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Subject: From gateway to gamers in three easy sessions: part three rss

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Buz
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This is the third in a three part series of how I took a group of college students from gateway to gamer's games in three sessions. I work as a Residence Hall Director and therefore spend a lot of time around college students. With my wife out of town for five days, I had several days to rope the guys into the world of gaming.

With the rousing success of Power Grid the night before, Vlad, Ben, Aaron and I got back together to play. Walter joined the fun, but Ben had to go early. He had just wanted to see the board set up with the beautiful components and learn the rules for future reference. We settled in for a four-player slugfest of early economics. This was only my second game, and the first was marred with mistakes and AP from one of my opponents. I would say we were all beginners.

Explanation and examples took about 20 minutes, which isn't as bad as I had feared. That twenty minutes included a discussion of "How do you find all of these games anyway?" which led to me giving out some propaganda related to this website and others.

I had won last game handily against different opponents by combining a major shipping lane with a Siap Faji empire stretching horizon to horizon--not so this time, as you will see. I stated with Java Rice, with an eye on Siap Faji down the line, Aaron and Walter took ships, and Vlad put spice where there was no shipping available. He was the early target of my merger. We all researched slots, so I would have to wait to acquire his company. (Not to mention that Siap Faji comes in during era B, but I would've gone for the slot even if it were legal to merge rice/spice in turn 2)

Era A sailed by with no incident, just the typical building of companies. Walter had situated himself well in shipping, taking the northern seas, while Aaron filled the north coast of Java east of Bali with his boats. Era B saw two shipping mergers, with Vlad's line falling to Walter. Vlad had really hoped to take over Walter's line, but he didn't have the cash to make it happen. As his consolation, he used the extra money to extract my rice plantations from me, leaving me with practically nothing. My rubber plantation had been left high and dry by the shippers, who had chosen to facilitate my opponents instead. Dirty rascals!

I knew the gig was up at this time concerning my victory, but I was able to merge my spice with Walter's along Sulawesi. He, however, continued to receive shipping income. Vlad once more tried to hijack his boating line by starting a company and announcing that merger, but he underestimated Walter's financial muscle. His income from the spice merger had put him over the top. Vlad wasn't turning enough profit with his rice and really needed to get microwave meals going, but with my two deed company and Aaron's two deed company the only targets, he was unable to make something happen with his two deed rice company.

I finally raised the cash to make an effort on Walter's empire, targeting his rubber. He had just spent some coin to acquire Vlad's Sumatra based rubber along with his on Borneo. I merged with my marooned plantation in West Sumatra and bought them for $30 per tile--not too shabby, but waaaay too little too late. Of course, Walter got all the money for my rubber shipments as well. I think all the $5 coins in the game were in his bank, as he had been controlling turn order as well.

Aaron had been doing a serviceable job shipping Siap Faji along his shipping lines, but he hadn't been able to couple it with anything else major. Add to that that Walter supplied both Vlad and I with shipping and it was clear that Walter was in the lead. As such, Vlad targeted his oil for an era C merger. Aaron shipped and expanded his oil, while I was stuck with a crappy Papua rubber to go with my spice company and my three deed rubber giant. Having been unable to get in the shipping game and bought out of Siap Faji, my fate was pretty much sealed. Only my rubber was doing anything of real import, and I had only operated it for three turns.

Come game's end, the only surprise was that I didn't bring up the rear. Vlad had 780ish, I had 897, Aaron had 1101 and Walter had a dominant 1537. I must say that everyone played quickly, competently, and with much enjoyment. They are no longer non-gaming college students, they are young men with a new hobby: board games. I am happy to have been their introduction, and I am even happier to have new opponents. Now if only I can get just one more economic game (Steam, perhaps?), one tactical wargame (C&C Ancients, anyone?), and another introductory game (Carcassonne, maybe?) my game collection will be complete. For now. But for the forseeable future, we will be playing plenty of Power Grid and suckering more into playing the lighter fare with us. Good times are ahead!
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Jonathan Hessler
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Quote:
Now if only I can get just one more economic game (Steam, perhaps?), one tactical wargame (C&C Ancients, anyone?), and another introductory game (Carcassonne, maybe?) my game collection will be complete. For now.


HA! How many times have I said that?

(I added the underline to the quote)



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James Hemsley
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Great series. Sounds like you had a lot of fun playing these three great games!

--James
 
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