I'm gonna try and get this out of the way first thing this morning because I know I won't have time to do it later.
We had a few newcomers at our game night this week. That's always good to see! Hope they enjoyed themselves and will come back again!
My first game of the night was a brief game of Sticheln. We played one hand where I did tolerably well and then we were nearly done with another hand where I ate a ton of negative points before we realized that there had been a misdeal! Whew! By then enough others had arrived that we were ready to break out into groups and play some meatier games so we never did bother finish the Sticheln game after that.
My first full game of the night was a four player game of Pillars of the Earth. I do like this game very much but once again the master builder draw proved to be decisive. I got out to an early lead but in at least three key rounds, by the time I was given a chance to place any of my master builders all of the spots I wanted were already taken. I was never able to upgrade to the craftsmen I wanted and, while the results among the top three finishers were relatively tight, I came in third. I really like the game but I also realize that I just have to live with a certain amount of randomness whenever I play. I still think that three players is probably the best number for this game.
While that was going on the others were playing a game of Alhambra which finished at about the same time as our Pillars of the Earth game. Since we all finished at about the same time we mixed up the groups a bit.
One group played Elfenland. I really like Elfenland, which is essentially a non-linear race game across a road network. Players attempt to visit as many cities in Elfenland as possible by playing cards that allow them to travel over certain roads in the network. It's a very clever game and it's pretty easy to teach so it's very family friendly.
I like Elfenland but I didn't play it. Instead, I was begged to make up a fourth for a game of Tichu. Kai and I squared off against Greg and Mike. It was a tight game with an unusually large number of Tichu calls: all of them made. At the end of the game we were tied at exactly 1000 points apiece. Mike and Greg won the tie breaker. There was one hand early in the game where Kai probably should have called large Tichu and if he had, we'd have won the game. But hind sight is 20-20 and he didn't have the confidence to do it.
That's all for this week. Come join us next week. 5:00 on Tuesday night in the Microsoft building 50 cafeteria. If you don't have a badge, knock on the cafeteria door and someone will let you in.