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The Jaded Gamer

So... my attempt to reach 1000 plays of 10 games failed. What now?

Archive for Regular Opponents

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Regular Opponents 3 & 4 - The Guru and The LoBster King

Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
South London
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<--- Holy cow (EDIT) - I just realised I am about to buy my sixth supporter badge. That's a long term hobby!

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It's
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
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Now, I may be wrong, but after I was turned over to the dark side of the force by Paul (aka moving from Swiggers to London On Board) my very first game at the new club was Age of Steam and while it is possible Martin and I did not play in this game together he, along with Paul are so central to my LoB experiences I cannot but insert him into the tale.

It was a legendary bit of gaming, with AoS inducing an almost immediate brain melt headache in me and the satisfaction of making one of our opponents lose money in the last round through cruel deliveries.

Other legendary games I've been involved in with Paul have been the collectors edition War Of The Ring, my first forays into Twilight Struggle, supervising Android (since it almost screams for a GM) and one of the best games of Arkham Horror I've played too. And this just at the clubs! Paul and I have been playing games together for four years (ish) and in every single one of them he has been an exemplary opponent - especially when I am not. Our tastes are very different these days - he still loves a new Euro whereas I'm less than interested.

Martin was of course the opponent who faced off against me in the game of Tigris and Euphrates that went down to the third tiebreaker (he won, obviously enough), as well as so many other games - just springing to mind now are the game of Ra in which I scored minus points, him laughing at my Crokinole form or the way in two hands he scored more Mah Jong points than I had in total across my first two eight hand games.

I even put Tigris on my list because I knew Martin would be good for several plays. His Knizia obsession can be useful upon occasion.

Both these guys are better at all games than I am (possible exception to this rule is Cosmic). They are both excellent opponents and two of the very few people of whom I can honestly say I would never turn down a game

Unless there's an auction in it.
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Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:36 pm
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Regular Opponent 2 - Mrs Algo

Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
South London
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Let me tell you about my wife’s favourite games. I need not expound on her many virtues as a human being other than to point out that when I bought a microbadge about my relationship status I did not choose “married”, but “I’m in love!”
 
She’s a big Arkham Horror fan. This is a combination of liking co-operative gaming, dice rolling and fighting monsters as well as storytelling – hence the big love for this enormous game. We took it on our annual holiday a couple of years ago, played a fantastic victorious game while thunder and lightning tore up the sky outside the apartment, and later had a rare row over me attempting to enforce a rules interpretation with which she didn’t agree. Can’t even remember what it was now (probably had to do with investigator death), but the fact she cared enough to fight me on it proves this game’s a winner. Sadly, I have cooled a little on the experience because of the massive set up and playing time, but I’m starting to hanker after another battle with the Mythos now.
 
Eurorails. This was a big surprise, but a pleasant one, which takes advantage of her obsession with maps and non-confrontational gameplay. In Eurorails, you have a train and a wipe off (plastic based) crayon. Each turn you build track by actually drawing onto the board (shock horror to a large part of my psyche) and paying costs depending on where you have drawn (prices are different to cross rivers, build into mountains or towns etc). As you build, you are trying to build a continent spanning network of track to enable you to deliver goods for profit.
Two player Eurorails played nicely is a friendly race to £250,000,000 (or dollars or euros!). With the so called “honeymoon rules” designed for two competitive players it can get vicious and blocktastic. Epic playing time here, but tempered by a virtually immediate set up and optional faster trains. I got Empire Builder (i.e. North American Rails) as well for a little variety and was given the fantasy version Iron Dragon as a thank you for hosting the world’s first semi-co-operative pub quiz night at London On Board. I’m sorry to say I think Iron Dragon is the wrong side of arcane for us with its orcs and fictional location, but I may pick up British Rails at some point (after my 10x100 plays are done) to continue the love.
 
Code 777. Totally logic based, non-confrontational, brain melting fun. Through a series of standard questions you have to work out what the three numbers on your rack are based on what you can see on your opponent’s racks. She really likes it, I have to be in the mood for its virtually silent, thoughtful nature and it relies on all the questions being answered correctly or the whole thing falls down.
 
Of the games in the 10:100 list, she will only play Mah Jong and Mr Jack readily and perhaps Puzzle Strike or Small World if in the mood, but every game session is a pleasure in any case.
 
That said, I have an inkling she may play Twilight Struggle… nah, probably not.
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Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:25 pm
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The first steps on a long road...

Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
South London
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Game 3 ever of Twilight Struggle and my first time playing as the USA.

Luckily to avoid a quick loss I was playing against a new player and reaching him the game - this was Chris (see Regular Opponent no 1: The Co Host) who let his dictatorial tendencies take over and was happy to play as the USSR.

As a first time teacher of the game I am struck by how easy this one is to teach. Dr Evil may have said "I don't know phases" but this is a world domination game with a really well defined process, and I LOVE well defined processes.

Nevertheless, and this is likely to be me affecting him more than anything else, there was not a single realignment roll made during this (five turn) learning game. The defining moment was the turn one coup in Italy he pulled off, gaining immediate control and playing a Europe Scoring on the very next action round to take an early lead.

Pakistan was another bone of contention, with control changing hands before being wrestled about for quite a while as he protected his holdings in Asia (he was pretty dominant here tbh). An attempted invasion of India by Pakistan proved unsuccessful and I was unable to turn things around.

From my point of view I learned a couple of interesting things from this play. Italy requires urgent protection if possible because of a low stability rating, something I had never considered. Also, I have recognised the trouble Muslim Revolution causes for the US. You can't give up on the Middle East, obviously, but you're going to get munched in Iran and Iraq a couple of times at least.

I also felt that I conceded the initiative in Central America much too easily, allowing him almost free rein (except for Mexico). The Middle East and South America was where I was more successful, with Africa reaching a virtual stalemate.

The new player of course loved this game (he loves his political history so that's a no-brainer). It's so easy to pick up and hard to master I think we'll be exploring it for many more sessions.
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Thu Mar 8, 2012 10:53 pm
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Regular Opponent 1 - The Co Host

Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
South London
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NOTE: to anyone waiting for game 10 it is a little up in the air and dependent on a particular trade going through as to which one I go for, so watch this space!

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On this website, theres a lot of talk about the games, but I'll talk about my history with some of my more regular opponents, too, to break up the flow of cardboard related facts.

My number one most played gaming opponent is my ex-housemate and co-host of the movie podcast I do. His name is Chris.

Me and Chris have known each other for, woah, almost 13 years!

At university our gaming was limited to WWF No Mercy on the N64 (still my favourite wrestling game ever) and copious far too long games of Talisman at the dining table with our other male housemate, Ian.

He's been there with me through many a trial and is, by any objective measurement, a terrific human being. He's not on the Geek so I can be reasonably effusive without making him uncomfortable, something it is all too easy to do.

In terms of modern gaming, we used to have a regular meet up every tuesday to work through the campaign book for Commands & Colours: Ancients before physical distance got in the way following a move on his part. He was better than me at that game and is currently proving to be a frustratingly capable opponent - at both Mr Jack and Puzzle Strike especially. It was he who, after what I can only assume was a bump on the head leading to unwarranted generosity (I am a legendarily bad present giver and deserve poor treatment) bought me Puzzle Strike for my birthday last year.

It was an inspired move.

We see each other frequently, at least recording a podcast every week when we don't get to play games, and know each other pretty darn well. This makes games between the two of us truly experienced affairs, while retaining the aura of friendship as well.

It was Chris who walked straight into my trap in C&C: A and faced an onslaught from all my elephants, only to see me roll not a single hit, wiping me out on the next turn.

It was Chris who shared my fate in the game of Arkham Horror we played that lasted half an hour (we had a lot of bad luck) and therefore less time than it took to set up.

It was Chris who, with me, watched in horror as Diego (my smallest cat) destroyed a meticulously arranged Battles Of Westeros board and set up, who forayed into D&D just because I was interested (creating the now legendarily delusional Cecile Of Bois) and has agreed to help me reach my 1000 games target.

To all people out there who have someone like this to game with. Treasure them and look after them, in gaming as in life a good friend is worth their weight in, well, friendship! That's much more valuable than gold.
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Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:14 pm
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