Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Whee!!! It's Game Night!

We had a very nice turnout for last night's game night, although most people were at least a half hour late. For the first twenty or thirty minutes I was beginning to wonder if my watch were still on Chicago time or something. (I was in Chicago for my brother's wedding the weekend before last.)

My first game of the evening was a quick six player hand of Sticheln which we played while waiting for others to arrive. Sticheln is a fun game but it gets very chaotic with six or more players and you really need to play more than one hand.

Once we achieved critical mass, we divided up into groups and my group played a few hands of four player . I still think that five is the sweet spot for this game but four is pretty close. We had some rather unusual card distributions this time around and that led to a couple of hands in a row that nearly ran the table. I'm happy to say that I was the beneficiary of most of those miracle hands. I don't remember all of the details but I do remember several hands in a row where the under-trump was a bit of a surprise and turned out to be exactly what the chief was looking for. At least two hands went like this: vice chooses number (usually 1s) with the thought of removing points from trump, chief has plenty of that number and also happens to have a pile of 9s and 7s in his hand (and usually unbeknownst to him, in his partner's hand as well) so he calls 7s and proceeds to run the table taking all but two or three tricks. That scenario repeated itself two or three times. The phrase of the night was "Whee!!!!!" and it was repeated many times. *grin*

Meanwhile the other group played Lenoardo Da Vinci. Leonardo is a very good production engine style game where players bid for resources that are used to produce inventions. As the game progresses, laboratories get progressively more powerful, enabling players to complete more valuable inventions. Our group really likes Leonardo and it seems to come out every other week. I'm not quite as hot on it as the rest of the group. I suspect that has something to do with the fact that I always seem to lose badly. One of these days I need to get back up on that horse but I didn't feel up to it last night.

After our Mü game finished, four of us sat down for a friendly game of Shogun. Well, the players may have been friendly but the competition was actually quite fierce. This was a very close game. I was in second after the first year and I was quite afraid that I wasn't going to be able to turn the game around in the second year. I was especially worried when Adam decided to break our truce and took two of my provinces in the very same season that I had built buildings on them. Well, in all honesty I rather expected it would happen but I still had hoped to have time to hold him off. Fortunately I was able to recapture one of them and capture a different key province from him in the next season. But the most curious aspect of this particular game was that we seemed to have a whole rash of big conflicts that ended with neither party controlling the contested provinces. Ben and Jason had something like four conflicts in a row (some of which looked decidedly one-sided going in) that resulted in ties and then in the final season, Adam and I lost a province in the same way. I was particularly worried in the last season when I lost both my rice production province and my gold production province before they could produce. I was sure to have a revolt and I was really counting on the gold to enable me to build a couple more buildings during that final season. Without the gold I was only able to build one theater instead of a castle, a temple and a theater. Without the rice I did indeed have a province revolt. Luckily I was able to suppress the revolt and my theater gave me the one point I needed to edge Adam out for the win by a single point. Talk about your close games! Good times.

Other games played tonight included Go, Tichu, and Nexus Ops. I'm sure there were others as well but I don't remember what they were.

Come join us next Tuesday! We meet at 5:00 in the Microsoft building 50 cafeteria. Just walk around the back and knock on the door if you need access. Someone will be happy to let you in.


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