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[SR] CBGBs, 2/23: Timbuktu, Marracash, St. Pete, Texas Roll'Em, Handy, and much more

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  • W. Eric Martin
    Possibly the longest game session yet in Concord as the games started before 5pm and ended just past 2am on Friday morning. A relatively short recap of games
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 24, 2006
      Possibly the longest game session yet in Concord as the games started
      before 5pm and ended just past 2am on Friday morning. A relatively short
      recap of games played:

      Texas Roll'Em (Brent, PD, Ryan, Dave, Linda, Eric)

      A poker-themed version of Bluff from SimplyFun, modified by Richard Borg
      to include chips. You bid the same as in Bluff, but if you lose the bid,
      you lose one die and pay the winner the difference in chips. If the
      winner's bid was exact, he claims a pot of chips. If you run out of
      chips or dice, you're out of the game.

      Brent excels at Bluff, with a win record topping 50%, and he won again
      this time.

      Somethin' Fishy (same people)

      Another SimplyFun item, this is an English version of Kai Piranha, a
      push-your-luck game that I think people were playing entirely wrong.
      Everyone drew and drew until they grabbed a hungry fish and lost part or
      all of their line. Despite its simplicity, another play or five is needed.

      Carabande (Ryan, Eric)

      Jim, Paul and Nellie arrived, and while folks were talking and breaking
      out the wine, Ryan and I zipped through the tracks. I explained the game
      and was going to give Ryan a few practice shots to warm up, but on his
      first shot, he banked the curve, jumped the ramp, and went halfway
      around the next curve -- so I started the game immediately. A very close
      game for a newbie, but I nicked him by half a lap.

      St. Petersburg (Paul, PD, Dave, Eric)

      After shuffling our feet a bit, Paul mentioned that he wanted to play
      St. Pete, a game he'd played a couple of times. Dave and I were
      experienced players, and PD was a first-time player, so we gave her lots
      of advice during the game -- despite which she ran cash short pretty
      early, which took her out of the game. I thought I was piling up nice
      aristocrats in reserve, but I goofed an upgrade play, which cost me a
      handful of points and momentum. Dave spaced a couple of times,
      forgetting to play cards in his hand during the proper phase, but still
      won by a dozen points or so thanks to early building upgrades.

      Marracash (Paul, Dave, Brent, Eric)

      I played this game last week at Dave's and had vowed to play again
      before the end of the month. Well, I kept my word by putting it on the
      table and waiting for people to sit down and play.

      Everyone else was a first-timer, and my one prior game made me think
      these guys were bidding way too high, regularly paying 400-600 for shops
      from the beginning of the game on. I made 200 on the first shop I
      auctioned and didn't buy a shop in the opening round because I thought
      the prices were too high.

      Amazingly -- or perhaps not given my inexperience -- I didn't buy a shop
      the entire game. I made plenty off commissions from moving customers,
      trying to spread the wealth to offset Paul's monopoly on yellow shops,
      and sold shops several more times for more than 500 dirham. The other
      three guys made money over the course of the game, but they threw so
      much of it away buying shops that I won the game with 2,350, with Dave
      finishing in second with 2,100.

      I love the fact that I won despite never buying a shop because that
      seems contrary to the whole notion of a game based on customers spending
      money in shops. You learn the rules and immediately latch on to "buy
      shops, then lure customers," but there's more going on than is apparent
      at first glance. I definitely want to play this again soon to see what
      other sweetness is hiding in this simple-sounding game.

      Circus Flohcati (Brent, Paul, Eric)

      I'm writing a short review of the English edition of this game, but I'd
      never played by the RGG rules before, so I taught them to Brent and
      Paul, then proceeded to apply the beatdown thanks to six triplets and a
      half-dozen good cards. Playing without the gala show bonus and with the
      unfamiliar use of the yellow card was interesting as the game was less
      of a race to the gala show than normal. Or maybe it was simply from
      playing with newbies who lost cards time and time again due to a
      reluctance to pick up 0s, 1s, and 2s.

      Timbuktu (Brent, PD, Paul, Eric)

      Here's another game I'm reviewing, and while I played once back in 2001
      on Matt Stone's DB-Spiele original, I remembered very little about the game.

      Players have a horde of camels transporting four goods to Timbuktu. Each
      round, players choose one of their camel cards, then move that camel
      onto the next board, for free if it advances into two designated columns
      or for the cost of one good into any column. Thieves will steal certain
      types of goods from camels in certain spaces in each of the columns, but
      you know only one column's worth of information at the start of the
      round. During the round, as camels land on certain spots, you rotate the
      thief cards and learn info about another column. At the end of the
      round, the thieves steal the appropriate goods.

      You play a number of rounds equal to the number of players, then deliver
      any goods that remain on your camels, with each good worth a number of
      points equal to how many of that good were stolen. The rarer a good, the
      more valuable it is.

      In the end, each good was worth 7-11 points, so the difference wasn't
      too significant. Of more importance was the number of goods, and I had
      the edge with 17 or so, giving me a score of 160-ish, which topped Brett
      by 30+. A very interesting system that will absolutely improve as you
      get a feel for the game. Paul, in particular, said that he had no idea
      what he was doing the first couple of rounds, and his unladen camels
      were proof.

      Handy (Brent, Max, PD, Eric, Ryan, Linda -- in order around the table)

      Yet another SimplyFun item, this dexterity game puts you in two person
      teams with each person in two teams. My teams, for example, were me and
      PD and me and Ryan. On a turn, you and your teammate flip over one of
      your five cards, with each card designating a specific finger or the
      thumb. You then take a squishy ball of your team's color and hold it
      between the designated fingers: my index finger and Ryan's ring finger,
      for instance.

      Then going clockwise around the table, each team flips over two cards
      and adds a ball to the "hand tree," as the structure is called. So Ryan
      and Linda would hold a ball, with Ryan now supporting two balls. Then
      Linda and Brent would add a ball, and so on. If a team drops a ball,
      it's out of the game and the other teams return their balls to their
      reserve. We occasionally had a round get past six balls, and once we
      reached eight balls with me having four fingers occupied, but typically
      we got a bit shaky before that point and something would slip.

      A round ends if a team is supposed to place a ball and they have none in
      reserve. Each team scores points equal to the number of balls in reserve
      or in the hand tree. Play three rounds and see which team wins.

      It was getting late, and Brent seemed ready to nod off, but he proved
      the steadiest hand with both of his teams ending the first round with
      three (out of five) balls. PD, Max, and I all had five balls left
      between our two teams. Rather than have Brent drop completely, and not
      just his balls, we stopped after one round.

      Bohnanza (Ryan, Linda, Max, PD, Eric)

      Sure, it was 1:10am, but we hadn't played Bohnanza yet, so the five of
      us dug out Linda's favorite game and started planting. Linda held on to
      her glory, edging out Max by one bean with a score of 18, I took my
      usual fifth place position with 13.


      Ray, Jim and Nellie were also present, but I didn't play with any of
      them. Ray and Jim played Command & Colors: Ancient and Roma in the game
      room, and Nellie was part of games of Easy Come, Easy Go, Bluff (which
      Brent won yet again), and something else I don't recall. Ticket to Ride:
      Europe and Niagara also had table time over the evening.

      So we had 10 people on hand, despite two cancelling earlier in the day
      and three who were iffy in their RSVP. Next time I plan to invite my
      realtor, his wife and four children, so there could be an even bigger
      crowd on hand. Time for another card table...


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