[SR] MVGA Holliston 2003-08-07
- MVGA meets Thursday nights at 7:00 in the
Masonic Hall in Holliston, on Route 16 just
east of the center of town.
We welcome new visitors. We'll even
waive the $3.00 fee for your first visit.
Rich and Eric were back in town this week
after their trip to WBC, and in addition to
the other regulars, we had several folks
who attend only occasionally. This gave
us a new 2003 high of 10, including
David, who lives next door and stopped
in for one quick game.
Roll call: Walt, Lisa, Anton, Rich, Eric, Dan,
Ian, Paul, David and Mike
EUROPA TOUR (Walt, Lisa, Anton)
Anton arrived promptly, as did Walt with his
wife Lisa, and the three of them began a
quick game of Europa Tour while they
waited for more MVGA members to show
up. This geographic analog of Rack-O may
be best with only 2 or 3 players, since each
player has more control and there are fewer
opponents to block routes by hanging on to
I wasn't here for the details, but Walt won,
finishing his tour before either of the others.
Eric's rating: holding at 5 as I'm still in the
MYSTERY OF THE ABBEY (Rich, Walt, Lisa, Eric)
By this time we were up to eight players, so it was two 4-player
games (or maybe a 5 and a 3.) Someone suggested Mystery of
the Abbey, the new Bruno Faidutti offering that might be
described as "Clue done right." Lisa clearly wanted to play, Dan
did not want to play, and the other 6 of us were willing to try,
but also willing to try a different game and let someone else have
a go. Dan's group started setting up Puerto Rico, so Rich, Walt
and Eric joined Lisa while Anton, Ian and Paul joined Dan.
Mystery of the Abbey has a number of bells and whistles that make
you scratch your head and wonder whether the game really works,
but it turned out to work fine for us. Lisa moved the bell flawlessly
during the first round, and Eric then lucked out when Rich played a
card that made him first player, skipping Eric. Rich was soon sent
back for penance when he forgot to move the bell in the required
way. We ignored the cards that make you sing, which disappointed
me because I'm not crazy about deduction games and the extra
silliness would have been welcome.
The game started slowly, but the pace of card passing and
revelations accelerated and by the middle of Round 3, Rich correctly
accused Brother Fortune, giving him 4 points. Rich had an incorrect
revelation, but it didn't hurt him because it was a free revelation he
had earned early on. Eric came in second with 3 points, made up of
two correct revelations (including the fact that the murderer was a
Templar) offset by an incorrect revelation (that the murderer was a
Franciscan---a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.)
Walt and Lisa tied for last with minus 1 for an incorrect revelation
Eric's rating: 6 This seems to be a well-done deductive reasoning
game, and in this game we didn't find any problems in the rules or
game play. I just don't like deductive reasoning games that much.
COLORETTO (Rich, Walt, Lisa, Eric)
The Mystery of the Abbey game was finished, but Puerto Rico still
had a way to go so we pulled out Coloretto. Coloretto has become
the all-purpose filler game for MVGA. It's quick, there's luck and
skill, and it will accomodate 3 through 5 (or even 6 in a pinch.) We
play once through the deck. In this game Lisa and Eric fell far
behind. Rich got a good draw on the last batch and final scores
were Rich 34, Walt 30, Eric 22, Lisa 21.
Eric's rating: 8.
PUERTO RICO (Dan, Ian, Anton, Paul)
At the other table four players sat down to Puerto Rico. More than
halfway through the game, One player got irritated, because he felt
the amount of table talk was inappropriate. Each gaming group has
its own tolerance for the fine art of explaining to Player A just why his
best move is one that helps you and not Player B. We generally don't
have much table talk at MVGA, but this game appears to have been
an exception. The player threatened to quit if it didn't stop, and it
didn't, so he did. Thus, the game began with 4 but ended with only
3 players. The final scores were Anton 58, Dan 54, Ian 43, Paul 39.
I don't expect this to be a long-term problem; we get irritated at
each other at times, but we're generally able to work things out and
Eric's rating: 10.
COLORETTO (Rich, Walt, Lisa, Eric, David)
As Puerto Rico was in its final stages, David walked in. David is a
neighbor and a Mason and an occasional MVGA attender, but he
had just come back from a trip and was tired. We cajoled him into
one game of Coloretto, just to prove he was here, and he yielded to
our pleas and sat down. This game was brutal, with bouquets
handed out right and left. Lisa played a "small stack" strategy, often
picking up just one card or a color and a +2. She won with David
coming in 2nd, and the rest of us tied for last with wonderful
assortments of colors. Final scores: Lisa 23, David 21, Rich 17,
Walt 17, Eric 17.
Eric's rating: 8.
AMUN-RE (Rich, Ian, Mike, Paul)
As David was going back home to go to sleep, Mike arrived. Mike is
an MVGA regular, but he rarely arrives at the start of the evening.
Four players sat down to Amun-Re. Rich has become a bit of a shark
at this game; he made it to the finals of the WBC Amun-Re
championship last week. He employed his trademark "five is more
than three" strategy in this game, winning many of the sacrifices and
gaining most pyramids on one side of the river in each kingdom.
Final scores: Rich 44, Ian 37, Mike 35, Paul 28.
Eric's rating: 7. There's plenty of room for skill in this game, but
power card draws are a little too random for my taste. I've won
games in which I got the right bonus and other cards, and I've lost
games in which I got 5 or 6 sacrifice correction cards. The outcome
isn't determined by skill often enough for me (or maybe I just don't
get it yet.)
NEW ENGLAND (Walt, Dan, Anton, Eric)
Lisa and David had both gone home to rest, so we were down to 8.
With 4 playing Amun-Re, the other 4 sat down to New England. This
game has gotten a few plays, but it hasn't come out as often as I'd
like. We played with the free-form set-up, and there was plenty of
aggression. Anton got good room, but (because he misunderstood
the rules for ship placement) he had no place to put ships and no
prospect of making it to the coast. We started with many tiles and
few cards up for auction, and none of the big development cards
came out early. Anton went for income, Dan and Eric competed for
ships, and Walt built barns. Anton grabbed the first 10, Eric the
next, and the others pecked away with 3's and 6's. Near the end
of the game, Anton took a fourth farmer to pull ahead of Eric who
had 3 farmers and 3 ships. Then two 10's came up at once, and
Dan and Walt both had spots prepared for them. Anton bid high
to deny one to Dan or Walt, but they had the money to overbid
him, so that all four 10's were placed, one to each player. Dan
then asked for six tiles, so the game ended instantly, with Anton
winning pilgrims for 4, Walt winning barns for 3, and Eric winning
ships for 2. Dan competed in ships for most of the game, but it
didn't pay off well, as he was second most of the time.
Final scores: Anton 36 on the cash tiebreaker over Walt 36,
Eric 33, Dan 30. Anton's landlocked position didn't hurt him, and
in fact it may have helped him to focus on what he needed.
Eric's rating: 8. This game is so well put together than one never
needs to consult the rules. There's luck in the tile and card draws,
but I never feel that luck decided the game. It moves quickly and
has interesting decisions.
ALHAMBRA (Walt, Dan, Anton, Eric)
Amun-Re was still chugging along, so we pulled out SdJ winner
Alhambra. We've played Alhambra at least five times now at
MVGA, so we have the mechanics down, together with some
strategy and some tactics. People complain about luck, but we
don't find this to be a problem. Walt grabbed some cheap
tiles early, giving him lots of walls but leaving him hemmed in
and without obvious expansion options. The rest of us could
look forward to higher scores for colors, but could we catch
Walt and his Great Wall?
Walt made a good play, swapping a wall-bound tile for one that
gave him expansion room, and he grabbed a lead and a second to
go with it. Eric finally passed Walt in walls before the 3rd scoring,
and Dan took the lead in Towers, but it wasn't enough. Final
scores: Walt 116, Eric 115, Anton 101, Dan 91.
Eric's rating: 8.