The CBBS Game Night at the Bat
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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On October 28, 2011, seventeen gamers eschewed watching Game 7 of the World Series to instead descend into the Official CBBS Gaming Basement for an evening of cultural enrichment, clever conversation, and scintillating game play. Tim, of course, had carefully constructed the Game Night schedule months ago to minimize any conflict with MLB's postseason, but Wednesday's game was rained out and thus Game 7 was pushed back to Friday. Thus, Tim had no choice but to DVR the baseball game, thereby bending time and space to his will. Take that, Mother Nature!

At any rate, the CBBS was represented by Sean, Scott, Counterclockwise Scott, Tim, Tom, Jean, Andy, Birgit, Ivan, Jeff, Maria, Eric, Kelli, Amanda, Ryan, Laura, and Steve on this resplendent night.



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1. Board Game: Krypto [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:10121]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 6:30pm
End time: 6:45pm


We began with several rounds of Krypto, to energize our puzzlenators and lubricate our gaming valves. Sean, Scott, Counterclockwise Scott, Tim, Tom, Jean, and Andy all solved at least one Krypto.

For the zillionth time in a row, we failed to record a proper Krypto puzzle for our readership to solve, so we shall present not one but two brand new puzzles designed to keep you up at night and learn you some advanced arithmetic:

17 14 23 24 9 => 4

Spoiler (click to reveal)
(24*9)/(23+17+14) = 4
(23+9)*(17-14)/24 = 4
(23+14-9)/(24-17) = 4
(9-(24-23)/(17-14) = 4
(24-23) + 9/(17-14) = 4


8 5 16 5 13 => 17

Spoiler (click to reveal)
(5+(16*5))/(13-8) = 17
((16*5)+13-8)/5 = 17
(13*5)-(8-5)*16 = 17
((13-8)*16+5)/5 = 17
13/5-8/5+16 = 17

I like that last one, turning three fives into a one using non-integer arithmetic.
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2. Board Game: SET [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1303]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 6:45pm
End time: 7:00pm


To complete the straggle-in phase of Game Night, we went through a deck of SETs. This makes a good companion for Krypto, as people who struggle with one sometimes do better with the other. Tim, Andy, Birgit, Tom, Jean, and Counterclockwise Scott are all credited with finding at least one SET.

We do not currently have a SET generator with which to dazzle our Session Report subscribers; however, there are a number of web sites that allow you to practice your mad SET skillz. For example:

http://www.setgame.com/set/
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3. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:215] [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:10pm
End time: 8:45pm


Nine gamers made the starting bell, so we began with a two table split. Tom wanted to play Small World, and, following the time-honored Shippert pizza selection method - where the first person willing to actually state a preference gets their way - that's what we played on Table One. Tim, Sean, Jean, and Ivan joined in.


This is one of those games that could provide a decent recap, as the combination of races and powers that each player used might be kind of interesting. Unfortunately, Tim is way too lazy to keep track of that kind of thing, so we'll have to make due with his aging and decrepit memory. His initial race was the Underworld Halflings, which allowed him to conquer all eleven of his initial territories with just one token, and to spread out all over the board. This meant that Tim could decline right away, and that those Halflings stuck around for a long time afterwards. His Berserk Trolls were able to carve out and entrench themselves in a hunk of the southwestern part of the board - but it was probably his selection of the Hill Ratmen (with five coins on them) on the penultimate turn that put him ahead for good. It is easy to be seduced by some of the awesome powers of the other races, but in the end the game is about conquering and holding territory, and a dozen Ratmen can do that pretty well all on their own. Combined with four Hill territories and five declined Troll lairs, he made the first twenty point score of the game on the last turn, and won easily with 106 points.

Ivan's Bivouacking Humans lasted three turns and gave plenty of points, as those races and powers that give bonus points can be pretty powerful. But his Alchemist Giants (which looked to be quite effective) were wiped out fairly quickly, and scored nothing in decline when his Heroic Amazons ruled the east side of the board; he finished in second with 87 points.

Sean started with Flying Wizards, which, in addition to scoring a lot of points, made it very hard to see which regions belonged to who. (Small World may be pretty, but the graphics just get in the way on a full board.) He later had the powerful Commando (I think?) Elves, but still only scored 83 points - I'm not sure, but he might have only declined once, which might have hurt his final score.

Tom had powerful races all game long, from the Fortified Skeletons early to the Dragon Master Sorcerers late; both of those end up adding new tokens during play, and the Skeletons lasted in their forts well into the midgame, so it's a bit of a mystery why he scored only 82 points.

Jean had the unusual situation of playing the same race twice: Swamp and Mounted Tritons, with Diplomatic Ghouls in between. Her Ghouls scored significantly in decline, and her Mounted Tritons were able to sweep easily through her competition; unfortunately they fell prey to Tim's Berserk Trolls (and some pretty lucky die rolling), and she could only score 74 points for the game.
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4. Board Game: Antics! [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2587]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:45pm (post-splaining)
End time: 9:00


Meanwhile, Andy finally got Antics! to the table - Table Two, to be precise. He was joined by Birgit, Counterclockwise Scott, and Scott, all of who were hypnotized by the game board and powerless to resist.


Counterclockwise Scott had the most ant-affinity, scoring 20 funiculi, while Scott earned 16 mesothoracic spiracules, Andy managed 10 metapleural glands, and Birgit made due with postpetioles.
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5. Board Game: Quarriors! [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:768] [Average Rating:6.78 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
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Richland
Washington
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Start time: 37 QST
End time: 91 QDT


At some point Eric, Kelli, Jeff, and Maria wandered in, so they were sent to Table Three to fend for themselves until the reconfig. Fortunately, Eric brought his new copy of Quarriors!, so that's what they played.


I believe this game was artificially truncated, as Jeff is credited with winning with only 6 points. Eric scored 3, Maria had 2, and Kelli earned 1.
 
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6. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:22]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 9:05pm
End time: 11:05pm


At this point the rest of our crew showed up, just in time for a four table reconfig. When the dust settled, Tim found himself on Table One, splaining Puerto Rico to Laura, Amanda, and Jean.


One of the interesting things about playing older games is that you still can learn something from the experience. That's one of the reasons why I tend towards the "cult of the new" - the first few times you play something you are on the steepest (and therefore most interesting) part of the learning curve. But a classic like Puerto Rico still has tricks to teach a mid-level player like me.

I have never been a big fan of the Hacienda (which gives you an extra plantation each Settler phase). It gives you an obvious benefit in more land, but it also fills up your board with random plantations which might not fit your strategy. But Laura used it to great effect in this game; she pointed out that filling your board early lets you tailor your strategy to your resources that much sooner. It also allowed her to take Settler three times early on, getting three quarries and still building her production base.

The end result was that she got a good spread of production lands, which she leveraged into an early Factory build. Along with the almost-mandatory hospice, she never lacked for any of the three currencies (money, colonists, goods) in the game. She built three big purple buildings to end the game quickly, but still managed to keep pace with the goods shippers, and won easily with 64 points.

Tim focused on producing and shipping corn and tobacco; he eventually got a wharf and harbor, but Laura's steam engine ended the game before he could get enough money for the Customs House, although it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway. He got 28 points in VP chips and 16 in buildings for 44 total, and as Laura got 26 points in VP chips even if the game had gone longer its hard to see how he could have made up any more ground.

Amanda got a Coffee plantation in her first settler phase and was able to build a production building to give her a steady money stream. But she wasn't able to convert that to very many building points, and she finished with 36. Jean got a lot of sugar plantations, which I sometimes like to do - you can start producing fairly early and sugar works both as a shipping and trade good. But her engine never really got going and she finished with 30 points.

I have played Puerto Rico a fair amount (although not recently), but mostly with five players. With four the hacienda/settler/quarry strategy might work better than with five - your turns come quicker and the quarries go slower (it's almost impossible to get three quarries with five players). At any rate, it was nice to find some new wrinkles in an old favorite.
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7. Board Game: Revolution! [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1127]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 9:15pm
End time: 10:15pm


Over on Table Two, Andy, Sean, Birgit, and Counterclockwise Scott played Andy's brand new copy of Revolution!.


Sean won the Tavern, Birgit scored the Cathedral and Harbor, and Counterclockwise Scott controlled the Fortress and Market. Counterclockwise Scott and Birgit tied for the lead at the Plantation, while the Town Hall was split between Andy and Counterclockwise Scott. Thus, any child could calculate that Counterclockwise Scott would finish with 155 points/pesos/zorknids, while Birgit scored 143, Sean accumulated 86, and Andy settled for 63.
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8. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:467]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 9:15pm
End time: 10:45pm


Back in the Lounge, Eric, Scott, Tom, and Ivan played Betrayal at House on the Hill, in honor of the season. (Halloween, not baseball.)


It was soon clear that Tom was the bad guy, as he could be seen out in the main room reading through some game rules while the folks in the back room plotted against him. From the scoresheet:

Tom became the traitor, kidnapped a small child who was forced to marry the mummy. The rest had to find an ancient tome and learn the mummy's name in order to stop him. Unfortunately, Scott and Eric died in the process.

Good times!
 
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9. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:77]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 9:30pm
End time: 10:15pm


Finally, Ryan, Kelli, Jeff, Maria, and Steve fought the plagues of Zombieism, Syphillus, AIDS, and Democracy in Pandemic.


Sadly, the world was destroyed by AIDS. Which isn't really that communicable, so humanity must have been practicing some truly horrible hygiene.

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10. Board Game: Finito! [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:3903]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 10:30pm
End time: 10:52pm


Tables One and Four were the slowpokes of the config, so it came to pass that Sean, Andy, Counterclockwise Scott, Maria, Kelli, and Jeff needed to play five games of Finito! to while away the minutes.


Andy was obviously cheating, as he won four games with only one joint win (with Counterclockwise Scott). Maria won the fifth game, probably just to make it seem less suspicious.
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11. Board Game: Perudo [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:622]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 11:00pm
End time: 11:45pm


At this point the Lounge opened up, but Table One still seemed a ways away from finishing. That's how a rollicking eleven-player, fire-code violating game of Perudo came to take place back there. The contestants were Andy, Sean, Counterclockwise Scott, Scott, Steve, Eric, Jeff, Ryan, Kelli, Ivan, and Maria.


The interesting thing about this game is that a lot of the early challenges cost the loser only a single die, despite the incredibly high bids. But soon a six-die miscall put Jeff out in eleventh place, and the dominoes started to fall: Sean, Ryan, kelli, Steve, Ivan, Maria, Scott, and Counterclockwise Scott, in that order. Andy held three dice to Eric's one in the showdown, but Eric was able to outroll/outcall/outguess his foe for an impressive comeback victory.
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12. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:612]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 11:45pm
End time: 12:45am


With an astounding fourteen gamers willing (nay, eager) to stay past midnight, we had the perfect opportunity to try Andy's new extended 6 Nimmt! deck, which can handle up to twenty players. The hard part was figuring out where all those people would sit; the end result was an exponential increase in intra-CBBS personal familiarity.


6 Nimmt! actually scales very well to an arbitrary number of players; while the chaos increases with more players, the tactics also change in interesting ways, while the playing time doesn't actually increase that much. In fact, the thing that adds the most time is shuffling and dealing out cards to fourteen people; we decided just to spread the cards on the table and let everybody grab their own, which worked surprisingly well.

With this many people, high cards are a lot more trouble than even with ten; with more than five players you can almost never be safe with any high card that doesn't slot directly onto the end of an expensive row, but with twelve or more it becomes even harder to find the gaps between the 6th and 12th highest card in play. The key to the game becomes figuring out how to dump those high cards, which is the exact opposite problem you have in a five player game.


Amanda couldn't keep up her winning streak from last time and ended the game with 84 points. Andy and Eric both got crushed in rounds two and three to finish with 74 and 68 points, respectively, while Kelli and Ivan both came in under the wire with 65 points. Tim thought he had figured something out by zeroing round 1 (albeit, with at least a little luck), but got nailed with the 110 in round two and the 55 in round three and finished with 54 points. Ryan's zero point second round couldn't make up for his bad first round, and he scored a total of 47 points. Jeff took 26 points in round one but recovered well to finish with just 39, while Tom was in contention for the win before a bad final round gave him a total of 38. Counterclockwise Scott dodged any big scores and finished with 29. Laura took more than half her points in round two but still managed a very good 26 points, while Maria scored consistently to finish with 25. Steve's one point final round let him slip into second place with 22, but it was Scott's single point over the final two rounds that led to his game winning total of 18.
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13. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1207]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 12:50am
End time: 1:30am


We still had ten players at one in the morning; normally we would play 6 Nimmt! in that situation, but we had just done that, so we had no choice to play Jungle Speed instead. Actually, Jungle Speed claims to play no more than eight, but there's really no reason why you couldn't easily double that number. Tim, Ivan, Ryan, Amanda, Steve, Scott, Andy, Laura, Eric, and Kelli were the honorary members of the Aboulou Tribe.


This may very well be the perfect ten player one o'clock post-6 Nimmt! game. Any number of very silly things are guaranteed to happen, usually involving mistaking one card for another and/or accidentally knocking the totem over. Late at night even weirder things can happen: at one point Steve turned over a card and reached for the totem - but, for some reason, he stopped halfway and looked at me expectantly. I said, "I can't see your card", so he moved his arm, showing that our cards matched...so I grabbed the totem. I still don't know what that was about, but it was pretty funny.

There are even opportunities for clever (or, perhaps, shady) play, if you are paying attention. I was able to win an "all-grab" easily after Kelli lost a duel, because I saw her put it on the top of her deck after shuffling the rest. Later on, I was down to two cards (matching throwing stars) - but I knew that Ivan (on my left) had the only other two matches to mine, so I could ignore everybody else and just wait until he revealed one to give me the win.

Eric won game one, Steve won game two, and Tim won games three and four.
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14. Board Game: Crazy Kick [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:3752]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 1:40pm
End time: 1:55pm (two matches)


With speed games on our mind, we decided it was time to add some yelling to the mix by playing a couple rounds of Fußball Ligretto. Tim, Ryan, Amanda, Kelli, and Eric played the morally superior Black Team, while Ivan, Andy, Steve, and Laura were on the vile and corrupt Red Team.


This is a game primarily of card churn; whichever team can run through their deck the fastest usually wins. With this many players it might make sense to have one dedicated caller with no cards - or you can just deal out the cards and start playing. It ain't Chess, after all.

The Red Team proved much better at cycling their cards than the poor Black Team, and won both rounds.
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15. Board Game: Quarriors! [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:768] [Average Rating:6.78 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 2:00am
End time: 3:40am


At this point, most of our gamers called it a night - but Andy, Kelli, Eric, and Tim were willing to stick around for an eerily quiet and peaceful closer - another game of Quarriors!.

Dice games are always fun, just because you get a nifty surprise every turn with what you roll. In Quarriors!, there's the additional surprise of which dice you pull from the bag. You might get all white dice, in which case you get to buy a monster, or you may get all monsters, allowing you to choose which ones you'll activate.

But at its heart Quarriors! is a deck building game; you decide which dice to buy for your strategy, and then you hope they come out (and roll correctly) to score you a bunch of points.

With four people it seemed the game went very quickly; you only need to score your monsters three or four times to get to twelve points. I think I only refilled my bag twice, which means if you buy a really cool monster but it rolls quiddity the first time that may be it for that die. And without a lot of churn its hard to see how buying (non-scoring) spells could pay off. That probably means buying a bunch of early yellow dice (which allow you to grab more out of your bag) is critical; and you should definitely cull out your boring whites as often as you can. (I was hamstrung a little because my scoring monsters came up in my first draws out of the bag, which meant I didn't have a lot of used white dice to cull out, and I didn't want to cull any browns. With churn so important, though, perhaps culling browns is worth it.)

It was actually a rather close game; Kelli won with 16, but she could only get to 11 on her penultimate scoring round, while Eric, Tim, and Andy finished with 10, 9, and 8 respectively, so we were all basically one score away.
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16. Board Game: Miscellaneous Game Accessory [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:4129] [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:111]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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It seems like the Columbia Basin Boardgame Society had a sweet-tooth this Game Night; with the exception of the Coconut and Almond M&Ms, all the sugary and/or chocolatey snacks were finished off, from the Fat Free Fig Newmans and Mint Newman-Os to the Swedish Fish and Warheads, to the Double Chocolate Chunk cookies and the Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzels. Ivan also brought some of those amazing Safeway mini-eclairs and cream-puffs, which were, of course, gone almost instantly.

On the salty side, however, much less progress was made: The sesame sticks and smokehouse almonds were hardly touched (as were the Wasabi peas, but that's nothing new). About half the salt and pepper pretzels chunks were eaten, and even the Sea Salt and Vinegar, Zesty Ranch, and Spicy Thai Kettle Chips had plenty left at the end of the evening. Just for kicks, Tim had provided Taco flavored Doritos this time around; they were alright, but they are no Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, and their performance reflected that fact.

Drinkwise, we had a few special sodas (Frosties Blue Cream Soda, Sioux City Sarsaparilla, Leninade), but mostly the regular mix of Diet Sunkist, Fresca, Dr. Pepper 10, and Light Lemonade (along with about a gallon of good old water) sufficed to slake our collective thirst.
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