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Viva Pamplona! Session Details: As our final game of the day, we decided on a game which Eddie had brought. Viva Pamplona did not look like much to me when he took it out of the box. I was not initially impressed, but if Eddie says its a clever game, I am wise enough to know he has good judgement and so I awaited the description. After the description, I was still not convinced this would be enjoyable - but again this was Eddie so I was ready to give it a try. Boy am I glad I did! This is a wonderful race game which uses dice, but in a strategic way. Each turn a player must roll two dice (we used Eddie's new homebrew E-1299 dice-roller which worked beautifully - see below) and advance their pawns down the race-track. At the same time, a bull (El Torro!) is making it's way down the same track. The object is to stay close to the bull - either on the same space or in the few space in front of the bull. After each of the players have had a turn, a "bull" card is drawn which either moves the bull some number of spaces (thus you must catch up with the bull again or perhaps you were clever enough to place your pawns in advance in which case the bull has caught up to you!) or it can be a scoring card. When a scoring card is drawn, the position on the board is scored immediately - players with pawns on the same space as the bull score the maximum 3 points per pawn. The next two spaces in front of the bull score 2 and 1 point respectively. For each space behind the bull, the player who owns that pawn looses one point. Therefore, you must keep close to the bull, but not too far ahead and preferably not behind. There are also special positions on the board which force a player who lands on them to loose one point and a couple of slippery patches which (if landed on) cause the player to slide back a number of spaces. An additional twist is that you can land a majority of pawns on any space which contains a lesser number of pawns and score points for the outnumbering (and you can bump the lesser pawns back or forward)! There is a very high degree of player interaction and the turns move rather quickly so there is very little down-time (something I appreciate in a game). The subtle positioning and bumping of pawns backwards and forwards turn what might be considered a roll-the-dice-and-move game into a clever game of strategy mixed with just the right blend of luck. Although Eddie assures me that the game we played was not the best example of how good the game can be played (the bull was very fast and finished the game ahead of all players except one of Jenn's pawns), I can assure him that the game was a joy to play and this seemed to be echoed by the other players. In the end, Jenn had a few apparently "bad" rolls of the dice which forced her to accelerate towards the finish line before she was ready. However, the bull drew two high-movement cards in a row - causing it to also cross the finish line much to the dismay of Eddie, Carol and I (we had many pawns quite a distance back which counted against us). Jenn and I tied for victory in what turned out to be a low-scoring but highly contested game.
Final Scores: Jenn=25, Dave=25, Eddie=20, Carol=14
Ratings(1-10): Jenn=7, Dave=7, Eddie=7, Carol=7
We had a great game-day today. Clearly this was the current highlight of my gaming hobby. Carol was kind enough to bring some food for us so we wouldn't starve during the game session. Great people, great food and great games - it's hard to beat! One last note, Eddie brought his "E-1299 Mechanical Random Number Generator (E-1299 MRNG) Model #2" more affectionately known as the "Eddie Dice Slide". This was a beautifully crafted dice roller which Eddie had produced recently to replace a somewhat poor-quality one he had acquired earlier in the year. We all found his dice roller to be of the highest quality and it worked flawlessly despite Y2K concerns!
Dice Roller Ratings(1-10): Dave=10, Jenn=10, Carol=10, Eddie=9 ( modest :)
We will have pictures on this site covering the now-famous dice roller and more general pictures of the game session. These should be available later in January.