Session Report - May 31
- 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,
- 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
Anyone interested in trying a few of these? Or any other game? I am ready
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
- --- In email@example.com, "Richard Pardoe" <RPardoe@...>
> Anyone interested in trying a few of these? Or any other game? Iam ready
> to host:I'll be there.
> Wednesday Night, ~18:30 to ~21:00
> My house in San Ramon
> (Contact me off-list if you need directions)
- 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,