Big Game Saturday™ Birthday Bash!
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
Washington
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Previous Session Reports
Big Game Saturday™ Sessions List

Big Game Saturday™ just got bigger!

November 5, 2011 was on the schedule as an average, ordinary, everyday Big Game Saturday™. But since it was so close to Andy's birthday, he got special permission from his wife to turn the day into a full fledged, knock-down-drag-out CBBS gaming extravagansa. And he scored a few gifts along the way.

In addition to his wife and two daughters, 18 people answered the call and showed up at the appointed hour (well, some arrived at a non-appointed hour), with the last of the guests heading home just after midnight. Those in attendance included Tom, Jeff & Maria, Tim, Scott, Nyck, Steve & Laura, Mary, Vince, Eric & Kelli (with their two daughters), CCW Scott (with his son and daughter) and Bryan.
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1. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:341]
Andrew Korson
United States
Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 2:10pm
End: 3:05pm


By special request, Andy set up a two-table PitchCar track that used every single piece from the base game and all four expansions.

By ten after the appointed hour, there were enough driver/flickers present to begin the race. Andy had pole position, followed by Tom, Maria, Jeff, Tim, Scott, Nyck and Ellie.

With eight people crowded around the table, it is easy to lose track of who's turn it is, and people seem to always get in each other's way as they move up to take their turn. An easy solution that had not occurred to anyone until this day was to have everyone line up around the table in turn order, then proceed to walk around the table as each took his/her turn. This worked out very well, even when drivers started to get separated. And the exercise from walking round and round the table was a bonus!

The track had a really tricky jump right after the starting line that proved to be the discriminator, as the final order was almost identical to the order in which everyone cleared that jump. Tim, second to get across the jump just behind Scott caught up to him in the last few turns to cross the line first, leaving Scott with second place. Jeff was not too far behind to take third. There was a fairly large gap between most of the other racers caused by the jump, and the rest of the order was Tom, Nyck, Andy, Maria and Ellie.

Another innovation worth noting was the use of metal paper-binder clips on the track junctions to help keep them level. Although there were not enough to cover the entire track, where they were used, there were no problems with unruly bumps. More shall be purchased so that future tracks will remain bump-free.
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2. Board Game: Ricochet Robots [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:630] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Andrew Korson
United States
Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 2:30pm-ish
End: 3:00pm-ish


Despite Tim bringing over a fresh supply of score sheets, it seems that the latecomers who started a game of Ricochet Robots failed to properly fill out and submit it for entry. This is unacceptable, and those responsible shall be punished.

Regardless, even with their flagrant disregard for proper recordkeeping they shall get credit for the game, although it shall remain anonymous, as there is no way to reconstruct who all the participants were.
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3. Board Game: The Starfarers of Catan [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:950]
Andrew Korson
United States
Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 3:30pm
End: 5:55pm


By now, all the guests had arrived, so everyone broke out into groups for the first big game of the day.

At table 5, Andy chose to run The Starfarers of Catan. Ellie had expressed an interest, and Tom and Nyck agreed to try their hand at settling the galaxy Catan style.

There were some initial raised eyebrows when this was announced as the first game of the afternoon (concern over the length of the game), but when all were reminded that this was in fact a Big Game Saturday™, the eyebrows came back down, and all was well.

Nyck got off to a quick start when he got a free teleport to the edge of the universe around turn three. But the rest slowly made progress, with Ellie focusing on trading, and Andy getting a couple of colonies out quickly, and also building the first space port. Tom tried a balanced strategy, but the dice were a bit unkind early on and he was resource-deficient early on that set him back. In the end, Andy managed a three point final turn to win (getting a second fame ring for a point, then taking a trade token for two more). Ellie and Nyck finished at 12, and Tom was right behind with 10.

One minor rules issue occurred early on when they realized that when a black ball is rolled, the base speed is automatically three; not the sum of the balls. The error was caught quickly, and everyone agreed that it did not create an unacceptable impact on the game.
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4. Board Game: Langfinger [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:4605]
Andrew Korson
United States
Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 3:20pm
End: 4:20pm


Downstairs on table 8, Steve, Jeff, Vince and Eric played Langfinger. Your humble scribe has not heard of this game and knows nothing about it. All we know from the score sheet is that Steve scored 20 somethings, followed by Jeff with 19, Vince with 18, and Eric with a very shameful 16.

Unless low score wins, in which case Eric performed admirably.
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5. Board Game: Mississippi Queen [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:1800]
Andrew Korson
United States
Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 3:25pm
End: 4:30pm


Tim talked CCW Scott, Bryan, Laura and Mary into the classic race game Mississippi Queen on table 7. CCW Scott managed to safely and quickly navigate the ever-changing currents and hazards on the big river to finish first. Bryan steamed his way into second, while Tim rowed his way to third. Laura floated her way to fourth place, and Mary, according to the score sheet, merely receives credit for playing.
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6. Board Game: On the Underground [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1120]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 3:20pm
End: 5:25pm


Meanwhile, over on table 6, Scott convinced Maria and Kelli to join him to play On the Underground. For such a long game, there were very few comments noted on the score sheet. We know that Scot won with 55 points, aided by his 10 point endgame loop. Maria socred 49 points and Kelli had 46. No mention of the size of their endgame loops.
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7. Board Game: Crazy Kick [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:3750]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 4:15pm
End: 4:45pm


The downstairs crew of Vince, Jeff, Eric and Steve decided to channel their inner Pelé, and played a quick game of Fußball Ligretto (this writer refuses to acknowledge the awful name change to 'Crazy Kick').

Team VinceJeff fell by one point to Team EricSteve, 5-4. Huzzah.
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8. Board Game: Excape [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:2502]
Andrew Korson
United States
Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 4:40pm-ish
End: 5:20pm-ish


For the second time in the day, a game was played without being recorded on an official CBBS score sheet. We have it on good authority that the offenders included Tim, CCW Scott with his two children, and perhaps Bryan and/or Mary.

Shame on them all for failing to record what may have been the greatest game ever of Excape. Or maybe it was the worst game ever! Perhaps the funniest? Or most ridiculous? Sadly, we will never know. Let us hope that a lesson was learned that afternoon.
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9. Board Game: Wings of War: Famous Aces [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:900] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 5:00pm
End: 5:45pm


The downstairs crew had no trouble following rules. They submitted score sheets in full compliance with all CBBS regulations for all games played, including this one.

Before heading upstairs to see what was for dinner, Eric, Jeff and Steve engaged in a quick dogfight using some of Andy's Wings of War: Miniatures and Wings of War: Game Mat.

While not recorded on the score sheet, we did learn that Steve had rudder issues, and ended up flying off the edge of the playing surface to his doom. Eric emerged victorious, presumably shooting down Jeff while Steve flew helplessly off the edge of the earth.
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10. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:48]
Andrew Korson
United States
Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 5:35pm
End: unknown


At least this time someone in the upstairs contingent decided to fill out a CBBS score sheet (although they failed to properly record the end time...sigh...)

Tim, Kelli, Bryan, Scott, Mary and CCW Scott led their bands of ancients through the ages in an attempt to be the most wonderful.

Kelli was in fact the most wonderful, scoring 64 points with a fairly well balanced strategy. CCW Scott, focusing heavily on military and blue cards came in second with 61. Tim, following a different strategy in which more than half his points came in greens was a close third with 60 points. Bryan also scored 31 points in greens, but his negative military score and lack of any purples only got him to 51 points. Scott apparently eschewed yellows, greens and purples, which ended up being a poor choice- his score was 45. But alas Mary was the least wonderful of all- 31 points was all she could muster.
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11. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:141]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 6:00pm-ish
End: 7:00pm-ish


Someone had brought a mini Go set. Laura and Tom decided to play two quick games.

How did it Go? Laura won both, 32/40 to 15/6. That's how it went.

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12. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:647]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
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Start: 6:05pm
End: 6:35pm

At the conclusion of the epic The Starfarers of Catan game, Andy was joined by Maria, Jeff and Eric in a quick game of Forbidden Island. They used the 'standard' starting position, but in hindsight, perhaps they should have gone for the 'beginner' setting, as the island quickly sank underneath them, leading to a watery loss.

It was noted on the score sheet that Eric 'killed everyone' just before a third artifact could be captured. Sinking the helicopter landing was a bad move on his part.
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13. Board Game: FITS [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1411]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
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Start: 6:26pm
End: 7:10pm


Kelli's daughter Zoe decided to join in the fun and sat down with Kelli, Tim and Steve to play FITS. The final score of the game was an elegant 14-13-12-11 by Steve-Tim-Zoe-Kelli respectively.

The scoresheet also includes this bit of wisdom attributed to Tim:

"The key to most things in life is just to be less stupid."

We think that should be the CBBS motto.
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14. Board Game: Ligretto [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:2519]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
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Start: 6:42pm
End: 7:15pm


A crowd began to form at this point, and no one knew what to do about it. Andy decided that Ligretto was a good choice to keep all nine wandering gamers gainfully occupied.

With nine players, things were pretty crazy. It was a tight fit around the table, with very little room for everyone's playing area and all the scoring piles. There is some element of luck in the game, in that a bad set of cards in your Ligretto stack can be hard to get rid of, resulting in big negative scores. But it's not all luck. After several rounds, including a few tag team moves with Tim replacing Bryan and Laura replacing Maria, Jeff ended up in first place with 42 points. Maria finished second with 41 points even though she did not play the last round!

To save others the shame associated with horribly negative scores, we will only note that the other players included Andy, CCW Scott, Laura, Nyck, Eric, Tim, Mary, Scott and Bryan.
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15. Board Game: Bongo! [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:4919]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
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Start: unknown- 7-ish?
End: also unknown


For the third time this evening, a game was played without being recorded on a CBBS score sheet. What makes this even worse is that the CBBS lead gorilla himself played the game and failed to make the score sheet happen.

What the hell is going on here people??????

OK, moving past the score sheet issue.

There were several CBBS members present who had never played Bongo! before, so Tim decided this evening was the perfect time to indoctrinate them. Laura picked up on it quickly, and seemed to enjoy it. Steve stared blankly through the explanation, and also stared blankly through most of the rounds played. Others participated at levels that varied between those two.
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16. Board Game: SET [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1304]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
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Start: 7:20pm
End: 7:40pm


Somewhere around this time, our beautiful and talented hostess Cindy served up dinner in the form of pizzas and fried chicken. While some were eating and others were finishing up various games throughout the house, SET was brought out, and several people gathered around to see if they could correctly spot a Set. Credited with at least one set were Maria, Tom, Kelli, Nyck, Tim, Eric and Jeff.
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17. Board Game: Asteroyds [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:2691]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 7:40pm
End: unknown


In the post-dinner reconfig, Tim led a six player game of Asteroyds. Joining him were Maria, Jeff, Nyck, Tom and Kelli. Many (if not all) besides Tim were first time players.

Not surprisingly, Tim ended up winning, collecting all four small pieces of cardboard decorated with spacey-symbols. Nyck and Kelli each managed to collect three, while Tom, Maria and Jeff managed to pilot their spacecraft into enough obstacles to blow themselves up.
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18. Board Game: Snow Tails [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:665]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
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Start: 7:45pm
End: 8:50pm


Scott, Eric, Mary and Steve decided to try their hand at dog sled racing. Mush!

They finished in order as listed above.
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19. Board Game: The Hobbit [Average Rating:5.99 Overall Rank:3884]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 7:45pm
End: 9:15pm


Laura, Bryan, CCW Scott and Andy decided to try the semi-cooperative The Hobbit.

It was bad news right from the beginning. In the first event phase, only one non-travel card showed up, so there was very little aid for the hobbits/dwarfs in the first adventure phase. Smaug was pleased, as he made it halfway to Laketown in that first phase.

With three more phases to go, it didn't look good. Although they hung on until the final phase, in the end Smaug made it to Laketown and burned it to the ground. Everyone died a horrible death.

Using dental records and crime scene forensic techniques, it was determined that CCW Scott's hobbit managed to collect 35 gems before being flamed by Smaug. The remains of Laura's hobbit had 30 gems on his person. The next of kin for Andy's hobbit received all 27 gems he had collected and Bryan's hobbit was found at the edge of town with only 20 gems in the charred remnants of his money purse.

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20. Board Game: Factory Fun [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:998]
Andrew Korson
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Kennewick
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Start: 9:00pm
End: 10:00pm-ish


Tim somehow managed to convince Steve, Nyck, Mary and Scott to join him in a game of Factory Fun. While it does involve a factory of sorts, it's not clear to this writer where exactly the 'fun' is. Perhaps it is just a figure of speech.

Fun or not, Scott was the big winner with 84 non-fun factory units. Tim came in second with 77, followed by Steve with 73, Mary with 61 and Nyck with 38.
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21. Board Game: Chaostle [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:7885]
Andrew Korson
United States
Kennewick
Washington
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Start: 9:40pm
End: 12:15am


In a fitting end to the evening, it was decided to try out Andy's birthday present from his wife, Chaostle.

Cindy was pleased that not only did she find a game that Andy didn't already have, but it was also one that no one in the CBBS had played before.

Chaostle is a well produced game, with very nice 3D castle components, sculptured minis, and functional character stat boards.

Andy, Tom, Eric, Laura, Bryan, and Kelli all joined in. The first twenty minutes were spent getting the board set up and going through the rules to understand how to play. Kelli did a great job reading through the rule book and explaining the game. But just after the first few turns, Nyck and Tim asked to join in since their Factory Fun game was over. So they were allowed to grab a couple characters, and after re-explaining the game, the chaos began.

One of the first comments we got from the group once we figured out the basic game play was that this game is like Sorry! with a dungeon theme. Your 'pawns' have different abilities and characteristics, you have to fight other characters and kill them to send them back to start, and you have to get your characters all the way around the board and back to your 'home' aka the Sanctuary.

There was some initial confusion regarding movement (we didn't realize how 'jumping' worked on level's 2 and 3 until late in the game) and the final castle battle was a bit confusing.

Combat is interesting in that it's mostly 'to the death'- it seemed rare that anyone would want to (or be able to) withdraw from a fight. There is no skill involved in the actual battles, as you just roll a six sided die, and that determines which weapon you use, and how much damage is done to your opponents. Keep rolling until one of you is dead.

The Sorry! analogy comes up when your characters die- they come out of play until you roll a 1 or 2, then you can bring them back into play and try again. With eight players, each of us had only two characters, which meant if both your characters were killed, it might be awhile before you roll successfully to bring one back in play. That made for some boring turns for a couple players. I think a variant where you can get your characters back in play faster might be an improvement.

The 'fateful five' rolls add the chaos! When a five is rolled for movement, a separate roll is made on a table that includes 'happiness' events and 'doom' events. These add a lot of spice and flavor to the game. For example, in this game, an event was rolled that forced everyone to swap starting positions with their neighbors, which really was chaotic, as those who were previously going clockwise now had to go counterclockwise, and vice versa.

Trying to understand (and remembering to use!) all the special abilities that each character has was a bit of a challenge for first time play, but the rule book was mostly clear in how to use them. Separate player/character aids (or even printing on back of character cards) that have only your character's abilities would be an improvement.

In the end, Eric, with his Minotaur/Wizard combination, managed to make it to the Sanctuary first for the win.

Despite the late hour, everyone enjoyed it. The game seemed to have the perfect blend of luck, chaos, silly humor, and chrome. We will definitely be trying it again to see if it was the game itself or if it was the company and setting that made it memorable.
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22. Board Game: Miscellaneous Game Accessory [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:4128] [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:111]
Andrew Korson
United States
Kennewick
Washington
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As usual, Cindy provided a splendid assortment of snacks, from chips and candy to fruit and vegetables. There was no shortage of beverages either- all kinds of sodas, light lemonade, bottled water, she even made coffee for those who wanted something hot to drink.

For dinner, she ordered enough pizza and chicken so that no one went hungry. And since it was a birthday party, there were cupcakes and a large german chocolate birthday cake as well.

Our more observant readers may note the unusual lack of action photos in this session report. This writer acknowledges the failure and accepts full responsibility. It is a lot harder to remember to have the camera handy and actually take photos than it seems. Critiquing others for failing to provide photos is thus no longer a practice I have interest in.

And I must publicly acknowledge the nice gifts I received. I had asked attendees to not bother, but some did anyway. As mentioned above, my wife bought me Chaostle. She doesn't play games much, but she does indulge my interest and is very supportive. She was so proud of herself to find something that I would enjoy and that no one in our group had ever played before. That's not an easy accomplishment given the collective level of geek experience the CBBS has.

Tim gave me a nice acrylic card box to hold my custom 20 player 6 nimmt! deck. Mary gave me some soap flakes in the shape of meeples. Very cute. And sanitary. I also got a nice set of custom metal dice from Eric, Kelli, Steve and Laura. Each one has a different theme/pattern.

Thank you all for the gifts, and for joining me for the day. It was a very good day.

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