SR: B20 - 1/31/03: Trendy, Keythedral, Chairs, Samurai, Ra, Money, Get the Goods, Vector
- I haven't written a real session report in quite a while, and I actually
took decent notes last night, so here we go. I didn't record everyone that
was there or every game that was played, but following are the games I was
Trendy - Adam, Andrew, Campbell, Scott, me
I'd been wanting to try this Knizia card game for a while, and Adam just
procured a copy last week, so now was my chance. Adam explained the rules
while the rest of us badmouthed Matt Horn. Then Matt actually arrived so we
shut up and listened to Adam. The game involves five suits of cards
representing different fashion designers, numbered 3 through 7, where all
cards of a suit have the same number. So all the threes are yellow, all the
fours are red, etc. On your turn you play a card and draw a card. Any time
the number of cards played of a suit equals the value of that suit, those
cards go into the players' scoring pile and any other played cards are
discarded. So the basic decision to be made each turn is whether to follow
the current trend or try to start a new one and hope the players after you
will follow your trend, too. Adding spice to the mix are supermodel cards,
which count as two cards for triggering scoring (although they do not
actually score double), and "Out" cards, which cause all the cards of that
suit that have already been played to be discarded.
After one round I was in the lead, with Andrew not to far behind, while
Campbell, Scott and Adam languished in the off-the-rack fashion department.
I lead off round two with a #3 supermodel, and Andrew immediately followed
with another 3, triggering a quick scoring round where the two leaders
increased their lead amidst much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the
peanut gallery. That pretty much set the catwalk for the second round, with
Andrew and I being involved in most of the scoring trends, and only
Campbell, I think, gaining any ground on us. Going into the third and likely
final round (we had decided to play five rounds or to 100 points, whichever
came first), I had enough of a lead that I could play pretty conservatively,
just going with current trends, not trying to set any new ones. Campbell
made some more nice gains, but not enough.
Final scores: David 114, Campbell 100, Andrew 92, Scott 88, Adam 73
It seemed like the game was received positively by most, although the
general consensus was that it would be improved were the fashion models more
Keythedral - Adam, Andrew, Kyle, Scott, me
Adam again did the rules explanations, as the game was new to everyone else,
I believe. The basic idea here is to send forth serfs from their huts into
the fields, there to generate resources which you use to perform various
actions, including purchasing the all-important victory points. The problem
is that only one serf can go into each field, and there are competitor's
huts adjacent to your fields as well. The pressure gets worse as the game
goes on, because huts can be converted to cottages, which can send out two
serfs to two adjacent fields. So it is quite possible that some of your huts
and cottages will get completely shut out and produce no resources. This
happened all too often to me in this game!
The value of victory points to be purchased increases as the game progresses
from 1 up to 5. Their cost also increases, but not really proportionally, so
it is pretty important to be set up to purchase vp's in the later rounds. I
was having production problems all game, and everyone else was snapping up
VP markers that I just couldn't afford. Instead I bought a few "Law Cards,"
which grant one-time special powers of varying utility. One proved
particularly useful to me by increasing the harvest from vineyards, of which
I controlled three out of five at the time I played the card. Three extra
resources enabled me to buy one of the 4 VP chips. I was still in tough
shape, and figured I'd need to buy both of the 5 VP chips to win. The
chances were pretty slim, I knew, but I still had a couple of Law card
tricks up my sleeve. The first one I played to the detriment of Adam, who
was about to buy the first 5 VP chip - it swapped out the one he was about
to buy for another random one with a different resource cost, so he was
unable to buy it. I then was able to purchase the other 5 VP chip on my
turn, but I didn't have enough resources left to purchase the second one. I
had to hope no one else could purchase it this round, and we could go into
another round of production, but alas, Andrew was able to gather together
the appropriate resources to buy the final chip, ending the game and
claiming the victory.
Final scores: Andrew 14, me 10, Adam 8, Kyle 8, Scott 6
I liked Keythedral and would definitely like to play again. In retrospect I
think I placed my huts poorly at the beginning of the game, leading to my
production woes, and I'm looking forward to trying again with a better idea
of how it all works.
Chairs - Adam, Kyle, Scott, me
Looking for a quick filler while a game of Puerto Rico was finishing up,
Scott pulled out this stacking game. The object is to stack plastic chairs
on top of one another without knocking over the pile. Any chairs you knock
off go back into your stock, and the winner is the one who gets rid of all
his chairs first. I managed to knock a few chairs off pretty early, and Kyle
tumbled a big stack not much later. At some point Adam got a phone call and
had to step away, so Kyle took his turn for him and dumped the entire
structure. Scott was set up for an easy win with only one chair left, but
Kyle and I did our best to provide a rickety tower for him to work with. It
proved much more stable than expected, as Scott was able to successfully
place his final chair without toppling it, even with Kyle repeatedly kicking
Final scores: Scott: 0 chairs, Adam, Kyle and me: a bunch of chairs
Samurai - Andrew, Kyle, Richard, me
Richard stole pieces from me, I stole pieces from Andrew, Andrew stole
pieces from Kyle, and Kyle set up Richard for the win. Way to go, Kyle! ;>
Final scores: Richard wins outright with a majority in military and peasant
support. Andrew and I were tied for priest support.
Ra - Ben, Jason, Kyle, me
Ben explained the rules to Jason, who'd never played before, and we were off
to make our fame and fortune along the Nile. Not quite as rowdy as the game
from two weeks ago, but still plenty of fun. The chants of "Ra, Ra, Ra,"
when someone was pressing their luck at the end of the round seemed to work,
because I don't think anyone got anything useful at those times. Ben seemed
to be stuck with low numbers for the entire game, but he called Ra alot and
managed to get some decent sets for his money. Somehow Kyle ended up with
the most fame points. None of us knew how that happened. We figured he
probably added wrong somewhere.
Final scores: Kyle 45, Ben 39, Jason 36, me 36
Money - Al, Brian, Campbell, Kyle, me
Fourth Knizia game of the evening! Campbell seemed to be spending most of
the game trying to score with the old lady, although there was some debate
as to whether or not she (the portrait on the Kroner) was in fact an old
lady, or Franklin Roosevelt in drag. Campbell didn't seem to care - he'll
take whatever he can get. He scored pretty well, too. After one round he and
I shared the lead. But I had an absolutely abysmal second round, (even worse
than Al's!) and Campbell had a commanding lead, with Brian in striking
distance. Then I pulled off a true monster of a hand in the final round (730
points!) which vaulted me ahead of Campbell, who scored poorly. Brian,
though, also had a very nice score, and vaulted even further ahead of
Campbell for the win.
Final scores: Brian 1440, me 1400, Campbell 1330, Kyle 1320, Al 920
Get the Goods - Al, Brian, Campbell, Kyle, me
Brian explained the rules to those who had not played before. We used the
variant where everyone gets a 2x card in front of them, instead of mixed
into the deck. Al & I both got hosed in the initial scoring round when the
2nd, 3rd and 4th, $card came up almost back-to-back, before we had put
anything down at all. The second and final rounds came about at a more
leisurely pace, however, allowing for some conflicts to develop. I actually
had sole ownership in both Stocks and Jewelry, but didn't score much in
anything else at all. I also ended up with four cards in hand at the end of
the game, which hurt. Meanwhile, Campbell had a lock on Casinos and a strong
showing in Antiques and Art, Kyle was investing in Real Estate and Yachts,
Brian in Gold and Oil, and Al in cold hard Cash, with forays into Gold and
Art. Antiques, Art, Cash and Gold were probably the most hotly contested
commodities. In the end, Campbell Corleone's Casinos helped lead him to
Final scores: Campbell 27, Kyle 24, me 20, Brian 15, Al 9
Vector - Brian & Campbell vs. Kyle and me
Brian taught us this bizarre game of second-guessing and brain-burning. The
board is about a 20 x 20 or so square grid, with "exits" at the centers of
each of the four edges for North, South, East and West. It is a partnership
game, with North and South (Brian and Campbell) facing off against East and
West (Kyle and me). At the start of the game a big wooded phallus is placed
in the middle of the board. Each round, beginning with a rotating start
player, each player places a direction card face up, indicating the
direction he plans to move the phallus (N, NW, W, etc.). Then, all four
players simultaneously pick a number card (0 - 3) which shows how far it
will move in the direction they chose. Many of the squares on the board are
scoring squares, and the idea is that you want to move the piece onto a
square that will score points for you or your teammate, or score negative
points for your opponents. Only the start player knows for sure where the
phallus will be when he starts his move, though, so you have to guess, and
second-guess, where it might be when it comes around to your turn, and steer
it appropriately. Also, if you manage to steer it out an exit, the player
whose exit was used gets his score doubled, and the game ends. The game also
ends after 12 rounds, if no one gets it out an exit. The exits are flanked
by some large negative scoring squares, though, so steering towards an exit
is a dangerous proposition.
The game was close, with North-South usually in the lead, but not by much.
Fortunately for the good guys, we ended up moving right next to the
west-side exit, just as the start player position was rotating to me. So I
could boogey out the exit without fear and double my score, leading to a
victory for East-West.
It was a pretty neat game, and I'd try it again, though preferably _before_
midnight next time!
I had an exceptionally good time at B20 last night. Thanks to Dave at
Scholar's for providing the space, and everyone there for providing the fine
- A good report from David, I'll add a few comments.
I arrived a little before 7, brought in the big boxful of games I'd sold and was delivering, then the little boxful of games I'd brought to play, then went to Scholars to buy Scarab Lords. SL didn't get played during this session, though.
There were over 20 people there. Usually I find the Cole Hall basement claustrophobic when there's a big turnout, but not this time. Perhaps the company was even better than usual.
I joined the game of Trendy, and concur with David's comments.
As for Keythedral, I enjoyed it, but have my doubts as to how good it is. The importance of the last few scoring tiles, coupled with the power of some of the law cards, makes it seem as though most of the game is jockeying for position for a finish over which one doesn't have much control.
I should qualify that by adding that this was my first play, and that there must be some room for skill and control, since I won. I did so because of law cards in the last round. The 2 5-point seats were up for grabs. I was played a law card to prevent wine (red cube) production in the round. This was important since red was required for one of the 5-seats, and I had a red cube carried over. When Adam tried to claim one of the seats, David prevented him from doing so with a law card. David went on to claim that seat, but I got the other 5-seat, and so claimed the win.
There followed the game of Samurai which Richard won after pillaging the capital early, then declaring shortly afterwards that I was so winning.
Richard and I wanted to play Medina, as did Jason and Luke, so we played some short games while they were playing Ra and Mexica respectively. By the way, how come Ra seems to be getting played so much recently?
Richard taught me Canal Grande, while its parent, San Marco, was being played at another table. I got the advantage in limit cards in the first round, which gave me some bonus cards. I started the second round with a big card advantage, which I was able to parlay into the win.
I enjoyed the game, but don't think I'll be buying it. The card art is disappointing, considering how good-looking a game San Marco is.
Adam and Rich then joined us for Wyatt Earp. I scored all of 3 on the first hand. The scores after 3 hands were I think 26-24-22-20, with me the 22.
While we were playing the last hand of Earp, Luke explained Medina to Jason. The turn order in the rebuilding of the desert city was Jason-Luke-Richard-Andrew. I emphasized to Jason the importance of not setting up the following player, and we were off!
The gap between whining and reality was large, even by B2O standards. Luke took the prize in more ways than one, remarking frequently that he doesn't do well at Medina (or at any game with a desert theme) and was doing particularly badly this time. Towards the end, he contributed a stable to Jason's gray palace, thus allowing Jason to take the gray chip from me.
Of course, Luke won. Jason was in second place, having done very well in his first game. He didn't whine much, but he'll learn to do that more if he gets to more B2Os. Richard was in 3rd, and... well, that's enough about Medina.
I left at 12:30am, with a dozen or more people looking as though they had a lot more gaming in them.
Thanks to Dave for the venue, and to gamers for the company.