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SSG - Session Report

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  • Dave Bernazzani
    Hello all... Here are some quick thoughts (and pics) of the most recent SSG session. Instead of usual placement and ratings that I use, I will defer to Gold,
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 24, 2000
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      Hello all...

      Here are some quick thoughts (and pics) of the most recent SSG
      session. Instead of usual placement and ratings that I use, I
      will defer to Gold, Silver and Bronze to show my love of the
      Olympic games this week...

      Also, this was our last SSG session of year one - we have our 1
      year anniversary next week. Some pics (that go along with this
      commentary) of this session are here:

      http://www.gis.net/~dber/Pics/SSG23Sep2000.htm

      -------

      Session Report for September 23, 2000 (by Dave Bernazzani) -
      South Shore Gamers

      Roll Call: Dave Bernazzani, Mark Edwards, Craig Massey, Alison
      Hansel, Joe McSweeney, Dan Cashmore, David Hansel, Andrew,
      Jonathan

      Games Played: Change, Zirkus Flohcati, Caesar & Cleopatra,
      Galaxy: The Dark Ages, La Citta, Exxtra x3, Euphrat & Tigris,
      Kohle, Kie$ & Knete, Bluff (aka Liar's Dice), Basari

      Session Length: 6 hours

      Session Details: A great night of gaming with 9 in attendance.
      Mark and I met our friend Joe McSweeney at this year's GoF and
      found him to be a great fun at the game table. I sent him an
      invite to the SSG many moons ago but Joe lives quite a distance
      from our venue so we hadn't had the opportunity to meet up again.
      This weekend Joe was visiting family nearby and was able to swing
      by as a special guest for the full session - great to see him
      again. He brought a big box of games and some snacks which we
      were all thankful of!

      We started with a CheapAss game - Change (Diminishing Returns).
      Just Craig, Dan and I played - it's cute but not too heady.
      Basically you have a set amount of cash (1's, 3's, 5's, 7's and
      10's) and you must put one bill in the center - and you can take
      change (if it exists) up to the amount you put in minus a buck
      (so you always lose a buck, sometimes more). The last person to
      have money left is the winner. I did well at first - keeping
      lots of low value bills in my hand but it was Dan that came up
      strong near the end - making almost perfect change several turns
      in a row. Craig got hosed in the end - having run of out cards
      before any of us.

      Gold - Dan
      Silver - Dave
      Bronze - Craig

      Not a bad game for US$3 - but I wouldn't pay any more than that
      for it (and probably won't get a copy until I can get it on
      sale!).

      After finishing Change, Joe, David, Andrew and Alison had arrived
      and so we played a 5 player game of Zirkus Flohcati while Alison
      and Andrew played 2P Ceasar and Cleopatra. ZF was fun - much
      better than I was expecting and I liked the mechanism where you
      keep flipping cards until you spot something you like or you crap
      out by flipping a same-colored card. Has a little of the feel of
      a Can't Stop - but not quite as exiting. But it was good fun for
      the length - maybe 25 minutes tops.

      Gold - David
      Silver - Dan
      Bronze - Craig
      Did Not Medal: Joe, Dave

      During this time, Alison whooped Andrew 21 to 8. Both rated this
      game quite highly.

      After the filler games finished, Jonathan arrived and I convinced
      5 of us to play Galaxy: The Dark Ages for the first time. I've
      played T:TA many times and really like it and was looking forward
      to this. I won't say much except that I found some things better
      and some not so good. The Sci-Fi theme holds up well and I like
      the ability for bases to move up and down. I also liked the
      individual ship card powers - but am not overly-enthusastic about
      it. I liked the Governor powers - and the cards you get to
      identify yourself as the governor (in T:TA you need to count the
      chips which is easy but mildly annoying). I did not at all care
      for the dice-driven combat. The game has enough randomness -
      this just adds more chaos IMO. I got into 5 or 6 battles -
      sometimes as a heavy favorite and lost every time. I think
      overall I prefer T:TA by a fair margin, but I need another play
      of G:TDA to be sure...

      Gold - Jonathan (won tie-breaker)
      Silver - Dan
      Bronze - Joe
      Did Not Medal: David, Dave

      At this time Mark Edwards had arrived and so another table formed
      and they pulled out Craig's reasonably new copy of La Citta. Not
      many details, but I think Mark and Alison found it good (not
      great) and Craig and Andrew were really taken with it and found
      it excellent. Craig's played a few times now. I've only played
      once - and was hoping to try it again - possibly next time! Game
      time was just over 2 hours.

      Gold - Andrew,
      Silver - Craig - 28
      Silver - Alison - 28

      There was a tie for Silver it appears... Does that mean Mark
      get's a Bronze? Or does he not medal! hehheh...

      Since La Citta was longer than our Galaxy game, Joe introduced us
      to Exxtra. This is Reiner Knizia's dice game of some note - and
      one I found to be a really fun filler game. I really like games
      like Can't Stop - and this was a pleasant surprise. Lots of
      smacktalk from the participants of this game all evening - it got
      so loud at one point that I could feel my voice straining to keep
      up with the taunting. Anyway it was a blast and I thank Joe for
      teaching it to us (none of us had played before except Mark who
      played once long ago). Three games were played during the course
      of the evening.

      Game 1
      Gold - Dan
      Silver - Jonathan
      Bronze - David
      Did Not Medal: Dave, Joe

      Game 2
      Gold - Mark
      Silver - David
      Bronze - Dan
      Did Not Medal: Craig, Dave

      Game 3
      Gold - Dave (finally!)
      Silver - David (close!)
      Bronze - Craig
      Did Not Medal: Mark, Dan


      For the next main course of the evening - we were again at two
      different tables. Our table played Euphrat & Tigris and it was a
      fine contest. Andrew and Alison were clearly doing very well -
      both with treasures and with general influence on the board. I
      had a critical mistake mid-game where I should have chosen a
      different conflict order - and instead of taking a good share of
      black cubes, I got more red which I didn't need. I also
      mis-interpreted a rule where the red tiles which support another
      leader are not removed in an external conflict if they would
      otherwise be evicted. Too many errors for me to overcome. Great
      game though!

      Gold - Andrew (close - tie break win)
      Silver - Alison
      Bronze - Dave
      Did Not Medal - David

      The other table played Kohle, Kie$ & Knete and it was loud and
      boisterous as always. Dan's first playing of this (I think) and
      he really enjoyed the experience. Craig is still not very taken
      with this game - finding it lots of fun but somewhat broken in
      spots. Mark took the win - but the top three were close.

      Gold - Mark
      Silver - Joe
      Bronze - Craig
      Did Not Medal: Jonathan, Dan (rookie! hehheh)

      To wind the evening down we played a couple of smaller/shorter
      games. We changed up players again (I think almost everyone got
      a chance to game with everyone else). Our table played Bluff
      with 5 players. What a strange game - we had the usual banter
      from Craig and Dan - and compounded with the master of banter.
      David and I were a bit more reserved - and I decided to try out
      some bluffing techniques on the crowd. Only I made a huge
      mistake - calling out seven 6's (there are no 6's on the dice!)
      and Mark only needed about 3 seconds to realize this and burst
      out laughing. I don't think we actually got back to playing for
      about 5 minutes while we digested the stupidity of the bid I
      made! I've only played 4 or 5 times - and usually come in last
      every time - so no Bluff tourneys for me thank you very much!
      It was in great fun - and amazingly enough I recovered enough to
      stay in the lead with dice for a while. But it didn't last. A
      great filler game - we've been playing this quite steadily for
      the past few weeks - I expect that will continue. Once again, it
      came down to Craig and Dan - as it always seems to...

      Gold - Craig
      Silver - Dan
      Bronze - Mark
      Did Not Medal: David, Dave

      The last game played at the other table was Basari. Joe taught
      Jonathan, Alison and Andrew. Looked like fun. Nice bits too.
      Ratings were reasonably high.

      Gold - Jonathan
      Silver - Joe
      Bronze - Alison
      Did Not Medal: Andrew

      That's it!

      --
      Dave Bernazzani
      dber@...
      http://www.gis.net/~dber (South Shore Gamers)
    • AndAgainMA@aol.com
      Following up some more on Dave s session report: Caesar and Cleopatra. My first medal of the evening was a silver. Dave put a less positive spin on the Roman
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 24, 2000
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        Following up some more on Dave's session report:

        Caesar and Cleopatra. My first medal of the evening was a silver. Dave put a
        less positive spin on the Roman team's performance: "Alison whomped Andrew 21
        to 8."

        Following this encounter, Caesar summoned his personal physician and ordered
        him to examine a particularly sensitive and painful region of the imperial
        anatomy. Wishing to avoid being thrown to the lions or the malpratice
        lawyers, the doctor quickly obeyed the summons and the order.

        He announced that the problem was due, not to the recent kicking of the area
        in question, but to a condition known as "the sores of the Nile." He was not
        surprised to hear that Caesar had recently attended many orgies. And indeed,
        those orgy cards did seem to come up more frequently than usual.

        This is a fine starter (or closer) for two. Alison showed her... versatility
        by switching from Rome (RoR on Thursday) to Egypt (C&C on Saturday).

        La Citta. After this bloodbath and Mark's sub were finished, Craig deemed it
        safe to bring out his copy of La Citta. I am very impressed with this game.
        Tremendous care has obviously been lavished on it, with great fit between the
        city-building theme, the well-thought out mechanics, and the lovely bits.

        I will certainly be buying this one. I look forward to playing it again. And
        that's not only because I won my first gold of the evening, by the slimmest
        margin possible without a tiebreak being necessary.

        Euphrat & Tigris. My favorite German-style game was next. This time a
        tiebreaker (with Alison) was needed to determine that I had earned a second
        gold.

        If I were using a gold-silver-bronze system to rate games, E&T would be one
        of the very few to go off the scale and be awarded a platinum medal.

        Basari. My last game of the evening was my second play of Basari. This is a
        game of racing, of negotiation, and of groupthink avoidance. I am really
        terrible at the last of these (and not so very good at the first two). So my
        stock of medals remained at two golds and a silver after this game.

        Basari reminds me of Web of Power, in that you seem to do a lot of gaming in
        a pretty short span of time. After only two plays of it, and four or five of
        WoP, I prefer the mechanics of Basari, greatly admiring the way the different
        mechanisms interlock. But WoP wins when it comes to theme and to production.

        Alison and I were at the same table for all four games. I think that the only
        person who didn't visit that table was Dan, so it was great to be able to
        chat with him as he kindly drove me home.

        Thanks to all,

        Andrew.
      • Walter Hunt [ext ]
        ... Agree on all counts. I bought one of Romaniecki s copies, and my wife and I went at it at home yesterday -- glad I bought it. It s a beautifully made game,
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 25, 2000
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          > La Citta. After this bloodbath and Mark's sub were finished, Craig deemed it
          > safe to bring out his copy of La Citta. I am very impressed with this game.
          > Tremendous care has obviously been lavished on it, with great fit between the
          > city-building theme, the well-thought out mechanics, and the lovely bits.

          Agree on all counts. I bought one of Romaniecki's copies, and my wife and I went at it at home yesterday --
          glad I bought it. It's a beautifully made game, and has the right "I have four things to do, but only three actions"
          feel to it.

          I don't know about you, Andrew, but I'm a bit troubled with how often we seem to agree :-)


          ----------------------
          Walter H. Hunt
          Senior Technical Writer
          VistaSource, Inc.
          114 Turnpike Rd., Westboro, MA 01581 whunt@...
          (508) 870-0300 ext. 391

          millihelen (n.) -- That quantity of beauty required to launch one ship.
        • AndAgainMA@aol.com
          Walter agreeably remarks on my comments on La Citta: W I don t know about you, Andrew, but I m a bit troubled with how often we seem to agree :-)
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 25, 2000
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            Walter agreeably remarks on my comments on La Citta:
            W>I don't know about you, Andrew, but I'm a bit troubled with how often we seem to agree :-)
            <W

            I too am troubled. But we can find comfort in the thought that we disagree on the subject of playing time. When it comes to this dimension of gaming, my wussiness verges on the Bernazzanian, whereas you like long games (Republic of Rails, etc.).

            La Citta, at 2 hours (at least, that's how long our "3 rookies and a Massey" game took), clocks in nicely for both of us. Let's try to entice each others' citizens at UGI.

            Dave, I hope you don't mind being turned into an adjective. But you do have this tendecny to use the word "medal" as a verb...

            Andrew.
          • Dave Bernazzani
            ... Not at all... Years ago I went on a date with a witch, and was turned into worse... ... Hmmm... it is a verb (well, sometimes). As a verb, it means to
            Message 5 of 9 , Sep 25, 2000
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              Andrew wrote:
              >
              > Dave, I hope you don't mind being turned into an adjective.

              Not at all... Years ago I went on a date with a witch, and was turned into
              worse...

              >But you do have this tendency to use the word "medal" as a verb...

              Hmmm... it is a verb (well, sometimes). As a verb, it means to win a medal
              or to award a medal to.

              As for La Citta - my copy will be here this week and I hope to get my 2nd
              play in soon. Discussions here, there and elsewhere have convinced me that
              the play time is about 30 minutes per person playing when the rules are
              digested so I'm hopeful for it as a 2 player (I worry about interaction on
              the board with 2P) and especially as a 3 player game. The time of 2 hours
              for 4 players seems to be about what other people are claiming - but this
              does not fit in with my playing at the GoF (3.5 hours, 5 seasoned gamers,
              did not finish), but we may have had other factors that slowed us down (a
              bit of AP, and using the German components which won't be a problem in the
              RGG edition). The other problems I had with the game were minor compared to
              the length it took to play so I suspect my rating will go up.

              I'll definitely get my 2nd play of this on Saturday and will comment
              after...

              --
              Dave Bernazzani
              dber@...
              http://www.gis.net/~dber (South Shore Gamers)
            • Walter Hunt [ext ]
              ... It should be a great 3-player, and a vicious 4 or 5 player. As for 2, there s plenty of interaction with two players; it s more a Jonathan analytical
              Message 6 of 9 , Sep 25, 2000
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                > As for La Citta - my copy will be here this week and I hope to get my 2nd
                > play in soon. Discussions here, there and elsewhere have convinced me that
                > the play time is about 30 minutes per person playing when the rules are
                > digested so I'm hopeful for it as a 2 player (I worry about interaction on
                > the board with 2P) and especially as a 3 player game.

                It should be a great 3-player, and a vicious 4 or 5 player. As for 2, there's plenty of
                interaction with two players; it's more a Jonathan analytical exercise, though. Your
                mileage there may vary.


                ----------------------
                Walter H. Hunt
                Senior Technical Writer
                VistaSource, Inc.
                114 Turnpike Rd., Westboro, MA 01581 whunt@...
                (508) 870-0300 ext. 391

                millihelen (n.) -- That quantity of beauty required to launch one ship.
              • Dave Bernazzani
                ... there s plenty of ... though. Your ... I don t think I d try it with 5 again - too much downtime methinks... I also wonder what the other players from
                Message 7 of 9 , Sep 25, 2000
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                  Walter wrote:
                  >
                  > It should be a great 3-player, and a vicious 4 or 5 player. As for 2,
                  there's plenty of
                  > interaction with two players; it's more a Jonathan analytical exercise,
                  though. Your
                  > mileage there may vary.

                  I don't think I'd try it with 5 again - too much downtime methinks... I also
                  wonder what the other players from Saturday thought of it? I got quick
                  unsubstantiated impressions from Alison and Mark that were slightly lukewarm
                  compared with Andrew and Craig.

                  I also noticed that (almost?) all the players on Saturday were separated by
                  just a point or two? My only playing saw us struggle for hours and it came
                  down to just a point or two between the top three. Seems like we worked for
                  hours just to have a near 5 way tie (actually, I think the last two players
                  were rather lower, but I can't quite remember). Craig - how close have the
                  final scores been up north?

                  --
                  Dave Bernazzani
                  dber@...
                  http://www.gis.net/~dber (South Shore Gamers)
                • Dan Cashmore
                  Wow, this seems horribly out of date after all the variant talk today. I may have to weigh in on that one in a bit. But I know you ve all been waiting on the
                  Message 8 of 9 , Sep 25, 2000
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                    Wow, this seems horribly out of date after all the variant talk today. I
                    may have to weigh in on that one in a bit. But I know you've all been
                    waiting on the edge of your seats for my appendages to the...
                    > Session Report for September 23, 2000 (by Dave Bernazzani) -
                    > South Shore Gamers
                    >
                    > Roll Call: Dave Bernazzani, Mark Edwards, Craig Massey, Alison
                    > Hansel, Joe McSweeney, Dan Cashmore, David Hansel, Andrew,
                    > Jonathan
                    Well, I came to this game night with multiple goals: 1) to play a game or
                    two with Mark, whom I hadn't sat in the room with, much less at the table
                    with in some time and 2) to dispell once and for all the ludicrous notion
                    that I could be beaten at Liar's Dice/Bluff. I am happy to report that all
                    but one of my goals were met by the end of the evening.

                    > We started with a CheapAss game - Change (Diminishing Returns).
                    > Just Craig, Dan and I played - it's cute but not too heady.
                    I like it a lot for its quick play, and am getting more eager to try the
                    other games included in the rules, which should only take a little longer.
                    It is certainly light, but it's got just enough pain-in-the-neck choices
                    (admittedly it's often the same choices) to keep me happy.

                    > Not a bad game for US$3 - but I wouldn't pay any more than that
                    > for it (and probably won't get a copy until I can get it on
                    > sale!).
                    It's $2.10 at Boulder; can't beat it with a stick.

                    > After finishing Change, Joe, David, Andrew and Alison had arrived
                    > and so we played a 5 player game of Zirkus Flohcati while Alison
                    > and Andrew played 2P Ceasar and Cleopatra. ZF was fun - much
                    > better than I was expecting and I liked the mechanism where you
                    > keep flipping cards until you spot something you like or you crap
                    > out by flipping a same-colored card. Has a little of the feel of
                    > a Can't Stop - but not quite as exiting. But it was good fun for
                    > the length - maybe 25 minutes tops.
                    >
                    > Gold - David
                    > Silver - Dan
                    > Bronze - Craig
                    > Did Not Medal: Joe, Dave
                    I made a very silly mistake (twice!) in the early-going involving the
                    scoring plays I made, or I may have fared better. I really felt a slave to
                    the cards that came up here; this is the game which I would describe as cute
                    but not too heady.

                    > After the filler games finished, Jonathan arrived and I convinced
                    > 5 of us to play Galaxy: The Dark Ages for the first time. I've
                    > played T:TA many times and really like it and was looking forward
                    > to this. I won't say much except that I found some things better
                    > and some not so good. The Sci-Fi theme holds up well and I like
                    > the ability for bases to move up and down. I also liked the
                    > individual ship card powers - but am not overly-enthusastic about
                    > it. I liked the Governor powers - and the cards you get to
                    > identify yourself as the governor (in T:TA you need to count the
                    > chips which is easy but mildly annoying). I did not at all care
                    > for the dice-driven combat. The game has enough randomness -
                    > this just adds more chaos IMO. I got into 5 or 6 battles -
                    > sometimes as a heavy favorite and lost every time. I think
                    > overall I prefer T:TA by a fair margin, but I need another play
                    > of G:TDA to be sure...
                    With this I couldn't escape the feel of the CCG, which isn't always a bad
                    thing (I get the same feeling from Hera & Zeus, but I enjoy that in small
                    doses) To put it simply, I guess Galaxy is just too fiddly for me; keeping
                    track of all the powers didn't seem worth the effort for the dividends it
                    paid, or for the fun factor I got from the game. I'd play again, but the
                    game at the other table would have to be pretty unappealing.

                    > At this time Mark Edwards had arrived and so another table formed
                    > and they pulled out Craig's reasonably new copy of La Citta. Not
                    > many details, but I think Mark and Alison found it good (not
                    > great) and Craig and Andrew were really taken with it and found
                    > it excellent. Craig's played a few times now. I've only played
                    > once - and was hoping to try it again - possibly next time! Game
                    > time was just over 2 hours.
                    Another nice-looking game at another table. Ahh, but I guess the bits are
                    always shinier on the other side of the room...
                    > Gold - Andrew,
                    > Silver - Craig - 28
                    > Silver - Alison - 28
                    >
                    > There was a tie for Silver it appears... Does that mean Mark
                    > get's a Bronze? Or does he not medal! hehheh...
                    I'm afraid no medal for Edwards in this event, as he finished in fourth.
                    Breaks your heart, after all those hours training.

                    > Since La Citta was longer than our Galaxy game, Joe introduced us
                    > to Exxtra. This is Reiner Knizia's dice game of some note - and
                    > one I found to be a really fun filler game. I really like games
                    > like Can't Stop - and this was a pleasant surprise. Lots of
                    > smacktalk from the participants of this game all evening - it got
                    > so loud at one point that I could feel my voice straining to keep
                    > up with the taunting. Anyway it was a blast and I thank Joe for
                    > teaching it to us (none of us had played before except Mark who
                    > played once long ago). Three games were played during the course
                    > of the evening.
                    >
                    > Game 1
                    > Gold - Dan
                    > Silver - Jonathan
                    > Bronze - David
                    > Did Not Medal: Dave, Joe
                    Great game! Gotta buy it!

                    > Game 2
                    > Gold - Mark
                    > Silver - David
                    > Bronze - Dan
                    > Did Not Medal: Craig, Dave
                    Hmm, seems to be rather luck-dependent. Fun, though!

                    > Game 3
                    > Gold - Dave (finally!)
                    > Silver - David (close!)
                    > Bronze - Craig
                    > Did Not Medal: Mark, Dan
                    (and the non-medal scores combined for 0 points)
                    Who brought this game, anyway?

                    Despite my varied performances, the middle comment is actually the closest
                    to my feelings about the game. In the first game, I rolled lots of 7's and
                    maybe 2 X's, so my win can't really be bragged about too heavily. The
                    smack-talk in the last 2 games was top-notch. After 3 playings, I began to
                    question the scoring method. It seems really difficult to catch someone
                    after they get a big lead, even if their hot rolling cools off a little.

                    > The other table played Kohle, Kie$ & Knete and it was loud and
                    > boisterous as always. Dan's first playing of this (I think) and
                    > he really enjoyed the experience. Craig is still not very taken
                    > with this game - finding it lots of fun but somewhat broken in
                    > spots. Mark took the win - but the top three were close.
                    >
                    > Gold - Mark
                    > Silver - Joe
                    > Bronze - Craig
                    > Did Not Medal: Jonathan, Dan (rookie! hehheh)
                    Another fine smack-talk game! I'm even getting smacked by someone who
                    didn't play! This was my favorite new one of the evening. I am intrigued
                    by, if not proficient at, negotiation games and I had been hoping to play
                    this one for a while. I can't say much about how things went, as I was
                    mostly relegated to the role of learner. I'd really like to buy it after
                    this playing, but apparently that is not an easy thing to do ($75 on ebay).
                    The feel of the game reminded me a little of Cosmic Encounter, with lots of
                    "Oh, yeah? Well what do you think of THIS card?" stuff going on.

                    > To wind the evening down we played a couple of smaller/shorter
                    > games. We changed up players again (I think almost everyone got
                    > a chance to game with everyone else). Our table played Bluff
                    > with 5 players. What a strange game - we had the usual banter
                    > from Craig and Dan - and compounded with the master of banter.
                    > David and I were a bit more reserved - and I decided to try out
                    > some bluffing techniques on the crowd. Only I made a huge
                    > mistake - calling out seven 6's (there are no 6's on the dice!)
                    > and Mark only needed about 3 seconds to realize this and burst
                    > out laughing.
                    That was really funny; I believe Mark thought he should be allowed to call
                    your bid, and actually I guess you would have made it had there been seven
                    stars out.
                    > I don't think we actually got back to playing for
                    > about 5 minutes while we digested the stupidity of the bid I
                    > made! I've only played 4 or 5 times - and usually come in last
                    > every time - so no Bluff tourneys for me thank you very much!
                    > It was in great fun - and amazingly enough I recovered enough to
                    > stay in the lead with dice for a while. But it didn't last. A
                    > great filler game - we've been playing this quite steadily for
                    > the past few weeks - I expect that will continue. Once again, it
                    > came down to Craig and Dan - as it always seems to...
                    >
                    > Gold - Craig
                    > Silver - Dan
                    > Bronze - Mark
                    > Did Not Medal: David, Dave
                    Arrgghhh--I wuz robbed. I thought of an excuse as we were leaving the
                    building, that I can't play the game starting with 6 dice instead of 5. I'm
                    abandoning that one and going with the following:

                    I can't be expected to do well when I lose 3 dice due to someone else
                    calling out a bid that turns out to be exact! What's that? Craig lost 2
                    that way too? Well...well...grr, wait 'til next time, Massey!

                    Despite my frustration at LD, I somehow managed to enjoy the evening. Very
                    nice to meet Joe, who hails from my favorite state, and shares my favorite
                    pasttime. Gaming with Mark was all I remembered it too be, and hey, losing
                    at Liar's Dice only makes the rivalry more intense, to paraphrase a losing
                    football player.
                    -Dan
                  • Dave Bernazzani
                    Session Report for September 30, 2000 SSG - One Year Anniversary! Roll Call: Dave Bernazzani, Mark Edwards, Alison Hansel, Dan Cashmore, David Hansel, Jenn,
                    Message 9 of 9 , Oct 1, 2000
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                      Session Report for September 30, 2000

                      SSG - One Year Anniversary!

                      Roll Call: Dave Bernazzani, Mark Edwards, Alison Hansel, Dan
                      Cashmore, David Hansel, Jenn, Andrew, Jonathan, Pete, Tamara
                      Games Played: Exxtra (x3), Hare & Tortoise, Battle Cry, Rage, La
                      Citta, Euphrat & Tirgis, Entdecker, Ave Caesar, Pit

                      Session Length: 6.5 hours

                      Session Details: Our big one year anniversary had arrived. We had
                      some small surprises for the group that was willing to come and
                      celebrate the day - I had written up a small (~8 page) pamphlet
                      of the SSG history and events over the past year (Tamara had
                      everyone sign hers... hehheh). Plus Jenn picked up a nice sheet
                      cake which read "Happy Anniversary SSG!" but we forgot to take a
                      picture of it!! But it was tasty... Thanks to everyone who came
                      tonight to help celebrate year one - and kick off year two in
                      fine fashion!

                      Exxtra Details: After having Joe McSweeney teach us this game
                      last week, I got a copy on order and even with my bad shipping
                      karma, it managed to arrive on Friday just in time for the SSG
                      session. The game is lots of laughs and high tension as you wait
                      for someone to either hit the big numbers or crap out. It's a lot
                      like Can't Stop in this respect - but in some ways a bit more
                      fast an furious. We now use the little X-shaped
                      player-color-indicators as HEX material (as in holding them and
                      moving them towards the dice roller in order to cause a couple
                      X's to show up on the dice!). It's not diminished since several
                      playings last week - I even insisted on a 2nd game and there was
                      certainly no objection. In all, the game was played 3 times - at
                      about 20 minutes for each game this is a nice little filler.

                      Game 1: Jonathan=21, Alison=15, Mark=7, Tamara=3, Jenn=2, David=0
                      Game 2: Andrew=21, Dave=19, Mark=8, Pete=5
                      Game 3: Pete=21, Andrew=15, Mark=9, Dave=3

                      Ratings: Andrew=7.5, Dave=8, Mark=7.5, Pete=7.5, Jonathan=6,
                      Alison=6.5, Tamara=6.5, Jenn=6, David=7

                      Hare & Tortoise Details: I've gotten a few chances to play this
                      recently and I've been very impressed with the game. I can see
                      why some call it a "near classic" - having been around for 20+
                      years. I've not played before this year and was glad to see Rio
                      Grande release it again in new packaging. I've only seen the
                      other editions, but this one seems to be very good. I wasn't
                      involved in this particular game tonight, but there was lots of
                      cheers that I could overhear and it appears that everyone enjoyed
                      the contest. Alison won the game, followed closely by Jenn.

                      Game Scores: Alison=1st, Jenn=2nd, David=3rd, Mark=4th,
                      Jonathan=5th
                      Ratings: Alison=8, Jenn=8, David=8, Mark=7.5, Jonathan=8.5

                      Battle Cry Details: We don't play a lot of 2 player games at the
                      SSG, but Alison had her sights set on playing Battle Cry and Pete
                      was happy enough to try it (he had seen it played at the B&N a
                      few weeks back in a lopsided battle between Mark and I). My
                      understanding is that they played the "Pea Ridge" scenario and
                      both enjoyed the contest. Pete was up rather handily when Alison
                      went on an All-Out-Offensive (or was it Counter Attack?) and
                      managed a few more flags. But in the end, General Pete took the
                      victory.

                      Game Scores: Pete=6 flags, Alison=5 flags
                      Ratings: Pete=6, Alison=9

                      Rage Details: My understanding is this did not go over very well.
                      Ratings were very poor. I bought it on the strength that it has
                      been a big online seller and that it's inexpensive. I think the
                      group felt it was too random to predict the bids. Maybe a rule
                      was mis-interpreted? Don't know, but I hope to play and decide
                      for myself - if only I can find someone left willing to try it!
                      They aborted after just 4 rounds. Based on the comments I heard,
                      the 5 ratings might have been kind.

                      Game Scores: David=42, Alison=16, Mark=13, Jenn=3, Jonathan=0
                      Ratings: David=5, Alison=5.5, Mark=5, Jenn=3, Jonathan=5.5


                      La Citta Details: Finally - a game I was involved in! La Citta
                      is, quite simply, a long game. I had just played a full 2 player
                      game of it the night before and it ran 1 hour 30 minutes. Tonight
                      we had 4 players and the game was a bit over the 2 hour mark (not
                      counting a break taken after the 3rd year for SSG 1-year
                      anniversary cake). It's just on the verge of being too long for
                      me - and as such won't get pulled out too often. But I do like
                      the game - and it's grown on me quite a bit in 4 plays (rating
                      has steadily improved). It's a city building game - and a game of
                      conflict as the cities get nearer to eachother. You need to
                      balance your population growth, food supply, gold earnings,
                      services (health, education and culture) while keeping an eye on
                      all your neighboring cities. Each turn one service is dominant -
                      either health, education or culture - and if you haven't kept up
                      on that particular service, your citizens might just wander off
                      to another city! Oh - and the bits are great too. The main
                      problem is the length and the downtime between turns - there can
                      be some serious analysis-paralysis and game turns can feel a bit
                      repetitive, but in the end the game is solid and one that I'm
                      happy to play on occasion. I did quite well - getting off to an
                      early lead and holding it. I worked hard at having my central
                      city contain lots of services and placed my other cities as
                      quickly as possible in secluded areas (if there is such a thing
                      in La Citta) of the board. Only once did I not manage to feed my
                      people, but it was due to serious "suckage" of other citizens due
                      to my having more important services than my neighboring cities
                      that year. At the end of the 6 game years, I had a huge
                      population that I was just barely able to feed (I had tons of
                      farm houses built). I also worked to secure the 3 point bonus in
                      3 or my 4 cities for an extra 9 points. Andrew had starvation on
                      several years and Dan starved his people on the final turn
                      (losing like 6 citizens mainly due to a farm collapse due to a
                      citizen suckage - very cool!). Dan also had to endure the 5 point
                      penalty for not feeding his citizens on the final year. Pete had
                      some early trouble with one particular city that kept getting
                      citizens sucked from it - and by year 5 it was removed entirely
                      from the board. Good game - now if I can just get the play time
                      to 90 minutes and it would be much better (this might see most of
                      it's playing as a 2 player game for me - it worked well enough
                      the one time I tried it with this many).

                      Game Scores: Dave=46, Andrew=34, Pete=30, Dan=25
                      Ratings: Dave=7, Andrew=8.5, Pete=3.5, Dan=7.5

                      Euphrat & Tigris Details: While Alison and Pete were playing
                      Battle Cry -- Jonathan, Dan and Andrew settled on E&T which has
                      made an appearance at almost every SSG session in the past two
                      months. It's a great game and I think all three participants were
                      pleased with the game. I have only scores and ratings (which were
                      almost off the scale!)

                      Game Scores: Jonathan=6, Dan=5, Andrew=3
                      Ratings: Jonathan=9.5, Dan=9, Andrew=9.5

                      Entdecker Details: I've owned this Klaus Teuber game for some
                      time - but have never tried it. I don't think it's gotten much
                      exposure and some say it's under appreciated. Maybe because
                      people were expecting another Settlers of Catan? Anyway, it's a
                      fairly nice game - a bit luck driven but that doesn't bother me
                      too much. Play time was a bit more than suggested on the box - I
                      think we took almost an hour (not bad by any stretch), but the
                      box claims 30-45 minutes. Maybe with fewer players? Anyway, the
                      game is about island exploration - each turn you pay to move a
                      ship on the big board and fill in the square tiles. The object is
                      to explore land, found settlements (or forts or scouts) and
                      generally be the largest "discoverer" of that land once it's been
                      fully explored. Once an island is filled in, scores are given for
                      the size of the island - the largest discoverer (the one with the
                      most influence there - be it settlement, fort or scouts) gets
                      points equal to the size of the island, the next largest gets
                      half, the next gets half of that, etc. The largest discoverer
                      will also get a discovery chip containing a plant that is found
                      on the island (only if they won the island with a fort or
                      settlement, not with the lowly scout) and that gives a bonus
                      victory (both immediately and potentially at the end of the
                      game). Our game was fairly random - lots of exploration, land
                      masses filling in and some contention on the bigger islands. Some
                      tiles contain events when they are revealed. There are some
                      events that are bad (like pirates stealing your gold) and some
                      that are good (like discovering ruins which earns 3 victory
                      points immediately). Mark and David were all over eachother's
                      islands - and there was some conflict going on there. Also, they
                      held the larger islands - and although I had very little contest
                      on my discovered islands they were simply too small to give me
                      many points. Jenn grabbed a few mid-sized islands to keep her in
                      the running, but when the last two islands filled it, it was Mark
                      that shot ahead of the pack. I think I should have placed a scout
                      at most new land masses - I ended up with excess gold and could
                      have taken a few points from the bigger islands if I had just
                      gotten one scout down (at the cost of 1 gold). David and Jenn
                      battled for 2nd place while I was left in the dust. The game was
                      made a bit more exiting with the use of the Pit Bell (see next
                      game) where we would strike the bell whenever a poor tile was
                      turned up - and it rang quite a bit! The game is a bit too random
                      for serious play, but it's a nice diversion and one I look
                      forward to playing again. There was something really neat about
                      watching the little ship sail around the board uncovering
                      different land masses. And if the play time gets down to about 45
                      minutes with repeated play, this will make an excellent short
                      game. Good stuff.

                      Game Scores: Mark=41, David=36, Jenn=26, Dave=19
                      Ratings: Mark=7, David=6.5, Jenn=6, Dave=7

                      Ave Caesar Details: Dan, Alison and David sat for this game of
                      chariot racing. I've only played once before and really enjoyed
                      it. Don't know any details from this session, but they played 3
                      games and here are the scores and ratings:

                      Game 1 Scores: Alison=1st, Dan=2nd, David=3rd
                      Game 2 Scores: David=1st, Dan=2nd, Alison=3rd
                      Game 3 Scores: David=1st, Dan=2nd, Alison=3rd (very consistent
                      Dan!)
                      Ratings: Alison=8, Dan=6, David=7.5

                      Pit Details: Wow! Talk about frantic! This game is wild - and we
                      had seven people left to finish out the evening with Pit (with
                      Bell!). Only Dan had played before - so he talked us through the
                      simple rules. I couldn't believe it would be too much fun - just
                      trading commodities to try and obtain a set of them. As soon as
                      the dealer strikes the bell, you can start to offer one or more
                      like-commodities by simply placing them on the table (face down)
                      and calling out the number of cards you want to trade - if
                      someone takes the trade, they will pass you the same number of
                      cards (all the same commodity). As soon as you get a hand full of
                      one type of commodity, you have cornered the market on it and can
                      end the round (by ringing the bell). There are also a few special
                      cards (Bull and Bear) which spice things up and can cause you to
                      get a bonus or penalty (depending on if you held them in your
                      hand and were not the person cornering the market that round).

                      The game moves at warp-speed - with everyone shouting out
                      numbers, passing their cards to another player and then often
                      getting them back within seconds because the player you gave them
                      too has passed them to someone else who gave them back to you!
                      I've never seen action this fast - and we were laughing so hard
                      it was difficult to keep trading at such a rapid pace. This game
                      makes Liar's Dice and Exxtra look like a sleeping contest. My
                      voice was nearly gone when we finished the final round. The great
                      thing is that it doesn't seem to matter how well you are doing -
                      more than half the fun is in the play. Hope this makes it to the
                      table as a closer in the future!

                      Game Scores: Mark=165, Dave=125, Andrew=25, Dan=(-20),
                      Pete=(-20), Alison=(-20)
                      Ratings: Mark=8.5, Dave=8, Andrew=8, Dan=8, Pete=8, Alison=8.5

                      --
                      Dave Bernazzani
                      dber@...
                      http://www.gis.net/~dber (South Shore Gamers)
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