Its been a long, worthwhile road for Scott. Congrats!
Jacob and I drove the 45 minutes to Vancouver, WA for an afternoon (and
evening) of gaming at Doug and Mimi’s. Many of the usual suspects joined us,
including Kevin Graham, Sabrina & Greg, and
Kim. This is turning into a great crowd with similar interests – great
personalities all around.
We started with a couple of games of Take It Easy. This is a great opener – a
bingo-like game that is easy to learn but has some difficult choices. The goal
is to maximize the number and score for continuous segments in three different
directions. Since you don’t know which tiles will be called (all players are
playing with the same tiles), chosing when to disrupt a potential score can be
very difficult. I did pretty well in this game, winning both rounds with
scores of 161 and 162. Jacob won the comeback player of the round award – he
jumped from a 44 to a 132! One interesting tidbit in this game was that in the
second round, at least 4 of us had identical boards through the first 6 or 7
At this point we split into two groups of four – Jacob, Mimi, Greg, and I
played Airlines while everyone else played Industrial Waste. I’ve taken a
liking to transportation-themed games, particularly those that involve route
planning and some degree of cooperation. Airlines is the predecessor to Union
Pacific, and one can
easily see why this would make a good train game. I got off to a terrible
start… I was unable to found a new airline in my first turn due to very poor
flight cards, so right off the bat I was helping other people and hoping to
gain a leg up in stock. The only reason I even stayed close for a while was a
favorably timed scoring round right after I took control of one of Greg’s
better airlines. This was a great match, with the following round-by-round
Jacob fully built out and maintained control of a major airline, and wrested
control of another from Mimi towards the end, causing a huge spurt in the
final scoring round to take the game.
I didn’t play this one, but it looked interesting and consensus was that this
is a keeper. Kevin won with Sabrina finishing second.
This is one I’ve been itching to try for sometime. This is a beautiful game,
but a bit of a brain-burner. The game is just so open – many choices each
turn, and it seems to be a game where you should be spending at least as much
time worrying about what your oponent will do after your turn as you do about
the turn itself. I found myself maximizing my scoring opportunity only to
create an even bigger opportunity for Kevin and Doug. Doug raced ahead quickly
in this one through some smart play of irrigation tiles. I made some decent
moves toward the end and shored up some solid end-game scoring for our larger
cities, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Doug. Final scores: Doug 108, Chris
100, Kevin 86.
Shortly after starting our Java game, Mimi was kind enough to serve everyone a
fabulous dinner of fried rice, coconut shrimp, salad, and other goodies. As
I’ve mentioned before, Doug and Mimi always take great care of their guests
and this was no exception.
Someone mentioned how few games are designed for sterotypical female
interests, so Doug and Mimi had to reach into their vast collection to grab a
light cooking game with really cool bits.
For a closer we played a couple of games of Can’t Stop, the Sid Sackson
classic. This was a first for me and Jacob, and we both loved it. Of course I
played horribly in my one shot at this one – Doug won (he actually completed 4
lines!) and I only had two markers on the board. Don’t let the dice and random
elements of this game fool you – there’s some real strategy in this combined
with a gambling mechanic.
Jacob and I needed to head home to get some sleep, but Doug, Mimi, and Kevin
stayed on to play McMulti.
I had to work, but Julie, Jacob, and Matthew spent most of Friday in Lincoln
City, the closest coastal town to our home in Sherwood. The summer is ticking
away, and Julie realized she had not yet taken the time to spend a day playing
in the sand and surf. The Oregon coast is a special place unlike most in the
world – it isn’t a place to swim or sunbathe since the water
is mostly too cold and warm sunny days are few and far between. It is a place
to play and gaze at the scenic landscapes. Jacob and Matthew mostly enjoy
digging in the sand, building walls, castles, moats, and burying each other.
We recommend avoiding the beaches on the main highway 101 drag in Lincoln City
– they tend to be overcrowded and a bit dirty. Instead head north of town,
past the casino, to Road’s End State Recreation Site. Of course you’ll need to
eat some seafood as well – your best bet is the Dory Cove Restaurant, also at Road’s End. Your best bets are
the clam chowder and the battered halibut.
I finally have another release of
FreshFish available for
download. I think this version looks quite a
bit nicer (thanks to Angela for providing some updated graphics), and the
usability is drastically improved. Most of the improvements though are in the
underlying game engine, since I had a number of things wrong with rules, end-
game, and certain game states in the previous
version. I do
still have a ways to go though… some other points:
- If you don’t know how to play, read the rules.
- Scott Hanselman sat down for some pair programming with me and gave some great advice, most of which made it into this version. His most striking comment was this: “Is it a game or a business application?” This hit home… the use of status bar, menu bar, etc. does make it look too much like an office productivity tool. Expect a makeover in the next release.
- I hope the rules are solid in this version, since I really would like to move onto networked play. Please report any issues you see.
For the thousands of you that check my weblog daily (OK, the 3-5 of you), you
obviously noticed I was down for a while. My ISP (Stormhosts – great prices
for ASP.NET hosting) had a major outage, presumably caused by the blast virus
outback. In any case, I’m back.
Busy week of travel – two days in Charlotte last week, one day in San
Francisco on Monday, and just got back from Phoenix tonight after a 24 hour