Alfred, Come Down Here.

A blog to chronicle the gaming exploits of a small group of Portland board gamers who are a little too obsessed with Christian Bale's Batman voice.
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Session Report #7: December 9, 2012

Lee Benson
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Session Report #7: December 9, 2012
aka "Alfred, come down here and protect these chickens from this lunatic."

Holy heckfire, has it been a week already? It seems like a just cobbled together the last blog post and already I'm back at it. Well read on, dear readers, and enjoy the ridiculousness within.


The Players
Amanda
Collin
Lee
Mike

The Rundown
This week, Collin hosted. His house was quiet as his parents were out of town for a few days. I arrived just after 12pm and with no sign of Mike and Amanda yet, we thought we'd get in a couple of games. Collin suggested Pentago and I leapt (not literally) at the idea.

Pentago is a simple abstract strategy game where you place a marble and rotate one of four sections in an attempt to get five of your marbles in a row. It's an interesting spatial relationship game where you have to imagine how the board might look on any given turn. We played to best of three; Collin won the first game and I won the second and third.

Still no Mike and Amanda, so we used his Looney Pyramids to set up a game of Martian Chess. The goal of Martian Chess is to capture pieces, but in this game, your pieces are not determined by their color, but by their current location. In this way, every time you capture a piece, you're giving your opponent that piece. At first, I wasn't quite getting it and sacrificed a couple pieces, but I soon got a handle on it and was able to trigger the end of the game while I was ahead.

Mike and Amanda showed up while we were finishing up Martian Chess, informing us that they had stayed up a little too late and slept right through their alarm. Being so well rested, Mike was prepared to teach Chicago Express to all of us. He did quite well and soon enough we were laying track and buying up stock. Some were buying up stock more than others. Collin focused on green and yellow stock, outbidding Amanda multiple times on stock she was putting up for auction. Mike attempted to have a diverse portfolio, eventually having one share of stock in each company, but felt himself spread a little too thin. I was able to eke out a win by reaching Chicago with multiple railroad companies and developing cities where I had trains in multiple colors.

In the mood now for something light, we decided on Coloretto, having not played it for a few weeks. I gave a quick refresher (and clarified one important yet neglected rule from last time) and we were off. In the first game, we played the beige side. Amanda did quite well, scoring only one negative point compared to scads of positives. In the second, we used the grey side, which scores quite differently (pictured at left). With this scoring, you're trying to avoid getting more than three of the same color. This round saw us grabbing a lot of rows with only one card. I was able to grab enough +2s (free points) to squeeze out a victory with 25 points (compared to Amanda's 24 and Mike's 23)!

We took a break to grab dinner at this point and, over sandwiches, we played Love Letter, a simple game of deduction and sneakyhandedness (that's a word, for sure). In this game, the goal is to have the highest number card by the end of the round or eliminate the other players by other means. The highest number card is the Princess, so if you can hold on to her, you're golden, but if you can't, you're toast. The best part of the game came when Mike got caught with the princess and eliminated from the round three times.

I believe it was at this point that Miked showed us the Auralnauts video of Bane "outtakes," which includes Bain from The Dark Knight returns rapping to a crowd of sports fans. After that, we popped together Loopin' Louie and laughed our heads off trying to protect our chickens. We decided to play first-to-four-wins. Amanda and Collin both amassed three wins each, and before Mike and I could catch up or rig the game, Collin grabbed a fourth.

We decided on Small World next, with Mike's Be Not Afraid expansion. According to the Small World veterans, the new races and powers were a nice addition. Mike had what seemed to be an impressive army for much of the game. Collin put some Flying Skeletons to good use. Amanda used the appropriate Seafaring Tritons to control not only coastal areas, but the oceans as well. I went with the Barbarians in hope of leaving a path of destruction. My saving grace turned out to be the Trolls, who while in decline, were neglected due to their protected position and netted me five or more points every round. I barely beat out Amanda with a score of 84 to 79.

Next up was Excape, supposedly Knizia's answer to Can't Stop. Unable to obtain a copy, Collin had a home-made version. The goal of the game is to use your dice to essentially bid on the number of spaces you want to move. If someone rolls higher than you, they can use it to bump you off the track (but get to move fewer spaces) or to move further than you. Everyone had fun, except for maybe Mike, who kept getting bumped off the track. The greatest moment came when I rolled double Xs, which is the best possible roll. On a course to win the game, the only roll that would beat it was another roll of double Xs. I thought I was in the clear when Amanda warmed up the dice and rolled a couple of Xs to knock me off and steal the win.

The last game of the day was sure to be a brainburner. Mike and I had been itching to get Power Grid back to the table. He'd recently picked up the China/Korea maps so we plopped it down and decided on the Korea map. This map features a distinct difference from the classic maps. There are two markets for buying resources: one for North Korea and one for South Korea. Gameplay seemed fairly unaffected but the extra challenge was a welcome addition. Collin and Mike got good starting positions with cheap connections, but eventually found themselves penned in. Amanda and I were on the other section of the board with higher costs. Everyone employed different strategies: Collin went the green energy route to avoid the high resource costs; Mike focused on nuclear energy and eschewed building in one round in hopes of surging later; Amanda planned her moves down to the last dollar, working backwards so she knew how much she could spend on power plants; I focused on garbage and hybrid plants for more adaptability as resource costs went up. I built the seventh city to start Step 2, which saw lots of expansion from everyone who had been hemmed in before. In a fierce bidding war, I was able to obtain a hybrid plant, and transferred my resources to it. With this plant, I was able to build and power 18 cities for the game. Amanda was very close behind, powering 17 cities.

And that's all he wrote, folks! Thanks again for reading. Come back next week and check out our highlights, statistics and game ratings below!

The Highlights
Mike's triple elimination from Love Letter.
Amanda's double X roll in Excape.
"I'm Bane, that's my name…"

The Statistics
# of games played
22 plays of 9 games

Median year of games played
2004

Average playing time
41 minutes

Total Time Spent Playing (according to game lengths on BGG)
8 hours 30 minutes

Total Time Actually Spent Playing
About 11 hours

The Ratings
- Equivalent to a BGG rating of 9–10. Loved it and would play it every session.
- Really enjoyed, but wouldn't want to play every week.
- Could take it or leave it.
- Did not enjoy it, but could be talked into playing it again.
- Equivalent to a BGG rating of 1–2. Hated it and would not want to play it again.

Loopin' Louie – Most popular game of the night
Amanda
Collin
Lee
Mike
Average (4.75)

Power Grid
Amanda
Collin
Lee
Mike
Average (4.5)

Coloretto
Amanda
Collin
Lee
Mike
Average (4.0)

Small World
Amanda
Collin
Lee
Mike
Average (3.75)

Martian Chess
Collin
Lee
Average (3.5)

Pentago
Collin
Lee
Average (3.5)

Chicago Express
Amanda
Collin
Lee
Mike
Average (3.5)

Excape
Amanda
Collin
Lee
Mike
Average (3.25)

Love Letter
Amanda
Collin
Lee
Mike
Average (3.0)

The Achievements
No achievements unlocked this week.
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