[SR] CBGBs, 10/8: Time's Up, Fifth Avenue, Shark, Santa Fe Rails, more
- I hosted a special Saturday CBGBs to make up for the demise, nay, the
delay of UG X. My friend Craig had made the trip from NY for UG, and we
also had friends from RI who showed up in the afternoon, so in addition
to the 6am Gamer regulars, we had quite a few new faces gaming in NH.
After a quick round of Space Beans, we started with Time's Up to break
the ice. I was paired with Craig, while Alex and Dave formed another
team, so we had the two top-scoring teams from Friday night in new
formations. Who would come out on top? Adam and Max, and Lorien and
Brett made up the other teams, but they each had at least one newbie, so
they were automatically handicapped. In the end, Craig and I -- friends
since fifth grade -- read each other's minds well enough to best the
competition. Alex and Dave took second, and Adam and Max stumbled over
Rene roadblocks (Magritte and Descartes) again and again, but managed to
Linda, Craig, Lorien, Alex, and Dave played Boomtown, followed by
Linda's fave, Bohnanza. Linda apparently romped at Boomtown; they played
with money hidden, and at game's end she lifted the bottom of her shirt
until it was level with the table and spilled out an incredible number
Max, Brett, Adam, and I dove into two games of High Society, both of
which were determined by the tie-breaker: largest possession tile. I
don't think I had seen a tie previously, but now that gives me something
else to think about when next I play.
After the warm-up, we played Fifth Avenue, which Max has ably described
in a session report on the Geek:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/82429. I inadvertently ended up with
five scrapers in one block due to unexpected passes from my opponents,
but then I effectively sabotaged the block by placing a business in an
open space (as opposed to with another business already there). Once Max
placed a business in the final open space, I was doomed because I didn't
have a strong enough hand to protect that block. Brett placed a stop on
it, and I was toast. Still haven't tried this game with two or three.
A little shuffling ensued, along with lots of pizza-eating, then I sat
down with Craig, Brent, and Adam for Shark. I had messed up the rules a
few weeks ago, but Adam was willing to try again with the correct rules.
The other were new to the game, but they ended up in 1-2, with Craig
ekeing out the win by a couple of bucks. This was likely the fastest
game of Shark I've ever played; red maxed out at 15,000 while none of
the other colors was higher than 4,000. Only two businesses had been
eaten, but those two had wiped out everyone but Brent, then everyone but
Adam. Somehow Craig still managed to pull it out. Maybe he was cheating.
Many folks left at this time, but our guests from NY and RI were up for
another game, and Dave joined us for three rounds of Formel 1
Nurburgring, a Kramer race game that has had several versions over the
years. Dave won the first round, which put a big target on his back and
kept his car out of the running. PD won, thanks in part to help from her
son; nepotism rules the day at the track.
In general, I'd avoid playing this game again with six players. Playing
with six means that every player has exactly one car, so the bidding for
cars at the start of the race is pretty dry. You're probably not going
to spend more than $30,000, and the card plays by those who have
finished matter more than those played by those still in the running.
After a long day of games, Brent, Craig and I were still up for one
more: Santa Fe Rails. I'd played only once previously, and that game
with five was far different from our three-player game. You had more
control over where the tracks went, so you had less incentive to choose
the 3x and 4-in-1 cards -- at least that was my take on it. Brent chose
those two cards several times, but ended up quite a ways back in third.
Craig and I traded the lead back and forth several times; at the last
moment we noticed that the blue line stopped just short of Canada and
added the final piece he needed. I had been holding Canada, waiting for
him to do the work, but then I kept drawing towns that would pay off
more than Canada anyway. In the end, Craig beat me by one point. That
one point could have been "lost" at any of a hundred different
decisions, so I'd have to play a couple more times to get a better feel
for what exactly makes the difference.
That was it for Saturday, the make-up UG X, but Sunday held a few more
games, including two more plays of Space Beans, one attempt at Pitch
(suggested by Brent), and a best-of-three cribbage match in which Linda
and PD edged Brent and me by the smallest of margins. I scored a 21
point hand that took us to the edge of victory, but the start card gave
Linda a juicy enough hand to take the win before Brent could score his
We also hit Funspot, an arcade/bowling alley/mini-golf arena in Weirs,
NH, in the afternoon. Funspot had all sorts of old-school arcade games,
such as Arkanoid, Gauntlet, Galaga, and Qix. Many tokens died as a
result of our excesses.
With gaming in Exeter Friday and our pseudo UG X, I played an incredible
number of games with a great group of people. We should have more
cancelled all-day events -- just kidding, Dave!
W. Eric Martin - TwoWriters.net
"Awesome. Love the hed and dek. Did I tell you you're a terrific writer
and I never have to edit a damned thing you send me?" -- my editor at