but it didn’t matter because I kept on rolling stars
anyway. Gili rolled a double six at just the right time to finish the game,
David managed to build a good horde of treasure and gold despite being
repeatedly plundered, and I managed to come in last despite my victories on
the high seas.

Stone Age

David 122, Sara 120, Avraham 120, Gili 117

A very fun and close game of Stone Age. David went for the starvation
strategy. I went for the food production strategy since I came after David
and he was starving. Gili was annoyed that I didn’t let any food production
slide to her at the beginning, and went for collecting symbols. Sara went
for the “roll obscenely high numbers and opportunistically grab points”
strategy.

David was worried that he was losing terribly to both Sara and I for most of
the game, but David plays a lot better than he assesses position. He had a
lot of leftover resources when he finished the game, but he also managed to
get around 40 points worth of buildings on his final turn as well. I only
had one wood leftover at the end of the game, but although I managed my
resources efficiently, I didn’t quite collect the cards I needed to push me
over the edge. Gili tried to copy Sara’s dice-rolling technique of slamming
the dice cup on the table, but was unable reproduce the same results. She
did quietly amass eight symbol cards with only one repeat however, which is
no easy feat in a four-player game. And although Sara rolled the dice
tremendously well at the beginning of the game, this was matched by her
dice-rolling futility in the second half of the game, and I think she would
have won if it were not for one round where she took a starvation penalty.

Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm

Sara 40, Avraham 39, David 30

David wanted to play one light game before he left. Sara suggested Traders
of Carthage, which was a good suggestion, but David didn’t know how to play
and wasn’t in the mood for learning a new game. I suggested Race for the
Galaxy, which is my favorite “light” game. Okay, it’s not light at all, but
after playing Sara maybe about a hundred times, and playing against the Race
for the Galaxy AI a couple hundred more, I can
make my decisions pretty quickly, and so I consider it a quick game, if not
light.

Sara started with Epsilon Eridani, went for a military strategy, and claimed
the Greatest Military goal. David started with New Sparta, and explored in
vain for good military worlds. I started with Old Earth, went for
produce/consume with blue production worlds and claimed the Largest Industry
goal. I was a turn or two behind because of my two failed naked produce
attempts at the beginning of the game… I was spoiled by playing against
the AI.

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