We need a drum section – Matthew hopes to take care of that by mid 2009.
As the gaming world turns its attention to the “vast gaming experience” that is BGG.CON, here is a summary of my posts on the convention from 2005 and 2007 (I did not attend in 2006).
I took what I think was a deserved break from volunteer activities this weekend, allowing Julie to accompany the boys on a scout camp-out. I proceeded to fill my gaming dance card with Doug from 11am-2pm and Ken from 2pm-whenever. Doug and I scheduled a game of We the People in preparation for a planned play next week with Jim Ginn at BGG.CON (follow on Twitter). We the People is the original card-driven game and the ancestor of great games like Hannibal: Rome vs Carthaage, Twilight Struggle, Paths of Glory, and derivatives like Memoir ’44 and Combat Commander.
Having read the rules I felt prepared to dive in and learn some strategies as the game progressed – I also knew that Doug would kindly guide me around foolish newbie mistakes (Doug’s write-up of this session is already posted).
The game is very comfortable and friendly – it feels like a slimmer version of Hannibal and Twilight Struggle combined. It lacks the refinement of those games, particularly in the ways that bum hands can really set a player back, but is short enough to make it easy to overlook any weakness.
I hung in there but struggled with forecasting the impact of political counter isolation and got burned a few times. These point-to-point games often have many subtleties in the geometry of point connections that take some getting used to. 6 or 7 turns into the game I held a card that was almost certain to end the game and struggled to push things to a draw but just couldn’t manage. Still it was fun and we finished in just under 3 hours and just in time for Ken’s arrival (and Doug’s departure).
Ken has never had the pleasure of playing Agricola so that was first up. We had a very typical first game where Ken slowly figured out the engine but struggled to keep up with me and grow his family early enough to have an impact. We played with the Intermediate cards right from the get-go.
Our second game was a turnaround and Ken got some great production going early and I floundered with some poor occupation choices early in the game. He won this game 46-36 – a great score for a second game!
Ken and I wrapped up the evening with three games of Dominion. I knew this would resonate with Ken – we started our gaming together with Magic: the Gathering about 5 or 6 years ago. Like Agricola, Ken closed the victory gap quickly and we tied our third game with 36 points each. What made this evening especially enjoyable was the mix of cards we played with and I’ve now played with the entire mix of cards. I should get to play this some more tomorrow with KC & Rita.
For the first time in many moons I hosted a game night on Tuesday night and had a strong turnout of six people. Steel Driver was the top priority for the night and it supports six we gave it a run. This is one of the latest Martin Wallace releases in the Treefrog Games line and was a surprise Essen release. You can get a more detailed write-up of this session from Mike.
None of us really had a clue on the tradeoffs of various decisions, especially what impact the final cube delivery would have on scores. This was amplified by having six players which at times led to feelings of lack of control. There’s a great game in here and I really look forward to playing it with 3-4 players. I suspect I’ll play it a few times at BGG.CON.
Dominion has been on my mind lately and I’ve played it four times in 5 days (all face-to-face – none of that BSW for me, thank you). We broke it out after Steel Driver finished on Tuesday and played two concurrent games. 4 of my 5 games have been with the suggested initial Kingdom card sets and lately I’ve been toying with a strategy focusing on mining copper–>silver–>gold and buying high victory point cards whenever possible. It didn’t really work, possibly because I got a little sidetracked with Remodeling. JD wiped the floor with us using a Market strategy to chain actions and cards, running through much of his deck on each turn.
After Matthew’s basketball practice tonight Jacob, Matthew and I played two more games. In the first Jacob and I did the mine strategy and it worked very well for him, miserably for me. Maybe it was just bad luck, but I think it needs refinement.
We then played our first game with the “Big Money” suggested card set and I did much better. I focused on the Moneylender to cycle coppers out of my deck and purchase silver/gold early on. I also picked up a couple of Chapels to allow me to dump the Moneylenders when their work was done. The result was hand draws about every other turn allowing me to buy many victory points. Yeah!
This is a great game and the boys seem more turned on by it than they were with Race for the Galaxy, which is saying a lot. We’ll see if the thrill wears off after many more plays at BGG.CON and my upcoming gaming weekend at Salishan.
The season wrapped up for both boys on Saturday with dramatic victory for one young man and a heartbreaking loss for the other.
Jacob’s team faced their nemesis – a Westview team that handed them their only loss of the year earlier in the season. This team was so confident that some of the players on the other team were spotted wearing “10-0” t-shirts that some brilliant parent must have had printed before the championship game.
Jacob caught a TD pass late in the second half that put Sherwood up 16-7 and they never looked back, winning 48-20 in a dominant display of offense and defense that had their opponents completely demoralized by midway through the 3rd quarter. This is a great way for Jacob to finish up his youth football career – now it is on to high school ball!
Matthew’s team (that I help coach) wasn’t so fortunate. We also faced our nemesis – a Lincoln team that beat us 34-12 in our first game of the season. In game with driving rain and high winds, it boiled down to a defensive showdown and was scoreless at the end of regulation. In the second overtime, the start Lincoln tailback broke free for a 13 yard touchdown run and the game (and season) were over. The team outplayed themselves and stood up to a team that thought they had an easy walk to the championship. Our defense held them to 61 total yards in the game (including the 2 overtimes) and held their heads high in defeat.