Saturday, September 09, 2006

Weekend Gaming

You mean like ...

How many times have you had the following conversation?

"So what do you do?" asks they.

"Oh, I play board games, I run a game group, I write a board game blog, and I also do something with computers for ten hours a day, but I forget what" says I.

"Oh board games. You mean like Carcassonne, Alhambra, Settlers of Catan?" asks they.

"!!!" says I.

For my very welcome infrequent visitors (hi, Lifehacker), that is not the typical way that the conversation goes. Their line is supposed to be:

"Oh, you mean like Monopoly, Chess?"

Instead, my new acquaintance mentioned three well respected new Eurogames, exactly the type of games that I play (never mind that I've traded away Carcassonne and Alhambra). Who was this, you may ask?

Tonight I went to "sheva brachot" for a nice couple. Sheva Brachot is a festive meal that follows on each day of the week following the marriage. We sort of know the woman from a mutual friend. We didn't know her well enough to go to the marriage, but we did know her, and our mutual friend, well enough to go to the meal.

That conversation was my first meeting with the groom. She comes from Oslo, Norway. Her whole family was attending and they all play these games. He comes from somewhere near Detroit, I think, and he plays these games. They are moving to a new apartment a few blocks away from us.

And they have no plans for Wednesday evenings, yet. Yummy.

Puerto Rico

I didn't get to play Santiago this weekend, but I did get to play another great game of Puerto Rico with Rachel and Nadine. I was first player, Rachel was second. I was convinced that Rachel was already winning by turn four or so. By turn six, she had four goods, including tobacco, and a Factory. And she also had the most shipping VP's already. I had a Large Market, since no other trade goods had yet shown up.

I slowly began a comeback, getting a coffee monopoly for trading and shipping, and then a Large Business (+1 VP for shipping (like Captain, not for every shipment) and -1 building cost). I was beginning to match Rachel in shipping, but she had one large building as did I, and she then got a second and looked like she would get a third before I could. Nadine also had one by then.

However, I got myself into a position where I could just get the last big building before Rachel could, at which point Governor passed to Nadine. Neither Nadine nor Rachel could afford a big building.

Nadine took Settler with three gold on it, and she could also now afford a big building, but the phase sequence was going to be me, Rachel [end of round] and then me again. So when it came to my turn, I took Captain, which locked a boat for me. I don't know why it never occurred to me that Rachel would take Builder. She did, and Nadine got the big building in front of me. I had it and I threw it away. Better Nadine than Rachel, anyway.

I got a Wharf, which payed off pretty well for me anyway, as I shipped six barrels on it by the time the game ended. Final scores: me 62, Rachel 60, Nadine 50.

Coffee, tea, or games?

I received some interesting emails from Martin Samuel of Games Above Board. Martin is a games designer and a flight attendant. His game designs include the notable Hijara.

Apparently, he manages to get attendants and passengers to playtest his games in the air.
My best yet was a Rabbi and his wife playing chess, which she was not enjoying as he was unbeatable. I offered them my Mozaic prototype which is luck + strategy. She beat him 3 games in a row and was ecstatic. He asked for the game (if only to practice) but as it was my only proto.

I have actually had "repeat customers" - passengers who remember me from previous flights and ask if I have any new games for them to test-play.

One genuine rocket scientist, I kid you not, explained to me that my card game proto. was a matrix ... news to me but he was correct.

The very young Godson of Jim Koplow (whom I meet regularly at trade shows - Koplow Games) was on a flight and his parents brought up the subject of dice ... it's a small world.

Returning from Essen Spiel, Michael Gray of Hasbro was on my flight and I was able to translate German rules for him.

The absolute classic is, many years ago, we flew to Munich where I was befriended by an airline employee at the airport. She would invite me to stay in her home with her family - a nice change from the hotel. Lo and behold, her husband is none other than Tom Werneck ... he of Spiel des Jahres fame!

Turbulence has upset the games on occasion which provides a novel use for the flight attendant call-bell.

P.S. Happy 10th anniversary,


ekted said...

Haha! You had me going. I thought it was ging to be just like my post about playing games. I hope this happens to me some day. :)

ekted said...

Meeting another gamer, not getting married. :)