I juggle cats.
1. Car Wars: The Card Game
2. San Juan
3. The Starfarers of Catan
The evening started out with a quick game of Car Wars: The Card Game between Dan and I (John). I only recently got this game from a BoardGameGeek.com trade. The first time I played it, I hated it - way too simple and random, and with butt-ugly card art to boot. After playing it a few times, though, it has grown on me. Not one of my favorites, but a quick diversion.
Like most CW:TCG games, this one was decided by having the right cards at the right time. I started out with a couple early Flamethrower blasts and was able to get 2 breaches by the time Dan got one. Multiple options and more lucky draws let me finish him off.
Still waiting for others to show up, we started in on a game of San Juan. About 2 turns in, Paul came. Since we were expecting at least 1 more, we restarted. My plan was to take it easy on Dan, but when Paul (who I've only met once, but know to be a fierce competitor) showed up, I shifted to all-out mode. Resources were slim during the game, with no one wanting to give the others an advantage.
My empire, built on a Marketplace, Smithy and Gold Mine, proved to provide the most bang for the buck as I never missed an opportunity to build and ended the game while Paul & Dan still had only 9 buildings. I won't list the final score here, but I had a Guild Hall and Castle while the others didn't have any 6's.
I will always remember this as the first (only?) time I ever beat Paul.
Figuring no one else was coming, we moved into the meat of the night - Starfarers of Catan. Dan & I were both new to the game, while Paul was an old pro. The excitement of the night came while Paul was explaining the game and Christopher, my 3 year old, picked up an extra starship and snapped off part of the nosecone. I offered to replace the piece (which I now have to find) and all was well.
During the game, Paul moved to 13 (out of 15) victory points alarmingly quickly while Dan & I struggled to get above 7. I was the first one to set up a colony in the furthest reaches of the galaxy (thanks to an encounter with the Travellers), but stalled out for several turns due to getting taxed 3(!) times while trying to establish a spaceport.
Dan & I joined forces to keep Paul from the last 2 points, but it only proved to delay the inevitable. Final score was something like Paul 15, Dan 10, John 9.
Dan & I both enjoyed the game, though not quite as much as Settlers. We both liked the toy factor and the multiple victory paths, but thought the added complexity contributed to longer turns and less player interaction. We both look forward to playing it again, though.
Overall, while it would have been nice to have a couple more players, the night was a lot of fun. Starfarers played well with 3 and it was a good time of conversation with a couple guys who I'm quickly beginning to consider friends.