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Q1 2003 gaming report & Top 10

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  • Matthew Gray
    Total Games Played: 131 Different Games Played: 95 New-to-me Games Played: 27 People Played with: 73 Top 10 for the first quarter of 2003 ... #10:
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 31, 2003
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      Total Games Played: 131
      Different Games Played: 95
      New-to-me Games Played: 27
      People Played with: 73

      Top 10 for the first quarter of 2003
      ------------------------------------

      #10: Hellas (2 plays)

      This only barely makes it on the list, but it edged out the
      competition. It qualifies because I am eager to try it out some more,
      even though I had hard time "getting it" in the first two plays.

      #9: Mause Rallye (3 plays)

      This probably qualifies as a "fading star", but it continues to be an
      enjoyable late night filler. I continue to be impressed at the mice's
      durability.

      #8: Medici (2 plays)

      I love auction games, and this is no exception. For many of my
      previous plays I have made the error of undervaluing total boat size.
      I'm finally learning.

      #7: Light Speed (4 plays)

      I'm not usually a fan of "real time" games, but this is refreshingly
      different and surprisingly fun. This is a very recent discovery, so
      it may grow old quickly, but for the moment, it amuses me a great deal
      and I expect to continue. Cheapass hasn't had what I'd call a "hit"
      with me in some time, so this is a nice reversal.

      #6: Cathedral (4 plays)

      Somehow, I had never played this old classic until this year. As time
      goes on, I am finding abstract games more appealing and this one is
      gorgeous and plays quickly.

      #5: Electronic Catchphrase (8 plays)

      The ultimate filler. I'm eager for a little variety here so I'm
      looking forward to trying Thingamajig.

      #4: Fist of Dragonstones (2 plays)

      This is clever and cute and with the right group plays quickly. It
      leaves me wishing there was a little more to it, but I can still
      appreciate it for what it is.

      #3: Filthy Rich (2 plays)

      I picked this up recently based on a comment somewhere that it was
      "clever", and I have come to the conclusion that I'm a sucker for
      "clever" games. This did not disappoint. There's a lot of luck and
      it can feel a bit chaotic, but it's fun, very clever, and feels like
      there is room for some interesting choices. A very positive surprise.

      #2: Fresh Fish (3 plays)

      I loved this game when I first played it at last year's Gathering and
      was thrilled that Plenary republished it. I still enjoy it a great
      deal and was pleased to find it plays quite well even with 2.

      #1: Puerto Rico (4 plays)

      It keeps going. This'll probably slow down soon, as I'm beginning to
      worry that it is tilted too much toward the factory strategy but it
      still is an amazing game.

      ...Matthew
    • Doug Orleans
      ... I like it too, but it s a little frustrating that the scoring round (which is entirely automatic) takes about 10 times as long as the playing round... ...
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 1, 2003
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        Matthew Gray writes:
        > #7: Light Speed (4 plays)
        >
        > I'm not usually a fan of "real time" games, but this is refreshingly
        > different and surprisingly fun. This is a very recent discovery, so
        > it may grow old quickly, but for the moment, it amuses me a great deal
        > and I expect to continue.

        I like it too, but it's a little frustrating that the scoring round
        (which is entirely automatic) takes about 10 times as long as the
        playing round...

        > Cheapass hasn't had what I'd call a "hit"
        > with me in some time, so this is a nice reversal.

        Have you tried the five other Hip Pocket Games? Er, wait, I know I
        played Agora with you at UGV... I like them all (a lot more than the
        other Cheapass games), though I haven't played them enough to see if
        they're replayable. I think my favorite (after one playing) is the
        latest one, Steam Tunnel-- it's not a placement game, so there's not
        quite as much analysis paralysis as the others, plus I'm a sucker for
        wrap-around (i.e. torus-shaped) boards.

        > #6: Cathedral (4 plays)
        >
        > Somehow, I had never played this old classic until this year. As time
        > goes on, I am finding abstract games more appealing and this one is
        > gorgeous and plays quickly.

        Are you playing with the standard rules, or a variant? With the
        standard rules, I quickly lost interest in the game-- the player who
        places the cathedral always loses, and even if you play two games and
        compare total scores, games always seem pretty much the same-- play
        your pieces in order from largest to smallest. Don Woods posted this
        variant to rec.games.board:

        The cathedral is NOT placed at first.
        The first player places one of his own pieces.
        The second player then places one of his pieces AND the cathedral
        on his first turn.
        After that play alternates as usual.

        but I haven't tried it. Here's another interesting-looking variant:
        http://www.pastymegames.com/instructions/cathedral.html

        --dougo@...
      • Matthew Gray
        ... I don t mind it so much and I feel like it adds a little feeling of tension which is so often absent in speed games. Obviously, you no longer have any
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 1, 2003
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          > I like it too, but it's a little frustrating that the scoring round
          > (which is entirely automatic) takes about 10 times as long as the
          > playing round...

          I don't mind it so much and I feel like it adds a little feeling of
          "tension" which is so often absent in speed games. Obviously, you no
          longer have any control, but still, I enjoy it.

          > > Cheapass hasn't had what I'd call a "hit"
          > > with me in some time, so this is a nice reversal.
          >
          > Have you tried the five other Hip Pocket Games? Er, wait, I know I
          > played Agora with you at UGV... I like them all (a lot more than the
          > other Cheapass games), though I haven't played them enough to see if
          > they're replayable. I think my favorite (after one playing) is the
          > latest one, Steam Tunnel-- it's not a placement game, so there's not
          > quite as much analysis paralysis as the others, plus I'm a sucker for
          > wrap-around (i.e. torus-shaped) boards.

          I liked Agora, but wouldn't call it a hit. I'm interested to try
          Steam Tunnel. Care to give a brief review? (I'm more interested in
          opinion than in description of play).

          > > #6: Cathedral (4 plays)
          > >
          > > Somehow, I had never played this old classic until this year. As time
          > > goes on, I am finding abstract games more appealing and this one is
          > > gorgeous and plays quickly.
          >
          > Are you playing with the standard rules, or a variant? With the
          > standard rules, I quickly lost interest in the game-- the player who
          > places the cathedral always loses, and even if you play two games and
          > compare total scores, games always seem pretty much the same-- play
          > your pieces in order from largest to smallest. Don Woods posted this
          > variant to rec.games.board:
          >
          > The cathedral is NOT placed at first.
          > The first player places one of his own pieces.
          > The second player then places one of his pieces AND the cathedral
          > on his first turn.
          > After that play alternates as usual.

          I'll have to give it a try.

          ...Matthew
        • Doug Orleans
          ... Well, see that last sentence... Or, less briefly: The game is a deck of cards, each showing tunnels and endcaps connected to six entrances on the edge of
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 1, 2003
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            Matthew Gray writes:
            > > > Cheapass hasn't had what I'd call a "hit"
            > > > with me in some time, so this is a nice reversal.
            > >
            > > Have you tried the five other Hip Pocket Games? Er, wait, I know I
            > > played Agora with you at UGV... I like them all (a lot more than the
            > > other Cheapass games), though I haven't played them enough to see if
            > > they're replayable. I think my favorite (after one playing) is the
            > > latest one, Steam Tunnel-- it's not a placement game, so there's not
            > > quite as much analysis paralysis as the others, plus I'm a sucker for
            > > wrap-around (i.e. torus-shaped) boards.
            >
            > I liked Agora, but wouldn't call it a hit. I'm interested to try
            > Steam Tunnel. Care to give a brief review? (I'm more interested in
            > opinion than in description of play).

            Well, see that last sentence... Or, less briefly:

            The game is a deck of cards, each showing tunnels and endcaps
            connected to six entrances on the edge of the card-- pretty much the
            same configuration as The Very Clever Pipe Game, except everything's
            the same color. There are four special cards with six endcaps with
            number values from 2 to 4; these are placed face-up in the four
            quadrants of a 6x6 grid of face-down cards. On your turn, you flip
            over one face-down card, and then either claim one tunnel segment
            anywhere on the board, or "bury" a face-down card, which permanently
            turns it into three straight-through tunnels. After all cards have
            either been flipped face-up or buried, the game ends, and all tunnel
            networks are scored. The value of a tunnel network is the number of
            tunnel segments in the network times the sum of all the endcap
            values-- there may be more than two endcaps because some tunnels
            branch. The player who has claimed the most segments in a tunnel
            scores the tunnel's value, with ties splitting the value equally;
            refreshingly, there's no rounding, so you can end up with a fractional
            score.

            Anyway, it feels a little like Metro in that you're trying to extend
            your own tunnels while keeping others short, a little like a
            majority-influence game like Mexica with battles for control over
            shared tunnel networks, and a little like Carcassonne with the
            opportunities to take over control by merging multiple networks. But
            since you're just flipping over cards in place rather than choosing
            where to place a card, you spend less time searching for the best move
            and play more by intuition, betting on which tunnels will get
            connected most optimally for you. The decision of whether to bury a
            card is interesting because not only does it guarantee certain
            connections, it shortens the game because there's one fewer card to be
            flipped over. Because of the multiplication in the tunnel network
            value formula, some networks will score much, much higher than others;
            this may lead to a balance issue, because someone could get lucky and
            score a 100-point network while others work hard to get six networks
            that only add up to 40 or 50. In practice, I don't think this will
            happen, especially as players learn to predict how a high-scoring
            network might form and put their tokens on it early. On the other
            hand, it may turn out to just be a light, random game, but it's short
            enough (20-30 minutes) that it wouldn't bother me, and I just like
            tracing out the maze of tunnels to figure out where all the
            connections lead.

            --dougo@...
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