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[SR] MVGA Holliston 2005-09-29

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  • brosiuse
    MVGA meets Thursday nights at 7pm in the Masonic Hall in Holliston, on Route 16 just east of the center of town. Turn north on Church Place (which is more a
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 15, 2005
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      MVGA meets Thursday nights at 7pm in the
      Masonic Hall in Holliston, on Route 16 just
      east of the center of town. Turn north on
      Church Place (which is more a driveway than
      a street) to find parking.

      We welcome visitors. We'll even
      waive the $3.00 fee for your first visit.

      Roll call:
      Rich, Joel, Bob, Eric, Walt, Anton

      SAN JUAN
      (Rich, Joel, Bob, Eric)

      We started the evening off with six gamers
      on hand, but Walt and Anton had arranged to
      play a tabletop baseball series before they
      joined the rest of us. We usually start
      with a quick game so latecomers won't have
      to wait too long for a chance to play, and
      this week we selected San Juan. Joel
      hadn't played before, but he was familiar
      with Puerto Rico, so it didn't take long
      to teach him.

      We saw a range of strategies. Joel played
      an early Chapel and buried cards assiduously,
      finishing the game with 8VP for his work.
      Bob played an early Smithy and laid down five
      production buildings, finishing off with a
      Guild Hall, and with a City Hall that was
      worth only 4VP. Eric was first Governor and
      led off with a Gold Mine, but the vein ran
      dry as he failed to unearth a single card
      throughout the game. Rich saved for an early
      Library and used it to push a purple building
      strategy, building a City Hall that was worth
      10VP. The struggle between players who want
      to craft and trade and those who want to
      build makes for an interesting game. Eric
      got his own Library and a Quarry and tried to
      catch Rich in the building race.

      As we neared the end, Eric squeezed out two monuments and
      the rarely-built Triumphal Arch. Bob built his own Chapel,
      but had time to bury only one card. Joel built a Guild
      Hall for a few points and added a Palace for another 6VP.
      Rich didn't managed to build any 6-point buildings after
      his City Hall, but he didn't need any as he squeezed out
      a narrow win in a close game.

      Final scores:

      Rich 33 = 23 + 10 (City Hall)
      Eric 32 = 26 + 6 (Triumphal Arch)
      Joel 30 = 12 + 8 (Chapel) + 4 (Guild Hall) + 6 (Palace)
      Bob_ 29 = 14 + 1 (Chapel) + 10 (Guild Hall) + 4 (City Hall)

      Eric's rating: 9.

      (Rich, Joel, Bob, Eric)

      Walt and Anton were still enmeshed in their baseball series
      so we moved on two another quick card game---MVGA favorite
      Wyatt Earp. We had to teach Joel the rules to this game as
      well; he's been learning one great game after another in
      his initial visits to MVGA.

      Bob, who learned the game just a few weeks ago, started off
      strong, grabbing the entire reward for one outlaw and large
      shares in several others.

      Scores after one hand:

      Bob $12K, Eric $9K, Rich $8K, Joel $7K.

      We focused on Bob during the second hand, targeting him
      with a number of lowdown sneaky tricks, and this gave Rich
      and Eric the chance to catch up, though Joel was not able
      to grab his "fair" share in the payoffs.

      Scores after two hands:

      Eric $18K, Bob $17K, Rich $17K, Joel $10K.

      It was hard to know who to target for the third (and
      probably deciding) hand, but Rich and Bob eyed each other
      warily as each played card after card on Butch Cassidy,
      a notorious varmint who soon had a huge reward on his head.
      When it was necessary to allow an advantage to an opponent,
      we chose Joel as the trailer, hoping it wouldn't be enough
      to hand him the game. Our hands were growing thin and the
      tension was high. Suddenly, Bob slapped a Hideout down on
      Rich's pile of Butch cards and made a successful shot.
      Rich had no Wyatt Earp, so was unable to counter, and Bob
      went out, winning by a landslide with the proceeds. It
      hasn't taken Bob long to become a shark at this game.

      Final scores:

      Bob $30K, Eric $22K, Rich $21K, Joel $20K.

      Eric's rating: 9.

      (Bob, Eric, Walt)

      Wyatt Earp finished just as the tabletop baseball series
      finished. With 6 players we split into two groups of 3.
      Walt had a newly-acquired game of Shear Panic (which sold
      out before the Essen show opened this week.) Walt was in
      Edinburgh for World Con, met the designers there, and
      bought a copy of Shear Panic. The designers, Gordon and
      Fraser Lamont of Scotland, scored a notable success last
      year with their game Leapfrog, which challenges players to
      arrange a one-dimensional line of frogs to their own
      advantage. In Shear Panic you rearrange sheep, not frogs,
      and the sheep are arranged in two dimensions. I can already
      predict that the Lamonts' 2006 game will involve blocks
      that one arranges in three dimensions (let's not talk about

      Shear Panic involves four pairs of sheep, one pair in each
      of four colors, together with a ninth, black, sheep that
      belongs to no one. Each player is responsible for one pair
      of sheep; in the 3-player game one of the pairs is unowned.
      Each player is given a player mat showing a selection of
      twelve different options and you select one option each
      turn. You may use each option only once, so it's important
      to plan the use of the most powerful options carefully.

      In the first phase, players attempt to get their sheep next
      to each other, and Eric won this phase decisively, scoring
      4VP for keeping his sheep together. Bob and Walt were held
      scoreless, so Eric was the early leader.

      In the second phase, Roger Ram enters play, and the sheep
      compete to gain positions closest to Roger. Walt gained
      ground during this phase, leaving the scores Eric 14,
      Walt 13, Bob 10.

      In the third phase the players attempt to maneuver their
      sheep next to the black sheep, and Eric once again displayed
      a flair for proximity, scoring the maximum 8VP while Walt
      and Bob scored just 2VP and 3VP. Once again Eric led by
      a comfortable margin: Eric 22, Walt 15, Bob 13.

      In the final phase, the Shearer appears. Sheep do not like
      the Shearer, who relieves them of the wooly coats that
      protect them against the harsh Scottish winter. The sheep
      closest the the Shearer at each of the two scorings is
      removed from the game, adding an additional shiver of
      anxiety to the game's final stages. Eric scored well with
      one sheep at the first shearing, but the other was not
      seen again after it entered the shearing hut, so he would
      have to compete with only one sheep to his rivals' two.

      Walt and Bob knew they would have to work together if they
      were to catch Eric, and they gave it their best, but fell
      just short.

      Final scores: Eric 29, Walt 28, Bob 28.

      Eric's rating: 5. Shear Panic is extremely cut, but I didn't
      get the feeling that I had much control; it seemed mostly a
      guessing game with a high luck factor. I have no objection and
      wouldn't mind playing again if others want to play, but I don't
      think I'll seek it out.

      (Rich, Joel, Anton)

      While 3 of us were playing Shear Panic, the other 3 decided to
      take another shot at Ticket to Ride, a game Joel had played
      just two weeks earlier on September 15. The 3-player game may
      be the most cutthroat of the Ticket to Ride versions, since
      only one of any pair of parallel routes may be built. Rich had
      a master plan that involved connecting to New York, but before
      he could complete his connection, Joel blocked all the
      approaches, dooming Rich to the loss of a key ticket. As is
      often the case, the uninvolved party (Anton) took advantage of
      the strife to win the game by a comfortable margin.

      Final scores: Anton 119, Rich 106, Joel 93.

      Eric's rating: 8. I like the original Ticket to Ride better
      than the new European version; it's cleaner.

      Eric Brosius
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