On Saturday, March 7, 2015, only eight hardy gamers made their way into the Official CBBS Gaming Basement. Perhaps it was the fact that we had had Expofestoramapaloozacon just one week earlier. Or perhaps it was the fact that the CBBS has suddenly become populated by weenies and churls. I know which way I'm voting.
Anyway, Jerry, Andy, Tim, Leif, Eric Classic, Ian, Tom, and Shawn were the only ones to avoid shaming themselves, their families, and their game groups for all time.
In a desperate attempt to pretend that this Game Night was no different than any other, the CBBS went though the charade of playing Ricochet Robots. But it was clear this was a sham, as we couldn't even solve these simple puzzles fewer than high-teens moves:
Jerry, Andy, Tim, Eric Classic, Leif, Tom, and even Ian solved at least one puzzle. That may be the highest ratio ever, which is yet more evidence that we are, indeed, slouching towards Bethlehem and/or Gommorrah.
The first game was pretty close, as nobody had a big money engine and thus we all got most of our points via consumption. Jerry and Shawn each got 28 points and had three dice left over, for a bona fide tie. Tim couldn't quite get his blue die to roll correctly and he ended up with 26, while Andy scored 22.
For game two, Shawn had a bunch of red dice to begin with, which let him get expensive developments and settlements down; eventually he had two purple dice to consume with and was scoring points and making money no matter what anybody else did. So he got a bunch of consume points, a bunch of empire points, and finished with 61 for the easy win. Jerry, Tim, and Andy got 44, 31, and 26 irrelevant points, respectively.
I'm a little worried that those start tiles that give you red dice are overpowered - red dice have lots of diamonds and circles on them, so it is really easy to expand your board and ramp up your engine, as long as you are rolling enough eyeballs to restock with tiles. On the other hand, it could just be that I am really bad at this game and haven't yet figured out how to play effectively with the other non-military setups.
Meanwhile, on Table Three, Tom, Eric, Leif, and Ian broke out Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game, which was supposed to be, at worst, a superfiller to get us going, but turned out to be a two-hour slugfest. Fortunately, nobody cared.
Leif edged out Eric for the Championship, 58 to 54. Meanwhile, Tom won the second division with 36, while Ian was relegated to the Lymph League with 20.
As Table One waited for Table Three to finish killing each other to death, Andy, Tim, Shawn, and Jerry decided to play a quick, light game of Red7.
Ha ha! I make joke. Red7 is the hardest, brain-bendiest trick taking game I know of, especially with all the advanced and expert rules. It is always difficult simply to find a legal play, which has you winning at the end of your turn - much less evaluate which of your options will put you in the best position going forward. You need to keep a good supply of cards, but you also need to have a flexible board that won't get ruined if someone steals a card via a 1 and still works with the cards you have left for next turn.
Anyway, Andy scored 13 in the first round via a big 7-6 same-color combo. But Tim then scored a mighty 20 with a five-card, all-different-color run which had a lot of low cards, forcing his opponents to lose when all their orange, yellow, and red cards were gone. Tim almost hit the winning total of 30 in round three, but was forced to pivot to a low scoring "low card" victory condition, which only got him 6 points. Jerry then stole Tim's victory for 7 points in the final round by having just the right card to match Tim's final rule. But it was time for a reconfig, so Tim was declared the weiner throughout the land with his 26 points.
For the reconfig, Andy, Tim, and Leif first murdered Eric Classic and buried his body in the back yard; then they played a three-player game of Castles of Mad King Ludwig.
The King was favoring Sleep rooms, Food room area, Downstairs room area, and something else. Accordingly, Leif went heavy for sleep rooms and Andy expanded downstairs, while Tim got a bunch of Utility rooms to increase his bonus cards. But Tim could never get a really big score off of those cards, while Leif managed the trick of surrounding a big scoring Living Room with four sleep rooms, to double-score for 2x17=34 total points. And when Leif revealed his starting bonus cards at the end as big 3 pointers for Sleeping rooms and big squares for another 15 points, it was clear that he was going to win, finishing with 105 points. Tim ended up with 89, mostly because he couldn't get the others to actually pay him any money on his turn, while Andy rounded out the group with 80.
Start time: 9:45pm End time: The Year One Billion, C.E.
Meanwhile, Shawn, Ian, Tom, and Jerry migrated back to the Lounge for an uneven and sleepy game of Terra Mystica. Because we are that awesome, here is the whole damn game, so you can see for yourself how it went:
It should be obvious from the video, but Ian's Alcolytes won with 92 points. Jerry's Nomads gathered 89 points, while Shawn's River Walkers reeled in 87 and Tom' Cultists inculcated 76 points.
Because Terra Mystica takes much, much longer than Castles of Mad King Ludwig to play, and because Leif was a weenie and bugged out before midnight (although, to be fair, it was the evening in which we either went off or went on Daylight Savings Time, and thus it was actually an hour later than it was), Andy and Tim were forced to play a couple two player games. So, of course, they played Harry's Grand Slam Baseball Game.
Andy schlepped in an early run, but then Tim managed to hit a two-run homer to take the lead. After that, Andy's never-ending series of extra base hits and Tim's remarkably ineffective pitching doomed the good guiys to a 10-4 loss. Andy managed to score via a balk, a wild pitch, and an error, and also hit three triples for the game, so Tim's team is undergoing an extra hundred hours of pitching and fielding practice this week - and if anybody complains, they'll be traded to the Mets or something.
The Lounge was still Mystified, so Andy and Tim broke out Jaipur, an excellent 2-player game that doesn't get played that much mainly because we don't play 2-player games that much.
Tim was Most Excellent in the first round, as he parlayed his 10-point Five Good tile into victory. Having learned his lesson, Andy made sure to get a fiver of his own in round two, and scored most of the more valuable chips to easily claim his own Seal of Excellence.
In the rubber round, Andy realized that poaching some of those early cheap-good tiles can have a fairly significant marginal value - this is kind of the opposite of the "get a fiver" lesson, because you have to choose between getting the early, much more valuable chips, and stockpiling them to get a (necessarily) late fiver. If it is too obvious that you are doing the latter, then it becomes clear to your opponant that poaching is a smart play, if he can pick up a card of your color. When you factor in the camels, which are valuable but usually lead to a lot of new cards on the board, and the seven card hand limit, which may force you to do one thing when you'd rather do the other, it becomes that much harder to weigh all these factors together and come up with an optimal play.
So, it is clear that Andy probably cheated when he won the final Seal of Excellence and claimed the victory.
To cap off the strangest Game Night in a while, we only had four players left (Andy, Tim, Jerry, and Ian) after midnight (which was really 1am, but still). So they broke out a fittingly-strange four player game, the 1988 Spiel des Jahres winner Barbarossa.
This is basically Pictionary with clay (actually, some kind of polymer), and with different scoring and a somewhat incongruous board with gems and dragons and stuff, who's main purpose is to provide some structure to guessing what everybody else had made. The trick here is that you neither want to make your sculptures too easy, which will lose you points, or too hard, which will make you lose even more points - you want people to correctly guess your sculpts at some point in the midgame.
Jerry was the best guesser, getting Andy's Pegleg and Tim's Ear early and maybe one of Ian's Lighthouse and/or Nightstick. But he was the "worst" sculptor - or maybe he just had the misfortune of having the worst guessers. At any rate, neither his Orangutan or Bandage were correctly guessed at all during the game, which cost him 10 full points at the end. So, despite the fact that Jerry triggered the end game by getting to the final scoring space (by virtue of his correct guesses and the large number of dragon hits we were making), it was Andy, who had had three correct guesses of his sculpts and therefore lost only three points, who snuck past for the win, 23 to 22 for Jerry. Tim got an early score by guessing Andy's Brain, but then locked up on Jerry's Bandage (it looked more like a Band-Aid, which, as a proper noun, wasn't a valid clue, but once you get something in your head it's hard to think of something else, especially something close like that) and finished with 11, while Ian couldn't get Jerry's Orangutan and also ended up with 11.
Start time: 1:30am End time: After we sprung forward, so 5, 6am, maybe? (two games)
Andy, Jerry, Tim, and Ian had one more game in them - so they played two games of Qwixx.
In Game One, Tim got nine marks on red and then blitzed a close-out on blue to finish with 66 while everybody else was still looking for 6s and 7s. Andy ended up with 54, Ian scored 47, and Jerry got to 31.
Game Two lasted a little longer, allowing Jerry to fill two long sequences for 74 points and the victory. Andy ended up with 67, Tim scored 59, and Ian rounded out the crew with 50.