Thoughts From The Gameroom

The ramblings of a Euro-gamer from South Dakota

Game Day: Aug. 14th, 2011

Posted by sodaklady on August 15, 2011

Mike and Dave showed up about 11:00, Mike with an armload of games and Dave with his left hand bandaged up and two fingers splinted. Seems he had a little disagreement with a power tool at work and just barely won.

Being one of the Sundays that Richard has off work, he joined us for a day full of games starting with Ra. We’ve been using Ra: The Dice Game as a closing game since it’s so quick and fun; we all really like it but I figured it was time to teach Dave how to play the father game. It wasn’t too hard to teach with the dice game as a reference and Dave did very well, coming in second to Richard.

Half way through the game Richard had to take a break for a trip into town to feed our daughter’s cat while she’s on vacation. During this forced intermission, I taught Dave and Mike Can’t Stop, a quick push-your-luck dice game that we’ve had since the kids were little–twenty years? I am the poster-child for push-your-luck, in this game particularly. I rarely get a marker on the board the first round and this time was no different. Dave stuck to the most popular numbers he could and conquered the first column (8). Mike was half way up several of the middle columns and I wasn’t too far behind when I decided to take 12 as one of my numbers, then stop. On Mike’s next turn, he also took a 12, followed immediately with rolling four 6s! There went my 12 column. A couple of turns later, with Dave within reach of winning, Mike had to make a serious push to steal a column from him. He rolled 7s until he took the column but he also managed to shove his way into my 2 column and take that as well! Fantastic win for Mike, impressed looks all around.

Can't Stop

This is the version of Can't Stop that I have. Image by BGG Admin

Richard still wasn’t back so Mike showed us the game he got for his kids: Carcassonne Kids. It’s a neat little game to get kids playing with you and teach them the basics of good sportsmanship, and it has wonderful artwork. It took us about 5 minutes to play by which time Richard had returned.

After Ra, I brought out an oldie but goodie: Carolus Magnus. This is an excellent game for two or three but I’ve never had the chance to play it with four in partnership. I partnered with Dave across from me, the only novice in the game, and we got our clocks cleaned quite nicely in almost no time at all. We decided to blame the dice rolls!   We talked our worthy opponents into a second game since the first one was over almost before it had begun. The second one lasted a little longer, was a bit more of a competition and we won, so it was a lot better the second time. *wink*

Carolus Magnus

Carolus Magnus in play. Image by Scott Alden

We next turned to a new game of Mike’s, Puzzle Strike. This is a deck-building game using poker-style chips instead of cards. I admit that I have trouble totally grasping these types of games on the first play mainly due to learning iconography and all the various powers available; it is a lot to internalize immediately, at least for me. And the whole “crash”ing and “trash”ing thing didn’t click for me right away so I struggled with what to do and which way to jump. I glanced at Richard and he probably had the same glazed look that I was wearing. Dave had played before with Mike so he was comfortable with it. In the end, I managed to win seemingly by default. I attacked Richard, the only choice of attack is to your left, who died and sent his extra pieces towards Dave who also died, sending his left over pieces to Mike to also died. I win as the “last man standing”. But somehow it didn’t feel very well earned.

Puzzle Strike

Image of Puzzle Strike from Sirlin Games website.

Looking at the pile of games that Mike had brought, Space Alert, Battlestar Galactica, Wealth of Nations and Stronghold, Dave spoke up with a request for Power Grid. I would never say no to Power Grid! I may say, “Mary, what the hell were you thinking starting right next to Mike to block him off?” but I would never say “no”.

See, here’s the thing: Mike is ‘the one’ in the group. You know, the one who always gets it faster, understands it better, thinks it through quicker, and conceives plans more easily. Thus, he gets picked on…a lot. THAT was the plan. Make life difficult for Mike. Unfortunately, it backfired when Dave proceeded to cut my avenues of escape down to one and it became too expensive to expand. I struggled through the whole game at the back of the pack but was finally gaining ground by the end of the game. I learned a lesson and still had a good time. In fact, my little bit of insanity was the cause of much laughter and hilarity so a good time was had by all. Richard and Dave tied for most cities powered but Dave took the trophy by having more money left.

While Richard went to feed the cat his supper, Mike, Dave and I had some excellent sausage-sweet potato stew from the crock pot and discussed life (you live, you die, and in between you try to find something you love), the universe (42, of course) and everything (we all agreed we hate Elise on Hell’s Kitchen).

By the time Richard came back, Dave’s hand was starting to hurt so we decided on just one more quick game, one that Dave was curious about, Ticket to Ride. I haven’t played  TtR much but when I do, I usually get stomped. I’m not sure why, maybe I try too hard not to fail a ticket, maybe I’m not brave enough to take more tickets, maybe it’s timing. Still, I’ve liked it well enough to get the 1910 expansion so we shuffled them all up and set out the two Bonus cards for longest track and most tickets completed. All three of my opponents started out on the east coast and left the west all to me; how nice! Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the blue cards I needed so kinda wandered around but did manage to finish the two tickets I had in the area plus one more I picked up and a couple of 6-track connections. Dave finished up in the east and joined me out west while Richard and Mike each took 3 more tickets and continued expanding their rails. In the end, those extra tickets were their downfall, both taking substantial penalties. Richard got the most tickets completed bonus, Dave connected his east and west routes to win the longest track, but I managed the win by 2 points with my 3 medium length routes and several longer sections. That’s my problem, I’ve never played in the west before! Those longer connections are a pain to get the cards for, but the points really add up.

What a great game day, I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe I could have done without the hail in the afternoon, but luckily it was just small stuff and the garden didn’t suffer.

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One Response to “Game Day: Aug. 14th, 2011”

  1. Gerald said

    Wow, what a great game day. Sounds like a lot of fun.

    We also own that version of Can’t Stop and played it often when the kids were young. It’s still a favorite push-your-luck game for me, and I even worked out a solitaire version to amuse myself.

    In TtR, we find that players who get stuck competing in the east have a harder time winning than a player who can get the middle or west to themselves. Those long routes do indeed add up to big scores (if you can get the cards, of course).

    Glad to hear you had such a fun day.

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