22430SOG SR: 1/31 in Belmont
- Feb 1, 2005I was expecting that Monday might be a slow night for gaming, as
everyone would have their gaming itch sated by the fabulous UG9
experience. Instead, we had four people show up at Mark's house in
Belmont (not so suburban, really, but we try to humor Mark), and some
Jeff, Mark and I were waiting for Rob to show up, so I pulled out a
little game I had stolen off of Rob's game shelf the previous week to
give it a try: Titus. This is an Adlung game, which generally means
an inexpensive crapshoot -- sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes
somewhere in between. Titus is somewhere between in between and good,
IMO. The game is a deck of 54 cards, double-sided. Each card has a
value from 1 to 19 on each side. However, the difference between the
values on each side of a single card is never more than two. So, if
you're looking at a card that's a 5 on one side, it could be a 3, 4,
5, 6, or 7 on the other side. And you don't know for sure which one.
The goal of the game is to build sequences of four or more
consecutively numbered cards. On your turn, you can draw the top card
off of the deck and either place it in your 'store' (on the table in
front of you) or swap it with another single card that a different
player has in front of him. Your other choice is to take the top card
off of another player's completed sequence and place it in front of
you. The wrinkle is that any time you take a card from another player
you flip it over, so you're never quite sure what value you'll end up
with. If you're fortunate and manage to end up with a value that can
be matched to an existing value in front of you, you get to take
There is also a stack of victory point cards, which start at 18 and go
down to 7. The first person to complete a sequence gets the 18, then
the next one gets the 17, and so on down. Any sequences completed
after the VP cards run out are worth 6 points each. The game ends as
soon as the last card is played from the deck.
This game played in about half an hour, and while it was fairly
random, it was still enjoyable. Trying to track card flips and
remember what value is on the other side of cards makes for some
interesting decisions, and you have to decide whether to trade or go
with what you can see. Mark started out early, getting some of the
first sequences, but then couldn't form enough afterwards to win. It
took me too long to form my first sequence, so although I managed
several I couldn't beat Jeff, who had both early and numberous
sequences. Final scores (approc): Jeff 51, Josh 48, Mark 43
All in all, the game was a good way to pass the time, and I thought it
was a reasonable addition to the Adlung family.
Rob showed up and we played Settlers with the Cities and Knights
expansion. I have to say, I have never played a more acrimonious game
of Settlers. There were a few times when I thought Mark and Rob were
going to come to blows...and a few times when I wished they would, if
only because then their piteous whining would be justified.
Mark played the stealth game, hanging back, earning almost no
commodities and building no city improvements. Rob showed his usual
grasp of game rules, but started to pick up on things near the end. I
was off to a strong start due to some good rolls, all of which came
crashing to a halt when I hit my 10th victory point and everyone
ganged up on me like a pack of wild corgis on a steak and cheese sub.
Mark, meanwhile, continued his piteous whining, and I was about to go
get him some tissues when I noticed that he was about to take the
longest road away from me, which would put him at 12 VP. I pointed
this out to Jeff and Rob, but they were too wrapped up in their own
'Get Josh' campaign to do anything to stop him, and Mark ended up
winning the game.
So once again, we have a Settlers game, Mark *totally* screwed, *so*
losing, *no chance* AT ALL...and he manages to win. How does he do
it? I'm not sure, but I think that the next time I play Settlers with
Mark I'll require him to wear a ball gag. It may not stop him from
winning (or whining), but it will at least be amusing to watch.
Anyway, we had a very good time and enjoyed ourselves. Jeff said
afterwards that he really felt like part of the group, because by the
end of the game he was feeling antipathy towards everyone else at the
table. Another successful night!
Next week, Chris Lockeheardt will be hosting SOG at an undisclosed
location (no word yet on whether Mr. Cheney prefers Peurto Rico or
Settlers), and we may even have a Special Guest SOGger airlifted in,
at the last moment and at great expense.
See you then!
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