Gaming with the Arizona Boardgamers (Night 1)

I was able to stay awake late enough tonight to join the Arizona Boardgamers at Gamer’s Edge in Chandler. It was a fun, welcoming
crowd and I look forward to seeing some of them again tomorrow. I’ll give a
quick rundown of the games with some pictures.


My first play of this game, and I enjoyed it very much. Players are tycoons
jetting from major city to city to build hotels, factories, gaining money in a
number of ways:

  • Having the highest or second-highest number of hotels in a city.
  • Having factories in a city.
  • Having a broad distribution of presence in the 9 cities.
  • Bonus points for having factories in the city with the most number of hotels built out.

Hotels are worth more in some cities than in others. One interesting mechanic
– the more built out a city gets, the more money the leaders in that city get,
up to a point at which their value degrades (over-crowding I suppose). Fun
game – it flowed quickly and had a diversity of methods to score.

Jeff won, followed by Junior, Chris, and Rob.


Steve, Jason, and someone else that left early played Java. I don’t think they
finished the game, but I think Steve was in the lead when they had to stop.

New England

There were six of us left at this point, so we split into two groups of three.
Jason, Steve, and I decided to play New England. This one surprised me – I
enjoyed it and look forward to playing it again. I started developing quickly
and raced to a substantial lead, but Steve’s plan to build an early income
source by choosing villagers and using his cash to develop valuable properties
in the mid- and end-game. Steve won, with Jason and I finishing very close.

Anno 1452

Junior, Jeff, and Rob played this game, which I had never seen before tonight.
The board reminds me of
Wallenstein, and Rob
Smolka even referred to it as “Wallenstein Lite”. I left before the game
finished, but they looked like they were enjoying themselves.

Off to Arizona

Tonight I’ll be speaking at a Software Association of Oregon Web Services Panel, then tomorrow morning I take an early flight to Phoenix, Arizona. Next
week is the American Banker Online 2003 conference at which
I’ll be on another panel where
we’ll discuss the future of online financial services.

Never one to miss out on a chance to mix some fun with business, I’m leaving
tomorrow morning so I can spend a couple of days learning how to (better?)
play golf
I’ll give a report sometime this weekend on my progress.

Also, Saturday night I hope to hook up with the Arizona
, who were kind
enough to invite me over for some gaming fun. Hopefully I won’t be too dried
up from the blistering
to enjoy myself.

Julie’s Recipes

My wife happens to be an amazing cook. On the few nights each week that we are
actually able to site down as a family and eat together, Julie treats us very
well. She also knows how to cook for a crowd (I could never get the multiple-
dish-timing thing down) and our friends and family often ask for copies of her
recipes. She keeps track of them electronically so I’ll post them here (254.92 KB). I thought about taking
the time to turn her recipe list into some sort of RSS feed, but for now you
can deal with the plain text.

Gaming at Doug and Mimi’s

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.

Take it Easy

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
, 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.

Industrial Waste

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.

A La Carte

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.

Can’t Stop

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.