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[SR] CBGBs, 1/25: Tichu, Carabande, Ursuppe, Fiese Freunde Fette Feten, 6 Nimmt!

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  • W. Eric Martin
    A light turnout in New Hampshire s capital this week with many begging off due to work, play, drunkenness, and assorted other happenings. Dave, Max, and Jim
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 26, 2006
      A light turnout in New Hampshire's capital this week with many begging
      off due to work, play, drunkenness, and assorted other happenings. Dave,
      Max, and Jim did show up, and we played:

      Tichu (Dave & Jim vs. Linda & Eric)

      I made an initial Grand Tichu, called after seeing AKKKJ89 and Phoenix,
      but after that it was pretty much downhill, with Jim making a few Tichu
      calls and our opponents scooping up plenty of points. I learned for at
      least the dozenth time that I need to express myself less exuberently
      when playing with a partner. Perhaps my partner will try the game again
      someday if I'm not playing.

      Carabande (Jim, Dave, Eric -- then Max)

      While waiting for Max to show, we set up Carabande on a table in the
      game room and started immediately, with the novices forgoing any
      practice shots. They hardly needed them, finishing one-two in the first
      two races, alternating the wins I believe, while I finished a distant third.

      After Max showed, we swapped a straight track for one of the chicanes
      from the Action Set and raced again. I looked like a lock on first until
      I choked going through the chicane before the finish line, letting Jim
      launch past everyone and win.

      Many questions came up about proper etiquette and play when you hit
      someone else, then leave the track, or when you leave the track, hit the
      table and return, or when you catch air yet end up on the track. The
      Geek lacks any FAQ, and it seems that each group makes its own rules.

      Ursuppe (Dave, Max, Jim, Eric)

      Max and I have played this twice in the past month with three players,
      and we both wanted to add a fourth to the poop stew. All the genes were
      in play, and Jim set up early with Spores and Division Rate, then
      churned out amoebae turn after turn to score a handful of points each
      turn. My Substitution was a poor match with Struggle for Survival as I
      could often eat after drifting and couldn't kill my competitors. Jim and
      I spent the game almost entirely on separate halves of the board -- me
      in the south, him in the north -- so I couldn't whack his crew. I had
      Movement 1 as well and should have perhaps chosen Streamline instead of
      Substitution so that I could move for free.

      Even worse than my poor gene selection, this game repeated the pattern
      of the other two in which one person took a lead around the 10 point
      mark, then was never challenged for the rest of the game. We debated
      what might cause this runaway problem, and Max fingered the gene buying
      process, in which the one in the lead buys genes first. Here's what the
      Ursuppe FAQ says about this:

      "Q: For trailing players, the order used to select new genes (Descending
      order) seems to favor those in the lead. Once you are trailing, the
      genes you need are purchased by the leaders. Should the order be
      Ascending order?

      "A: The 'descending order chooses genes' rule's intent is to reward
      those who are in the lead. However since those behind move & feed first
      AND skip over score markers when they move ahead, they can both screw
      the leaders for food as well as catch up faster. Also bear in mind that
      the selection of genes may be influenced by other people's choices. The
      most obvious example being if the leader picks STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL, by
      picking afterwards, you have the opportunity to pick DEFENSE straight
      away. I doubt this outweighs the improved chances of getting the
      advanced genes that picking first offers, but it is certainly something
      to think about."

      So the gene buying process is geared to reward those in the lead. Hmm. I
      had already thought about the Struggle vs. Escape/Defense issue. If you
      eat last, then you might be starving and want to turn cannibal, so those
      moving ahead of you might want to protect themselves. But is that enough
      of a reason?

      I pointed out how Max's Parasitism and Dave's Frugality left behind more
      food for Jim to feed on, thus helping Jim probably as much as it did
      them, but they're not going to voluntarily starve to hurt Jim.

      I'm hardly ready to give up on the game based on three plays with a
      near-constant leader. With more experience, we might choose better genes
      that let us confront the leader more effectively while simultaneously
      helping our own amoebae live. Last night, I think we were largely
      focused on keeping our own troops alive, then bemoaning Jim's lead

      Answers to other questions that arose:

      If you run out of cubes of your color, then you don't poop after eating.
      (If only astronauts could acquire this ability...)

      From the FAQ:
      Q: How does the Speed gene work?
      A: When you did an active movement (not drifting), you can decide
      afterward to take a second active movement, but you are not obliged to.
      The way you choose the direction of that second movement is the same as
      for the first movement. That is, without any Movement gene, you roll one
      die, with the Movement I gene you roll two dice, and with Movement II
      you arbitrarily choose your direction.

      Phew! There's a lot going on in Ursuppe, and I think I prefer four
      players to three as you have more competition and more concern over
      matching the colors on your menu. More plays are required -- then
      perhaps we can start adding in genes from the expansion...

      Fiese Freunde Fette Feten (Max, Jim, Dave, Eric)

      Max asked about this Friedemann Friese title, and since I hadn't played
      since last July, I readily agreed.

      Except that since I hadn't played since last July, I messed up several
      rules that might have garbled the game experience a bit. Max and I
      developed a strong relationship (no problem there), but then we had two
      kids together. Somehow I forgot the basic biology and assumed that
      adoption was always possible -- then late at night I reread the rules
      and discovered my error.

      We also messed up the effects of bringing friends on an event with you,
      something that seems to happen all the time if you read the questions on
      the Geek.

      In any case, Max proved most adept at fulfilling his goals, nailing
      number five while Jim and I still had only three -- with me trying to
      score a mega goal before losing my fat to a life goal I otherwise had
      (so close) -- and Dave was somewhere in there are well. He got stuck
      with a few cards that worked together, but the life cards to support
      those goals didn't appear in the first few rounds, and by that point Max
      was running away with the game. (Come back with my game, Max!)

      I'll push this again soon and try to get the rules right this time. We
      can also draft life aims Magic-style if people want. You take a hand of
      five goals, pick one, then pass the rest. Eventually you end up with one
      of each type, and hopefully they work well together.

      6 Nimmt! (Max, Jim, Dave, Eric)

      One final game to close the night. Dave took an impressive number of
      points in the first round and again in the fourth, ending the game. Max
      lost focus for just a split second -- but that was enough to send five
      cards to his pile, sending him past Jim in the scoring and giving Jim
      the game.

      My record for the evening: 0-7. Boy, do I stink! I should be able to win
      one of these hundreds of games I own. Maybe next time...


      W. Eric Martin - TwoWriters.net
      "And neither mathematics nor death ever makes a mistake." - Yevgeny Zamyatin
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