18xx Order from Deep Thought Games

I finally broke down and placed another Deep Thought Games 18xx game order. I still have two unplayed 18xx game in my collection (1870 and 2038) but I feel compelled to get in the queue and hedge a bit knowing there's at least one game I really want to own: 1846. I played it for the second time in a year over the weekend and it is becoming one of my favorites. What I like: innovative opening draft of privates (simpler and more comfortable for newbies when compared to auctions), quick ramp of companies and route building, and minimal stock market shenanigans. Not that I don't like stock market wackiness at times, its just nice knowing going in that you can focus on engineering good routes and observing others' growth potential.

Also ordered were:

  • 1854 - the smaller map and European setting are attractive to me, though this looks to be a longish game which I don't mind.
  • 18Neb - I'm a sucker for games that focus on geography I've lived in, and I'm looking for a second shorter game that Jacob and Matthew might both play with me.

I reserve the right to add games to this order before Deep Thought gets to my spot in the queue!

Salishan Gaming Day 4

Civilization

The photo tells it all - I spent most of the day with Doug, Matt, and Eric playing the new Civilization boardgame. This is everything I like to see in a civ game - many paths to victory, decent player-to-player conflict, some wackiness introduced by cards, and steered focus based on initial conditions. Matt won with a "gold" victory but didn't sneak up on us - we knew it was coming but did what we could to slow him down or push ourselves forward faster. For Eric and I it was a first play so there was a certain amount of stumbling along the way but I think we both held up admirably. It took 4+ hours for our game but it was slowed by some paralysis at times (mostly on my part), me having to split time cleaning up the house and doing laundry while playing, and having four players with two of them newbies. No reason why this can't be a 2-3 hour game with 2 or 3 players. Definitely on my "want to buy" list.

Surf

We left at about 3:35pm and were in the driveway in Sherwood by 5:25pm. It was a beautiful day at the coast (the photo above was taken from my seat where we were playing Civ) and I appreciate all the help I got from my guests in closing down the house until our next visit. Hopefully that visit will be before Memorial Day weekend! Our trips have been too infrequent lately.

Salishan Gaming 2011 - Day 3

Today was another banner day. A great mix of deep longer games with light fare, good food and friends, and some excellent aged bourbon. The day started with our scheduled 18xx fare - 1846 this time, my second play in the last year and it is becoming a favorite. This is about a 3 hour game set in the Midwest (I've lived in four of the cities on the map) with an emphasis on financial management and route building. Mike won running away but I turned a likely dismal last place finish into an "upper tier" 3rd place behind Matt.

1846 with Mike, Matt, Eric

After a short walk on the beach (by the way - the photos you see here are iPhone photos and I'll post better ones in the coming week) we reorganized into Dominant Species and Shogun. I played Shogun with KC, Rita, and Ken.

Shogun

Shogun's board is much more linear than the original Wallenstein which kept Ken and I distant for most of the game. We were able to claim key sectors of the board to ourselves and were in a close battle till the end with Ken playing strong and finishing on top.

Havoc!

After dinner while we waited for Dominant Species to finish we played 4-player Havoc. I'm biased but this remains a strong game.

Sticheln

Next was a 4-handed Sticheln contest followed by a chaotic 7-handed Sticheln. Don't bother asking me if I've figured this game out yet. Lastly, while the others played Tales of the Arabian Nights Matt, Rita and I played the Hag scenario of Castle Ravenloft and won! One big benefit of playing this weekend - learning from Matt that experience points are shared amongst all players. Tomorrow is the last day. Hope to start Sunday with a 2 or 3 player game of Civilization with Matt.

Salishan Gaming 2011 - Days 1 and 2

KC and Rita arrived at my Sherwood home late Thursday afternoon and after stopping for happy hour at the 101 Roadhouse we were at Salishan and ready to dive into gaming. I'll share some brief thoughts (typing on the iPad here) on each of the games played so far.

Ascension

First up on Thursday night was Ascension: Chronicles of the Godslayer. Another in the deck building genre but interesting enough that it may be worth getting. Always felt like there was something to do. Key difference (from Thunderstone, Dominion) is the variability in the "common" pool that players share.

Fresco

Next was Fresco, one of the more highly regarded Euro games released over the past 2 years. The game reminded me of Blue Moon City and was enjoyable enough. Given the choice I think I would always play Macao. On Saturday morning while we waited for Mike, Doug, and Matt we played a revamped version of KC's Hanford. This is the game of cleaning up a nuclear power and research site gone bad and it is very good. Needs to be published.

Starting Friedrich

Next it was (finally!) Friedrich with Eric and Mike. I played the Austrians, Eric the Prussians, and Mike the Russians and French. The game was epic if a bit frustrating for Mike. We were both on the verge of winning (Mike with the Russians) when the Russians pulled out the war. It looked like a win for me was imminent but Eric deftly held me off. Meanwhile Mike rebuilt the French army and continued to push for victory. In the end I achieved victory with Mike being just one card shy of a shared victory. Excellent game.

Castle Ravenloft

We indoctrinated 4 new people to Castle Ravenloft (KC, Rita, Ken, and Eric) and it was a smash hit. Played twice back to back.

KC teaches Ascension

While KC, Eric, and Ken played Ascension, Doug Matt and I played Tales of the Arabian Nights. A great experiential game made even better by consuming a few old fashions throughout the game. That's all for today. Will start tomorrow with some 18xx.

Command and Colors: Napoleonics Scenario 2

Ken and I are trying to reserve Wednesday nights for two player wargaming (lighter stuff) and last night was our second try of Command and Colors:Napoleonics. We moved to the second scenario, Rolica - Second Position, with me again playing the French.

Ken as Brits - CC Napoleonics

Ken opened with a quick strategic move on his left flank that put significant early pressure on my right. I had a strong repelling move from my hilltop position but Ken was persistent and gradually wiped out my right flank. Unfortunately I subsequently was holding onto 3 right flank cards which seriously hampered my options. It was still a great battle with Ken winning 5-2 and the game finishing in about 90 minutes.

We are getting the hang of the tweaks in this edition, namely the value of infantry squares and cavalry retirements. There are still some line of site rules that I think need clarifying and it is hard to keep straight (in our heads) the light vs line infantry differences. Still I think we both feel this is the best of the series so far.