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SR: MVGA, 11/30: We winged the Ring!

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  • Walter Hunt
    MVGA, 11/30/00. Roll call: Walter, Rich M, Dan M, Matt H, Andy L, Colin. No Campbell; sorry we either missed you or you couldn t find us. It s been known to
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 1, 2000
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      MVGA, 11/30/00.
      Roll call: Walter, Rich M, Dan M, Matt H, Andy L, Colin.
      No Campbell; sorry we either missed you or you couldn't find us. It's
      been known to happen -- the hall is easy to find... the second time.

      Games played: Doge, Herr der Ringe, Taj Mahal.

      Matt and I were on site early, and we got a chance to look over the
      offerings. When Dan and Colin turned up, we sat down to Doge, a game
      that hasn't gotten much good press.

      It's really a very attractive game. Jay has produced the same high
      quality present in the original Goldsieber edition, of course, and
      it's quite pleasant to look at.

      The game progresses in two distinct phases. First there's a bidding
      phase, where you secretly choose a region to put (face down) influence
      disks; this is done three times, with the region (but not the disk
      values) revealed each time. So, you can see where people are going,
      but can only guess how much they assign. In the second phase, the
      regions are resolved; each turn it's a different order, and you turn
      up the order for the _next_ turn as you resolve each region, so you
      have an idea of when the next fight will be. Influence winners can put
      down little houses, which can grow up to be Big Houses, which is how
      you win. There's an interesting "advisor" mechanism, where 6 of the 7
      regions have a big dobber you can place anywhere but his home region,
      to influence subsequent influence contests. The seventh region doesn't
      let you build Big Houses, but has three advisors.

      It's very quick. We played it in a little under an hour, and there's
      certainly some strategy; after warming to K&K/Web of Power, I think
      I'm more open to games of this sort, and would be happy to play it
      again given that it's a quick game. I think it works fairly well and
      it might be a nice alternative to the fillers we've been playing
      recently.

      Overall it got 7s, but I think we'd all like to try it again. Matt
      said it played better with 4 than his previous go with 3.

      Herr der Ringe. Well, it's about time -- I participated in a real win
      of Lord of the Rings! And we started Sauron at 12: not 15, but 12. We
      took some damage in Moria, but sprinted through Helm's Deep and
      Shelob, and a few turns into Moria we were 5x Gandalf-Enabled. We
      arranged to get Gollum at the first event, by Gandalf-manipulating the
      event tile stack. As Merry, I winged the Ring on the first try --
      Sauron was at 10, I was at 4 and well behind the front rank. We kicked
      Mr. Eyeball's fat hairy ass and won at 82, with (I believe) Matt or
      Dan the nominal "individual winner".

      It was the first try for everybody but me, with Rich the unofficial
      sixth-hobbit advisor to give Andy (our last addition) a chance to
      play. Rich's comment might be well taken: "you're about done with
      this." I think that might be right; until and unless there are
      expansion sets, I might not bring this out more than a few more times
      except with people who haven't played it. Without touching on a sore
      point, I'm certainly glad I went for the bargain price and bought it
      in German.

      Overall ratings 7-8. I think Andy in particular was disappointed at
      our easy victory, but none of the other participants had ever had
      their spleens ripped out by Sauron before :-)

      In the third game of the night, Rich bulldozed us in Taj Mahal. I got
      hosed twice in a row and three times in the first six -- the cards
      never seemed to break right for me. I think there's a tendency in Taj
      sometimes to play when you should withdraw, particularly if you're
      behind, just to feel like you're _doing something_ -- and that will
      sometimes cost you even more. Anyway, it was no contest -- Rich scored
      in the mid 60s, the highest score I've ever seen.

      A great evening of gaming in scenic Holliston. Hope to see you all
      soon.

      Walter.
    • Dave Bernazzani
      ... Ouch! Actually, this must be in reference to me specifically since the UK/WotC edition is now widely available for US$30 - Boulder price closer to US$28
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 1, 2000
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        Walter wrote:
        >
        > It was the first try for everybody but me, with Rich the unofficial
        > sixth-hobbit advisor to give Andy (our last addition) a chance to
        > play. Rich's comment might be well taken: "you're about done with
        > this." I think that might be right; until and unless there are
        > expansion sets, I might not bring this out more than a few more times
        > except with people who haven't played it. Without touching on a sore
        > point, I'm certainly glad I went for the bargain price and bought it
        > in German.

        Ouch! Actually, this must be in reference to me specifically since the
        UK/WotC edition is now widely available for US$30 - Boulder price closer to
        US$28 and one person in r.g.b. just commented he saw it in stores discounted
        to US$22 - well worth the difference in price for the English version, IMHO.

        Now I'm in a different boat - having had it shipped from the UK _and_ having
        to buy a local replacement copy. But that's life - and I've gotten a chance
        to teach the game a half-dozen times to appreciative people and soon expect
        to get even my high cost's worth out of it (especially since I'm rather
        pleased at the range of players it supports, I've enjoyed both the 2P games
        Jenn and I have played and I've enjoyed a good 4-5 player group struggle
        like we had at B&N a couple weeks back).

        --
        Dave Bernazzani
        dber@...
        http://www.gis.net/~dber (South Shore Gamers)
      • Cragmyre .
        Has anyone tried it solo? Can it be played solitaire? Just curious. Ron _____________________________________________________________________________________
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 1, 2000
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          Has anyone tried it solo? Can it be played solitaire?

          Just curious.

          Ron

          _____________________________________________________________________________________
          Get more from the Web. FREE MSN Explorer download : http://explorer.msn.com
        • Walter Hunt
          ... it ... the ... closer to ... discounted ... version, IMHO. ... Wasn t meant as a jab, and yes, the difference in price is useful for teaching
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 1, 2000
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            --- In Unity_Games@egroups.com, "Dave Bernazzani" <dber@g...> wrote:
            > Walter wrote:
            > Without touching on a sore
            > > point, I'm certainly glad I went for the bargain price and bought
            it
            > > in German.
            >
            > Ouch! Actually, this must be in reference to me specifically since
            the
            > UK/WotC edition is now widely available for US$30 - Boulder price
            closer to
            > US$28 and one person in r.g.b. just commented he saw it in stores
            discounted
            > to US$22 - well worth the difference in price for the English
            version, IMHO.
            >

            Wasn't meant as a jab, and yes, the difference in price is useful for
            teaching non-Germanophone players, particularly the "non-gamer" types.
            So everybody got what they wanted.

            Even at $50, if you get ten plays, it's probably worth it; we've all
            bought games that didn't get much use after a few times on the table.
            Haven't bought too many dogs recently, for which I can thank Unity
            Games. "Play before you buy..." As Dave would say, hehehe [tm,
            copyright 1999, 2000 Bernazzani].

            Walter.
          • Dan Miller
            ... win ... We ... the ... kicked ... We owned Suaron. We made him cry. We ate his lunch. We dissed his momma. We stole his bus money. It was especially funny
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 2, 2000
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              --- In Unity_Games@egroups.com, "Walter Hunt" <hotc@w...> wrote:
              >
              > MVGA, 11/30/00.

              > Herr der Ringe. Well, it's about time -- I participated in a real
              win
              > of Lord of the Rings! And we started Sauron at 12: not 15, but 12.
              We
              > took some damage in Moria, but sprinted through Helm's Deep and
              > Shelob, and a few turns into Moria we were 5x Gandalf-Enabled. We
              > arranged to get Gollum at the first event, by Gandalf-manipulating
              the
              > event tile stack. As Merry, I winged the Ring on the first try --
              > Sauron was at 10, I was at 4 and well behind the front rank. We
              kicked
              > Mr. Eyeball's fat hairy ass and won at 82, with (I believe) Matt or
              > Dan the nominal "individual winner".

              We owned Suaron. We made him cry. We ate his lunch. We dissed
              his momma. We stole his bus money. It was especially funny when
              Merry held the ring just out of reach and Sauron jumped up and
              down tring to grab it and whined, in his funny high-pitched voice,
              "Aw come on guys! Gimme the ring! It isn't funny! Guys!"

              >
              > It was the first try for everybody but me, with Rich the unofficial
              > sixth-hobbit advisor to give Andy (our last addition) a chance to
              > play. Rich's comment might be well taken: "you're about done with
              > this." I think that might be right; until and unless there are
              > expansion sets, I might not bring this out more than a few more
              times
              > except with people who haven't played it.

              From my long experience playing this game (once) I also see
              replayability problems. It was great fun working as a group
              to overcome the various challenges (as in D&D). Unlike a good
              DM in D&D, Sauron (i.e. the game) couldn't react.

              Perhaps there is room for a variant where a sixth player agrees
              to play Sauron. He would have the ability (a few times, not
              continuously) to interfere with the group by rearranging a few
              event tiles, making a player skip or repeat a turn, forcing the
              trade of a card or two, etc.

              I'm told that our refreshing romp through sleepy, parklike Middle
              Earth was the exception and not the rule, so I suppose in the
              average game against an "active" Sauron the players would have to
              start with a few more cards or other advantages.


              > In the third game of the night, Rich bulldozed us in Taj Mahal. I
              got
              > hosed twice in a row and three times in the first six -- the cards
              > never seemed to break right for me. I think there's a tendency in
              Taj
              > sometimes to play when you should withdraw, particularly if you're
              > behind, just to feel like you're _doing something_ -- and that will
              > sometimes cost you even more. Anyway, it was no contest -- Rich
              scored
              > in the mid 60s, the highest score I've ever seen.
              >

              Taj rules. Great bits, simple rules, no downtime, complex without
              bringing on analysis paralysis, superb combo of card play and
              board play. Yes, you can get hosed by a bad draw of cards and be
              unlikely to catch up, but most of our favorite games are like
              that, right?

              Dan Miller
              millerandgreen@...
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