[Meriden, CT] 2007-11-03 Weekend Games
Adam Skinner
United States
Seven Hills
Ohio
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What a cold and rainy weekend! On Friday night I'd planned to get together with the boys from the Fairfield Country Meetup (wherein they played Race for the Galaxy and Neuroshima Hex!, amongst others), but those plans were cast aside when I got a call from Rich Casiglio, the owner of a FLGS: It's in!

That's right - StarCraft: The Board Game had arrived. I'd preordered it from him, and gotten a 25% discount! Now, I'm a practical kind of guy - I buy most of my games online because it's cheaper and the selection is better (but mainly because it's cheaper!). However, Starcraft is a notable exception because you can't find it many places at more than 25% off! So, since I knew I was going to get this game, I preordered from Alternate Universe.

But he closes at 7 on Exit 34 on I-95. And I am supposed to game at 6:30 at exit 17 on I-95.

I'd also called my friend John to see if he wanted to get together on Saturday to play some games *coughstarcoughcraft*. He proposed that we get together that night. I haven't played many games with John lately, and so I chose to game with him and his wife Melissa instead of the Fairfield meetup.

I actually left work early to pick up the games, as I'd been invited to go to the newly opened PF Changs in Stamford for lunch and was well fed and a little tired from the girly mixed drink I'd tried. Fortunately, this allowed me to pick up the game (Thanks Rich!), head home, punch it (color by color!), bag it (preliminarily by colors), and start reading the rules.

I got together with John at about 7:30 or so that evening. His friend Paul was there, but Melissa was out, and probably not up to learning Starcraft tonight anyway. So we started in...
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1. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:339]
Adam Skinner
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Seven Hills
Ohio
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While I'd read the rules, I didn't have a complete grasp on combat. Paul had a lot of questions at the beginning of the game, talking how about he didn't understand everything about the game. We assured him that that's the way it is learning a game of this type, and you just roll with it the first few turns and then you get it.

And that's the way it was! For some reason it took us FOREVER to set up and answer all the basic questions in the game, as none of us had played it before and there was a lot of rules referencing.

I'd made 3 factions available to them - one from each race: red, green, and yellow. Red had a special victory of "fully control two planets", green had a special victory of "have a base on 3 planets", and yellow had some other special victory that didn't matter, because he got eliminated before the third event cycle.

I was green, the "Overmind". I built my first building up the the third tier and brought out the big nasties. John had spread himself thin, and he was getting into it with Paul (Protoss), and leveraging flying units against Paul's ground fare. I didn't fight that much, but expanded on to one of the larger planets near John that he wasn't interested in getting into because it was just too big to completely hold. He went after his main planet (with 2 control points) and the first planet laid down, a twofer with a control point and a 3 mineral that he was fighting Paul for.

Paul got knocked out of the game in that contest, bringing all of his forces on to the two area planet.

My central planet was fairly safe, being that I had only two planets adjacent to it and I'd mostly captured them both. Once I started churning out my big nasties, I went after John and took his main planet.

This was right before the third tier events started to take effect. I'd mislaid one of my orders at the very end, creating a build with no mobilize to one of John's secured planets, and a mobilize on a planet I could not use it on. I had broken one of his planet holds with one set of big nasties, but my second set was just chilling.

Bottom line: if I'd have placed that one last order differently, my victory conditions would have been fulfilled instead of John's, but instead his were fulfilled.

I really enjoyed Startcraft. Both John and I are enthusiastic to play it again. I think it'll require a couple more plays before I'm really comfortable and understand what's going on (especially with those "ASSIST" units?).
 
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Adam Skinner
United States
Seven Hills
Ohio
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It was really late when Starcraft ended, and I went home and gratefully fell asleep. In the morning I reviewed the rules and tried to assimilate the gameplay a little bit, to understand more about the "splash damage" that we didn't play with and the assist units.

Saturdays are usually a "day of rest" for me, mostly, but I gave John a call in the afternoon and got together with him and Melissa for some more games on Saturday.
 
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3. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
Adam Skinner
United States
Seven Hills
Ohio
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We started off with the classic Survive!, which I had played earlier in the week with Ronit, Greg, and Matt. I'd discovered that we were playing incorrectly before, and that you have to hold the text hexes and can execute them later, either at the start of your turn or as interrupts for sharks or whales.

I was able to get all but one of my meeples to shore, and I had one eaten as well. I think I ended with 22, John and Melissa around 17/18. Late in the game I was able to overturn a boat that they each had guys on pretty far from home. The first mountain tile that John flipped was the Volcano!
 
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4. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:228]
Adam Skinner
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Seven Hills
Ohio
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We played some San Juan as well. Melissa was going with a production synergy strategy, and was the first to 12 buildings. John was also strong on production, but I had gotten and laid an early city hall, and so I was keeping it all violet. I was able to keep up with them in the production phases through a Market Hall (+1 card for a single good sold, 4/2).

Melissa was pleased to see that she wasn't lagging behind us in building this game, and eventually made it out ahead. I'm just glad she didn't get the guild hall, because that would have put some hurt on us. She really did have a good setup: library, prefecture, city hall, production buildings, gold mine, carpenter, smithy, and perhaps eventually a quarry as well.

I'd started off with a quarry, and built monuments as well early on. Trading post was my only other good building; I built a number of 2 buildings simply because I knew I could leverage the city hall and I needed to build *something*. I also had a Chapel, and stuck 4 cards under it during the game.

John also had a chapel, with 6 cards in it by game end, but he didn't have any big buildings. He did build a crane, but never used it.

I believe I won by a few points on this one.
 
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5. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:171]
Adam Skinner
United States
Seven Hills
Ohio
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We next played Samurai with Unique. This was her first time playing (she's only like 7 years old), but she understood how to play before too long. I diversified heavily, but got 5 buddas (securing a majority). Unique and Melissa and I all had 4 rice, so nobody got a majority in that. John had like 7 or 8 high hats, and he got the majority there, but he only had 2 other pieces (a budda and a rice paddy).

I won with 8, against John's 2.

John suffered a bit from AP. I contested quite a bit with Unique.
 
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6. Board Game: Clans [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1136]
Adam Skinner
United States
Seven Hills
Ohio
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Ah, Clans. A game I've never been very good at, but I enjoy all the same. I thought John was green about mid-way through, and I didn't know what color Melissa was. John though I was blue or yellow, but I was black (I nuked one of my guys in strife early on).

Red had an early lead, and it ends up that that's what John was! Melissa was green, and ended up somehow at the end of the pack (she admitted she didn't quite "get it" at first), while I was in front ... until village markers were taken into account! John had like 6 or 8, whereas I only had 4, and this shot him ahead of me for the win!
 
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7. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:328]
Adam Skinner
United States
Seven Hills
Ohio
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We played some Ingenious, and I was *hoping* to come out ahead, since I'd read a strategy article recently. I'm pretty bad at this game =) John won, with 10 points (tied with me) and scoring a 17 as his next smallest (my next smallest was another 10). Melissa got locked out of one of the colorsat 7 or 8, I think.
 
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8. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:261]
Adam Skinner
United States
Seven Hills
Ohio
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We ended the night with a game of For Sale. It's a different game with 3p, but still very enjoyable! I ended up getting lucky on my blind bids and did fairly well for myself. 88pts, where both John and Melissa were had like 76 and 74 respectively.
 
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