[SR] CBGBs 11/16: Taj Mahal, Tower of Babel, Bridges of Shangri-La, etc.
- CBGBs took its first road trip, down to Jeff Michaud's house in Windham.
What follows is a combined report from Jeff and me.
Jim arrived first, and we chatted for a short bit until Eric, Linda,
Brett and Adam all arrived at the same time. So the six of us started
off with a game of Bluff (aka Liar's Dice). I've played Bid-It, a card
game version of Liar's Dice before so it was easy to pick up. I ended up
getting knocked down pretty quick to just one dice, but managed to hang
on long enough to come in 3rd place. I can't remember if it was Brett
or Adam who won.
Actually it was Jim. He had five dice for the longest time, losing one
only due to an exact bid from someone else. Jeff enabled a couple of
incredibly lucky (or skillful) spot-on bids that took out me and Brett.
Finally Jeff pushed his luck a bit too far, and Jim caught him. Adam had
only one die left by this point, so Jim had an easy ride to victory.
While we were playing Bluff, Alex arrived so we were 7, and so we split
into two groups.
Alex, Brett, Jim, and myself played Taj Mahal, a game which has been on
my "to try" list for quite a while, but is currently out of print
(reprint should be out next year). Only Alex had played before so he
explained the rules. The game plays out in twelve rounds, with players
bidding for 1/2 a dozen things each round. When it's your turn, you can
either up your bid, or drop out. If you are the highest bidder for any
of the prizes at that point you win the prize(s). Jim took an early
lead and looked like a runaway winner for most of the game. During the
last rounds of the game I was able to come close enough to catch Jim and
it really came down to the last round, and a single card. Jim was able
to pull one more elephant out of his hand and secured the win (if he
hadn't, we believe it would have came out that I would have just edged
him out of 1st to take the win myself). Alex and Brett trailed way
behind. Alex said that it's often the case with Taj for there to be
a runaway leader?
Eric, Linda, and Adam played Tower of Babel. Who won?
I love ToB with three players as the competition is much more intense. I
tried for a placement and offering strategy and almost ignored the
chips, except for giving me clues as to who might give up houses in
exchange for the chip.
We made it through six regions before the game ended, and I had built up
a great lead through majority scores. Another five and three points for
two bonus cards, and a final ten through a majority took me to 94. Linda
banged out 30 points in chips, plus a minority, to also land on 94. Adam
added in his chips and just bumped our butts at 93 -- then he
slow-rolled a five-point bonus card before giggling like an absolute
maniac in triumph.
After Eric, Linda and Adam finished ToB, they brought out China (the
new Web of Power). Who won?
Adam just edged out a win here as well. Linda did her usual "I have no
idea what I'm doing act," then ended up only four points behind Adam
thanks to plenty of shared advisory points with Adam in the east. I
locked up a few regions in the west and scored a dozen or so points on
roads, placing me right between Adam and Linda. Tight game...
In the other room they finished China and played Coloretto while we were
finishing up Taj. Then we re-grouped and Jim, Linda, Alex and Brett
played Tichu. in the other room Eric taught Adam and I The Bridges of
Shangri-La. One still available but I wanted to try before I buy.
This is a fast playing game where the board depicts 13 villages that are
interconnected by bridges. Each village has the same set of 7 unique
spaces representing a trade. On your turn you have 3 choices; play one
of your pieces (which come in the same 7 unique trades as the spaces on
the board) on an empty space in one of the villages where you already
have another marker in your color (this marker is then called a "master"
of that trade), or you can place up to two markers on top of your
existing markers that become "students" of that trade, or the 3rd
choice is to send off your student(s) from one village over one of the
still connected bridges to another village that it attacks. One gotcha
is that all students in the village, even those of your opponents
travel... and after you cross the bridge, the students destroy the
bridge behind them.
There are some more rules, but I ended up choosing an early strategy of
starting with one village, maxing it out with my master's, and students,
then almost completely taking over a neighboring village, and working my
way the same way to a couple other villages. Even though I was out of
the game several turns before Eric and Adam due to my strategy of
abandoning lone masters in 1/2 the villages, I ended up winning with a
score of 23. I think Adam ended up with 19, and Eric 21.
Adam and I did no table talk at all, so we compiled competing strategies
for wiping out Jeff's yellow horde, then tripped each other in the
process of thwarting him, letting his masters run amok. In a second game
-- one that should happen soon because I've neglected this puppy too
long -- this strategy would likely be crushed early. At least I hope it
I think when we finished BoSL, the others were still playing Tichu so
Eric wanted to play Mamma Mia... the light card game of taking pizza
orders and fulfilling them. Adam, Eric, and myself all ended up
fulfilling exactly 7 of our 8 pizza orders, and I ended up winning by
tie breaker of having more ingredient cards left in my hand, so it felt
like an empty victory.
Yet a victory nonetheless. I've yet to win this stupid game.
In the other room, Linda reported that everyone max-minned Coloretto to
the limit, then they all had a great time learning Tichu. Jim was the
only one with experience, and he had great hands deal after deal,
letting him make plenty of Tichu calls. They didn't play it out to the
end, but I'm glad Linda dug this game. Now we need to find another
couple to while away the evenings...
W. Eric Martin - TwoWriters.net
"And neither mathematics nor death ever makes a mistake." - Yevgeny Zamyatin