Unity Games 9 and the games I played there.
Nick Avtges
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Bridgewater
Massachusetts
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"In the Eastern Massachusetts area we have a loose coalition of gamers and game-groups known as Unity Games. Occasionally we hold full-day gaming events where we try to get all the area groups and gamers together along with their friends to play board and card games."
from: http://www.unitygames.org/ug9/ug9.htm

UG9 was yet another fantastic event for the New England gaming community. It has become not just a great day of gaming but a pretty special one, too. Some may say this geeklist is nothing more than a session report, but I hope to describe some of what makes Unity Games special.
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1. Board Game: Dawn Under [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:2785]
Nick Avtges
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I arrived a bit early and sat down to work a bit on the puzzle sheet. Always a fun thing to do between games, particularly swapping the more difficult clues later in the day.

Richard arrived and when straight to the teaching area, carrying Dawn Under, the only game being taught that I hadn't played. I nodded and he waved me over to play. A quick run through of the simple rules and we were off with this memory game with Karen and Nate. Well, being a memory game, I knew I'd be at a big disadvantage. Still I did my best and did get down to two vampires remaining...and having absolutley no idea what was under any of those graves. I ended up picking Karen's garlic to end the game and give her the victory. Fun game, with a cute game...who knew digging up graves could be so much fun.

The teaching area is a great idea, and a very successful one. It gives people who may not know many others a place to begin and introduces them to some great games, too.
 
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2. Board Game: Starfarers of Catan [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:848]
Nick Avtges
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After the game, I left Richard to teach some more and wandered over to the jumpstart area. Basically, the jumpstart area is just a place to stand around until someone grabs you to play a game. It didn't take long before Chris grabbed me and I was playing Starfarers. I'm not as averse to long playing times as others, being brought up on AH games, and had never played before, so was happy to give it a try. My newness and some really unfortunate dice combined to give me no chance at all, but it was still great fun as we all played the part of space explorers. It was also good to play a game with Chris, a friend who I will probably not see much of outside of UG events. Which is another wonderful thing about UG...seeing those friends which you've made who you pretty much only see at UG. Oh...and this was my first game with Brian, who as the evening winded down, ended up being a new friend who I'll look forward to gaming with at the next UG.
 
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3. Board Game: Wings of War: Famous Aces [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:786] [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked]
Nick Avtges
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I saw David milling around and asked him what was up. He said they were looking for a fourth for Wings of War, and I was very happy to join him. We had both played before and taught to our new teammates, Elliot and Dan. This is really just a plain and simple fun game. We played the basic version first and enjoyed it enough to immediately play the advanced version. Dan and I had won the first match and Dave and Elliot had me on the ropes in the second after shooting down Dan when I was fortunate enough to have Elliot's plane fly off the table. Ultimately, though, my plane was too damaged to trade shots with Dave, and I lost the second match.

Another great thing about UG is playing games with the people you normally play games with. Dave is a regular at the game night I usually attend, and we've played many games together. It was great fun to be able to play with him at UG9.
 
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4. Board Game: Show Manager [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:1033]
Nick Avtges
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The host of my regular game night, Terry, pulled me into this old time favorite. Terry was actually looking for a "gateway game" to teach some new folks, and this is what we decided on. After a few rounds, we rethought that a bit, as it can be a brutal game at times, but we plowed through anyway. Another really great thing about UG is the people. Even outside of the teaching area, most folks are more than happy to teach you a game...and then thoroughly trash you at it. I usually try to play this game very frugally, and it usually burns me in the end, and this was no different. Terry on the other hand is a complete shark and this time proved no different.
 
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5. Board Game: War of the Ring (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:82]
Nick Avtges
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I had discussed playing a game of War of the Ring with David and Brian earlier in the day, and now was the time. David had taken the time to paint some of the miniatures and folks were stopping by to take a look through out the game. The figures where really quite well done, and many folks remarked at how awesome the oliphants looked. We drew tiles to determine sides and Constantine and I took control of the free peoples and Brian and David the forces of evil. I really enjoyed the game very much. As the free peoples, we felt largely helpless most of the time as the evil forces grew and grew and slaughter much of our forces. Yet, Frodo and the fellowship continued to make progress. Lorien was overrun before the fellowship could get there, and with the Balrog looming in Moria, we decided to take a different course through Helm's Deep. We stalled a bit there, as we recovered from corruption and used actions to bolster defenses. Minas Tirith was under siege, and the forces of Saruman were growing, ready for the attack. Gondor stood strong, however, withstanding the impact of the initial onslaught and leaving only a few orcs left to await reinforcements. Meanwhile, the ents dispatched Saruman, leaving Rohan well defended. However, the northern strongholds of Rivendell and the Woodland realm were beginning to feel the pressure as forces were moved north on either side of the Misty Mountains. Still Frodo and friends crept on. Minas Tirith did eventually fall, and Aragon and Boromir with it. But soon after, the fellow ship was declared in Mordor and began it's trek up Mount Doom. The fellowship was quite low on the corruption track, and Constantine and I had gotten all our special tiles into play, while Dave and Brian had only one. A fortunate roll of 3 character actions and a will of the west gave us what we needed to charge through Mordor and slam dunk the ring into the Cracks of Doom just as Rivendell and the Woodland realms were coming under siege for the victory.

A really enjoyable game that I'm glad I bought. I know I'll be playing this one again and again.

The UG events are perfect for big games such as this, will plenty of time to play a monster and still play many others as well.
 
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6. Board Game: Oasis [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1240]
Nick Avtges
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Bridgewater
Massachusetts
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After grabbing a quick bite to eat, I found Al, Ryan, and Andrew looking for a game. Constantine was still in a post-War of the Ring fog, wandering around aimlessly, so we pulled him in as well. I began teaching Carcassonne: The City, but unfortunately discovered a bit late that it's only a four player game! I thought for sure it was 5, like it's predecessor. So, instead, we played Oasis.

I find Oasis to be an interesting game. I got a very large camel group at the beginning and went after a concentrated strategy. Ultimately I ended up with 15 camels and 5 camel multipliers for a nice 75 points. Combined with the points I picked up here and there around the board, I ended up with 90 and the victory. It was good to see Ryan, who once was a regular at my regular game night, but hasn't been around recently. I was glad to play a game with Al, too, who's been going to a game session that's slowly dying out...but who'll be attending my regular session soon, which is great.
 
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7. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:229]
Nick Avtges
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Andrew left us and the rest of us played a game of St. Petersburg. It was an interesting game, with only a single author (the #4 aristocrat) showing up the entire game. I usually concentrate exclusively on aristocrats, only buying buildings if it will get my an aristocrat in the following round, or if it's power will help me, such as the warehouse. The lack of many aristocrats hurt me, and I lost to Al's more balanced strategy.
 
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8. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
Nick Avtges
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Massachusetts
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My final game of the night was Power Grid. This was my first play, although I had read the rules knowing I'd want to get a play of this at UG. Gil and Brian joined Al and I for the game. I really liked this game very much. It's very strategic, with lots of long term considerations to, uh, well, consider. Manipulating the player order is very important and know when to push ahead and when to stay behind is critical. The game for me began quietly enough. We played the German map, with two southern sections out of play. I started in the north...no free connections, but lots of cheap ones. Gil and Brian competed for the free connection in the east and Al got the one in the west. Ultimately, the game came down to a tie between Brian and I, both being able to power all our 17 cities in the final round. The tie breaker is remaining electro's, of which I had 2 more than Brian! It was a very exciting and enjoyable ending to a very exciting and enjoyable day.

UG9 was a fantastic success and I had a blast.
 
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