The Fault Is Not In Our Game Night, But In Ourselves
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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CBBS Guild Page
Previous Session Reports

On July 15, 2017, after an interminable seven-week delay caused by massive infrastructure failures, the CBBS Game Night roared back with a vengeance. Eleven whole gamers met in the dilapidated Official CBBS Gaming Basement, sans some carpet and paneling on the wall under the failed window that let snow melt and irrigation water seep in over the previous months. But we are back, because gaming is a thing we do, and do it we did. Eric Classic, Tim, Jerry, Evee, Ian, Eric 5, Nyck, Art, Shawn, Tallya, and Andy formed the hardy hendectet in attendence.


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1. Board Game: Ricochet Robots [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:569] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 6:30pm
End time: 6:53pm


Tim took advantage of the break in Game Nights to memorize all possible solutions to all possible configurations of Ricochet Robots, so he could just pip everybody with the best solution right as the sand ran out.

Not really.




Eric Classic, Tim, Jerry, Evee, Ian, Eric 5, Nyck, and Art all earned at least one chip on this day. Andy* came in too late to play, but he still got an asterisk, just because.
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2. Board Game: SET [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1218]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 6:54
End time: 7:01pm


Because of our awesomeness at Ricochet Robots, which apparently did not fade during the hiatus, we had seven whole minutes in which to play through a deck of SETs. BUT, it took us a minute to find the deck in the first place, so we ran over the allotted time by one whole minute, thereby ruining Game Night and bringing shame upon the CBBS for generations to come.


One does not score SET at a CBBS Game Night, because the action is lightning fast and furiously violent. One merely hopes to survive the experience.
 
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3. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:11]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:00pm
End time: 9:31pm


And then the first config was upon us. Andy, Shawn, and Eric 5 were keen to play The Castles of Burgundy for some reason, so they hid back in the lounge to do so.


Eric 5, on Board 4, snuck past Andy (Board 10d) for a 214 to 213 point victory. Shawn (Board 9) was in range with 201 points.
 
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4. Board Game: Garden Dice [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1721]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:06pm
End time: 8:45pm


Meanwhile, Tallya, Nyck, and Art decided to play Garden Dice on Table Two.


Art prevailed with 186 points, followed by Tallya with 138 and Nyck with 122.
 
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5. Board Game: Millennium Blades [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:273]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:20pm
End time: 9:50pm


That left five people to play Millennium Blades on Table One: Ian, Tim, Eric Classic, Evee, and Jerry.


Unfortunately, playing Millennium Blades with five is a grevious error, unless all five are experienced players. Maybe. The problem is that there are literally trillions of cards strewn about everywhere, with lots of tiny little text and icons to read...and there's even a real-time element during the market spree phase. There is basically no way to evaluate all the cards, and its impossible to tell what the people across the table are doing at any point in the game, even if they flat out tell you, and halfway through your eyes water, your head pounds, and you start tasting metal.


But, at least there's a lot to do, and you end up grabbing cards that match your set and then cards that might help with your general strategy: buy cheap cards to turn them in for the big specials, or buy every deck box you can because the one you have is lame, or buy scoring cards because you don't have many of those, and then try and figure out how to maximize their score. The selling mechanism is weird and overly complicated for non-experts, and trying to optimize the six cards you are going to choose and play is very difficult, particularly because lots of times somebody can mess with you, without you really knowing that was possible ahead of time unless the key card they used was one of the 2% in the game you managed to read and understand.

It sounds like I didn't like the game, but I really think the issue is mainly playing with so many. As a two or maybe three player game, most of these issues would go away - you could tell what the other player(s) w(ere|as) doing, and the cards on the table would be closer and easier to peruse. The paragraphs of tiny text on each card would still be there, though.

Anyway, Eric Classic had a start deck that scored him a pantload of points - we might have been able to stop it, since his big scoring card flipped whenever it lost a challenge, but since none of us knew that we never did anything about it. Accordingly, he won or scored well in all the tournaments and finished with 84 points. Jerry did something inscrutable all game - he was always playing extra cards and scoring points in mysterious ways, who knows, ending up with 75. Evee did something else to finish with 73. Tim's start deck apparently was sposed to attack lots, with lots of "other people flip" abilities and no scoring abilities (which, incidentally, seems geared towards a 2 player rather than multiplayer game); he spent most of the game trying to put together some kind of scoring combos with mixed success, and finished with 68. Ian got hosed at least once by Tim's flipping, and wound up with 62.
 
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6. Board Game: Ion: A Compound Building Game [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:5012]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
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Start time: 8:45pm
End time: 9:29pm


Having won the race to the first reconfig, Art, Nyck, and Tallya had to find a filler game, so they played Ion: A Compound Building Game.


Art scored 30+31+26-5=72 points, while Nyck finished with 24+26+27-5=62 and Tallya scored 22+18+26-4=60.
 
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7. Board Game: Santorini [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:74]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 9:32pm
End time: 9:43pm


Table Two still had some thumb-twiddlin time, so Art, Nyck, and Tallya played some Santorini.


Wait! Does this game really take eleven minutes to play? Because there are Too Many Games, your humble narrator admits to knowing nothing about this one. But suddenly he is a lot more interested.

Anyway, Nyck won! Art and Tallya did not win.
 
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8. Board Game: Last Will [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:323] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 10:05pm
End time: 11:37pm


Andy demanded that we play Last Will for the reconfig, so Shawn, Tim, and Art joined him on Table One to do that thing.


Tim woke up with a Steward and a yellow Mansion in his hand and another on the board, so he decided to try the typical Mansion strategy: get a house or two down, let them dilapidate for a turn or two while you set up the appropriate companions, then let the engine run, supplemented by helpers and events, to get you to the end game. Key cards to look for are a Stewart, the Wild Party, and the Gardener - and the tricky part is figuring out how to dismantle your engine and sell your properties at the end.

Tim went last on the first turn, which meant the Old Friend and other good cards were snapped up, so he used his first Errand Boy to work the market - something that made everybody else sad, because only Tim had any yellow properties, while Art and Shawn were going into Farms and Andy had a red Mansion, both of which Tim hit hard at the market. In the first few turns, Tim got his Stewart and two yellow Mansions down, threw a wild party to reduce his capital investment, finally found a chef to max out his costs, tracked down an appropriate Gardener, and even played a Carriage to siphon some money through the midgame.

Unfortunately for Tim, Andy got his red Mansion down, was dealt his Gardener, picked up both a better Stewart (with a turn-by-turn cost) and an Old Friend, maxed out his companion slots early, and played a couple helpers to work with his events and the Theatre spot. So, basically, Andy was running the exact same strategy as Tim, only better in every way, with the exception of the first turn market costs.

Meanwhile, Shawn got down a couple farms and some farm-related helpers, but was balked somewhat on the first turn by Art, who picked up a key farm helper in preparation for the tricky farm AND mansion strategery. Farms can really burn through the money if you get the right companions and helpers, but they are very hard to deal with in the end game because they don't ever lose their value.

By the end Andy was clearly in the lead - Tim had kept in range with his spending, but Tim had two properties to sell while Andy only had one, and Andy's Old Friend meant his final events were going to be that much more effective. As Andy went first on round 6, he was able to secure the market and cancel out Tim's first turn market bonus. The turn order throughout the game was not really in Tim's favor - on Turn 4, the only turn he went first, there were no cards worth pushing for, so he ended up playing in the middle like most of the rest of the turns. Of course, Andy gave up a lot of action equity to go first in Turn 6, but the swing was huge: swapping +3 vs. -3 on prices for both Andy and Tim was at least a £12 marginal difference - and, since Tim had two properties to sell, it would have been an £18 swing if Tim decided to sell them both. On the other hand, Tim pretty much got the most out of last place on Turn One, and did get some extra actions on Andy on the last couple turns - each action (and errand boy) is generally worth somewhere between £3 and £4 on average.

At any rate, Andy was not quite able to go out on Round 6, ending with a single pound. Since Tim was going to go early in Round 7 he only sold one of his mansions and was sitting at £0 in hand for that final round. But he had to go early in the round to readjust the market, while Andy could just maximize his actions to run his events; in the end Andy managed to get all the way to -£22, while Tim could only get down to -£5. Shawn and Art were caught in market and action hell at the end and finished with +£12 and +£22, respectively.

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9. Board Game: Ethnos [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:244]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 10:15pm
End time: I come to bury Ethnos, not to praise it


Meanwhile, back in the Lounge, Ian, Nyck, Evee, Eric Classic, and Eric 5 played something called Ethnos - which is a pretty lame name for a fake non-game. Next time, try something like Rage: The Assault or The Lost Planet of Gozar or something like that.


Anyway, Ian scored 63 fake non-points, while Eric 5 earned 59, Evee and Eric Classic scored 55, and Nyck wound up with 45.
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10. Board Game: A Fake Artist Goes to New York [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:864]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 11:50pm
End time: 12:24am


After murdering the others, we had seven gamers left (Art, Nyck, Eric 5, Tallya, Tim, Shawn, and Ian), which Tim deemed was an ideal number for which to try A Fake Artist Goes to New York again.

(Dedicated readers will wonder when we tried A Fake Artist Goes to New York before - that would be at Andy's annual Independence Day (Sort Of) Bash, a Session Report for which has sadly not yet been submitted.)


The idea of A Fake Artist Goes to New York is simple: everybody takes turns collectively drawing some particular thing...except one person doesn't know what you are drawing. After two times around the table, where you make one mark on the picture, everybody chooses who the Fake Artist is, One Night Ultimate Werewolf-style. If you fail to find the right Fake Artist, he or she wins - but even if you do, they can still win if they can say what it was you were drawing.

Everybody knows the category of thing you are drawing, so the Fake Artist will know it's an animal, but not that it's a lion.


This game is a little more subtle than it first appears - if you are not the Fake Artist, you want to draw just enough to communicate to the other Real Artists that you know what you are drawing. But you also don't want to give too much away, either - so, in that sense, being a bad artist is probably an asset.

In one round, we (collectively) drew the worst Rat ever - but animals are relatively easy to hide with if you are the Fake Artist, as you can usually add a foot or eye or something. But we correctly sussed out Tallya as our Fake, and she could only guess we were drawing a Platypus (which, to be fair, fit our picture much better than a Rat did.)

For Food/Bacon, Fake Artist Nyck figured it out after two players went, because we basically kept drawing parallel wavy lines. Shawn tried to add a frying pan, but that would have been best at the start, since bacon generally looks like bacon in isolation, and there is nothing you can do about it.

For Celebrity/R2D2, Tim as the Fake had no idea what kind of mechanical construct from hell the others were drawing - he could see the protuberances on a half dome when the picture got to him, so he was thinking along the lines of Frankenstein, and drew a very non-R2D2-like curve. But when it came around again, Tim could see what it was, so he correctly named it after being outed as the Fake.

So you need to keep away from drawing obvious images, and as you only have two rounds to find the Fake, you may have to guess quickly who it is before you draw too much - and once you've found him, you need to stop making useful additions...and maybe even add bad stuff to the photo to obscure what it is. But if the others haven't figured it out by then, they may think you are the Fake. And so on.

Unfortunately, A Fake Artist Goes to New York doesn't come with a vetted list of good objects or even categories - I think something like "Movie Character" instead of "Celebrity" would have been a fairer category for "R2D2". And, of course, one person has to set up the game, choosing the object and category and distributing the roles, so only N-1 people really get to play. There's a scoring mechanism where the GM wins with the Fake Artist, so he will try to set up easy clues, but I can't imagine anyone actually playing that way. Somebody has posted list of categories and objects to the geek, and somebody else has developed a web app that can take the place of the GM - but without such tools included in the game, there's really nothing the actual game provides over a set of colored pens and some paper.
 
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11. Board Game: Fuji Flush [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1840]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 12:30am
End time: And Brutus is an honorable man (three games)


We still had seven, and it was after midnight, so we played Shadow Hunters. No, wait! We must have played 6 nimmt! Or maybe Liar's Dice?

It was none of those things. Instead, we played Fuji Flush, proving that the CBBS is capable of some evolution over long, boring periods of time.


There's not a lot you can say about Fuji Flush, since the game plays so fast. If you haven't played with us before, it might be intimidating, as we will yell at you when you do something we don't like - but it probably doesn't mean you made a mistake, just that you had a card that we, ourselves, wish that we had.

Anyway, in Game One Nyck went out in the classic way, by hoarding the 20 until it was the last card in his hand, and having it stand up. That's not always possible - someone might double an 11 or 12, or you may need to play it early to keep someone else from going out, but them's the breaks.

In Game Two, Ian was able to double up a 12 with his final card, which technically gave him the victory but just ain't right grumble grumble.

By the time Tallya won Game Three Tim was ungruntled enough to not properly record the manner in which she won - probably with a final 17 or something like that. Tim remembers now that he had to dump his 19 earlier in that round to keep Shawn from going out - again, them's the breaks.
 
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12. Board Game: Team Play [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:2695]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 1:00am
End time: 1:45am


After dumping Shawn's lifeless corpse out back by the garbage cans, we had exactly six gamers left. After the prospect of playing Dog Royal was met with tepid enthusiasm, Tim remembered that Team Play plays six, in three teams of two. So we played that instead, with the teams of Tim/Eric 5 vs. Ian/Art vs. Nyck/Tallya.


Team Play doesn't sound like much: draw two cards, pass 0-2 to your partner, try to make your goal card or the central common goal. Make enough goals worth enough points, and you win. The End.

But it's a little more subtle than that - you know what everybody's individual goals are, so if you can't help yourself maybe you can help your partner, or balk your opponents. There's also a minor memory element, similar to classic card games, where you need to keep track of what your partner and opponents have drawn so you know where they are in getting their goals. There's even secondary strategies, where you draw cards to pass to your partner on spec, if you think he's going to get his goal this turn, or passing back and forth key cards you both might need (or might fit the common goal) while still leaving the flexibility to pass a better card if you find it.

Of course, it is also a card game, so you gotta get at least a little lucky.

Tim and Eric 5 managed to keep their goals both manageable and mostly orthogonal to each other, and eventually went out for 34 points. Nyck and Tallya finished with 25 while Ian and Art wound up with 16.
 
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13. Board Game: Miscellaneous Game Accessory [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:3754] [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:71]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Basic gaming fare this time around, although the beef jerky was a little too gooey to be game friendly, and those chocolate cookies were massive and life threatening. Somebody brought some Dutch wafer cookies with strange flavors, and some of those Japanese (I think) cookie sticks dipped in chocolate.


For all I know, these all taste exactly the same. But lookit the purty colors.
 
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