Saturday, April 12, 1997

Settlers of Catan Game #2 (4/12/1997)

Players: Allan, Joshua, Mike C., Scott

This game of
Settlers didn't go accoring to plan at all. After placing the tiles, the obviously fertile land of 5, 6, and 8 die rolls produced like the frickin' desert. Allan banked on that land, and was initially hurt, and Joshua battled him for central-board supremecy. Mike and Scott pursued coastal strategies out of necessity once Allan and Joshua clogged up the middle. Mike tried building cities rather than expanding his range of settlements, and both he and Scott seemed destined for mediocrity as they were pushed toward the outside of the board. Allan grabbed the longest road (again) and then made a crucial error in trading Joshua what he needed to build a settlement -- the settlement that chopped Allan's road in two. This gave Scott the longest road (which he held to the end), and completely fouled up Allan's strategy.

At this point, with Mike and Scott marginalized and Allan falling, it seemed Joshua's game to win. That's when the vindictive non-fraternization policy went into effect. Allan, Mike, and Scott adhered to a strict no-trading-with-the-leader rule for the remainder of the game, and it almost worked. Mike began to get those cities established and developed the Largest Army, while Scott put together a few more settlements and got necessary resources from both Allan and Mike. The Robber remained on Joshua's property for the duration, and though he finally pulled out the win (with a Library or something on his last turn), it was far closer than it should've been. Final score was Joshua 10, Scott 8, Mike 7, and Allan's precinct still hasn't reported.

A word from our winner, Joshua

"Location, location, location.

"Resource Order According To Joshua: Grain, Clay, Wood, Rock, Sheep.

"Try to pick a location that sets you up to be getting the resources that are more precious (especially if the numbers make them rare). Either that or you have to expend resources to get a port that can trade, which is too costly in the beginning when you need to be collecting resources on all sides."

Scott's words to live by:
- Happy May Day to all, and to all a good night

Settlers of Catan Game #1 (4/12/1997)

Players: Allan, Joshua, Scott

This round of Settlers was a blowout. Allan put down his stuff first, and got a primo space with a 5 and 6 roll that brought timber and brick, and when he combined it with a "3 of anything" port, the writing was on the wall before the Robber showed. He got the longest road, built two settlements into cities, and kept raking in the resources. Meanwhile, Joshua and Scott were competing for dead second and dead last, with only Joshua even close for a short time. Scott got his "empire" cut in half, and Joshua could only stay close if Scott traded him everything he needed (not bleedin' likely). Meanwhile, Allan rolled so well that he not only got tons of resources, but he got to place the Robber most of the time. His only setback came when he finally scooped up a ton of wood only to have it taken when Scott called a forest monopoly (getting a total of 11 trees), though that did give Allan a great story to tell afterward. By the end, the resources poured in so fast he didn't even care if he had to lose some cards. The final tally was something like Allan 10, Joshua 6, and Scott 4.

Allan's victory is significant for one other reason: it came in a dice rolling game. Congratulations, Allan. Hope you didn't use a lifetime of luck on this one game, as I was hoping to ally with you next Dune game. (And don't forget, you still have a coupon for two free spice next time we play Dune. Coupons can't be honored if you don't bring them.)

A word from our winner, Allan

"Probably already said by many, but be aware of the catalystic relationship between the resources you plan to harvest. Work on pairs of wood and brick (for roads and towns) or 3 of a kinds for cards. Always develop cities on your best villages if you can. Beware of monopolies when you harvest 8 wood (argh!)."

Scott's words to live by:
- Can't wait to get pictures of the Robo Rally figures posted. Way cool, Allan

Priceless Game (4/12/1997)

Players: Mike B., Mike C., Vishal

All that is known of this game of
Priceless is the following. The two experienced players, Mike B. and Mike C., cost each other MAJOR coin trying to get each other to overpay for items. The plan failed, however, because they forgot there was a third player, and thus Vishal discredited the Mutually Assured Destruction strategy by kicking their tushies and is now one of the few undefeated Priceless players we know. The final tally (as can be best estimated) was about $900,000 to a pair of $450,000s (though Mike B. claims victory over Mike C. - perhaps a reamatch is on tap). What wisdom does Vishal have to pass along? Read below and learn, Grasshopper.

A word from our winner, Vishal

I will attribute to my victory less to my skills and more to Mike B. and Mike C. mutual destruction play. This was the first time I was playing the game. When Mike C. expalined to me about the the game, one thing was clear -- that you have use your checks very carefully. I could see that both of these guys had used up their checks very quickly. Here are some tips which I think will be useful:

1. Don't buy the 4th item in the group, rather it would be good to buy articles from the adjacent groups as they save your checks and allow you to form a chain.
2. In the auction, if you think the price has gone to high, don't go for it.

Scott's words to live by:
- When ordering from Wok & Roll, split a dinner, don't try to eat one yourself -- they put in too much food

Time Agent Game (4/12/1997)

Players: Allan, Joshua, Mike B., Mike C., Scott, Vishal

Three reasons this summary will bite: with a new game you have to explain the game and the action of that night; I can't remember any of the other player's character names; and I waited way to long to write this up. Bear with me. In Time Agent, players send agents into the past to change key events from history -- events that once hurt their race (or that once helped other races) -- and try to destroy time travel when history smiles more upon their race. For some players, it's tougher to find events that help your race (umm... the Buralti spring to mind), so those players should change what they can to hurt other races, whereas some players benefit from almost every alteration in history and simply look around for the changes that help them most.

During your turn, you can look into the past (up to three tiles per time machine), build new equipment, buy new squads and agents, or send agents and/or squads into the past where they can rotate tiles or alter events. Combat ensues when opposing squads/agents have opposing plans for the same hexagon. Most players opted to search before sending troops into the past, except for the richest player (Scott) who sent troops back to explore rather than waiting a turn and for the most economically challenged player (Allan) who didn't even have the cash to explore (SUCK!). After that first turn, all players started exploring the past, searching in accordance with the "cheat sheet" provided that tells you where your most important events are. Josh had to take away his own Victory Points to get cash (a cruel twist in the rules), and Allan built his empire from the ground up, exploring the less expensive tiles of the recent past and working his way back. The two Mikes tried with little success to bolster their empires (for every step forward, seemed one backward was right behind), and after a slow start, Vishal roamed the western part of the board unopposed for most of the game.

At this point, "blood" was spilled for the first time in our gaming sessions. Mike B. knocked over his wine glass, and as Malcom McDowell once said, "The vino was flowing," flowing all over Mike B.'s cheat sheet and character description. We surveyed the damage and all realized that this would be a much cooler (and cleaner) game if ACTUAL Time Travel was available. Also might've helped if loose fitting clothes were out of style. Mike C. dispensed his advice for all time: "When you're gaming with a new group, this is how NOT to get invited back."

Perhaps spurred by the sight of blood on the table, Allan roared to second place (all the while whining about other players' advantages -- deception at its finest), and the rest of the pack crept toward the Buralti (who start the game miles ahead), so Scott tried to end the game but was temporarily rebuffed by those pesky rules. Mike C. cost Allan and Vishal points just to play spoiler, and knowing the game might end the next turn, Joshua sold back his economic advantage for Victory Points. When Scott destroyed Time Travel, the Victory Points jumbled and juked, and in the end, Josh won with Allan a close second and all others crushed in defeat.

A word from our winner, Joshua

When playing the alienraceIplayed (sorry, can't remember what they're called) the VERY first thing you MUST do is reverse the invention of alienraceIplayed's philosophy. This does two things for you:

1. You get 15 more bucks per round.
2. Your victory points go down so you look weak and helpless (pretty much true).

Once this has been accomplished (by turn 2 at the latest) always buy one time machine per round since the only way to win the game is for the alienraceIplayed to know which turn the game is going to end and reverse all of the key events on that turn only. (Since you're going to lose that 15 extra bucks per round and have too many points to fain weakness.) Figure out who is going to stop time travel and "advise" them sufficiently such that you know/control when the game will end.

Scott's word to live by:
- Time Agent might be a keeper if the different character advantages don't get predictable
- For years now, "Guild counter in the salsa" was our worst disaster. Now that Mike B. has raised the bar, should we fear our next gaming session?