It was my turn to host the southside Tuesday game night for the RipCityGamers group. My attendance at RCG events has gone up dramatically since I started hosting (surprise). We had a huge turnout this week - 11 players in total.
Chuck and Doug during their game of Around the World in 80 Days.
Here is how the session went in Doug's own words:
First up was Around The World In 80 Days. While certainly not winning the award for Best Use Of Box Space, and having gotten some lukewarm reviews, I found myself enjoying this little gem. Basically you pick one of a set of face up travel card that depicts either a ship or a train and also a number of days (ships range from 4 to 9, trains from 2-5). Each travel card has an action associated with it based on how it was placed near the board. For example, if you pick the card next to the balloon icon, you may roll a die to try to shave some days off of your trip. Next, you can move to the next location on the board, but only by playing the designated cards from your hand. For example to move from San Francisco to NYC, you must play two train cards. The sum of the numbers on the cards determine how many days it takes to make the trip. The goal is to use as few days as possible without being the last player to make it back to London.
There are several other mechanisms that I won't go into, but I'll mention that I felt they added flavor without feeling tacked on.
Chuck got off to a fast start, and I think he collected darn near every "first player in" marker there was. However, he spent quite a bit of time doing so, and thanks to an early Submarine card I was able to get my time down early and keep it there. I was also aided by Chuck, who was sitting to my right, spending a lot of time taking the First Player travel card and thus giving me a good selection of cards to choose from.
Mike and KC brought up the rear, and both of them made a lot of good plays that kept them in the running. I was fortunate to have all of my balloon and elephant rolls go well the first time, and I think I spent a total of two gold coins the entire game. I also managed to avoid the detective (who adds two days if you end up in the same locale he's in), but stuck it to the other players regularly.
In the end, Chuck and I got into London first, although Chuck had used up 79 days to just make it under the wire. I managed to get in in 69 days, which is a tough score to beat and only KC looked to have a real shot. Since he had to not be the only person not back in London at the end of a turn to avoid an automatic loss, he managed to use a couple of action cards to minimize his time down to eight days that would have tied me. However, since I got in first, I would have won the tiebreaker. In any event, in his attempt to find cards to help him get into London cheaply, he drew a storm card that added two days to both his and Mike's time (Chuck and I were safe in the Club by then, and thus didn't lose days), and so his final score was 71. Mike limped in in the same round, avoiding an auto loss, but his total was 80 days, giving Chuck third anyway.
It's light, it's fast, it's wacky, but I had a great time. And that was before I won! Despite a grossly oversized box, this is a nice little game that I'll be picking up.
A few of us were in the mood for some Settlers action, so we decided to play Seafarers of Catan, an expansion I've rarely played except for some scenarios from The Book. Jacob and I will be playing Giant Seafarers at GenCon next week, so this was a good opportunity to brush up on the rules. Jim and Rita joined me and we played one of the exploration scenarios.
Rita and Jim help me setup Seafarers of Catan.
Jim moved out in front early in the game - the dice rolls were leaning his way (many 5s and 6s, almost no 8s) and did a great job exploring and positioning himself for more settlements out in the unknown lands. Rita was mostly hosed throughout the game but enjoyed herself; I made a charge at the end and got myself to 11 points before Jim finally pulled out the 12 point victory. Rita and I were both convinced that Jim could have won 2-3 turns earlier but were not going to help him out at all - one more turn and I would have been the victor.
In the kitchen after Around the World in 80 Days completed, the same group pulled out my copy of Industrial Waste. This was an eBay auction win for me and I haven't tried it yet, but it is good to know that the game is complete.
Chuck, Doug, KC, and Mike playing Industrial Waste.
Once again, Doug did a nice writeup:
Next up was Industrial Waste. I could not remember why this game didn't work with four players (it works nicely with two), but it became apparent as the game went on. To end the game (not win, end) one player has to move his factory token to the 20 column of the growth track. However, if the accident card comes up (there is one in the deck), and you've got too much waste sitting around (which was common for us), your factory tokens move back one or two spaces. As such, both Chuck and I were one card play away from ending the game in a couple of situations, hesitated as we felt we weren't in a good position to win, and ended up getting dragged back down the growth track.
After two hours of this, we gave up and called the game. Chuck won handily, I'm sure I was in last place or close. The game itself is really fun and has a lot of opportunity for screwage, but my god not for that long. The last 30 minutes were excruciating. What a shame.
The problem is that you have a set size deck regardless of the number of players. Since you play 15+ cards every turn with four players but only 9+ with two, that means that the accident card comes up much more often with four players and since it's impossible to always have a bribe card handy to stave off falling back on the growth chart, we saw a lot of ebb and flow. I suppose more savvy players might be able to avoid this, but since only the person who thinks they will win wants to end the game, I really don't think that anything can save the four player version with the possible exception of adding a second deck with the second accident card removed (and possibly reshuffling when an accident appears).
Mike Deans had this followup:
I was just going back over the rules to see if we missed anything, and we did. I don't think we were reshuffling the card deck after the accident came up. This would only have made the game longer if we did, however, as the accident card would come up more often!
Reading comments on the Geek there are a lot of positives for this as a 4-player game, so I'm not sure how/what we doing wrong. I think we may have been bidding too high for resources at the start, and not focusing enough on managing waste output. I'd be interested in giving it another go.
Upstairs, the kids / young adults engaged in a four-player game of Doom: the Boardgame with Jacob as the game master.
Jacob explains the rules to Jenna, Colin, and Graham.
I don't know too much about what happened in this game, other than the fact that the Deans boys now want their own copy of the game.
Wednesday night after football practice Jacob asked to play Take it Easy. This is a fantastic light puzzle game that plays quickly. Julie plans to introduce this one to the game sessions she runs at school. It has some great spatial elements, requires a small amount of analysis, and the scoring uses single-digit multiplication.
Julie, Jacob, and Matthew playing Take it Easy.
I usually do well in this game but got crushed by everyone; Julie was the victor.