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22430SOG SR: 1/31 in Belmont

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  • Josh Bluestein
    Feb 1, 2005
      I 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
      gaming ensued.

      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
      another turn.

      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!

      Josh
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