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SOG SR: 3/1 in Sudbury

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  • Josh Bluestein
    We had twelve (12!) people in attendance at SOG last night. This may be something of a record. Games played included: Bluff (aka Call My Bluff aka Perudo aka
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2004
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      We had twelve (12!) people in attendance at SOG last night. This may
      be something of a record.

      Games played included: Bluff (aka Call My Bluff aka Perudo aka Liar's
      Dice), Quintillions (?), Tongiaki, Oasis, Die Fugger, Cronberg, Lost
      Cities, Industria, Tichu

      In attendance were: Rob, myself, Chris, .chip, Marianne, Sara, Vitas,
      Nancy, Mike, Lewis, Sue, and Teresa.

      For starters, Rob, Nancy, Vitas, Teresa and I played a game of Bluff.
      The game went quickly, and I was able to take advantage of the
      trusting nature of the other players and propel myself to my first
      ever Bluff victory! Ralph's not being at the table may have had
      something to do with it as well.

      We reconfigured at this point -- Rob, Vitas, Nancy and Teresa played
      Quintillions (I think that's the name), which looked sort of like a
      stacking game using three-dimensional Tetris-like wooden pieces.

      .chip, Marianne, Sara, Mike and I played Oasis. This was my first
      time playing (as well as for everyone else except for Mike). I had a
      lot of fun with this game, even though I could tell that I was a dead
      lock on last place by about halfway through the game. There's a
      reasonable amount of luck of the draw in this, and that hurts at least
      twice -- if you spend two or three cards to try to make an attractive
      offer, then it costs you in what you can do in the following round,
      you end up in a poor position to choose actions for the following
      turn, and you have poor prospects for getting higher up in the turn
      order. Still, balancing all this is presumably what the game is all
      about. The choices are hard ones to make, Marianne achieved a
      crushing victory here, and my predictions of last place were accurate
      in spite of a reasonably healthy camel score. I like this game
      because it's thematically similar to Durch die Wuste, but in game play
      it's completely different. All we need is for Michael Schact to
      release a camel-themed game for the trifecta.

      During these games, Chris, Lewis and Sue showed up. Lewis and Sue
      played Lost Cities while waiting for things to reconfigure.

      Regroup, redistribute: Rob, Vitas, Nancy and Teresa played the 'Get
      all the Quintillions pieces back in the box' game. I think the box
      won this one.

      .chip, Lewis, Sue and Sara played Industria.

      Chris, Marianne, Mike and I played Tongiaki. This is a very light
      game, but nevertheless I found it pretty enjoyable. You're trying to
      expand to as many islands as possible, and it's something of a random
      tile-laying game. There are a lot of opportunities for your boats to
      get sunk by heading off on expeditions through dangerous waters, but
      you never *really* run out of boats and the tiles are a pleasing
      shape. This certainly isn't a highly cerebral game by any stretch of
      the imagination, but it plays in about 45 minutes, certainly presents
      some interesting choices, and has some amusing moments as you trace
      the expeditions through the sea paths. Marianne and I tied for
      highest score and most islands occupied, but Marianne won on the
      second tiebreaker (fewest ships on the board), giving her the win. I
      liked it, but I would note that this is one game that I would
      definitely not want to play with fewer than four players, just because
      of the way some of the water routes are laid out.

      Everyone else was still doing other stuff, so out came Die Fugger.
      This game was designed by 'Mr. Carcassonne', and I think it presents a
      pretty solid design. The idea is that you're trying to accumulate
      different commodities with the goal of selling them at the end of each
      round. The play area is made up of a circle of cards, labeled 1-9.
      Five different commodities move around the circle, possibly going up
      by a lot, possibly going down by a little. However, if something goes
      up too high in value, it wraps around to 1 again so there's a tendency
      for there to be reasonable action on all five commodities.
      Furthermore, there are 'royal seal' commodity cards, which are worth
      double value as long as there aren't too many of that type of
      commidity in play.

      On your turn, your main choices are to either play a card face up in
      front of you or draw a new card (as long as you have fewer than four
      cards in your hand). When a fifth card of any commodity is played,
      the round ends, prices are adjusted, and commodities are sold off.
      This is repeated until someone accumulates 100 florins (points).

      The game also allows you to place secret bets for the end of the game
      during the first two rounds -- you can play a commodity face down and
      that will pay double its value to you at the end of the game. You're
      limited to a maximum of two face-down cards, one in each of the first
      two rounds.

      This game went pretty well for me, and I was able to get in on the
      right commodities at the right time and achieve victory. I think this
      game definitely bears replaying -- it has a little of the feel of
      Modern Art. Some thought that it didn't allow much control, and
      certainly any card game is susceptible to that accusation. Time will
      tell, I suppose.

      Vitas, Nancy, Teresa, and Rob played Tongiaki, give or take a rule or

      Cronberg was next up for us. Designed by the same people who did Tom
      Tube, and with a similar motif -- rhombus tiles placed on a grid.
      However, the scoring mechanism in this game was more reminiscent of
      Auf Heller und Pfennig -- each corner of a rhomb has a value, positive
      or negative. On your turn, you can either draw and place a rhomb or
      you can place a scoring marker. When a scoring marker is surrounded
      by tiles, you add up all the values, score it, and retrieve your
      marker. Furthermore, each space on the board has a special ability --
      there are doublers, guards, and coats of arms. If a space is left
      blank such that it can't be played upon, it affects the scoring of any
      markers adjacent to it at the end of the game.

      Well, this one played very quickly, but I think there may have been
      something missing from our strategy. There seemed to be a huge amount
      of opportunity for negative scoring, and very little opportunity for
      positive scoring. The game was won by Mike, who had the highest score
      with a score of -1. (I had -5, and Chris and Marianne were down in
      the -30s or -40s. Ouch.) I'm going to reread the rules to this and
      see if we missed anything, but all in all this was a pretty painful
      experience. I liked the concept, and I really enjoy the other
      Kronberger Spiele game (Tom Tube), but I'm less sold on this one.

      Teresa, Vitas and Nancy went home.

      Another game of Bluff for Marianne, Rob, Chris, Mike and I. This one
      came down to Mike and me, with Mike the victor.

      Marianne, .chip, Sara, Lewis and Sue went home.

      Mike and I played Tichu against Rob and Chris. Mike and I managed to
      maintain a reasonable lead for most of the game until Chris and Rob
      got a 1-2 Tichu which put them within 50 points of us. Even so, we
      maintained the upper hand. I was able to successfully goad Rob into
      calling a Grand without looking at his cards, and fortunately we were
      able to prevent it and secure victory for ourselves.

      All in all, a very good evening. I got to play four games that I've
      never played before, plus some Bluff and Tichu...quite enjoyed myself!

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