SOG SR: 7/25 in Westford
- We had nine glorious SOGgites at my place in Westford last night,
including several from further afield than we usually get.
In attendance were Mike, Mark, Jeff, Chris, Rob Elkind (aka Bearded
Rob), Rob Eno (aka Beardless Rob), Evan, Vitas (back two weeks in a
row after a *long* absence), and me.
The initial crew to show up were Mike, Evan, Mark, Bearded Rob, and
Vitas, so we decided to start with a quick game of The Bucket King.
Usually this is played in three rounds, but as more people started to
arrive we decided to cut it to a single round and play until there was
only one man standing.
We played with the variant where you can reverse the direction of play
by playing an exact match of the points coming at you, which makes for
a more strategic play IMO. I took a strong early lead and was in fact
the last person to lose my first bucket. However, things took a
somewhat dismal turn after that, and I found myself eliminated second,
right after Vitas. I didn't catch who actually won at that point, as
Vitas, Beardless Rob, Jeff and I sat down for another game.
Vitas suggested Rumis, so we played a quick game of this, using the
ziggurat board. It's sort of three-dimensional Blokus, or
Tetris-like, or something. You have a bunch of block pieces and you
need to place them on the board so that all of your pieces are
touching. The game is made more complex by the fact that the board
imposes height restrictions as well as placement restrictions, so
there's a lot of strategy to it. Your final score is the number of
faces of your color left showing at the end of the game, minus the
number of pieces you weren't able to place. Vitas and Jeff did very
well on our play, with Jeff edging Vitas for the win. Rob and I
scored substantially lower. Final scores were: Jeff: 17, Vitas: 16,
Me: 9, Rob: 7.
At this point, Chris had shown up, so we decided to break into a group
of four and a group of five. The two Robs, Vitas and Evan got
together to play Rollercoaster Tycoon: The Board Game. Mike, Chris,
Mark, Jeff and I played Taj Mahal. Mike started out the game boasting
about how he had completely creamed a bunch of Taj experts at some
multi-day gaming event in Ohio, and then he proceeded to completely
cream a bunch of relative noobs. Good show, Mike! I got off to a
fairly good start (hey, that seems to happen a lot for me) and petered
out, partially due to a major error made when I failed to realize
which region we were fighting for. Whoops. In the end, Mike won with
something like 47 points, Chris was second with about 30, and I was in
third at 27-ish, Mark was one point behind me, and Jeff was not far
behind. (Want exact scores? Persuade .chip to start coming back -- I
don't memorize these things, so I just rely on my memory. Often a
thorough pasting tends to erase some of the precise details.)
So we all acknowledged Mike's Taj superiority and then set off to play
something a little lighter. The other group finished Rollercoaster
Tycoon, pronounced it to be kind of Monopoly-ish (and not in a good
way), finished a game of Quo Vadis, and then we were up for a reorg.
We got a group of six (Chris, Mark, Mike, Jeff, Bearded Rob, me)
together to play Frank's Zoo, while the rest played some more Rumis.
Frank's Zoo was a lot of fun, even if it's a bit too chaotic with six
players. I was leading the pack going into the final round, but Chris
and Rob partnered and ended up going out first and second, and the
points they earned from that were enough to put Chris in first and Rob
in second. Final scores: Chris: 24, Rob: 23, Me: 22, Jeff: 17-ish,
Mike and Mark were both down around 14. A good game!
At this point, both Robs and Mark headed home, so we were down to six.
We decided to play Royal Turf, using secret bets. The first round
went very well for Evan and Mike, not so well for most others. The
second round went very well for me, even though I was forced to pay
for betting on the losing horse (who knew Othello would be such a
dog?). So I went into the final round leading Jeff by a mere L50.
Fortunately for me, on the final round, I managed to match Jeff's bets
exactly, so the effect of the doubled bets wasn't enough to change the
order and I won the game by L50. (Interestingly enough, the winner of
the last race was a horse that nobody bet on at all, not even as a
Next was a chance to try a prototype that Chris was working on, about
which I will draw a veil of perfect secrecy. Or something. Anyway, I
We finished the night with a game of Ave Caesar. I took a strong lead
in the third lap which ended when my hand of 1, 6, 6 forced me ro stop
one space too soon, and I was then blockaded mercilessly (hold a hand
of 6, 6, 6 at this point) for about eighty consecutive turns. Chris
won this one, I believe. I finished last. It was very sad...
And that was all for the night!