Happy Fun Game Night from CBBS: Still legal in 16 states!
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Previous CBBS session reports

Somehow, 13 members of the CBBS were coerced into attending yet another Game Night on 12/6/08; congressional hearings are sure to be forthcoming. In the meantime, please congratulate players Tim, Andy, Scott, Counterclockwise Scott, Lyra, Nyck, Eric, newcomer Brian, Earlene, Sandy, Sue, Jane, and John for their perseverance and dedication - and curse all who failed to come play games with us.


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1. Board Game: SET [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1219]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 6:30
End time: 6:45


As the hordes of exhausted and inconsolable gamers slogged in, we had a round of SET going to force everyone to properly configure their brains for a night of gaming. More than once we were ready to declare that no set existed, only to find multiple ones thereafter. Nyck was ultimately declared victor, as he came in at the midpoint and saw his first set in approximately three seconds, after the rest of us had spent minutes staring fruitlessly at the tableau. With this exercise in futility finally over, and the prospect for a positive Game Night experience in ruins, we grudgingly went through the motions of setting up and playing some more games, if only because any other course of action promised an even bleaker outcome.
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2. Board Game: Formula D [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:430]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start Time: 7:00 pm
End Time: 8:23 pm


Andy was desperate to play this new acquisition, and somehow extorted five poor souls into joining him at Table One. Despite a bitter and protracted battle, only the finishing order was preserved for posterity: Counterclockwise Scott reigned supreme, followed by Scott, Nyck, Andy, Eric, and Lyra.



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3. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:00pm
End time: 8:30pm


With a couple newish players in an attendance and a lack of imagination the order of the day, Tim figured this traditional gateway game was a good choice for an opener on Table Two. Brian managed to complete a big cathedral, and Tim had a good spread of features working for him all game, but in the end it was Sandy's four farmers that won 10 cities and 40 points that put her over the top with 108 points, vs. 104 to Tim, 103 for Brian, and 68 for Earlene.


The complicated (first edition) farmer rules continue to be an issue when splaining the game to first time players, and the extra tiles from all the expansions (but not the extra rules, except for Inns and Cathedrals) make the game overstay its welcome slightly. Thus, I think this version is probably less suited as a gateway these days than, say, Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers. Still, I play the latter all the time, and it is nice to visit an old favorite every once in a while - as long as everybody can play quickly and the downtime is kept to a minimum.

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4. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:15pm
End time: 7:40pm


John, Sue, and Jane showed up a little late to get in either of the games on Tables One and Two, and thus moved to Table Three to play the fastest game ever of Ticket to Ride. John completed the longest train and acquired 124 points, but Jane's 150 won the day, with Sue in third place at 89 points.

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5. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:444]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:40pm
End time: 9:10pm


With the other games still at their midpoints, Jane prevailed upon the other Mesa Tres games to indulge her camel fetish by playing Yspahan. After a few minutes puzzling out the rules, the game went swimmingly, with Jane eventually winning with 101 poins, followed by Sue at 92 and John at 78.
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6. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:606] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 8:30pm
End time: 9:30pm


For the first partial reconfig, we compelled Andy to move back to his traditional perch on Table Deux to run a five player game of Zooloretto. Eric dominated with 29 points, while Lyra came in a respectable second with 21, Sandy earned an honorable 17, Andy shamed his family for seven generations with a mere 15, and first-time player Earlene acquired a reasonable 14 points.

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7. Board Game: Atlantic Star [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1155]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 8:45pm
End time: 9:30pm


Scott had wanted to play this game for some time, and Tim was powerless to resist due to his complete lack of individual will. Fortunately, while it had been several years, back in the day this had been a semi-favorite for a while, and thus Tim was able to reconstruct how to play with minimal preparation or mishap.

Tim won three out of four categories for a 58 point win, while Scott nearly pulled off the upset with 41 points. Nyck followed with 32 and Counterclockwise Scott ended up with 24.


I had forgotten how quickly this game can play; even with three new players and with a full rules splanation, it only took 45 minutes. Most turns involve just grabbing a card, so it moves along pretty quickly; even with the full six players there shouldn't be too much downtime. Thus, it seems likely that this game will be up for repeated plays in the near future.
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8. Board Game: Balancing Aliens [Average Rating:5.25 Overall Rank:13369]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 9:45pm
End time: 10:00pm


Due to the lightning-fast playing of Atlantic Star, Table One had a few minutes to kill before the next reconfig could occur. Thus, we brought out this rather silly balancing game to screw around with as we waited.

The Aliens Dance side was largely unsuccessful, as everybody was too greedy and tried to pack too many aliens on during each turn. The Balancing Aliens side went more smoothly, until we discovered that the padded surface of Table One kept the platter from swaying too much, even with the most egregious of moves. Only afterwards did we try putting one of Tim's Bongo! coasters underneath the balancing leg, which caused a lot more swaying, but without the whole assembly completely toppling. So we must try this again soon, on a similar hard surface, which is clearly how the game was meant to be played.
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9. Board Game: Mesopotamia [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1749]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 10ish
End time: 11:45


With the reconfig finally upon us, Andy was allowed to reoccupy Table One to display another one of his new acquisitions, Mesopotamia. He was joined by Jane, Scott, and eventually winner Sue, who notes that this was the first game she had won in 20 years.

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10. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 10:00pm
End time: 11:00pm


Meanwhile, Eric taught Table Two how to play the newest gaming sensation, Dominion. Eric eventually acquired a dominating 48 points, followed by Sandy with 30, John with 15, and Earlene with 7.

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11. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 10:05pm
End time: 10:50pm


Finally, over on Table Three Tim ran a very alacritous game of Race for the Galaxy for three other non-neophyte players. Nyck built a brown trading engine centered on the Mining Conglomerate, while Counterclockwise Scott ran an effective military strategy, and Lyra concentrated on blue production planets. But ultimately Tim's Alien landscape provided him the cards and consumption capacity to win with 49 points, followed by 37 for Counterclockwise Scott, 36 for Nyck, and 21 for Lyra.

This game really hums along with veteran players, and packs so much punch into its timeframe that it has become my mission to force all CBBS players to become Race for the Galaxy experts so that we will always be able to use it for a quick but meaty pseudo-filler when necessary.
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12. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:621]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 11:00pm
End time: 11:20pm


With Mesopotamia (and, to some extent, Dominion) still in play, the Tableau Trois cohort embarked upon a mini-tour of classic fillers, starting with Can't Stop. This was the wildest game of this I've ever seen, with two columns captured on the very first round; eventually, all four players had captured two columns each, leaving only numbers 3, 5, and 8 available. This lead to more than one first roll crapout, and some agonizing decisions about whether to stop at two or three spaces from the top or to try and push for the win. Eventually, Tim managed to capture the elusive column 8 to complete the winning 6,7,8 troika; Lyra had won both 2 and 12, Nyck had ten and eleven, and Counterclockwise Scott had to make due with columns 4 and 9.
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13. Board Game: Bongo! [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:4295]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 11:20pm
End time: 11:30pm


As Dominion wrapped up and a couple early birders left for the night, it was discovered that Eric had never played the pinnacle of gaming awesomeness that is Bongo!. It is required for all CBBS Game Night attendees to understand Bongo!, if only to discover what all the Bongos are doing on the evites, and thus we set about splaining the game to those in arrears. Obviously, splaining the game is half the fun, and usually elicits increasingly desperate looks of disbelief, but it is a rite of passage that all members in good standing must not only endure, but also, in a manner similar to the Stockholm Syndrome, grow to love.

Tim won easily, but Eric managed to successfully solve at least one puzzle, and the game was proclaimed a success throughout the land.
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14. Board Game: Circus Flohcati [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1361]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 11:45pm
End time: 11:55pm


Finally, with a mere 10 minutes left before a few players turned into pumpkins (and before Mesopotamia would be completed and put away), the classic filler of Circus Flohcati was inflicted upon the poor souls available. Lyra acquired many 7's along with her gala, and won handily with 52 points. Tim, Eric, Nyck, and Counterclockwise Scott could only look on in dismay.
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15. Board Game: Formula D [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:430]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 12:00 midnight
End time: 1:20am


With six crazed late night gamers demanding more games, Andy brought out Formula D again, this time to run on the wild street racing side. After Tim stalled from the pole position, Scott raced out to an early lead. But Andy came from last place to steam through the long straightaway and eventually cross the police line in second place at 160 mph, winning a couple extra wear points for his trouble. Meanwhile, the two stop hairpin after the shooting gallery proved disasterous for Tim, who failed to notice Nyck blocking the outside lane, and was unable to find safe path through when he rolled a 19 in fifth gear. As Tim crunched his gears and lost momentum, Counterclockwise Scott, Lyra, and Nyck lost the line through the curve after the tunnel, with Lyra spinning out and CCW Scott eventually crashing. Meanwhile, Tim could not slide into the third to last turn in fourth gear and had to drop to second to pick his way through; this forced him to take some crazy risks in the following curves, and he eventually crashed on a roll of 20 in fifth gear approaching the final hairpin. At the front of the race, Scott took a lot of wear in the final hairpin while Andy hit his marks perfectly, and it all came down to the penultimate roll in sixth gear down the final straightaway. Andy was able to edge his way into first with only a few spaces left, and thus was able to go first on the final roll, securing the victory.

This is a fun game, but there is a lot of luck in the die rolls, and the crazy things the back markers have to do to try and catch up cause a lot of stupid looking crashes to happen; you don't usually see Formula One races where the cars in sixth place try to take the hairpins at 120 MPH or whatever. Of course, with experience the gear choices might become slightly more rational, but you will still see wild swings in fortune when somebody in third place stays in fifth gear even when a 19 or 20 will cause him to crash, and that just feels wrong, somehow.

Or maybe I'm just bitter because of that stupid freakin stall on turn one. Mutter mutter.
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16. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:574]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 1:30pm
End time: 2:15pm


Late night gaming always leads to irrational choices, and the six remaining gamers made just such a choice by deciding to end the evening with the classic 6 Nimmt! Six is a dangerous number for this game, as strategies that work fine for greater or lesser numbers will have you playing the sixth card in a row time after time with six. Also, it's possible that all the lead in Tim's drinking water has started to affect him, as he scored a shocking 70 points over four rounds to land in fifth place. Scott eventually achieved ultimate victory with 29 points, followed by Nyck with 37, Counterclockwise Scott with 55, Andy with 58, and with Lyra finishing the game with 83 points.
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17. Board Game: Miscellaneous Game Accessory [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:3758] [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:71]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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With the holidays upon us, a few new confections were made available for noshing, including the seasonal mint M&Ms and pineapple, mango, and pomegranate "Real Fruit Jels", which took the place of the gumdrop-like things we have had in the past. As always, the Salt and Pepper and Aged White Cheaddar Kettle Brand potater chips were gone before the untrained eye could register their existence, and the Cheddar Blanco and Spicy Queso Cheese-its made a respectable showing. Christmas is also a time for mixed nuts, and those were consumed in appropriately mass quantities, as were the non-Jalepeno pretzel-and-cheese-ish-filling sammichs.


Special note should be made for Jane's yummy albeit oddly presented Banana and Cranberry breads, as well as a couple other snacks that I know nothing of because they were consumed before I found myself at the snack table.

Beverage consumption was typically wide ranging, as the remains of Strawberry Kiwi Soda, Mandarin Lime Soda, Dr. Pepper, Big K Lemon Lime Sparkling Water (which tastes exactly like tonic water), Minutemaid Light Lemonade, Spiced Apple Cider, and an inexplicable can of V8 juice are all in evidence.
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