SR: Lobster Trap III
- Lobster Trap 3 was held this past weekend - and invitation-only
(mostly due to space restrictions) event featuring a host of
local gamers, a smattering of gamers who fly in for the event
(welcome back Pat!) and tons of great games. I had the
opportunity to make it up for only a single day of gaming -
undoubtedly there were others that made it for all three days!
We continue to be lucky to live in an area of the country where
all-day and all-weekend gaming events are becoming more and more
I saw lots of games played - both new and old. From the new
Essen batch, URLAND was reasonably well received (I enjoyed my
one play of it) - nothing spectacular but a solid game from the
latest crop. I look forward to playing this again. The KARDINAL
& KONIG KARTENSPIEL was a hit - I didn't manage to get to play it
as I was involved in the Crokinole tournament but several folks
were playing it and the few comments I gathered later were very
positive. STARSHIP CATAN (the new 2P cardgame) was rumored to be
a bit long but very good as well.
SPADES - The highlight of the event for many is the SPADES
tournament - lots of decks of Bicycle cards lined the shelves in
preparation - Joe M was not there to run it this year as he had
some early morning commitments but it went off rather well with
at least 8 teams that I saw signed up (maybe it was more?).
Anyway, I suck at Spades so I opted to sit it out but my wife
Jenn and Dave R partnered up for an attempt. They drew solid
contenders Pitt/Aaron in the first round and so I figured it
would not be long before Jenn/Dave got bounced - but they put up
a heck of a fight and lasted a bit longer than most of the other
first round matches. I don't know if it was 13 or 15 hands but
it took Pitt/Aaron quite some time to knock them out. Jenn said
she was nervous going into her first tournament but Dave was an
excellent and easy-going partner and she had fun. The eventual
winners were...??? I have no idea! I think Alan Moon/Aaron
Weissblum (co-game-designers and Spades partners) were leading
last time I looked against Tery/Mark.
CROKINOLE - I managed to find my way into the CROKINOLE
tournament. I wasn't going to enter since I didn't have a
partner (heh! Some friends!) but that was OK as there were lots
of other games to be played. But Alan/Dave were trying to
convince me all day to partner up with someone and play as they
know it's one of my favorite games. Eventually I stumbled into
Mike who didn't have a partner and was willing to humor me in an
attempt at the tournament! I'm not usually a fan of tournaments
- something about the added pressure and/or structure but
Crokinole is one of my favorite games so it was mostly an excuse
to play some more! Anyway, Mike and I did rather well - knocking
out our first round opponents 100-0 and moving on to Pitt/Alan
who were heavy favorite to win the event. Mike and I had two
good rounds and managed to take them out 100-0 as well. Things
were looking good! We made it to the final round - where there
were 3 teams playing round-robin - each team getting to play each
other team once. We managed to beat Dave/Tony but lost to Aaron
W/Mike Z and so came in 2nd place (as Aaron/Mike just squeaked
by Dave/Tony). All-in-all quite fun and at least we lasted long
enough for me to get my fill of Crokinole fix for the day (I also
got in a few non-tournament games of Crokinole in earlier). The
two Grey-Owl Crokinole boards were in heavy use all day - seeing
action from virtually all of the attendees during the day.
TIPP KICK (I think this was the official name of the game) - this
was the HUGE hit of the day. Pitt brought it back with him from
Essen - and people were literally lined up 2 deep to see/play it.
Tipp-Kick is a massive Soccer dexterity game with a large playing
field (3 feet by 2 feet maybe?) made of a green heavy cloth mat
that we stretched across the table. A set of 3-4 inch wide goals
with nets and several 2 inch tall metallic-painted figures of
soccer players (football outside of America). The figures had
this little push-down mechanism on their heads which caused them
to kick the ball! There were two different field players with
different "foot" styles - one that tended to kick the ball up in
the air and one that tended to keep it on the ground. The goalie
had little controls to dive left, dive right or dive straight
ahead (coving the ball - that part was VERY cool). The mechanics
were very precise and well made (didn't look like they would
break - mostly made of metal, not plastic). The ball was sort of
like a 20-sided die (that is, mostly round but it had a top and
bottom surface when it came to rest) so when it came to "rest" on
one side it showed another side on the top - which was either
yellow or red (half the ball was yellow, half red). If it came
up yellow, the yellow-uniformed player had control of the ball
and vice-versa. You tried to advance the ball down the field -
the opponent can place a single defender between you and the goal
as long as it is at least 2 player-sized lengths away from the
kicker and not inside the goal area "box" (sorry, I don't know
the proper terms very well!). Game halves are timed with a real
timer so everything happens quite fast as you move your guys,
shoot and defend the goal! Everyone had a blast - mostly playing
2P and tons of people shouting GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL when someone
scored. We also "invented" on the fly a 4P game where a 2 person
team combined as goalie/field player which worked out nearly as
well and was even more fun as you had someone to share in your
goals. The fast paced action, high quality bits combined with a
solid dexterity game should make this one a winner. I don't know
about replay value yet, but I'm predicting this will be a HOT
game in short order... No sign of it here in the US yet, I've got
to ask Pitt where a copy can be tracked down... it's "Mission of
God" stuff for sure. Maybe I can convince Pitt to bring this to
an SSG session sometime soon!!
HICK HACK IN GACKELWACK - My 2nd play of this new Essen game -
still quite fun and I think this will make a very good light
filler game but it didn't work as well with just 4 players. This
game seems best with the full compliment of 6 (or even 5). With
4 there was not as much conflict over the chicken feed - and so
maybe removing one of the playing boards would help with that.
And I see no real reason you couldn't play with 7 - it's so fast
and the conflicts are the best part so maybe instead of 3-6 this
game should have been 5-7! I'll definitely get a copy and put it
in the (small) box of other games that work really well for 6
METRO - A 5 player game that I won easily mostly due to the fact
that Tery was helping me (as I was playing Green and she normally
plays Green and at least one tile went down to my benefit!). A
solid game that has been commented on quite a bit so I'll simply
continue to say that this is probably my favorite Derk Henn game
and one of the finest QUEEN releases. Plays fine with just 2
players and works great up to even 5 or 6 players.
LOUPIN LOUIE - I got in 2 full games of LL which always proves to
be silly fun. We played tourney rules even though we played for
fun. With those rules, when you win, you start the next round
with 1 less chicken chip until you can win with just 1 chip in
front of you. I thought this was one of the silliest games I've
played when I first saw it - but man has this crazy game grown on
me. Always worth a laugh and plays so quickly that you can pack
it in-between heavier games nicely.
PASSWORD x2 - Got in a couple games of Password (and saw it
played at another table later in the evening during the Crokinole
tournament). I was at the "all-girl" table (as Alan was kididng
me) with Shara, Bonnie and Emily and Em and I got trounced in
game one (something like 128-74) and we swapped and then Bonnie
and I got beat. Clearly I was the "weakest link" in this group -
but we all had fun with it. I think this was the 15th edition we
played - I also brought my 1st edition and saw a more modern
(current CVS/Toys-R-Us type edition) played as well.
CATCHPHRASE - The beeping seemed to bother some others in the
areas (yes, if you are not playing it can be QUITE annoying) so
we used a bit of tape on the back to muffle it. There were 2
different tables playing - and sometimes the beeping from the
other table was confused (at least by me) at our table! Anyway,
lots of fun as both tables seemed to be hooting and hollering
over the game. We played twice with the final game ending on my
misinterpretation of "Fishnet" for "Hairnet" (nobody got Fishnet
when I gave a clue of "the Lunch-Lady wears this on her head in
the school cafeteria..."). Good stuff!
BEYOND BALDERDASH - Another fine party/word game with about 10 of
us playing. This also proved to be fun but not as much as
LOST CITIES - Mike and I started a game in-between rounds of the
Crokinole Tournament (another drawback to tournaments is that if
you continue to win, you need to wait for the next team to "free
up" for future rounds). I don't think we actually finished but
it was as good a way to waste time as any!
Jenn managed some other great games besides the Spades tourney -
she enjoyed Princes of Florence and the deduction game she loves
There was a near-endless game of the Traders of Genoa that held
up the spades tourney a few minutes but they did seem to enjoy
Big thanks to Dave for helping to organize it and Aaron
We saw a copy of the latest Games Magazine where local good guy
Aaron Weissblum (co author of recent games like Das Amulett,
Capitol and San Marco) was mentioned prominently in a multi-page
article (with pictures for those of us who like to skim!)
regarding his treasure hunts. It was well worth the read and I
understand from Aaron there is a bit of a treasure hunt puzzle in
the article which should be fun to work on!
http://www.gis.net/~dber (South Shore Gamers)
- Great report, Dave, thanks! I made it to LT on Sunday. Yes, there were games
BESIDES the Patriots on Sunday.
URLAND: Follow-up to Ursuppe from Doris & Frank
I actually liked this game better than Ursuppe, which I think most people
don't. I find that the special powers are less of a distraction and more of
an enhancement here. I also like the mildly difficult task of remembering
what disks are passed and where the scoring potential is about to hit. The
game has a little feeling of Attila to it, which I find doesn't come out
much any more. Urland did run a little long, even with four (myself, Mark,
Mike and Amy), but we had a great time with it. I managed to win just
Andrew, Scott and I sat down for some Citta-ring. I had never played with 3,
and never played with an entire group that had played before, so this game
got going very quickly and the pace was pretty decent. Usually, La Citta
tends to drag a bit mid-game, but the three of us played quickly, if not
poorly. Andrew's tactic of building 4 cities and winning 3-color bonuses in
3 of them paid off as he beat Scott and I by 4 points. I developed 1 too
many mines and ended up with too much gold production while experiencing a
food crunch mid-game which made me focus on farms and Rich Harvests and less
on sucking citizens from the otherplayers.
Matt: 31 (with 8 gold)
Scott: 31 (1 or 2 gold)
Andrew and I sat down for some Pompeji after making a long, desperate search
for a copy of Battle Line. It was new to both of us, but he had a pretty
good grasp of the rules. It is a card game, but you lay the cards out in a
7x7 grid as you play them, so it's more of a tile-laying game. The grid
forms the city of Pompeji. The idea is to score as many ways as you can --
horizontally, diagonally, and vertically -- in the grid with your card
placement. There are some rules I won't go into, but the game is a
brain-burner. I really enjoyed it, although my head felt like mish mash in
gackelwack at the end. Though technically Pompeji takes up to 4 players, I
would never play it with more than two. The board would change too quickly
and make any attempt to form a strategy useless. This is a game that could
definitely get bogged down by A/P types but with Andrew it was just the
right length, even though he is a "complete and utter bastard" for taking
all the spots I was going to play in.
Seems like my mush was slightly tastier than Andrew's mush, as I managed a
win by about 60 points.
I even got to see Pat again, although he dressed down for the event. No
shimmering club-kid shirts for him on Sundays.
Thanks to Dave R for organizing this event. Sorry I missed Fri/Sat, but I
had a real large bunch of fun.
- At 04:48 PM 12/2/01 -0500, Dave Bernazzani wrote:
>The eventualAlan & Aaron successfully defended their LT title against former champions
>winners were...??? I have no idea!
Mark & Tery. Once again, A&A prevented Bass and I from advancing in an
extremely well-played, quick 2nd round game. After 6 hands, the score was
A&A 487, B&P 434. Bass dealt, Aaron bid 2, I bid 6 (both were real, not
artificial, bids). Alan pondered for a few moments and bid 2. Bass looked
at his hand and saw that he had no chance at a nil bid (holding the King
and Jack of trump), did the math, realized that if he bid 3 (for a total
bid of 13) and we all made our bids, both teams would go over 500 but we'd
lose on bags (527 to 524). So, he bid 4, for a total of 14. In a very
tight and tense hand, we made 9 tricks only, losing on the extra trick that
Alan forced Bass to bid. It was a great game.
>TIPP KICK (I think this was the official name of the game) - this[...]
>was the HUGE hit of the day.
>No sign of it here in the US yetI figured this would be a hit, so I asked in Essen if it was in the US yet.
A couple of German expatriates are trying to start it up over here. The
FYI, for those of you who saw it and are interested in a copy of your own,
I have the Top Set (full size pitch, 2 goals, 2 Top Kickers, 2 Star
Goalkeepers, and 3 Balls) plus an additional pair of Star Kickers (sideways
- I've just posted about Pompeji. Other games I played at LT included:
Liars Dice: Steffan O'Sullivan protested that he never wins, and then promply
won the first game.
Kanaloa: Ingeneous combination of mechanisms, but that's not the same thing
as a good game.
La Citta: Scott H and I found a victim, I mean 3rd player, in Matt H. Matt
went quarry-crazy and Scott developed quarry envy, meaning that they were
each awash with gold throughout the game. I just founded a couple of new
cities, fed my folk, and had 3 bonus cities at the end for the win. A top 10
game for me, always absorbing.
Where's Bob's Hat? Aaron W gave a clinic in kingmaking on the last hand to
help me edge just 2 points ahead of Mike Z.
Thanks to those who organized!
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- At 09:11 PM 12/3/01 EST, AndAgainMA@... wrote:
>Another dissenting opinion. After only one play, I'm not yet ready to give
>Kanaloa: Ingeneous combination of mechanisms, but that's not the same thing
>as a good game.
Kanaloa a thumbs up but my initial impression was favorable. I think that
Andrew's enjoyment of the game was (understandably) diminished by the fact
that he (and Matthew) were forced to skip about a half dozen turns, nearly
in a row. This had the net effect of breaking up the flow of the game for
them, as well as eliminating any chance of a victory. I know Andrew is
aware that this might have affected his opinion and I'm sure he's tried to
account for it but I don't see how anyone could reasonably do so (I'm sure
I couldn't if it had been me).
Also, just so no one thinks that extreme loss of turns is a normal affect
of the game, let me explain. One of the God powers (Pele) is activated
when every 2nd volcano tile is drawn from the resource tile bag (10 out of
abnout 100). When that happens, the player currently controlling Pele
immediately becomes the active player, with all other intervening players
getting skipped over. Then, the Pele God player places a volcano on a
vacant island, which has the effect of causing players with a pawn adjacent
to that island to lose their next turn, too. This is likely to affect
almost all players, as the central islands are adjacent to most of the
perimeter islands. The only safe player is the player holding the
Protection from Pele card, since that makes him immune. At that point, the
Pele player takes a normal full turn, followed by the Protection from Pele
player, followed by the Pele player again. Then, the volcano is removed
and play returns to normal.
In our game at LT, we drew only 1 volcano tile in the first 40-50 tiles.
Then, when we did draw the second one, we seemed to draw another two every
2-3 turns. Since I was Pele and Kurt, sitting imediately to my right, was
Protected from Pele, this meant that Pele kept getting activated before
play ever returned to normal. Play would go something like this:
Pitt: as Pele place volcano where it hoses Andrew and Matthew, move a pawn
and draw a tile, "Oh look! It's a volcano..."
Kurt: move a pawn and draw a tile
Pitt: move a pawn and draw a tile
Kurt: move a pawn and draw a tile, "Oh look! It's a volcano...", back to
Lather, rinse, repeat.
The important points here are a) we would not have been drawing so many
volcano tiles in a row if we hadn't managed to increase the odds so much by
our earlier (highly anomalous) draws and b) even given that possibility of
that occassionally happening either Andrew or Matthew (or both) would still
have had turns if only Kurt, holding Protection from Pele, hadn't been
sitting immediately to my right. Normally, other players would get a
chance to take a turn, which would allow them to steal the Pele card or the
Protection from Pele card. In my opinion, the "problem" was simply due to
series of events that are highly unlikely to occur in most games.