I had had enough of work by mid-day, so I invited David to join me a bit early. In this way, we were able to get in a few games before game night actually started.
Jon (Runner)+, David (Corp)
David and I are beginning to grasp the game, and only twice needed to look in the rulebook. I was able to grasp the possibilities of a few cards that David had overlooked when he was Runner last.
Only this game did I grok that accessing traps can hurt you, even if they are accessed from HQ or R&D. That was a fun lesson.
I made many fast and furious runs on HQ and R&D until David put enough Ice in place, and even then I kept doing it whenever he didn't have enough bits to rez the Ice. My runs on HQ were spectacularly unsuccessful, but my runs on R&D eventually gave me the win, although it was close.
Both of us lamented that what seemed to be missing from the game were "Instants" like there are in Magic. If I'm making a run, there is nothing the Corp can do about it by playing special cards from his hand. This eliminates a bit of the tension in the game.
I introduced this to David, who spent a long time calculating each move. I took an early lead with a forced swap that gave me two jumps to his one; I probably won't get away with that again in a future game.
After that, we did some swapping, but I was able to get the better colors, until I needed only a single gray or white ball to win, while he still needed at least two more balls to win. He conceded.
I still like the game a lot.
While waiting for David to make his moves in Zertz, I played a few games of this as a filler. We played two racks, both of which had a paucity of words. I came up with about 7 words in the first game, two of which Nadine didn't have. The second rack was about tied, with Nadine having maybe one more word.
Jon 60, Elijah 43, Adam
I think this is my first win for Louis, and it was not only a win but a massacre. This was Adam's second game, and he needed a refreshing of the rules.
It started out innocently enough, with me slightly behind after the first round, even. I had only managed one mission, while Adam and Elijah both had two. However, I had gained a slew of peripheral items from the previous round, including coats-of-arms, ax extra influence card, money, and an influence marker on the board. This allowed me to dominate the second round. At the end of it, Adam couldn't complete a single mission, Elijah could complete only one, and I completed two.
I ended the second round the same as the first, with tons of peripherals, and this time I was last in the bidding order. I ended up with three additional moves after all the other players had placed. Adam and Elijah both went to four missions, while I was at seven. The game was already over at that point.
In the end, I ended with a hand full of coats-of-arms, too, to add insult to injury.
Ben 17+, David 17-, Zack 16, Gili 16
They played on the East and Central coast, which are the cheapest areas. A glance in mid-game revealed that their fuel market was nearly exhausted, or completely exhausted, the entire game.
As usual, a close game, with the win decided on a tie (not my favorite mechanism, actually). The game took around three and a half hours, as people added and added again near the end of the game (also not my favorite mechanism).
Nadine 41, Josh 36, Idit 31
Nadine taught Idit how to play, and this was Josh's fourth game. Apparently, they all enjoyed it. Idit didn't have any large buildings at the end of the game, and her settlements were nearly all corn and sugar, a result of some Hacienda activity.
Adam (master), Jon, Elijah
Adam didn't have the Icehouse pieces, so we played "Sentence Zendo". Adam wrote a sentence that was, and a sentence that wasn't. We went through about a dozen sentences, and I had no idea.
Elijah and I started guessing "sentences" that were not grammatically correct, and even simply words, which seemed to annoy Adam, who said that we really should only be allowed to guess real sentences.
I was thinking two structurally - number of words or letters, and so on - when it turns out that the rule was that the sentence have "something to do with nature".
The Menorah Game
Adam+, Nadine, Jon
We were casting about for some fillers. I suggested this and both of them agreed well enough.
Both of them prefer the basic game. Nadine was a little bored at the end of it, however, I think. But it's quick.
I still like it a lot.
Adam, Nadine, Jon
We only made it partially through the game and then broke for Bridge. I had nothing better to open with, so I decided to give Crane another try, despite being nearly 100% positive that it is a wretched, wretched card. Why? It turns all of your 2 and 3 VP cards into 1 or 2 VP cards, and it also destroys all the VPs you get from having more buildings at the end of the game.
In my game, I turned my Indigo into Coffee, and then debated on whether to turn it into Silver or Library on round three. I chose Library. This netted me an additional card from Prospector every round, but in the meantime, Nadine and Adam were gaining 4 cards each every two rounds from Production and Trading, while I had no production buildings at all.
When I finally got out a Tobacco building, we abandoned the game. Eh; I might still have won.
We played five hands of this. It is so sublime a game, that we don't really keep score. We simply zen the experience.
I had fairly few points, but David had good hands. He ended up playing three of the five hands (making one of them, I believe).
Adam taught Zack how to play this on a 9x9 board, and then they played three games. Adam spotted him first four, then five, then six stones, which gives you an idea of how they turned out.
Elijah, Josh, Idit
Elijah's favorite game, was a game that Josh wanted Idit to learn, anyway. I have no further info on how it turned out, or what powers they played. I know that they played with Lucre and (against my advice, as usual) comets.
I heard some good news and some bad news from Josh and Idit. The good news is that they're engaged (Mazal Tov). The bad news is that they are returning to the U.S. indefinitely in May and getting married there. Oh well.