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Session Report - May 31

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  • Richard Pardoe
    Dave, Carrie, and Jeff arrived at Rich s and we quickly settled to playing games. First up for the eveing was a lunchtime favourite for Dave and Carrie -
    Message 1 of 8 , May 31, 2006
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      Dave, Carrie, and Jeff arrived at Rich's and we quickly settled to playing

      First up for the eveing was a lunchtime favourite for Dave and Carrie -

      The rules state (perhap with more seriousness than I imagine) - "Tichu
      cannot be explained!" So I won't even try. I will just copy the
      description from the geek as it is a nice summary:

      Partnership climbing card game -- object is rid yourself of your hand. The
      deck is a standard 52-card pack with four special cards added. When it's
      your turn, you may either beat the current top card combination or pass. If
      play passes all the way back to the player who laid the top cards, he wins
      the trick and can lead the next one. The card led determines the only
      combination of cards to be played on that trick. So if a single card is led,
      then only single cards are played. If a straight of seven cards is led, then
      only straights of seven cards, etc. The last player out gives all the cards
      he won to the player who exited first, and the last player's unplayed cards
      are handed to the opposite team. Five's, Ten's and Kings are worth points,
      with each hand worth one hundred points (without bonuses). The first team to
      1000 points wins.

      We doubted we would play to 1000 points, but instead played 4 hands (each
      person dealing once) so as to allow us to play another game later in the
      evening. As Rich and Jeff were the Tichu newbies, they were paired with
      Dave and Carrie respectively to spread the experience around.

      The first hand saw a rather interesting series of plays. In Tichu, multiple
      pairs can be played, but they must be sequential (eg a pair of 2's and a
      pair of 3's is fine, but a pair of 2's and a pair of 4's is not.) Dave led
      with two pair (2-3). Carrie passed. Rich followed with 3-4 (to help empty
      his hand) to be followed by Jeff with 5-6. Dave passed, but now Carrie
      jumped in with J-Q. Rich passed, then Jeff played Q-K to trump out Carrie.
      (A bit of a misplay on Jeff's part as he didn't realize that Carrie had the
      dog card and was hoping to win a trick to lead with the dog.) So five sets
      of 2 pair were played. In the end, the points were almost evenly split:
      55-45 for Carrie/Jeff.

      The next hand saw Carrie play a 10 card straight but she hadn't called
      Tichu. Amazingly despite voiding her hand first, not many points were
      scored for her team and Dave/Rich scored 60 points to Carrie/Jeff's 40.

      The third hand saw Jeff open with a 6 card straight (1-6). Dave responded
      with a 6-J only to be beaten by Carrie's 7-Q. Carrie/Jeff score the slight
      advantage here (55-45) bringing total scores to 150-150 after 3 rounds. A
      key factor was the Phoenix (-25) and Dragon (+25) had ended up with the same
      team each round, so no net gain/loss from those cards.

      The final hand saw Dave call Tichu. He then proceeded to bomb a trick with
      four 2's (revealing after the hand that Carrie and Jeff had each passed him
      a two to complete the bomb). A full house and a few plays later and Dave
      was out first gaining the 100 point bonus. Rich hoped to empty his hand
      next and shut-out Carrie/Jeff, but it was not to be. Carrie almost down to
      a single card. Winning the trick on the table and she would be out next.
      But Jeff took the trick and then proceeded to go out, followed by Carrie -
      leaving Rich with his single card in hand. But no foul there as Rich's
      captured cards were given to the first player out (Dave) and his remaining
      card in hand (a single 4) given to Carrie/Jeff. As a result, Dave had 90
      points in cards plus the Tichu bonus of 100 points for 190 points for the
      hand while Carrie/Jeff had only 10 points.

      We thus ended the game with Rich/Dave at 340 points to Carrie/Jeff's 160
      points. Normally the game is played to 1000 points and I can see why. This
      allows for sufficient hands (say 10 ~ 12) to allow the dealt card
      distributions to even out a bit over the course of play. But just about
      perfect for a quick introduction to the game.

      There is a lot to think about. One aspect I like - no card play is forced
      (as it is in other games). Therefore, any card(s) played is the result of a
      player's decision to do so. This adds a wonderful timing dimension along to
      the hand management dimension resulting in a very enjoyable card game.

      With just over an hour left to play, Rich pulled out STIMMT SO! as the final
      game of the evening. A game board has spots representing 4 international
      bourses (stock exchange). At each bourse, a single share in one of 6
      companies is available for purchase. The key is that each bourse will only
      accept payment in its currency (dollars, euros, rubles, or yen). Therefore,
      on a turn, player's can either select from the face up currency on offer or
      purchase one of the shares.

      But change is not given. If a share costs 10 million at the Tokyo Bourse
      (yen) and the player only has a 5 million yen and a 6 million yen card, the
      extra million yen is lost. But if a player pays the exact amount, that
      player takes another turn (though the shares are not replenished until that
      player has finished all their acquisitions). At a few points through the
      game, scoring is conducted and players gain points for having the most
      shares in each of the 6 companies. The winner is the player with the most
      points at the end of the game.

      Early on in our game, the rubles seemed to be deficient, but lots of banking
      shares came up. In fact, 7 of the 11 bank shares had been purchased by the
      first scoring round. But scores were realtively close. Similarly in the
      second round, most companies were now owned by 2 or 3 players. With no
      clear majorities, the scores stayed very close as everyone was within a
      point of each other. But in the final round, the stocks started to spread
      out a bit more and the majorities clearly established. Rich didn't have any
      petroleum stocks and when one of the final two shares was offered on the
      Japanese bourse, he saw no need to purchase it as it wouldn't even get him
      points for 3rd place holdings. So he waited until it was purchased, only to
      see it replaced by the final petroleum stock. So much for having utility of
      the yen accumulated.

      We did play with the Stimmt So! rules, but I see some suggestions from
      Alhambra (a game that is a redevelopment of Stimmt So!) that might be nice
      to add in. We had several rounds were the money on offer was a series of
      1's. In Alhambra, players can take as much currency as desired provided the
      total is less than or equal to 5. I think this might be a nice addition to
      the game and allows for a nice seeding of hands with the smaller valued

      The other change is the initial distribution of money. In Stimmt So!, 5
      cards are dealt to each player. In Alhambra, cards are dealt until the
      total is greater than 20. The player with the lowest total is then the
      first player. I can see this also being a nice starting tweak to add to
      Stimmt So! Also.

      By the end of the game, a variety of majorities had been established, with
      Jeff having or sharing in majority for 4 of the 6 companies. With such a
      postion, Jeff was the clear winner of the game. By scoring round - the full

      At the first scoring event:

      Jeff = 1 share
      Jeff = 1 point

      Rich = 1, Carrie = 2 shares
      Carrie = 2 points

      Rich = 1, Dave = 1 share
      Rich/Dave split 3 points = 1 point each

      Jeff = 1 share
      Jeff = 4 points

      Dave = 2, Jeff = 1, Carrie = 1
      Dave = 5 points

      Carrie = 2, Jeff = 2, Rich = 2, Dave = 1
      Carrie/Jeff/Rich split 6 points = 2 points each

      Rich = 3 points
      Carrie = 4 points
      Dave = 6 points
      Jeff = 7 points

      At the second scoring event:

      Rich = 2, Carrie = 2, Jeff = 1 share
      Rich/Carrie split the 8 points = 4 points each.

      Rich = 2, Carrie = 3 shares
      Carrie = 9 points, Rich = 2 points

      Rich = 1, Dave = 3
      Dave = 10 points, Rich = 3 points

      Rich = 1, Dave = 2, Jeff = 3 share
      Jeff = 11 points, Dave = 4 points

      Dave = 3, Jeff = 3, Carrie = 3
      Dave/Jeff/Carrie share 15 points = 5 points each

      Carrie = 2, Jeff = 2, Rich = 3, Dave = 1
      Rich = 13 points, Carrie/Jeff split 6 points = 3 points each

      Rich = 25 points
      Carrie = 25 points
      Dave = 25 points
      Jeff = 26 points

      At the final scoring event:

      Rich = 2, Carrie = 2, Jeff = 3 share
      Jeff = 16 points, Rich/Carrie split the 8 points = 4 points each.

      Rich = 3, Carrie = 4 shares
      Carrie = 17 points, Rich = 9 points

      Rich = 3, Dave = 5, Carrie = 1
      Dave = 18 points, Rich = 10 points, Carrie = 3 points

      Rich = 1, Dave = 3, Jeff = 5 share
      Jeff = 19 points, Dave = 11 points, Rich = 4 points

      Dave = 3, Jeff = 4, Carrie = 4
      Jeff/Carrie share 32 points = 16 points each, Dave = 5 points

      Carrie = 3, Jeff = 3, Rich = 3, Dave = 2
      Rich/Carrie/Jeff split 40 points = 13 points each

      Rich = 65 points
      Carrie = 78 points
      Dave = 59 points
      Jeff = 90 points

      A couple of nice games tonight. Until next week,

    • Richard Pardoe
      We recently played Um Krone und Kragen, one of the many games released at Nürnberg 2006, there were many other games released at that time also: Thurn und
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 3, 2006
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        We recently played Um Krone und Kragen, one of the many games released at
        Nürnberg 2006, there were many other games released at that time also:

        Thurn und Taxis
        Einfach Genial Reise-Edition for zwei
        Hart an der Grenze
        Flussgeister am Niagara
        Los Mampfos

        Anyone interested in trying a few of these? Or any other game? I am ready
        to host:

        Wednesday Night, ~18:30 to ~21:00
        My house in San Ramon
        (Contact me off-list if you need directions)


        PS - (repeat) I won't be able to host games at the end of June (28th) and
        the start of July (5th, 12th) - just mention this so if anyone wishes to
        consider hosting - you have plenty of advance notice to work out the
      • Dave Wilson
        ... am ready ... I ll be there. Dave
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 5, 2006
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          --- In trivalleygamers@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Pardoe" <RPardoe@...>

          > Anyone interested in trying a few of these? Or any other game? I
          am ready
          > to host:
          > Wednesday Night, ~18:30 to ~21:00
          > My house in San Ramon
          > (Contact me off-list if you need directions)

          I'll be there.

        • Richard Pardoe
          Despite all the new games on offer, only Dave showed up tonight, so we decided to revist the town of Arkham and see what sort of Horror was brewing. As is our
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 8, 2006
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            Despite all the new games on offer, only Dave showed up tonight, so we
            decided to revist the town of Arkham and see what sort of Horror was

            As is our usual practice when playing Arkham Horror, we randomly dealt out
            characters. Dave got Kate Winthrop (Scientist) while Rich drew Jenny Barnes
            (Socialite). We then randomly drew Nyarlathotep as our monster.

            The first gate opened on the Unvisited Isle bringing forth a Mi-Go with it.
            As Arkham was celebrating "Witch Burning" Anniversary, the Black Man and a
            Formless Spawn were seen roaming the streets of Rivertown. This also
            triggered a clue to appear under Kate's very noise which she readily
            grabbed. Kate then headed to the Unnamable for another clue token while
            Jenny took her bankroll to the Curiousitie Shoppe and was lucky enough to
            purchase an Elder Sign from the offerings. Nyarlathotep's tried to open a
            gate at the Unnamable, but Kate's Flux Stabilizer forestalled that event.

            Kate turned out to have a nose for clues as another appeared at the
            Unnamable as Nyarlathotep managed to open a gate in Independence square and
            summon forth a cultist. Jenny decided to go after the cultist armed only
            with a knife. A quick stab and the cultist was dispatched as Jenny was
            swept into the Great Hall of Celeano.

            Kate went after the Mi-Go at the Unvisited Isle, dispatching it before
            entering the Plains of Leung. Kate's first encounter was a rope which led
            the way directly back to Arkham for a very quick trip to the Other Worlds.
            A quick skill check and five clue tokens later - the gate was closed and

            Jenny traveled a few turns through Celeano and returned safely to use the
            Elder Sign to seal that gate. Looking at the board, we realized that we had
            no open gates on the board, we each had a clue token, so we appeared to have
            won. As we didn't find any contradictory information, we decided we had won
            with an elapsed time of about 30 minutes.

            Thinking why it was so fast, we realized that several events conspired to
            keep the open gate count low. The first mythos card opened a gate under
            Kate - but her ability (flux stabilizer) stopped that, so a couple of turns
            into the game, we were still at one open gate. Another factor was Kate's
            fortunate encounter in Leung which allowed her tor return and seal the gate
            in one move (instead of the normal 3). This closed a gate before more could
            open. The final bit of luck was an opening of a gate at the Unvisited Isle
            after it was sealed. So again, no additional gates opened on the board. A
            game of circumstance for sure, but still a quick win.

            With the game over so quickly, we decided to launch into another playing.
            Our random characters this time were Joe Diamond (Private Eye) for Dave and
            Carolyn Fenn (Psycologist) for Rich. Our monster this time was Azathoth.

            Joe headed over to Hibb's Roadhouse and turned down an invitation to talk by
            a gin-breathed Ryan, losing a chance to gain an ally. Carolyn headed over
            to the Curiositie Shoppe and picked up the Blue Watcher of the Pyramid which
            allowed her to lose 2 stamina, but automatically succeed a skill check to
            close a gate (or a combat check). But Carolyn next heads to the Unnammable
            only to be assaulted by rats and finds herself lost in time and space. Joe
            on the other hand, sneaks by a maniac to the Black Cave which is guarded by
            a Nightgaunt and Gug as well as an opening to a gate. Joe intentionally
            rolls a poor fight against the Nightgaunt - losing the combat check and is
            sucked into the nearest gate (same location) and enters the Plateau of Leung
            with a nice tactic to avoid the Gug on the way.

            But then the Rivertown residents clean up the streets removing several
            monsters from the board. But a rumour then surfaces about disturbing the
            dead. Until we could discard 2 gate trophies, the terror level would
            increase each turn on a roll of 1 or 2. Joe by this time returned for the
            Plateau but can't close the gate, even with spending the extra clue token.
            So Joe sits at the spot to try again next turn. But to do so, means evading
            the Dark Young hovering around the gate. Joe does this and is more
            successful closing the gate.

            Recovering from her sojourn, Carolyn finds a witch but shreds it to pieces
            with a double barreled blast from her shotgun. But while exploring the
            Unvisited Isle, Carolyn has a gate open under her sucking her into the
            Abyss. While Joe is in the Curiousitie Shoppe hoping for the Elder Sign,
            Carolyn makes it through the Abyss and seals and closes the gate upon her
            return. Seeing a Shoggoth roaming the streets, Carolyn uses her Powder of
            Ibn Gaza to kill the Shoggoth.

            The rumours about town were not helping as the terror level continued to
            increase. Furthermore, gate's kept opening at the Witch's House (already
            with an open gate) triggering monster surges throughout town. Clue tokens
            had disappeared and were hard to acquire - so Joe and Carolyn often went to
            the Science Building to spend a gate trophy for clue tokens. With much
            effort, 4 gates were sealed, but the doom and terror tracks were both quite

            Carolyn plunged into the Dreamlands but lost her Stamina to again fall
            unconscious only to waken lost in time and space and losing half of her
            possession (including those all valuable clue tokens). Having recovered,
            Carolyn tries again, but in R'lyeh. But again loss of stamina results in
            unconsciousness and another experience lost in time and space.

            Having gained clue tokens, Joe headed into the Dreamlands and makes it out
            to close and seal the gate (#5). So we needed only one more gate.

            Joe went to the Great Race needed to pass a luck check to avoid going
            insane. Unfortunately, the initial roll was no good, so perhaps spend a
            clue token, then another, then another. By the time Joe passed - 5 clue
            tokens had been spent. The gate might be closed, but it couldn't be sealed.
            As a result, Joe left the gate open as Carolyn was approaching and needed an
            easy gate (ie unguarded by monsters) to enter. By this time the terror
            level had reached 10. Now if 10 monsters were on the board, Azathoth would
            awaken and our players would lose.

            Carolyn did manage to make it through the the first half of the Great Race.
            To keep the monsters at bay, Joe found a coven of 2 cultists and witch on
            the streets and quickly dispatched all of them. Carolyn survived the second
            half of the Great Race and returns to Arkham with 3 stamina. Spending 2
            stamina to use the Blue Watcher of the Pyramid, the gate is closed.
            Spending 5 clue tokens, the gate is sealed and there are now 6 sealed gates
            on the board meaning victory for Carolyn and Joe.

            And not too soon either as the Terror Level was 10. There were 4 monsters
            on the board (thanks to Joe's massacre of 3 reducing that from 7 - but a
            monster surge would have been very nasty.) And the Doom track as at 11. A
            narrow victory, but a satisfying one as we were struggling against the brink
            of failure at the very end.

            Unlike the first, this game was a bit longer clocking in at 2 hours or so.
            So in a single evening, we find both extremes that the game Arkham Horror
            offers. The situation could result in a very quick game, but games have
            tended to be more like the second affair - a tense race between the players
            and the advancement of the various elements that can trigger the awakening
            of the ancient one.

            And both games were enjoyable tonight. I did enjoy the second one a bit
            more as we had to work for our victory. Looking at our progress - we had
            sold quite a number of gate trophies and monster trophies hoping to gain the
            items (mostly clue tokens) necessary to gain our victories.

            A fun evening facing extreme horror.

            Until next week,

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