Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Attendees: Yehuda, Ben, Sharon, Yacov, Nadine, Ari, David K, Saarya, Ephrayim

First of all, the Strategist, The monthly newsletter of the Strategy Gaming Society has published part two of my Puerto Rico expansion buildings. The first part was an early version of my first three sets, and the second part is a more recent version of my second three sets. The current and correct (more playtested, and therefore more balanced) versions of all six sets can be gotten by emailing me.

Before the official game evening, David K came over to whip me in several games (he came Sunday, too). Lucky for me, I don't put the results in the scoreboard unless we play during the official game hours :-) . The importance of these pregames was that:

* I have decided that Citadels works with two or three players, but not with more.
* We tried a game of El Grande for two people, using one of the variants on the Geek and it was great. I was led to believe that it would be horrible. Not at all.
* We played two player Princes of Florence, my first Princes of Florence game of any type, using Kramer's rules, and it seemed to work fine. Next time I will try the other variant listed on the Geek.
* We played two games. In the first game, David seemed to concentrate on builders, which, even if I thought quarries were useful in Puerto Rico, which I don't, are not so useful here, especially when there is not much in the way of competitive auctioning. In the second game, David latched on to the secret jester strategy, and easily defeated me.
* In two player, Recruit cards never get bought, and the Prestige cards are usually maximum value.

The real game session began when Yacov, Ben, Ari (a friend from Beit Shemesh), Nadine and Ephrayim came in. We split into two groups.

El Grande
Yacov, Ben, Ari and David K played El Grande. I couldn't really follow, but it seemed like massive amounts of people were getting dumped into the castle. The final scores were very close, with Yacov squeaking out a close victory at something like 120 points, a few points past second, third and fourth places.

Princes of Florence
Meanwhile, I taught Nadine and Ephrayim how to play Princes of Florence, my first game with more than 2 players. Interestingly, Nadine and Ephrayim both liked it more than El Grande, while I like El Grande more. Nadine thought about it and then said that El Grande was more directly interactive all the time, which makes you feel constantly into it. We were into PoF also, but it was a more pastoral and calm game, certainly, and the auction definitely gives interaction. However, most of our auctions went for the minimum bids. I had so much money I didn't know what to do with it. Nadine looked like she was winning, as she also picked up on the jester strategy, and was producing the best works and taking the pp's. I did manage to get two prestige cards, but they both ended up at half value. Nevertheless, I crept closer and closer, and finally landed on the same spot as Nadine, winning by a 100 Fl tiebraker.

Settlers of Catan
After some rearranging, we played two more simultaneous games. Ben, Sharon and Yacov played Settlers, where it appears that the only bricks were on 12, 3 and 11, Sharon was on the 3, and she proceeded to roll six 3's in a row. Ah, there's nothing like a challenging game of Setttlers, and apparently this was nothing like a challenging game of Settlers. Yacov said playing the game was like watching the Enola Gay come into Hiroshima. Sharon won.

Puerto Rico
Meanwhile, I, Nadine, Ari, David K, and Saarya played PR. This was Nadine's first time actually playing, and Ari's first non-two player game. The first two plantation sets were multiples of coffee, indigo and corn. The third set had tobacco. Only the fourth set brought us sugar. Meanwhile we all took coffee, with me trailing the other two, and even though I got my roaster first, I was afraid to produce, knowing it would all be shipped, or traded before me, anyway. A careful building strategy on my part landed me an early Factory, and I chose Wharf over Harbor, and finally Custom's House. Ari, meanwhile had Harbor and Wharf, but no big buildings. It all ended up pretty close, with scores of 50, 47, 45, 44, and 42.

I think a good time was had by all. If I can be sure of who is coming for which sessions, we could oragnize the games in advance, assuming no surprise visitors show up. Another future project. Til next time ...

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