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Subject: South Arlington Gamers - 5/31/07 rss

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Michael Kandrac
United States
Grand Prairie
TX
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A (mostly) Knizia Evening

Our fourth meeting started earlier with a new time of 6:00 pm. Greg "Chezzilla" was the first one to show; he was perusing his new copy of Reiner Knizia's Through the Desert when I arrived. It was one of 5 games that I had just obtained from ThoughtHammer, the others being Ingenious, Theophrastus, the Kosmos two-player Dracula, and Aton.



It had been a couple of years since I last played the game with plastic pastel camels, and I must say that I much enjoyed the quick 2 player game that followed a just as quick review of the rules. This was Greg's first game of Durch die W├╝ste . We both placed our caravan leaders one hex away from an oasis and next to waterholes, so our initial moves racked up several quick points. I took an opportunity to enclose a large area along a board's edge which netted me 30 points, otherwise, the game was close. Final score was Gamegrunt-96, Chezzilla-64. I'm sure Greg will do a lot better when he gets his rematch!

Alan "chargetheguns" arrived during the rules explanation but opted to read over rules of Rheinlander which we both wished to get to the table at some point. Stephen "Apocryphile," Dan and Beth from the Mid-Metroplex Boardgames Group and Jim from the Fort Worth Gamers rounded out the seven individuals who would play board games until those wonderful Borders employees had to shush us out the door at 10:00. We're writing our congressional representatives, beseeching store management, reciting all 15 decades of the rosary (or 25, nevermind,) and offering sacrifices to primitive gods in the fervent hope that Borders will stay open one more hour!

Alan and I got our wish and a five-player Rheinlander shortly began in earnest after we teamed-up to explain the rules of this excellent Reiner Knizia design to Stephen, Dan and Greg.



Alan got off to a great start; I believe he quickly assembled 3 or 4 duchies with castles within the first few turns. All things said about this game, there is no substitute for having as many duchies under your control at game's end as possible, and both he and Dan managed this aspect of the game very well. Chezzilla Greg loves to have the archbishop in front of him, and he did so for most of the game while using this power a few times with devastating results. Stephen struggled but I played horribly, never formulating an effective strategy and my final score was an utterl reflection of my futility.
Final scores were Alan 31, Dan 29, Greg 24, Stephen 21 and someone else had 15 points.

While the five of us carved out our little dukedoms on the banks of the Rhein Beth and Jim engaged in a no-holds-barred, fight to the death game of Yahtzee.



Jim totally dominated this dice fest and won with a whopping 418 points to Beth's 172. Let me dispel the rumor that Reiner Knizia designed this game!

At this point two new games were started: a four-player Ingenious by Knizia and a 3-player Tigris & Euphrates by that same ubiquitous German fellow...well, his game designs were certainly ubiquitous!

The Ingenious players were Beth, Jim, Greg and I. Beth expressed great delight that I brought my new (only played once with my twin grandchildren that same morning) copy of this simple yet fascinating tile-laying game played on a hexagonal grid. She had had a wonderful time playing Ingenious with her brother who introduced the game to her. The game was totally new to Jim and Greg.



Her play was very sharp and her win almost predetermined. Once again, I could not find my legs in yet another boardgame and finished last, never once achieving an "ingenious" - reaching an 18 point total in any of the six colors. I don't recall whether Jim managed an ingenious, but Beth and Greg had several, and I came to fully appreciate the importance of gaining those bonus moves! Final scores were Beth 14, Jim 12, Greg 10 and my humble 9.

While the four of us merrily engaged in hexagons, Stephen, Dan and Alan found that squares could be fun as well. Their game of Tigris & Euphrates was played out with my Top Licence Edition of the game, a printing in the style of the original Hans im Gluck German version.



Stephen had played the game several times, Alan perhaps once, and Dan was making his maiden voyage through the perilous landscape that is the Tigris-Euphrates River Basin. They just managed to finish the game by store closing with final scores of Alan 9, Stephen 8, and Dan 7.

With only 30 minutes or so remaining the Ingenious players shifted gears to a very different game experience, and a game that wasn't designed by a German mathematician. I pulled out my copy of Bruno Faidutti's Citadels and fumbled the rules explanation a bit. Fortunately, a useful player's aid and the cards that come with the game do a great job of summarizing the essentials of the game.



Our game was abbreviated; I think we got in about 4 turns or so, but the end was decided when Greg divulged the Warlord and whacked one of my districts to award him a victory, thus avenging the pasting he took in the pastel game that opened the evening. Everyone enjoyed the game and we will play out a complete game in the near future. You know I actually remembered how to spell "Faidutti?" Final scores were Greg 9, I had 7, Jim 4 and Beth 3.

To top off this fun-filled evening four of us retired to the nearby Brewhouse to slake our thirst on the fine libations to be had there along with some tasty finger-food. We learned a lot about each other's many and varied histories including but not limited to the story...

...of a once Anchorage, Alaska high school girl waiting for a school bus in 20 below temperatures (and the bus was late!) and now finds herself a library administrator.

...of the travels of a Vought Aircraft representative and his wondrous experiences in Spain who has children who actually love to read.

...of how a fellow gets to Texas via St. Louis and Ada, Oklahoma and lands a great position with Fort Worth's Kimball Art Museum.

...of a man who has had altogether too many jobs, but finds great satisfaction in teaching high school and working part-time at a Home Depot.

Alan graciously picked up the tab and was immediately declared to be a very jolly good fellow indeed!

All in all, an excellent way to spend an evening.

Gg









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Adam Daulton
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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I enjoyed this. Thanks for writing it!
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Jared C
Germany
Berlin
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can't wait! the background noise at "The Gaming Center", where Fort Worth gamers play, is about to drive me insane...i really miss me a borders
 
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