Monday, April 26, 2010

Session Report, as well as Shabbat Gaming

The latest Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club session report is up. Games played: R-Eco, Container, Puerto Rico, Age of Empires III.

The report is pretty slight, as it's late and without notes.

Shabbat Gaming

I had many of the gaming gang over for lunch on shabbat. Games played:

Go: I played a quite satisfactory game with Adam, a player who can't make our Wed night games but comes whenever the opportunity presents itself at other times. He's quite better at Go than I am, having actually taken the time to study and practice it for a while, but he's still not a master.

As a result, for me a satisfactory game against him is that he doesn't eat the bulk of my stones in one fell swoop. He almost did, but I was able to squeak out of it. The game came down to counting stones, and he won 40 to 20 or so, but I was happy. We played on a 13x13 board.

Dominion: Also with Adam, this was first game for him, we played with around five cards from the basic set and five more from the expansions (I only rejected Black Market). Again, a nice satisfactory game feeling. Adam won with 5 provinces to my three and a duchy.

Container: Having played on Wed for the first time, five of them played this after lunch, and it took a long time. However, they all appeared to enjoy it and the game did not appear to be a blowout for anyone. Everyone expected Abraham to win because a) it was his game, and b) he tends to win calculating games, but he only came in fourth. Nadine won.

Nadine says: I focused on getting containers on the island, as well as money. On Shabbat we took turns overpaying for auctions, though on one of my over-payments, Shirley the auctioneer bought it, which she didn't do any other time at high prices, or even lower. Abe and Bill tied twice on an auction, and Shirley picked Abe to win it, expensive for him though it was 5 containers. Nadine says that she likes the game.

I played half a game on Friday evening (it was late), and my only fully-formed thought on the game is that it plays a whole lot like a Splotter game: unintuitive actions that don't seem to have much to do with your goals, but appear to gel elegantly after several plays. It's intriguing, I'll give it that. I still have no idea what's flying.

Stone Age: Four people played this one, but one left in the middle. I think Sarah won, followed by Shani, and then Ksenia. Second play for Shani (she is not a gamer and generally only plays when one of her children makes her, but she got into gaming this shabbat, which was nice), first for Ksenia.

Age of Empires III: It was me, Adam, Ksenia, Shani, and Sarah. First play for everyone except for me. First five-player game for me.

I'm happy to say that AoE3 seems to work well for 2-5 players. There is less to the worker placement and more to the conflict with 2 players, but there was some conflict here, too. Two three-player games I played had no conflict at all, and the four-player game had very little.

The worker placement aspect is more pronounced in five-player, and money was often tighter. No one bought more than two of the third age bonus buildings, for example.

I won with 97 points to 90 and some 80s (Ksenia scored less). I took the early $20 bonus, which I think is not a balanced building, really. I ended up with some bonus soldiers, so I sent them to the new world for money, the occasional swing in area control, and the bonus building that gives points for soldiers. It took some time for my income to get off the ground, but eventually I got the $10/round building, which helped a lot.

Sarah was the income queen, and Adam was my other foe in soldiers (hmmm, both the boys at the table ended up with the soldiers, as opposed to the other three players who were girls ...), but we never shot each other. Shani had the least buildings, but took the bonus building that gave points for "number of buildings" to prevent any of us from taking it (and was only a few points less than any other building would have given her).
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