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by Eric on January 24th, 2005

I was lucky enough to be able to head out to Chris Brooks' coastal retreat for the day on Saturday.  He was holding a weekend long gaming session for our Rip City Gamers' group.

Buy Differin Without Prescription, Wow.  What a day of gaming.  I managed to play 8 games in 11 hours, and 6 of them were completely new to me.

First - the drive out to Salishan.  Pretty straightforward, and on a Saturday morning there really wasn't much threat of traffic.  8 to 47 to 99W to 18 to 101, and you're there.  Simple :)

Chris's place is in a private development on a spit in Siletz Bay, just south of Lincoln City.  Peaceful, and a two minute walk to the beach.  Chris posts occasional pictures of the place on his blog.

Now, on to the gaming.

When I arrived, Mike, Chris, Dave, and Doug were embroiled in a game of Bohnaparte.  George was free, so after a brief wind down, we sat down to a quick game of StreetSoccer, a two-player game from Cwali that I've been very curious about.  Game play is very simple - you roll a die at the beginning of your turn, and that's how many movement points (I'll call'em pips) you get for that turn.  Moving a player (they can't move diagonally) cost 1 pip/square, and moving the ball any direction is also one pip per square.  You get a free square of ball movement if your player's in the same square (he's kicking it) and the ball can change direction once for each kick.  One thing George and I noticed is that the board is short enough that rolling a six can score you a goal from almost anywhere on the field if your players are in the right position.  George rolled a little better than I, and caught on to the positioning quicker than I did.  This resulted in a 6-3 win for George.  Discussions with Mike after the fact revealed that there are subtle points to the positioning that you learn after repeated play.  This is something I think Jodie might like.  I'll probably try to put it in a future order if possible.  Probably a 7 rating for me.  Good - I won't turn it down if offered, and will occasionally suggest it.

By this point, the Bohnaparte game was over (to slightly poor reviews) and we got a Wallenstein game going.  I've been looking forward to playing this game for a long time, and my experience here didn't disappoint.  I didn't look closely enough at the scoring rules, so finished in third behind Chris and Mike and ahead of Dave.  I'm definitely going to be looking at getting this on the table more often.  I'm giving this game a 9.  There's a LOT of depth to it and I can't wait to explore it further.

It was lunch time by now, so while Chris was fixing up some food, Mike and I sat down to a quick game of Tortuga, a two-player cardgame Mike owned but had never played.   Pretty game, nice idea, but the reviews are mostly right - the execution of the idea sucks.  I'd be stunned if I ever played this again.  I'd probably rate this a 3.  I can't even think of rules changes that would fix things.

After lunch, George, Doug, and Jacob started a game of Doom while Dave, Chris, Mike, and I pulled out Santa Fe Rails.  This is one game I own that I think doesn't get played enough.  It's a sibling of Clippers - both derive from Alan Moon's Santa Fe.  I finished third behind Dave and Chris, and barely ahead of Mike.  Mike likes Clippers more due to less randomness, but Dave and I think SFR is better due to increased replayability.  Whichever is more important to you should drive your choice.  SFR rates somewhere around a 6 or 7 for me, depending on the crowd - there can be a bit of downtime if someone takes a while to make their choices.

The Doom game was still going, so next up was a game both Mike and I just received, and have been wanting to get on the table: Mall World.  Initial reviews on this game have been mixed, somewhat due to the "Mare Nostrum Effect" - initial expectations might have been too high, and when the game doesn't live up to it - it gets undeservedly panned.  First - the big criticism.  The rule writing sucks.  Mike did his best to explain the game, and we got started.  Initial impressions - there is a LOT to track in this game.  I'll probably write a separate entry on this game.  I think it deserves it.  We chugged along, and had remarkably few rule questions - it was more just figuring out how everything worked.  Dave ended up winning at the end due to fulfilling his special order three times compared to everyone else combined getting theirs twice.  This is a 7 going on 8 for me, but I think this is a game that doesn't tolerate poor/uninformed play very well.  Four or five people who know the game well should have a blast playing it, but it might take a while to get to that stage.  Remains to be seen, I think.  But, MAN do they need to rewrite the rules...

By now, we were getting on to dinner time, and all games were complete.  That meant seven players, and the only real option was Bang!.  Not one of my favorites.  For whatever reason, I just can't get into this game.  It reminds me of playing a multi-player CCG, and I never really liked that.  We played with the Dodge City expansion, and one of the "features" of that expansion is defensive cards.  This means the game takes longer.  Fortunately, I was the first person killed.  If I'm forced to play a game like this, I think I'd prefer to play Lunch Money.  Jacob was second out, so we went off to play...

...Yinsh.  This was my first exposure to the Gipf series.  After spending so much time playing chess a few years ago, I haven't been too eager to play pure abstracts.  The rules for this one are VERY simple, and the play can be very deep.  I was getting pretty brain dead by this point (this was my fifth new game that day) so I wasn't thinking overly deeply in this one.  Jacob ended up beating me 3-2.  I've seen this referred to as the best of the Gipf series, but if this is indicative of the quality, I may have to look into the others.

By this time Chris had been knocked out as well, so he, Jacob, and I sat down to Carcassonne: The City.  GREAT game.  I've played every entry in the Carcassonne series to this point, and I think this one is emphatically the best.  I like the way the walls dictate the pace of the game, and how they accelerate as the game progresses.  The guards are a nice touch, too.  You have to be real careful about placing your guys, though, as you could seriously restrict your options by placing too many permanent meeples.  Chris ended up beating me on the last scored guard - scores were something like 140-135-110 and that last guard gave Chris 11 points.  Gorgeous game, and plays great.  A must buy.

By this time, it was about 9:15, and it was time for me to head back.  Thanks again to Chris for the hospitality, and the rest of the gang for the companionship.  Eight games, six were new to me, and I had great fun despite not winning a single game all day.

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  1. dave permalink

    Note: I mentioned that replayability was a plus for SFR, but I much prefer Clippers.

  2. Tortuga: It is most unlikely this will be inflicted on anyone again. I just wanted to at least play it once to confirm that it was trash.

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