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November 28, 2006

Brief Distraction

My summary of the last two days of T'Con and of the gaming done there will come later (it's only 1/3rd written now), but in the interim, there's this...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

And, coming from just south of Cincinnati (i.e., from the northern bit of Kentucky), I think that's mostly correct; Inland North mixed with an even split of Midland and Southern sound. But will likely drift more toward the Northeast the longer I stay in Concord, NH.

Posted by ghoul at 07:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 25, 2006

TurkeyCon Days Five and Six

No gaming on T'Day proper, which was given over to friends and food. Yum! (The food... not the friends. Honest.)

On Friday (day Six), we made our trek to the last game shop, where I found Vampire: Dark Influences and a couple older RPG books. Then we got home and set up some gaming...

First was the Order of the Stick Adventure Game, with Grant (Durkon), Lou (Belkar), Ryan (V), Luc (Haley), and I (Roy), so only one NPC (Elan, in this case). Unfortunately, what happened was just what I had feared from reading the game and online session reports and reviews, which is that the game took too long and was too random for its own good. In the end, we called the game at dinnertime, just after entering level 3, when we realized there was a least 90 minutes of game left and we weren't really interested enough to play thru that. As Roy, I had a significant lead, though Belkar and V were close behind and quite able to catch up (Belkar by ambushing me, V by fireballing rooms full of monsters for extra XP). Not a success, however. Especially since Luc hadn't read the comic, so didn't get most of the jokes.

To "cleanse the palate", as it were, we returned to Trendy, with Ryan leaving after the first hand. This game was a good bit more aggressive than the first play, with lots of use of the "Out!" card to undermine trend attempts. In the end, Luc won a solid victory, with the rest of us clustered many points behind her, 160/137/137/140, with all scores a bit distorted by the 5-player first hand. Still, a fun game.

Lou and Grant then asked to try another short-duration game, and I offered King's Breakfast, a game of claiming cards, but making sure the king has at least as many cards of each sort as you. It takes a bit of getting used to, but we managed to play well enough, in fact ending with none of us out-consuming the King (which, perhaps, meant we weren't sufficiently aggressive). Grant managed a slight win, 101/96/94.

And then we called it a night, with plans to perhaps try another mid-to-long game or two on Saturday.

Posted by ghoul at 09:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 23, 2006

Grumble, Grumble

This is very annoying.

Mainly because it created no notification I was likely to see, just caused my email account to be empty (except for email sent to my less-used mac.com and gmail.com addresses) for two days.

It's cleared up now (at least for my main matantisi.com and noneuclidianstaircase.com identities), but it is very annoying that Comcast thinks it is my responsibility to use email the way they think it should be used and feels no need to inform me when they are changing policies in dramatic ways (like blocking most mail forwarded from private SMTP servers, which is pretty much what they just did). To assume customers to be spammers from criteria that actually have only a circumstantial link to spamming is not a way to make happy customers.

Thanks, just john, for the comment that set me searching. Otherwise, it might've been a lot longer, given my lack of vigilance during vacation.

Posted by ghoul at 08:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

TurkeyCon Day Four

And the rains continue. It's been pouring down here for long enough we're considering what we'd need for an ark.

But, instead, we mostly settled in and played some games. Well, that an grocery runs. I think Grant ended up making four, thanks to the inevitable "oh, one more thing" of Thanksgiving pre-prep.

Luc, Ryan, and I took a crack at Transamerica. Not as strong at 3 players as it is a 5 or 6, but still enjoyable. And, while I won the first round, the next three went solidly against me, one by a whopping 8 links, and solidly for Ryan, who won all three. So it ended up 10/3/-1 in his favor.

Luc headed off to the grocery for the main prep run, Lou joined us and we switched over to Easy Come, Easy Go for two rounds, which Ryan and I split. Then Lou decided it must've been bad luck the night before and settled in for a couple more rounds of Pickomino, doing much better but still losing to me 9/7/6 and to Ryan 10/8/6.

After dinner, we had considered playing the Order of the Stick Adventure Game, but it was late enough we knew that wouldn't end before midnight, so instead Lou, Grant, Ryan, and I gave a go at Mission:Red Planet. This is a newer game (in English, at least), pitting the players against one another as late-1800s Robber Barons trying to industrialize Mars. Players choose each turn from 9 roles, manipulating rockets to Mars in an effort to control majorities in each sector. In the end, a bit of luck for me (I had just exactly the rocket I needed) and especially poor timing for Lou (he held no regional majorities at game's end) won this one 56/35/35/15.

Luc took Ryan's place as we turned to a few rounds of No Thanks!, and after a win for me 29/36/45/51, she got the hang of it and played Lou to a very close 15/16/27/73 round, with me at the ultra-high-scoring tail. Grant came back with a vengeance for the next game, 12/30/41/42, but Luc won the last round of the evening in a 12/18/30/76 trouncing of... yeah, me again.

To end the evening, Lou and Grant joined me in another round of Pickomino, and this time I was on the bad end of the luck curve while Lou and Grant traded the lead right up to the last roll, ending the game at 11/10/2.

Tomorrow... way too much very good food and perhaps OOTS.

Posted by ghoul at 08:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 22, 2006

TurkeyCon Day Three

Day Three was dominated by a mid-day game of Fury of Dracula and dinner at Ruth's Chris, either of which make for a good day. Together, it's hard to beat.

I was tasked to play Dracula and teach the game, with the good fortune that 3 of the 4 hunter players (Lou, Grant, and Luc) had played the original edition, so only Ryan was completely fresh. Then, when play started, it went immediately south for the Undead side. I managed to move one city before an event card let the players pick 2 cities to scout remotely and, by good luck, they picked my starting city. Two moves into the game, they were on my trail in northern Germany, consecrating the ground in Prague so I couldn't escape into Eastern Europe. A good railroad car later and Dr. Seward (Lou) was ambushing the Count in broad daylight. I took three vicious knife hits over a series of encounters, dropping from 15 to 3 Blood Points before I managed an escape just after nightfall. Things were looking very bad for Team Vampire (i.e., me).

Fortunately, by escaping as a bat, I was able to move 1 or 2 cities away, which let me slip pursuit for a bit, and by amazingly good fortune for me decided not to explore the city I'd left an encounter in, which a few turns later matured into a Vampire for 2 points for me! Two turns later, however, they were back on my trail, this time on the border of France and Spain. Again, I managed to arrange the encounter to after sunset and escaped as a bat to northern Italy. A fortunate event draw let me move to Venice and to see in one turn, and a slight miss-count by the players meant they had me in the wrong sea zone. It only have me one turn's lead, but it did mean they spent an event card that would've stopped me on the wrong target.

Back aground in the more friendly climes of Eastern Europe, I started to make my way toward Castle Dracula and a good chance to recover some Blood. That was when fortune really smiled on me. Van Helsing (Grant) went to sea from southern France to chase me, and I used storms to send him off to Ireland instead, well out of my hair. Then Mina, deciding that she had the event card support she needed to take a badly battered Dracula, moved herself to confront me. At night. With every advantage, including Garlic and Sister Agatha with me a 2 Blood Points, so my only way out was victory. It came down to one roll. If I won, I could Mesmerize her, turn her into a Vampire for 2 points, then on my turn the timer would tick past dawn and I'd score my 6th point on the clock for the win. Or, if we tied or she won, her stake would wound me, almost certainly enough to end the game.

I rolled a 4, she rolled a 2.

And, against all odds, a dark cloud settles over Europe.

A lesson in the ever-important "never give up" rule. I was on the ropes from the 3rd turn, but in the end a bit of luck in event draws met a couple overconfident opposition moves and one lucky die roll was enough for the win!

After cleaning up and dressing for dinner, Lou, Ryan, and I filled some time with a couple rounds of No Thanks! (without question the hit of the con so far), Ryan winning the first 33/49/56, and me taking an incredibly lucky second game 7/39/58. Yes, 7. I had the cards 23-30 and 16 chips at the end. I don't expect to manage many scores that low in the future.

After dinner, in the grip of near meat coma, Grant, Lou, and I tried some Pickomino. I initially got the rules confused in explaining them, but it was quickly obvious I was wrong, so we stopped and started over correctly. The game is one of rolling dice to match target numbers, with rewards if you get higher numbers but penalties if you push too far. And this game, we watched as Lou's luck went from bad to worse. Everything he captured, I took away. Sometimes by making the least likely of rolls (such as a roll of one die with only one possible good result... which I got). In the end, I edged past Grant 11/9/0. Much silliness ensued, and after laughing ourselves to the point of pain, we called it a night.

Posted by ghoul at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 21, 2006

TurkeyCon Day Two

Day Two was primarily our game shop crawl, hitting three local gaming shops and purchasing much that is nifty and new.

For me, that means Gloria Mundi, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jungle Speed, Jericho, Blue Moon: Buka Invasion, Silk Road, Axis & Allies: Battle of the Bulge, Hollywood Blockbuster, Nottingham, Ave Caesar (new edition), Vampire: Prince of the City, and Monkey Arena.

And there's still one more store we didn't make it to, which specializes more in RPG books. That may be on the schedule for today.

With all the driving and shopping (and the watching of Heroes), there was less time for playing, though we still found a bit.

The only new game introduced was Trendy, with me introducing Grant, Luc, Lou, and Ryan to the joys of predicting the world of fashion (or is it just playing cards?). It was a well-fought game, with everyone catching on quickly to how it's done. But, in the end, everyone had one (or more) low-scoring (less than 25 point) hand except Grant, so we took a solid lead in a 161/139/132/129/114 game. I was dead in the middle there, because my one low-scoring hand was a painful 13 point collapse.

Then, to burn a bit of time while dinner finished, we zipped through another game of Easy Come, Easy Go, adding Luc so we had 5 players, nominally one too many, but we used the "recapture a trophy you have and it is protected from theft" rule, and that let Luc hold on for a win.

Then we taught Lou how to play No Thanks!, which took almost no time at all (the game being what it is). The first game didn't go well for him, landing him at the back of a close-fought match between Grant and Ryan, 41/44/64/74. But, after Heroes was watched, Ryan, Lou and I returned to the table for three more plays, which we split evenly. I took the first 35/50/85 (Ryan having no luck at all), Lou the second 26/38/54 (thanks to a late draw that connected two mid-20s card runs), and Ryan the third 47/83/84 (neither Lou nor I could connect anything, mostly because we sabotaged each other to our mutual destruction).

Posted by ghoul at 08:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 20, 2006

TurkeyCon Day One

There is far too much World of Warcraft presence here. As the only non-player (which I will remain so I have time for other hobbies), I must protest!

Anyway, everyone else left their monitors for long enough to get in some other gaming. Actually, quite a bit...

We played Masons to get started, this being the sort of game Luc likes a lot (building and pattern-creation). The game is one of placing walls that eventually enclose cities and of placing towers and houses of random colors near your new wall. Scoring is by matching patterns or combinations on the board to those in your hand of cards when a city is enclosed. Luc spent much of the game in last place, but was just creating a false sense of security for the rest of us, as she rocketed to a late lead, bounding past Lou, Ryan and me to win 104/102/96/90. I was the 102, and so was the most surprised by her late surge.

Next, I got out Easy Come, Easy Go, which I think is best described as a fast, competitive version of Yatzee. You roll for certain combinations, claiming trophy cards if you get them, and the first player to acquire and hold 3 such cards wins. Grant, Ryan, Lou, and I raced through 4 plays in maybe 30 minutes, the last couple using a "protection" alternate rule I found here, which speeds up the endgame a bit and adds more options. In the end, we all won exactly one game, so we'll need to unpack this later to decide which of us is really the best.

Luc called for dinner, but I insisted No Thanks! could be taught and played in the "a couple of minutes" she said we had, and Grant and Ryan took up the challenge. And, of course, that was true. Ryan ended up chip-poor early, so was forced to eat some unpleasant cards, but Grant and I ended up VERY close, with him edging out a narrow win. 44/47/87.

After dinner, Luc and I played a quick game of King's Blood, which I'd actually gotten out just to show Bridget the card are (she's a big anime art style fan). I won the quick teaching game, then Bridget joined us for 3 more plays. I slightly mis-taught the rules for playing extra cards following a child's birth, but we fixed that for the last game. Of the three games, we each won one, but when it comes to points, Bridget only had 7 left over in her 2 "losses", while I had 26 and Luc 57, so there's no question who won.

We then considered a longer game, but decided we were all more in the mood for light and quick, so played two rounds of Cloud 9, one with Lou and one with Julia against me and the Gaineys. And, this time, it was solidly my night, as I won both rounds, even with the same score. 55/50/36/36/13/13 was the first round as I edged our Ryan and 55/51/49/37/33/30 the second, sneaking past Bridget on the last flight.

With that, we called it a night, with me assigned to review the more popular longer games for probable play the next evening. But first, there's the traditional game-store crawl, which will start around noon on T'Con Day Two (which, as I type this, is very soon).

Off to a good start in my book, with 5 different titles played on day one. At that rate, we could play almost everything I brought (around 40 titles) by the 8th day... though that assumes no slacking off and no "must play" new purchases, both of which are likely to occur, and it ignores that only one of the games played on Day One was of a longer-than-quick-filler play length.

Still... a good start!

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November 19, 2006

Be Warned!

He Is Coming!

(Thanks to ***Dave)

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Turkeycon Travel Day

The drive down was nicely uneventful, exactly as it should be, barring a couple bits of traffic and one closed road segment with a seriously backroads detour. But a relatively simple one that cost us little time.

On the drive down, I spent most of my time reading Spirit of the Century, a wonderful FATE-based pulp RPG that nicely mixes traditional and modern NAR-style game mechanics. Also nifty is a "pick up" concept for the game, which allows play with minimal prep time, even most of character generation left to develop in-play. This is one I certainly want to get a chance to try out!

So, anyway, we're arrived, and with some work all connecting to wireless 'net and nicely up and running.

Also, the boardgames are unpacked and interest surveying begun. Play will start around noon on Day 1 (a little more than an hour away as I post this).

Posted by ghoul at 10:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 18, 2006

TurkeyCon Travel Day (pre-departure)

And it's today!

The trip down to Fall River was uneventful (standard Friday traffic in Boston, made more bearable by my choice to take the bus down and leave my car closer to home). My two tubs of games (plus one oversized FFG box) were packed away a week ago, so it's just helping carry down Julia and Lou's things this AM and then we're on the road.

Breakfast (and coffee) cannot come soon enough...

Posted by ghoul at 05:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 05, 2006

11-1 Gaming Club

I missed most of the last month, due to meetings being away from Concord and to work being fairly intense approaching some major year-end deadlines.

Even though I had to leave early, I still managed to get five fun games in...

When I arrived, I caught the tail end of Eric showing the lovely copy of BattleLore he has a month before the rest of us (thanks to his trip to Essen and the game festival there). So I've seen and even touched a copy (if only to help it be packed away)... which just means the end of the month is even higher on my anticipating list. This one, I really want!

After looking at a few more of the titles Eric had brought along from Germany, we started actual play with a quick game of Und Tschüss!, suggested by Eric to occupy the first 6 of us to arrive while others we still coming. This is a clever card game I've owned for several years but never had a chance to play. Cards are dealt out as rewards, then everyone plays from their hand, trying not to be the lowest score. Each round, the lowest score takes the lowest reward card and is out of the hand. Everyone remaining adds a card to their own total, repeating the process, until finally there is just one (usually quite high) reward card left (and two players). The highest total then gets that card, everyone's hand is re-filled and it's all repeated. Quick, easy, and fun. Unfortunately, I was one of two players who ended up taking as many negative as positive cards, so ended up at the tail end of a 50/39/20/11/0/0 score.

A very large group was forming, so we split into three games. I joined folk setting up Ave Ceasar, a chariot racing game I'd heard no end of good things about, but never quite gotten a chance to play. It's a cruel game of chariot racing, cruel mostly because the route is often narrow and easily blocked, which can force you to lose turns or take longer routes. And there simply aren't enough cards in each player's deck to finish the required 3 laps if you take too many overly-long routes. In fact, this happened in this game, as Dave almost managed 2nd place... but wound up 1 space short of the finish line after playing his final movement card. I didn't do well at all, despite starting on the pole, and ended up near the tail end... but I did finish.

Next, Linda encouraged us to play Bohnanza, Matt, who was attending his last gathering as he is moving from NH to PA for a new job, had never played before, and that isn't something we could allow. He quickly caught onto the game, and I proved once again to not manage trading well at all, ending up tied for last in a 14/12/10/8/8/7/7 game, which was dominated almost from the beginning by Max (who scored that 14).

Next came another game I've owned for a while but never gotten to play, the highly regarded Tichu. It is a rather interesting mix of partnership trick-taking with post-deal card passing with "play out all your cards" play, with significant encouragement for risk-taking because the best way to score points is to "call Tichu", which means to brag that you'll play all your cards first... and take a big loss in points if you don't. I was new and made several early mistakes, including once stepping on my partner's Tichu call for a very foolish reason and misremembering a card's value (trying hard to keep a card worth -25 points I should've been trying to get rid of), but the last hand managed to see me with a nearly unstoppable Tichu and the good fortune that my partner also had a strong hand that could go out second, winning us 300 points and letting us win 566 to 335. Normally, the game is played to 1000 points, but we cut it short because I was hoping to leave early... Still, it took long enough I missed what I was hoping for, and so stayed for one more game, especially since I saw a nice, quick, light game being set up.

I played Transamerica then, and had a great time despite a very poor first round (I was 6 links from my target cities)... Thanks to much better luck in the succeeding rounds (I didn't win either, but I was only 1 or 2 links from doing so), I ended up in a close 3rd place. A nice, fun game to end the evening. And enough to make me decide to find space for the game in my TurkeyCon packing.

Posted by ghoul at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack