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[SR] CBGBs 11/16: Taj Mahal, Tower of Babel, Bridges of Shangri-La, etc.

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  • W. Eric Martin
    CBGBs took its first road trip, down to Jeff Michaud s house in Windham. What follows is a combined report from Jeff and me. Jeff: Jim arrived first, and we
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 20, 2005
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      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
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