Saturday, November 04, 2006

Games Played November 4, 2006


One key to happiness – GAMES


We had a great day of gaming today. Joel was attending a friend’s birthday party in the afternoon, so he only played one game with us. Natalia played two games, so everyone was involved.

We started with Settlers of Catan. With six players, it’s a busy map. We had few good numbers on wheat or ore tiles, so there was a real shortage of those important resources. However, one of the ore tiles was an “8.” I was first player, so I placed my first settlement on that tile, which also bordered a “9” and a “10.” Those numbers paid off quite well for me (one being brick and one being wood). I also managed to place my second settlement on a “6” sheep tile, which did pretty well. Even with those locations, I got off to a rather slow start, with rolls of 11 and 4 coming up often. Fortunately, I was able to do some good trades early, which allowed me to begin buying Development Cards. I soon accumulated three Soldiers and grabbed the Largest Army card. During the remainder of the game, I purchased five more cards, receiving another Soldier, a Year of Plenty, a Monopoly, a Road-Building, and two Victory Points. That is one of the best sets of Development Cards I have ever had in this game. The game developed slower than usual. We were well into the game before anyone could upgrade a settlement to a city. Towards the end of the game, I suddenly realized that I had five settlements placed, the 2-point Largest Army card, and 2 VP cards, for a total of 9 points. I miscounted Katrina’s points, thinking she had only 8, but she also had 9. At that point, I acquired the Road-Building card and needed only one more card to be able to build a settlement, which would win the game. I acquired the necessary card in a trade, before my turn, so I was “looking good.” Then, Sue built a settlement at the only point where I could have built, and, alas, I had overlooked the fact that I had no more settlements to place, anyway. I had to upgrade to a city or acquire another VP card. I don’t believe anyone else realized I was sitting with 9 points (not knowing I had 2 VP cards). On my next turn, I managed to trade just enough to upgrade to a city and win the game. I was as surprised as anyone at the table. It was a good start for me, giving me three consecutive game victories, counting last week’s two wins. Results: Me first; Katrina second; Sue third; Kassi, Mason, Dan (tied) last.

Natalia said she would like to play Flea Circus (Zirkus Flohcati), so that was next up. Because it’s a fast game, we play three games, totaling the scores to count as one game. After the first game, I was in next-to-last place. In the second game, I managed to draw the card I needed, with only one more left in the deck, to complete a gala. This is not often possible, when playing with seven players, before the deck runs out. In the first game, Natalia had 9 of the 10 different colors when the game ended, just missing getting a gala. The gala points (we decided long ago that 15 is the best score for a gala) put me in first place for the two games. Naturally, whomever is the leader on the score sheet gets hit by the special “stealing” cards from other players, so I knew it would be difficult to stay ahead of Mason, who was trailing me by just six points. However, I managed to take a good card from his hand, and I finished with enough points in the third game to have first place for the overall game. Results: Me first; Katrina second; Natalia third; Dan fourth; Sue fifth; Mason sixth; Kassi last (this was her first time to play).

Next, I pushed to try a new game I received for my birthday – Dragon’s Gold. This is a fun game, and I expect we will play it some more. The colors on the score cards are not very clear; the gold looks like yellow and the red and purple colors are almost indistinguishable on the card, which was misleading for our first time to play. The adventurer groups always managed to agree on the division of the treasure, although I think the negotiation will be tougher in the future. I managed to kill one dragon by myself and collect 6 treasures, and I acquired two magic cards during the game. At the end of the game, there was one dragon with treasure on it, and the Black Diamond was in the dragon’s hidden treasure. Fortunately, I was in the group that killed the dragon, along with three other players. I offered to take only the Black Diamond and let the others split up the rest of the treasure, which was agreeable to all of them. It was a perfect deal for me, since I did not have a good variety of gems. I also had the most purple gems, and only one of my gems was wasted by the curse of the diamond. I had acquired quite a bit of gold and silver and three magic objects (red treasure pieces). When we added the scores, I came out on top. Results: Me first (41); Mason second (34); Dan third (31); Katrina fourth (30); Kassi fifth (26); Sue last (19).

There was just enough time for an eight-hand game of Bohnanza to finish the day. As always, there was a lot of wild trading taking place, and the game played quickly. I scored slowly at first, but managed to get some good collections of Black-Eyed and Soy Beans near the end. Just before the cards ran out for the second time, I was able to trade a Wax from my hand, giving me the opportunity to play two Soy Beans on my last turn. That trade put me in a tie for first place with Natalia. Results: Natalia and me (tied) first; Mason, Sue, Dan, Katrina (tied) third; Kassi seventh; Joel last (a very rare finish for him).

I couldn’t believe that I managed to sweep the group today – four wins (including one tie) out of four games. Since I won the two games we played last week, that made six consecutive victories for me in October and November. I still will not catch Dan, Sue, or Joel in wins for 2006, let alone Mason or Katrina, who have a good lead over the rest of us, but it does feel good to finally get some wins this year.

The only new game we haven’t yet played is Hoity Toity, and I look forward to trying it. I’ve spent some time this past week working on modifications of our 5- and 6-player games, to accommodate 7 players. Kassi won’t be with us next weekend (since she will be vacationing in Hawaii!), so we won’t be trying any of the modified games with seven players. I do look forward to trying them in the future, though.

--- Gerald … near Denver, Colorado
aka gamesgrandpa -- A grandpa who is a mile high on gaming

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