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[SR] MVGA Holliston 2009-08-27

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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 , Aug 30, 2009
      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.

      Roll call: Eric, Anton, Rich, Walt,
      Jason, Charles

      (Eric, Walt, Jason, Charles)

      Well, I haven't written an MVGA session
      report all summer! I was at the Hall a
      few times, but with all the travel and
      other activities (notably including the
      World Boardgaming Championships with my
      wife and son,) I haven't had time to
      write anything up. This week Walt and
      Eric both made it out for the first
      time since July 9 (sometimes people
      suspect the two of us are like Clark
      Kent and Superman, though I'm not
      saying which of us is which.) Walt was
      toting a massive sheaf of papers, which
      represented a substantial amount of
      progress on his next book (in case you
      haven't been following these session
      reports for more than a little while,
      you should know that Walt is a famous
      author, a responsibility that draws him
      away from MVGA from time to time.)

      Rich and Anton were on hand, but they were committed to playing a 4-game TBL
      (Tabletop Baseball League) series. Four of the MVGA regulars belong to an
      APBA league that has been running for more than 25 years, and it takes a lot
      of playing during the summer for them to complete the season. This left the
      other 4 of us to play the type of games we usually play at MVGA. We like to
      make the first game of the evening short, in case someone new shows up. We
      first considered Race for the Galaxy, but Charles isn't a fan of it, so we
      settled on Dominion instead. Walt had the new Intrigue expansion all sleeved
      and ready to go, so we chose a selection of cards and started off. Jason was
      new to the game (he's been learning new games every week,) so we explained
      the rules. Charles was the starting player, and he led us off.

      It was a tough set of cards, with no reliable extra actions and few extra buys
      available. It was tough sledding to collect provinces, so we grabbed a number
      of duchies to pad our scores, and three of us made use of Nobles, a card that
      provides actions together with 2 VP.

      We exhausted two of the smaller decks, and before long Charles had a decision
      to make. He could end the game immediately by buying out the Pawns, but he
      didn't know whether he was ahead. He decided it would only get worse if he
      kept the game going, so he ended it. We counted the VPs and found that Walt
      had won by 1 VP.

      Final scores: Walt 31, Eric 30, Charles 27, Jason 19.

      Eric's rating: 7. I don't mind playing Dominion, but I'm not dying to play it
      either. It's just the kind of game I rate as a '7'. My wife would rate it a
      lot higher, so I play quite a bit of it anyway.

      (Eric, Walt, Jason, Charles)

      For our second game, we scanned the fabulous MVGA game locker and picked out
      Union Pacific, an old favorite we've played at least a dozen times since I
      started keeping records. It's a particularly good choice when we have 6
      players on hand, but we also play it with fewer than 6---only half the games
      I've recorded have been with 6.)

      Charles was again chosen as the starting player, and he got off to a good
      start. He started with a light blue share, began building the light blue line
      and snatching up Union Pacific shares, and by the first scoring he was already
      in the lead *and* had a lock on first place in the UP. Several of the rest of
      us made various attempts to catch him, but it was a runaway, as Charles added
      to his lead at each scoring. The final scoring card came up early in this
      game, and Charles announced a "Bacardi" score---151, which is a prodigious
      score for 4-player Union Pacific.

      Final scores: Charles 151, Eric 124, Walt 109, Jason 90.

      Eric's rating: 7. Oddly enough, I played Union Pacific three times in the
      month of August---twice at WBC and once at MVGA---after not playing it for
      more than two years. It's still a good game, though I don't tend to play it
      very well (I'm always hoping for one more chance to play stock before the
      scoring card comes up.)

      (Eric, Walt, Jason, Charles)

      We checked to see how Anton and Rich were doing, and they still had one more
      game to play, so we opted for a shortish game as our next one. We've played
      quite a bit of Thurn & Taxis at MVGA, with Rich having the most success. Some
      people think it's a luck-driven game, but Boston-area gamer Andy Latto just
      won his third straight championship at WBC (with more than 100 people in the
      tournament each year,) so there's clearly plenty of scope for skill.

      This game started off quietly. Several of the players were not happy with the
      cards on offer, and there was plenty of board-sweeping from Turn 2 (you can't
      sweep on Turn 1, since you start with no cards.) Eric was 3rd player, but he
      was first to complete a route, grabbing Freiburg, Sigmaringen and Ulm. Jason
      and Walt went for the longer routes while Eric kept hammering away with the
      shorter ones, using the Cartwright to upgrade his Carriage House card by card.
      Before long, everyone noticed that Eric could end the game on his next turn,
      finishing a 5-card route and taking the 7 Carriage, so Walt and Jason ended
      their routes (Charles was 4th, so had a chance to play even after Eric ended
      the game.) On his last route, Eric got 6 VP for all foreign regions, 3 VP
      for the blues, and 1 VP for ending the game, in addition to placing houses
      in Basel and Zurich and increasing the value of his Carriage. This gave him
      a comfortable win.

      Final scores: Eric 20, Charles 15, Walt 9, Jason 5.

      Eric's rating: 7. Thurn & Taxis is okay, but although I understand there are
      meaningful choices to make, I don't find them riveting.

      (Eric, Rich, Jason)

      The TBL series ended, and Anton, Walt and Charles left, but Rich wanted to
      play something other than APBA, so Eric and Jason stuck around for a few
      games of Race for the Galaxy. The chapter doesn't yet have the new Rebel vs.
      Imperium expansion in its set, but it was just as well, because Jason is still
      getting familiar with the game (beginners can play with little difficulty
      using The Gathering Storm, the first expansion, but to play with both
      expansions together takes a bit of getting used to.)

      In the first game, Eric tried to get a consumption engine going, while Jason
      couldn't find cards that worked together at all. Rich played a straight
      military strategy. He had Improved Logistics, allowing him to settle
      2 Worlds in one phase, and on the final turn, he played Rebel Base (using
      Galactic Imperium) for 8 VP and drew as his kickback Rebel Home World, which
      he then played for another 9 VP. Needless to say, he won by a wide margin!

      Final scores:

      Rich [OE] 46 = 3 VP + 34 cards + 9 (Galactic Imperium)
      Eric [SC] 32 = 20 VP + 12 cards
      Jason [AC] 14 = 5 VP + 7 cards + 2 (Mining League)

      Eric's rating: 10.

      (Eric, Rich, Jason)

      We couldn't stop with just one game, especially given the size of Rich's
      margin of victory, so we re-dealt the starting worlds and began another.

      This time Eric jumped out to a strong start, selling a good from Alpha
      Centauri as his opponents explored. On the next turn he settled the Deserted
      Alien Colony and followed by selling that good to gain a batch of cards. Rich
      played several blue production worlds and followed up with Consumer Markets,
      and Jason augmented Separatist Colony with several more explore powers to
      give him strong card flow.

      The game was effectively decided when Eric drew the Terraforming Guild and
      played it early in the game. This gave him production of yellow goods on
      every produce, and when he played Terraforming Robots, he got two extra
      kickbacks on every settle. Rich did pull in a lot of VP chips and did some
      conquest on the side with Galactic Imperium, and Jason used Galactic Survey
      to achieve some fabulous explores late in the game, but Eric won.

      After the game, Jason remarked that he's starting to become more comfortable
      with Race. For the first few games you're just trying to work the engine, but
      with experience you learn to evaluate your hand for possible paths to victory.

      Final scores:

      Eric [AC] 40 = 6 VP + 16 cards + 16 (Terraforming Guild) + 2 (NGO)
      Rich [EL] 35 = 17 VP + 14 cards + 4 (Galactic Imperium)
      Jason [SC] 27 = 3 VP + 14 cards + 10 (Galactic Survey)

      Eric's rating: 10.

      Eric Brosius
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