Session Report - Sunday in Sherwood, OR

I hosted my first open gaming event on Sunday, April 13, at my home in Sherwood, OR. We had a great turnout, we three folks I've gamed with before (Ken, Brandon, and Kevin) and three newcomers (Matt, Jeremy, and Elliott) joining the fray. I'll do this again sometime in May, so let me know if you'd like to be on my notification list.

Attendees: Chris Brooks, Ken Rude, Brandon Rude, Jacob Brooks, Matthew Brooks, Julie Brooks, Kevin Graham, Jeremy Hauss, Matt Riley, Elliott Mitchell

Games Played: Carcassonne - Builders and Traders, Apples to Apples, Settlers of Catan, Drakon, Piratenbucht, Wyatt Earp, Landlord

Carcassonne - Builders and Traders

Played By: Chris B. Jacob B. Matthew B. Julie B. Kevin G. Jeremy H.

Game Length: 60 min.

This was everyone's first time playing the new Builders and Traders expansion for Carcassonne. We played with The Expansion as well (helpful since we had 6 players). This was a light game given the variance in age and experience in the group.

Builders and Traders adds a great new mechanic which creates a sort of "co- opetition" - there's now an incentive to finish certain buildings that supply trade goods. No longer is it a no-brainer to ensure your opponent's buildings remain incomplete. If there are special tiles in the building for trade goods, if you finish the building you get those goods. The player with the most of a particular good at the end of the game gets 10 bonus points.

There are 2 new "meeples" in the game: Pig (we call him "piggle") and Builder. The Pig is placed like a farmer, but doesn't score points on his own - instead, he increases the value of each of the cities supplied by your farmers in the pig's region. The builder is placed on either a road or a building, and when you extend the builder's road or city, you get to take an extra tile and place it.

In this game, I got over-committed to one particularly large city with a cathedral that I ultimately had no hope of finishing. I finished second-to- last, barely edging out my 6 year old son. Jeremy, clearly a seasoned Carcassonne player, played a disciplined game and scored some bonuses for trade goods. He won by a good margin.

Winner(s): Jeremy H.

Apples to Apples

Played By: Chris B. Jacob B. Matthew B. Julie B. Kevin G. Jeremy H. Matt R. Elliott M.

Game Length: 45 min.

Since the bulk of the group had arrived (minus Ken and Brandon), we decided to play a round of Apples to Apples "by the book". i say by the book because within the family we usually don't play with the timing rules. I've found that, particularly with large groups, the timing rule (last card played doesn't count) really speeds the game along. This was a fun game - great way to get to know the new guys (Matt, Jeremy, Elliott), but I was ready to move on to something a bit meatier.

Winner(s): Matt R.

Settlers of Catan - Cities and Knights

Played By: Brandon R. Jacob B. Matthew B.

Game Length: 60 min.

The Jacob and Matthew decided to teach Brandon how to play the Cities and Knights expansion to Settlers. Needless to say, a 6 and 8 year old explaining this non-trivial expansion to a 12 year old was a bit tough, but they got through a few rounds. They tired after several rounds and decided to go play computer games.

Winner(s):

Finish: Brandon R. Jacob B. Matthew B.

Drakon

Played By: Chris B. Ken R. Kevin G. Jeremy H. Matt R. Elliott M.

Game Length: 90 min.

Everyone wanted to stay together for our next game, so we had limited choices for 6 players. I had seen Drakon played when I was at the WizKids store in Redmond and thought it looked interesting, so we gave this a whirl.

Drakon is a dungeon-crawling game that reminded me of Zombies, though it does have a bit more depth. There's a degree of strategy, but not enough to keep me interested. Testament to that is the fact that I had to go to the restroom, and my opponents were able to play my last two turns for me (I ended up winning). I'd play it again if forced, but don't think I'll be buying it anytime soon.

Winner(s): Chris B.

Piratenbucht

Played By: Ken R. Kevin G. Jeremy H. Elliott M.

Game Length: 90 min.

This was the first play of my new copy of Piratenbucht - unfortunately I didn't get to play! I spent about 15 minutes explaining the rules, showing off my english language tavern cards, then set them on their way. There was some rule confusion at times, but they found their way through it and had a great game. Ken came from behind in the last round to win the game. They played the semi-random Blackbeard variant, where he moves either 1 or 2 islands forward each turn after players have chosen their island.

Winner(s): Ken R.

Wyatt Earp

Played By: Chris B. Julie B. Matt R.

Game Length: 45 min.

I love this card game! I first played it with Andy Christensen up in Bellevue WA and had recently bought a copy for myself. Julie, Matt, and I only had time for 1 hand since Matt had to get going. I think Julie and Matt enjoyed the game.

Wyatt Earp is a rummy-style card game with a Western theme. Melds represent your efforts to capture an outlaw like Billy the Kid, Jesse James, etc. Turns out we were not exactly playing by the rules (we forgot that you can only play one sheriff card per turn and that each outlaw starts with a $1000 reward).

Winner(s):

Finish: Chris B. Julie B. Matt R.

Landlord

Played By: Chris B. Ken R. Kevin G. Elliott M.

Game Length: 60 min.

Kevin introduced us to this light closer - interesting theme, since I just got out of the landlord business myself. The opportunity to get revenge on tenants was mighty inviting.

The game was mildly enjoyable - I'm fairly certain that Kevin won, but I can't quite remember.

Winner(s): Kevin G.

Face 2 Face Games and Lawrence Whalen

I was in Providence, RI last week for a business trip, and had a few hours after my meeting before I had to head to the airport. I did a Google search for game stores near my hotel in downtown Providence, and discovered The Gamekeeper (unrelated to the Hasbro/WOTC/Game Keeper).

I immediately started talking to the friendly owner, Lawrence Whalen, who gave some good recommendations on games to buy for a friend who's birthday was coming up (Age of Steam and Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers). Walking around his small store, I got a bit curious since I saw a nice computer setup with dual monitors, and I noticed that he was running Adobe Photoshop with some artwork. Turns out that Lawrence doesn't just run a game shop, he also has a game company: Face 2 Face Games. Their first major project is a re-release of the Sid Sackson Classic I'm the Boss. I personally haven't played the original, but it looks like a good family game that might have some mass-market appeal.

Strange Bug in ASP.NET Sample SOAP request/response generation

I encountered a strange bug in how ASP.NET generates sample SOAP request/responses in .NET 1.1 (this may be the case on 1.0 as well - haven't tested). Take a look at this very simple web service, that includes a header:

using System.Web.Services;
using System.Web.Services.Protocols;
using System.Xml.Serialization;
namespace TestHeaderWS {
    public class MyHeaderType: SoapHeader {
        public System.Xml.XmlElement AnyThing;
    }
    public class TestHeaderService: System.Web.Services.WebService { [WebMethod][SoapHeader("MyHeader")][
        return: XmlElementAttribute(Namespace = "")] public string DoSomething() {
            return null;
        }
        public MyHeaderType MyHeader;
    }
}

Now point your browser to http://localhost/TestHeaderWS/TestHeaderService.asm x, select the DoSomething operation, and take a look at the sample SOAP request displayed. You should see something like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
    <soap:Header>
        <MyHeaderType xmlns="http://tempuri.org/">
            <AnyThing>
                <DoSomethingResult xmlns="">
                    <string>string</string>
                    <string>string</string>
                </DoSomethingResult>
                <string xmlns="">string</string>
            </AnyThing>
        </MyHeaderType>
    </soap:Header>
    <soap:Body>
        <DoSomething xmlns="http://tempuri.org/"/>
    </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

Notice how messed up the sample response is - for some reason, it is embedding what actually is the result XML (DoSomethingResult) in the header. There are two triggers to cause this bug (fyi, the service appears to actually work properly, so this isn't a big deal).

  1. There needs to be a header with generic XmlElement member.
  2. There needs to be a return: attribute on the operation that has an empty ("") namespace qualifier. Change this namespace to "foo", and you'll see the proper sample response. Strange.

Spring Camping at Devils Lake

We took the short trip to Lincoln City, OR this weekend for some yurt camping at Devils Lake. Tent camping in the spring in Oregon is always a risk (unless you like lying in mud), so rather than stay home we've started exploring the various state parks that offer yurts. Hardly roughing it, but we still cook outside, make s'mores by the campfire, and explore the waterways in our canoe. I also took some pictures with my new Nikon Coolpix 2500 digital camera.

Devils Lake was much more interesting than I expected. The fishing was great - we landed 6 decent size hatchery rainbows (all catch and release with the exception of one poor guy that didn't survive a hook swallow - we gave him to our camping neighbors).