The 1st Annual OREGON CUP - 'Down to the Wire'
-matt s.
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Hello fellow gamers and welcome to the 1st Annual running of the Oregon Cup! This year's contestants have come from far and wide in Oregon (well, just along the I-5 corridor) to compete in this Inaugural event in Ashland, Oregon.




Our first contestant and host of this illustrious event is Chris, hailing from Ashland, Oregon:

Christopher DeFrisco
United States
Ashland
Oregon
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Our next contestant is Wes who travelled the farthest from Lebanon, Oregon:

Wes Sedlacek
United States
Lebanon
Oregon
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Finally we have Matt (i.e. me) who lives in Eugene, Oregon, and travelled via Wes's Saturn to arrive at the competition:

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From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

Chris Wes Matt

For 7 years prior, an annual gaming Olympics has been held in Santa Cruz, CA, and attended by Chris and his two college buddies. See last year's Geeklist for more details.

This gaming competition was suggested by Chris for his fellow Oregonians and we accepted the challenge.

THE RULES:
The rules of this competition are fairly straight forward:

* A total of 10 games will be played in a Decathlon sort of structure.
* One default game will be Extreme Croquet! This is one standard game in the Santa Cruz Olympics and was decided it should be a standard for this competition as well.
* Then, each contestant chooses 3 games to be played during the competition.
* Each game must have been played by each player at least once in the past.
* Each contestant has 1 veto in which they can prevent one of the other contestants' choices from being played.

* Scoring for each game will be one of two methods:
- Method 1: If the game has an actual score that can be compared, first place will score 1000 points, 2nd and 3rd place score appropriate proportions of 1000 according to their score with a minimum of 800 for 2nd and 600 for 3rd.
- Method 2: Otherwise, if scoring cannot be compared (such as a race game) then 1st = 1000 points, 2nd = 900 points, 3rd = 800 points.
- Ties for a place will get that level of points (i.e. a tie for 1st means both get 1000 points)

The idea with this scoring is to try to keep it close such that everyone has a good chance to win by the end by not falling TOO far behind.

Little did we know by the end how important this would actually be....

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1. Board Game: Cup Fever [Average Rating:4.83 Unranked]
Board Game: Cup Fever
-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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Wes picked me up at my house on the way down to Ashland. 3-1/2 hours later we arrived at the DeFrisco house.

Upon entering Chris's house we immediately saw the banner and THE CUP.

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


Wes had found the cup itself while thrifting several months back and Chris was able to obtain some left-over game parts then glued them into the cup.

The 'winner' of this cup is 'required' to keep the cup in a 'prominent' place in their house....this was an honor my WIFE was just going to love! shake
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2. Board Game: Risk Express [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:3720]
Board Game: Risk Express
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THURSDAY
After initial niceties, unloading of everything from the car and a bit of handing out gifts, wine and such, we immediately started into a quick game of Risk Express. I had made 2 copies of the game from some parts I had and we decided to take Chris's copy for a spin. He had chosen the green case and pieces and Wes chose the blue one. The pic at left is my original red one.

Wes proceeded to stomp us (we desperately tried but could NOT steal any cards from him!) and I feared this would be the start to a long weekend of Wes winning everything.

Luckily, this wasn't an official Oregon Cup game (that wouldn't start until tomorrow - Friday)

From gallery of tasajara
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3. Board Game: Show Manager [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1456]
Board Game: Show Manager
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This game was actually one of my game selections for the Oregon cup. However, when I put it on my 'possible' list when discussing in email, Wes mentioned he hadn't played it yet. I forgot he hadn't been at Gamestorm when I taught Chris and I assumed Wes had been as well. Wes was fine doing a practice game and, since this game is relatively short, it seemed reasonable to break the rules a bit if everyone was ok with it.

So, I taught the rules and Chris's wife, Chris (Christine), joined us to round it out to 4 players.

The basic idea is that you are each producing the same 4 plays and trying to make the most money off of each that you can. If you think you have a really good production and it doesn't have a city selected yet, you might put it into the one that gets you the most points. Otherwise, you might put it on a city worth less points. The players are vying for the best actors for each play. Hand management is key in this game as well as money management because each actor usually will cost you some money, plus after you complete a play you may not have more than 2 cards remaining in hand. Ideally you want actors that are right for the parts but if you can't get them you can fill them in with a generic actor or, worse, someone that is just bad for the part (but you won't get a bonus). If you don't like any of the actors you can pay money to see another set, but this will quickly run you out of funds if you keep doing it.

After producing at least one play you can later borrow money against it that you can then use to hopefully make your other plays more profitable. But borrowing may reduce your standing for that play and thus, reduce the points you earn.

During this 'practice' play I ended up winning by a good amount. Sorry, I didn't happen to catch the scores for all of the non-Cup games AND we didn't get any pics of the game in progress, just this box shot after-the-fact:

From gallery of tasajara


I was confident that I could pull out a win when it counted...
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4. Board Game: Shear Panic [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:2029]
Board Game: Shear Panic
-matt s.
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In December I acquired a copy of this game but still hadn't gotten a play in. Wes and I had discussed this game in the car ride and so he suggested we play it so I could learn (Chris and Wes had played it previously together)

I LOVE the sheep figures in this game. After hearing the rules it was obviously just a well disguised abstract game. BUT, I love abstracts and loved this game as well.

From gallery of tasajara

Mid-game position


From gallery of tasajara

Final position and score


I was doing fairly well with me and Chris keeping pace most of the game. However, Wes was able to position himself well by game end and I got sheared off in the first shearing, thus scoring no points right at the end. And, unfortunately, there was nothing I could do.

BUT, I had a great time learning and playing this game.

The biggest issue that all of us seemed to have was remembering which action did what. I have subsequently printed some of the great player aids available on BGG and have them ready for the next game!
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5. Board Game: Crazy Circus [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:4994]
Board Game: Crazy Circus
-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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It was getting late and everyone seemed tired and ready for something simple for a last game of the night. Plus, we wanted to not get to bed TOO late so we could be refreshed and ready for the OFFICIAL OREGON CUP games.

I pulled out this quick, cute speed game that I had a feeling Chris would really like, especially for something to include in the regular game days he hosts at the Ashland library, or other youth gaming activities he hosts.

And, I was right! He certainly got a kick out of the cool wooden components and the fun gameplay.

From gallery of tasajara


The basic idea with this game is you set up the 3 animals on the left and/or right stumps in whatever configuration. Then, you turn over a card. This is the position you have to get the animals into. You do this by calling out commands that 'tell' them how to move (move the bottom to the top of a stack, switch the top animals of the stacks, etc). The commands are non-sensical names: So, Lo, Ki, Ma, and Ni.

From gallery of tasajara


Thus, the 'solution' (of which there can be many) will be a word you blurt out such as "NiMaKiMaLo" or "MaKiNiLoSoLo" or something else ridiculous. Once you call it out, you must remember what you said then move the animals in the ways you called out to see if you got it right.

If you did, you get the card, otherwise you are out for that round and the others continue.

Once all cards are gone, whomever has the most wins!

It's silly fun with a bit of burn that keeps your mind working.

After that it was time for bed so we'd be ready to get the official Oregon Cup started off right in the morning.
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6. Board Game: San Marco [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:683]
Board Game: San Marco
-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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FRIDAY
The next morning when I got up I found I was pretty much alone in the house. I knew Wes had gotten up early to go hit some garage sales with Christine, but I expected Chris to still be around. Alas, I soon got a text saying he was out with them. Apparently his wife had spotted a bin of wood blocks and such that he wanted to check out for himself.

I was hoping to maybe teach him Race for the Galaxy as he'd not been properly taught on his one play and he'd recently picked up a copy of it that I had delivered to him.

Anyhow, they soon returned with a big bin of blocks, a Scrabble game (love those wooden tiles) and a few other odds and ends. Alas, no big gaming finds.

Oregon Cup game selected by: Chris
So, first up for THE OREGON CUP was San Marco, one of Chris' choices. I had only played twice before and had been only mildly successful with it so I didn't expect myself to do particularly well. Wes had just played it recently for the first time and Chris had played it a handful of times.

From gallery of tasajara

Start of the game

This is a brilliant Alan Moon/Aaron Weissblum designed game and I love the unique 'pie cutting' aspect of this game - one person splits the action cards and the other two players get first and second pick. If I have one complaint about this game, it is the randomization of who picks first and second each time - it seemed like most of the time I was picking 2nd

Anyhow, the splitting was obviously being done well by everyone as it was always a tough decision for those that had to decide which cards to take.

I felt like I started off strong and got some early scoring points. For games like this though, that is certainly no guarantee - in fact, it can make you the target by everyone else.

From gallery of tasajara

Early game positions

Wes had bridges all over the board and could move the Doge anywhere he wanted for free making it very dangerous to give him the scoring cards but he seemed to be lagging behind in points the whole game. However, due to being all over the board I was sure he was going to pull out the win with the final scorings.

From gallery of tasajara


Chris seemed to be struggling for board position the entire game but remained middle of the pack in score, but really he was just 'under the radar' and ultimately won as he ended up with more scoring opportunities for the final scoring pushing Wes out of the way just enough to keep him from a big final scoring.

From gallery of tasajara

End game scores


RESULTS AFTER GAME 1: San Marco
So, Chris gets off to a great start followed by Wes and then me bringing up the rear for The Cup...here are the official results after Round 1:

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


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7. Board Game: Vikings [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:423]
Board Game: Vikings
-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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Oregon Cup game selected by: Wes

This was an obvious pick by Wes as he typically does very well on this game and has won every game I've seen him play of it. However, I was fine with this selection as I've had a few plays of it on Yucata and done pretty well on there and have been learning to enjoy it's subtleties.

Well, Wes got off to a rough start while Chris and I started out fairly strong. In fact, Chris started off stronger than I expected. All throughout the game I expected Wes to make a good run of it and turn things around, but he never did. Chris kept making great grabs and I should have been watching him closer.

Ultimately, Chris came out ahead by a good margin with me a close second and Wes fell to third. As usual, this game came down to a couple of key decisions at the end. However, I was surprised to see Wes not have a strong game as I would have expected him to. We were speculating that an early 9 or 10 coin buy may have sent him on a downward spiral - I was surprised he had made the choice to spend that much in the first round and I think it haunted him the rest of the game.

Unfortunately, we apparently didn't get any pictures of this game (unless Wes has one hiding on his camera)


RESULTS AFTER GAME 2: Vikings
Wes was very disappointed he didn't do better in this game and Chris pulled off an upset that kept him solidly in the lead and I was able to slide into 2nd place by a few points...here are the official results after Round 2:

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara

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8. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:15]
Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy
-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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This was a game that was high on the play list of games NOT part of the cup. I was excited to get it played and Chris was excited to teach it.

This is a very interesting 'combo' game where you can build on previous plays (sometimes in the same turn) and earn more and more points as you place tiles (buildings, pastures and ships). Sometimes you get more points by placing a tile that lets you place or grab another tile. Sometimes the points multiply such as with the pastures if played in the right combinations. You can also get a good amount of points by shipping multiples of the same good at the same time. You also get bonuses by filling in similarly colored areas - the bonuses are highest in the earlier rounds and progressively get smaller by the end.

There is also a dice mechanic where what you roll controls which areas of the board you have access to in obtaining and placing tiles. There are ways to modify this, of course, but at a cost.

From gallery of tasajara

This was our position during the 2nd round of 5 total

Chris started building his castles (which also give extra actions), both Chris and Wes did a good amount of shipping, Wes started in on the mines (which pay out extra money) and I built a couple of brown buildings early in combination with a yellow (end-game bonus) tile, then started picking up chickens for my pastures.

During mid-game and end-game Chris and Wes were generating a good amount of money but I started picking up a bunch of points with my chickens. The way the pastures work is you get 1 point per animal, then for each subsequent tile you get 1 point per ALL similar animals connected to each other. My first tile of 4 chickens then got scored 4 more times during the game giving me 20 points just from that one tile.

I got ahead by a large margin mid- to late- game as a result of this. Unfortunately, I had fallen behind in getting yellow bonus tiles and in leveraging brown buildings but I kept up with blue shipping tiles.

Chris and Wes were able to close the gap with end-game scoring, but not quite enough to completely catch me.

From gallery of tasajara

End-game positions and scores

I think if either one had been stealing my chickens I would have been in a tough position.

The various combos are quite interesting and I can see lots of different ways to achieve victory. Part of the key seems to not only find a good combination but also prevent others from leveraging their own combinations.
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9. Board Game: Dream Factory [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:739]
Board Game: Dream Factory
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Eugene
Oregon
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Oregon Cup game selected by: Matt

This is an interesting auction game where you are trying to produce movies with the best actors, directors, special effects, etc. The different elements come out in random sets that are auctioned off. The ‘money’ is a closed economy so once you win, you pay the money to the other players evenly. This makes for an interesting ebb and flow of money between players and you have to be careful how much you pay or you may be out of the next couple of auctions having no money left.

Chris got a couple of movies made right off the bat in the first round which let him draw new movies to make early on. I won an early auction that gave me a set of ‘red’ tiles which gave me privilege to select ‘free’ tiles at the parties before everyone else. Wes also got one movie made the first round (year) but I think Chris got the ‘best movie’ award for that year and I was languishing with no movies made – I was afraid I was losing ground quickly.

However, by the end of the second year I had completed all of my movies (4 total) but I couldn’t draw any more because Chris and Wes had also each completed 3 or 4 movies ahead of me and had drawn all of the remaining extra movies. Fortunately for me, I had the highest value movie in each of the 3 categories PLUS my fourth movie was the worst (each of those awards 10 points at end game). Since I could still ‘win’ auctions but just throw out whatever I won, I was in the position of having to keep the other two from either completing their movies or at least keeping them from getting better scores.

Somehow, I managed to keep almost all of the good stuff away from them and pull out the win. Chris was able to complete one more movie and earn the Worst movie award, but I retained the top movie in each category.

From gallery of tasajara

End-game positions and scoring


RESULTS AFTER GAME 3: Traumfabrik
Somehow I pulled out a win I didn't think I was likely to get after going 'out' so early...here are the official results after Round 3:

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


And, it helped me pull back fairly close to Chris again, but not enough for me to pull ahead in the standings.
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10. Board Game: RoboRally [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:436]
Board Game: RoboRally
-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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Oregon Cup game selected by: Wes

Going into this game, I was pretty sure Wes would pull out the win as he has played it a LOT and we were using his ruleset. Right off the bat it was a pretty close race and I think Chris and I even shot Wes a couple of times. In fact, Wes was forced to Power Down for a turn as he knew he was going to get shot up. Unfortunately, he STILL was ahead after doing this. By the time Wes got to the 4th flag I was still going for the 2nd flag.

From gallery of tasajara

Mid-game shot with Wes in the lead...

Nearing the end of the game, Chris was close behind Wes where Wes was headed for the final flag (6th) (which, unfortunately from the random setup was an easy straight shot from the 5th flag) and I was just clearing the 4th flag. Chris decided to go for Wes rather than the 5th flag to try to slow him down for a turn or two. I was going to as well as I had a straight shot for him, but didn’t draw the right cards, so I started heading for the next flag in a vain effort to even capture 2nd. Ultimately, Chris definitely slowed Wes down, but not enough to prevent him finishing in a couple of turns. Unfortunately for Chris, I was able to ge tot the 5th flag first then complete the last flag for 2nd place. I actually felt a little bad about this because he basically sacrificed himself for nothing and possibly could have even hurt him in the final Cup standings.

From gallery of tasajara


RESULTS AFTER GAME 4: RoboRally
Wes was the runaway winner here. I think he wished he could have gained a bit more since this was just a 1000-900-800 scoring round, but he did gain some ground on Chris (as did I)...here are the official results after Round 4:

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


The win pulled him closer to first and to me, but not as much as he'd hoped.
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11. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:171] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride
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Christine had come home from work and was up for a game. We needed a break from Oregon Cup games and we knew she was interested in trying out the Ticket to Ride: Northern Egypt map I had brought. This was a map my wife and I designed for the recent TtR design contest earlier this year.

So, I brought it out and taught about the differences on this map, of which you have tickets that have bonuses for reaching additional cities as listed, and also for completing extra long routes between some cities.

Well, we got started. Chris and Christine both had early first strikes getting their trains on the board first. I had two areas I wanted to go for and focused on one. Unfortunately, Wes started in on the other area and before I knew it I was locked out of one of my destinations!

Wes continued to build strongly across the board and continued to get in my way. Chris and Christine both drew more tickets and eventually I drew one more as well. Chris was digging for more points (I've seen him do this before) but eventually I think it burned him with a draw of tickets he knew he couldn't or wasn't likely to complete.

We didn't keep scoring during the game opting to score at the end instead (which, personally, I think is better for this map with some of the larger in-game bonuses)

Nearing the end of the game, Wes completed the Suez Canal link (between Suez and Port Said) for 27 points and, ultimately, that's what put him over the top to hit 119 total even though he only completed two tickets - he continually hit longer links which gave him solid points. Christine came in 2nd with 96 points and more tickets and Chris was 3rd with 67 points (with some of his uncompleted tickets losing him points). I came in dead last with 33 points and nearly lapped by Wes.

From gallery of tasajara

End-game positions and scoring

Ok, even though I designed the map I seem to always play horribly on it. Ah well, I enjoyed seeing everyone having fun with it at least!
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12. Board Game: Hop Hop Hooray! [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:7087]
Board Game: Hop Hop Hooray!
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We hipped! We hopped! We oohed! We aahed! We hoorayed!

And we weren't too big of gamers to play a fun kids game without any kids anywhere near the table.

From gallery of tasajara

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13. Board Game: Bongo! [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:5714]
Board Game: Bongo!
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Chris and Wes played this a couple of times while I was on the phone with the family.

I don't know what the results were but I'm sure they twisted their brains up a bit as Bongo! always does!
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14. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:350]
Board Game: Kingsburg
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Wes and Chris decided on playing Kingsburg with the expansion Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm using the expanded board and each drawing different building row strips. They also decided to play with a character card each and also with the soldier tokens as Chris had never played with them before - basically all of the possible expansion options.

From gallery of tasajara


My character granted me 6 immediate points, Chris's allowed him to use the dice tokens as 1-3 instead of just 2 and Wes's did something I don't remember (sorry Wes).

So, the 6 points kept me ahead for quite a while. Chris did his usual strategy of having less buildings and getting the extra die and getting the privilege (you know it is Chris), I did my usual strategy of building lots of buildings and getting the extra points, and Wes was somewhere in the middle.

Chris and Wes built up quite a bit to give them extra soldiers, specially Chris. I had a building that prevented me from losing VP when losing against the monsters. Wes also regularly looked at the monster which I didn't do much. Unfortunately it killed me as I lost a building and 2 resources in the 3rd round. Soon Chris and Wes were shooting ahead and I was back-tracking.

Chris ultimately pulled out the win with his extra points from killing monsters and slowly building up points then focusing on two rows of buildings where he built both out all 4 levels. He also had a couple of strong rolls at the end that helped him out a lot. Wes built a more 'flat' city with a good balance. I finished last despite my extra 6 points at the beginning never recovering from my monster loss.



The next morning was EXTREME CROQUET and the day was supposed to climb into the 90's so we knew we wanted to get an early start before it got too hot.

So, after Kingsburg we decided to call it a night (although, I stayed up for a little while longer as I wanted to review the rules for Notre Dame, my choice for my 3rd official Cup game since none of us had played it in a while and I wanted to make sure I had the rules right)
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15. Board Game: Yamslam [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:6216]
Board Game: Yamslam
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SATURDAY

Getting up in the morning while waiting for Chris to wake up and have his coffee to get his day going, Wes suggested Yamslam. This is basically a Yahtzee sort of game with a bit more competition between players as you can earn bonuses for getting one of each chip or all of one type of chip. Plus, there's a limited amount of each type of roll you can get overall.

The first round I won by a landslide, then Wes did the same to me the second round. The tie-breaking round came down to almost the last chip and Wes came out ahead in the end.

It was a nice warm-up game for the day.
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16. Board Game: Table Croquet [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Board Game: Table Croquet
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Extreme Croquet was the next game on the docket. This game is one of the games that is and will likely continue to be a standard game as we continue to do The Cup in the future. This is a great chance to get outside and away from the table. I myself was really looking forward to this. Chris had made some custom mallets just for this game. They can be seen in this geeklist: The Hammers Are Here!.

So, on Saturday morning we left early as we were trying to avoid the heat (which was to climb into the 90s later in the day). We piled everything into Chris’s van, stopped by a local store to pick up a small ice-chest for our sodas and some grippy tape for the mallets, then headed further up into the mountains – somewhere higher than where the poison ivy typically grows.

We pulled out the cart, strapped on the cooler and loaded it up.

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

The cart I became very friendly with...

From gallery of tasajara

Wes got out the tape and started taping up the mallets.

Then we set about choosing our mallets.

Wes selected
From gallery of cdefrisco
"Afrilfelset Gomedigo"

I waffled between two and eventually selected
From gallery of cdefrisco
"The Hammer of Telchar" as the other seemed a bit unwieldy.

and Chris chose
From gallery of cdefrisco
"The Vampire Killer"

We also got to choose 2 softballs (primary and backup for a lost ball)

Then we set out on the first hole.

The basic rules were:
• We take turns in the same order each round (to make it easy to remember – however, I may dispute this rule for future competition)
• First place gets to choose the next hole location (which could be a tree, a rock, or anything else that might be a challenge to hit)
• Last place on a hole is responsible for pushing the cart.
• If you can hit someone else’s ball you get 2 free strokes (one of which you can ‘croquet’ the other (i.e. put yours next to theirs and give it a whack to send them into the woods, etc)
• If you hit someone else’s drink you get 2 free strokes.
• In general, you had to ‘play it where it lies’. If you need to pick up you can but it will cost you 2 strokes (rarely worth it)
• First in on a hole gets 1 point, 2nd - 2 points, 3rd – 3 points.

We all pretty carefully guarded our drinks and never had a hit to them (although there were a couple of close calls, and I hit the cart once almost taking out Wes’s drink when it was on it). However, several ball hits occurred, mostly to mine unfortunately. This was particularly unfortunate since it was usually mine after I hit directly in front of Wes’s ball.

So, we tromped around the woods, first down a power line maintenance road aiming for stumps and various large rocks.

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

The buzzing powerlines overhead, the first 'fairway' and the first 'hole' (the stump in the middle...no, THAT one)

The first 3 holes Wes did spectactularly, Chris was all over the place and I just sucked. Chris was getting good air which made up for his meanderings, and Wes was great about sticking to the road/paths, but I couldn’t get any loft and either put myself in Wes’s way to give him extra stokes or I was way off under a tree a something.

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara


Eventually we headed down a narrow path in the woods. Wes seemed to be building a comfortable lead but Chris was close behind.

I switched up club on the 4th hole to
From gallery of cdefrisco
"The Peen Hammer of Anung Un Rama" and managed some spectactular hole-ins for a couple of first place finishes. But this was only a blip on the scorecard for me as I found myself pushing the cart more than I had hoped to. In fact, I kept trying to push the cart even when I finished 2nd on some holes!

Chris in particular found himself in more than a couple of sticky situations due to his aggressive striking of his balls...:

From gallery of tasajara

Between a Log and a Hard place (watch where you swing, Chris!)

He ended up getting out of this using his club like a cue stick.

From gallery of tasajara

Stuck under a tree. I think it took him at least 2 or 3 shots to get out of there…


Wes also managed to add some decorations to his club:
From gallery of tasajara


After the first 9 holes Wes was in the lead by one 1 point with 16, Chris had 17 and I had a lowly 21.

After the 10th hole we started heading back towards the car. On the back side I only finished 3rd 3 times but only had one hole with a 1st place finish (where I tied with Chris). Thus Wes and Chris were flip-flopping between 1st and 3rd.

Honestly, I secretly wanted Wes to win as Chris had a comfortable lead and Wes was behind enough that I’d retain 2nd and move closer to Chris in the overall standings. However, that is NOT why I kept leaving my ball in front of Wes – it just happened. No really!

Anyhow, we finally made it out of the woods back to the service road. It was determined that the final hole would be the back left tire of Chris’s truck. So, off down the road Chris and Wes went tearing, leaving me lagging far behind. I eventually gained ground and actually caught up just before the truck as I stuck well to the road and they both got stuck in the rough under a tree. Alas, I still finished with a lowly 3rd.

From gallery of tasajara

The black sticky tape left an impression

Wes added up the scores and found that he and Chris had flip-flopped scores: 17 for Wes, 16 for Chris. I gained a stroke due to that tie for 1st place and finished with 20. Thus, Chris and Wes tied for 1st with 33 and I fell to my expected 3rd with 41.

From gallery of tasajara

The final scorecard

This was a great event and we had a great time even with the trials and tribulations of being off the trail!

RESULTS AFTER GAME 5: Extreme Croquet
Well, it looked like Wes was running away with it, but ultimately it came down to a tie between Wes and Chris, even with me giving Wes a lot of extra shots. Chris's reckless 'extreme' shots ultimately kept him in it...here are the official results after Round 5:

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


The tie for 1st was unfortunate for Wes as he was hoping to gain some ground on Chris but wasn't able to because of the tie.
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17. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:288]
Board Game: Notre Dame
-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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Oregon Cup game selected by: Matt

Chris and Wes had only played this game once before and I had only played it twice, once as 2-player. So, this was a bit of a toss-up. I reviewed the rules and suggested a 'practice' round but Chris and Wes were fine just jumping in.

Ultimately, I went for the extra point per score route (the Park) and then I pretty much let plague run wild as I found I could usually counter-act the 2 lost points with more points getting ahead. I also was able to amass a large pile of money using the money action.

Chris stayed middle of the road on money and points and piled up a good amount from the cathedral and the buggy early on. Wes had a rough time with money which left him not being able to do everything he needed to in order to score points.

RESULTS AFTER GAME 6: Notre Dame
By the end I came out ahead with quite a few extra points despite being disease plagued....here are the official results after Round 6:

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


Note that this game brought me to within 13 points of Chris for 1st place but widened the gap for Wes putting him further behind again.
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18. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:381]
Board Game: PitchCar
-matt s.
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Oregon Cup game selected by: Chris

I think Chris felt he was a shoe-in for the win on this game. Little did he know that I subtly sabotaged his chances by 'suggesting' he add a nice long jump or two to the course ahead of time when discussing in email.

ninja

Well, we started getting the course set up in Chris's kitchen on the center island as it was the best surface he had that was flat enough:
From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

Wes and Chris working on the tricky corners on the back side

We also added an upside-down soccer game of some sort on top of 3 stacks of classic bookshelf games sitting on a table.

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara


This let us extend the course and also add some excitement with the prophetic 'jump of death':

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

Close-ups of the 'safer' and 'death defying' jumps

Here is the finished course:
From gallery of tasajara


So, how did I 'sabotage' the game? Well, I didn't really. BUT, I knew the long jumps would make or break the race for the contestants and it could easily backfire on me if I wasn't careful.

The first half of the first lap was close, as expected, and I was bringing up the rear. However, the jumps proved to be a problem for all of us, but I was able to make my way through both of them first. Eventually Chris and Wes made it through as well and the race was on.

Getting through to the jumps again it took me a couple of tries to get through. Wes and Chris quickly made up some ground on the long straights. However, I got through them again and both of them got stuck. I was about 1/2 a lap ahead when Wes made it across the 2nd jump and Chris was stuck on it. I eventually lapped him on the 2nd jump and went on to finish ahead of him by a lap.

Chris eventually made it across but it was too late to make up ground to catch Wes for 2nd but we encouraged him to keep going in case Wes DID get stuck. Alas, he did not.

RESULTS AFTER GAME 7: PitchCar
My defeat of Chris allowed me to jump ahead and also gave Wes a chance to gain some ground...here are the official results after Round 7:

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


Wes was sure he was out of the running at this point, but we assured him that with some solid wins he most definitely still had a shot. He also had one of his games remaining to play that I knew he would likely do well at: Hansa Teutonica.

Yes, the race to The Oregon Cup was just getting interesting....
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19. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:139]
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
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Oregon Cup game selected by: Wes

In games past, Wes has usually been very successful with this game. My very first game I was successful on it as well so felt I had a good shot at it. Of course, Chris has played it some with his family and friends as well. So, really anyone had a good shot of winning here.

We decided to play the EAST expansion map which none of us had played. This was a bit of a problem as we still had to learn the rules and there was a typo of one name that held us up a bit. In retrospect, this may not have been the best choice, but I suppose we were on equal ground so.....

Well, Chris and Wes immediately started getting into important Kontors and started racking up points as a result. Chris in particular eventually had two separate links that allowed him to score 2 points per turn. AND, he was able to build up his actions on one of them, quickly getting to 5 actions when Wes and I were still on 3 (but I eventually got my actions to 4).

We decided to team up against Chris a bit and stop him on one of the point rakes for Chris - I put in a higher Kontor in one and Wes put one in the other.

Well, I had been working towards getting my disks into the bonus point spots and had my colors all cleared to do it. But then with Chris rushing the end game and then Chris and Wes building up nice networks, I realized I was in trouble and only got one disk in. Unfortunately, I had no network by the time the game ended.

Chris had built up a nice initial network but then Wes overlaid his network on part of Chris's, thus sucking up some of the points for those Kontors.

When the game finally ended, both were at 19 and 20 and I was lagging far behind. With the final tally we were all surprised to see that Wes came out ahead by 1 point, 50-49 over Chris. I had a meager 34 points and my Oregon Cup lead quickly slipped from my hands.

From gallery of tasajara

Final board position - note I forgot to take the pic and had to put some things back for it, but forgot the scoring markers

RESULTS AFTER GAME 8: Hansa Teutonica
Wes's surprising victory brought him just slightly closer to 1st place and knocked me back again to 2nd...here are the official results after Round 8:

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


Now, it was evident that Wes could win, but he would need fairly decisive victories to be able to pull it off. It seemed a longshot at best. And, both Chris and I knew we needed at least 1 more win to come out on top. It was still, literally, anybody's Cup.
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20. Board Game: Show Manager [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1456]
Board Game: Show Manager
-matt s.
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Oregon Cup game selected by: Matt

So, it was time to reprise Show Manager. Wes noticed that I had missed a rule where, when you are playing with less than 6 people there are automatic pre-defined scores that come in to further fill out the board, thus making it a bit more challenging to get points unless you place really well.

Somehow we managed to not get a picture of this game as well. But, here's how it went. I got crap. Chris got crap. Wes scored big. I got crap. Chris got ok stuff. Wes scored big. I got some ok stuff, Chris got crap. Wes got crap. I got crap, Chris got crap, Wes scored really big.

Needless to say, Wes won and beat both Chris and I by quite a bit in the scores. This is exactly what he needed to put himself in solid contention for the final game. Surprisingly, Chris and I tied for 2nd place which was good for both of us and bad for Wes as it still left him in 3rd place.

RESULTS AFTER GAME 9: Show Manager
Wes's crushing victory was somewhat nullified by the tie for 2nd by me and Chris...here are the official results after Round 9:

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


AMAZING! After 9 games over the weekend we were all within 204 points of each other! This was really coming down to the wire.

It was clear now that Chris or I would win if we got 1st place (unless our scores were extremely close) and Wes needed to get 1st AND have Chris finish 3rd by a bunch for him to be able to come out on top.
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21. Board Game: What the Heck? [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:2244]
Board Game: What the Heck?
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We decided to hold off on the final Oregon Cup game until Sunday (the final day of competition). Actually, Chris still hadn't even decided on his last choice of game! Oh, the anticipation!

Well, we decided to still play some fun, lighter games so Chris suggested Raj, which Wes and I had never played. And, Christine joined us on this.

We played two rounds. The rules are simple: You have a deck of cards valued 1-15. You are bidding on tiles that come out that are worth -4 to 10 points. Obviously you want to win the high value tiles and NOT win the low value tiles. To win high value, you have to have the highest card BUT if your card is the same as someone else they cancel each other out. For the negative value tiles, lowest card 'wins'.

The first round I sucked horribly (I do terrible at these games, even if I enjoy playing them) and Wes came out champion.

The second round I won, probably because Wes spend the 2nd half of the round randomly selecting his cards (or else I'm sure I would have lost again).

The funniest parts of the game were when Christine, Wes and I all played the exact same card and Chris unexpectedly 'won' negative tiles (the first one with the 'lowest' card of 14) This happened twice in a row!

From gallery of tasajara

WHAT!?!?

From gallery of tasajara

NOT AGAIN!?!?
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22. Board Game: Cockroach Salad [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:2950] [Average Rating:6.16 Unranked]
Board Game: Cockroach Salad
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We played a quick round of this with the same group. This game is funny, but not as funny at 7pm as at 2am. Chris won.
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23. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:445]
Board Game: No Thanks!
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Chris schooled us on No Thanks! Wes learned after the first game what not to do, then proceeded to do it again anyhow.

Fun game as usual. As usual Chris horded the chips. How does he do that!?
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24. Board Game: The Starfarers of Catan [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1084]
Board Game: The Starfarers of Catan
-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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This game sucks.

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


Despite Chris's static-y balls, he was able to pull out the victory.

Seriously, I did enjoy this game, but the rolls can really screw you sometimes. As usual, we all had our whining moments due to dice rolls and no production that was good for us. What is it about the Catan games that once you position yourself to get some extra goods, your number never comes up again the rest of the game?

I will admit that the components for this game are really, really cool. I still felt like it needed a BIT more going on to round it out. I need my friend Bob to work in some good variants to make me want to get this game.
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25. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:915]
Board Game: Loopin' Louie
-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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Chris has CHICKENS OF STEEL!

And I have LOUIE, HOT LIKE A LASER CUTTER!

I won at least one round I think. I don't remember as I was just having too much fun playing yet another terrific kids game with no kids anywhere around. We probably could have played all night if we didn't have something important to do in the morning.....
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