25 Jan 2007

KGB - session 12

Next KGB session will occur Saturday 27 January, 2007 at 14:30. Please confirm you presence.
The arrival of the Burning Crusade is not an excuse to miss the session.

Tournament Master:
Davide Bação

My pick:
Since there was no session the previous week, I'm in the mood of playing anything.


19 Jan 2007

Sorry guys

Cancel the session, a last minute lunch was arranjed by my parents and my cousin in Lisbon :P sorry

18 Jan 2007

KGB - session 12

Next KGB session will occur Saturday 20 January, 2007 at 14:30. Please confirm you presence.
The arrival of the Burning Cruzade is not an excuse to miss the session.

Tournament Master:
Davide Bação

My pick:

Lord of the Rings


15 Jan 2007

Rules Change

I've notice that some of the available games aren't hitting the table. In order to try to change that, each week, a designated knight (in rotation), will be the tournament master. He will select two games for the session. A third one will be chosen by all the other, like the actual system. The tournament master will also decie what will be played during the session.

The First tournament master will be Davide Bação.


13 Jan 2007

Some Thoughts about Board Games and Board Gaming

1. I have yet to know the cities of "Ticket to Ride", the other knights are already used for me to look at a ticket and ask where is X (X=Random City Name). :) Yet its a good way to learn while playing. If you need a argument to buy board games remember that you are always learning something, either logic reasoning, mathematics, city locations or even reading skills on biddings.

2. I think we have made a good selection of games, since every game caters for a type of playing, in fact there are no duplicate games, either in mechanics or in flavor, so good in fact that not playing our favorite game (Puerto Rico) is good for a change.

If you see Gameboard Geeks you will find out that all the games we bought are at least with a positive global rating of 6, generally speaking that means that will some people might dislike it and give it a 3 or 4, most of them probably voted 7 or higher. Reading the reviews of a game before buying it is also a good way of making good purchases.

3.Another curiosity is about our gaming group that wihout much trouble evolved from a core 3 player group to a consistent 4-5 player that allows for some games to become better than they were before.

Ex: Puerto Rico becomes much more brainbuster than before especially when using the "captain" or determining in what way other players may take advantage of your action, while others like Bonanza suffer a bit more from the downtime between player´s turns, since you cant do much during the time other players are haggling over a deal.

4. Board gaming has the advantage of being social, in the end of a gaming session we all enjoyed it, especially when we use the downtime of games to talk about other stuff, like WoW. (World of Warcraft) We usually bring food to our games so that we can sustain ourselves during the session wihout much breaks, with the bathroom being about 10 seconds away.

5. Since games are usually rotated, each knight having 2-3 games average (some with more, some with less) insure that the combinations of games played in a afternoon, usually 1 Light game (up to 60 min) and 1 Heavy game (4 hours with about 2 to 3 games, can become potencially huge. And even that "formula" has exceptions, like not playing the Light game and skipping to playing 2 Heavy games in the 5 hours available.

6. Managing Time, aside from the first time playing where we are extra careful about the rules, trying to figure out strategies and just enjoying the beautiful artwork on the games, we discovered that playing a game 3 times is faster than playing 3 different games, because of the setup time, and altough this might not seem like a big discovery it really helps the flow of the gaming session

There are many things i didnt talked about but i believe this post is already big as it his :)
Hopefully you might take some ideias to your own gaming sessions.

12 Jan 2007

Gaming Seasion Saturday 13/1/2007

Gaming Seasion Saturday 13/1/2007

As usual we will be playing this weekend, a few days ago i thought i would be unavailable this Saturday but i will probably be available, so, its as usual 14:30 here at my place. Altough we might need to move to another place depending on the works on my house but even that shouldnt be a problem

Runegarth will probably bring his new games as will i, so its going to be a blast :) Even if we dont have time to try them all.

The new games i bought are both card games, easy to learn and of easy-mid depth of strategy.
They are Colossal Arena and Alhambra.

11 Jan 2007

KGB report - Session 10

(D. Ferreira, D. Bação, Dinis, F. Nunes)

The session opened with a usual game of Bohnanza that I was setting up for 3 players. But Dinis showed up in the last minute and we played the game with four. Bad call for me, since Dinis decided to kindly offer me all the leftovers of his exchanges. That slowed my game considerably, but even worst, it didn't stop Bação from building his fields with beans that scored him high points. In the end he won the game by a large margin.

Bohnanza: Davide Bação

Next we played a game of The Princes of Florence. This game was new to Bação, and Dinis only played it once, last week. Last week's game was, in my opinion, our best game of The Princes of Florence so far. It all came down to the prestige cards, that allowed me to win by a single point Second was my brother, that had 2 more points that Dinis. Last player was Ferreira with 7 points less than the winner. Because of how the game when last week, I was more than happy to see the game on the table this week again.

Having two veteran players and two new guys really made a difference in the final score. Ferreira won followed by me. Last week the scores were closer, but this week's game the auctions were very aggressive. I believe that the most of the items were bought between 500 and 900 florins, in comparison to the previous games when paying 400 for an item was paying high. With the aggressiveness of the auctions, the players didn't spend all work points on prestige points as usual (at least in the beginning) having to cash in some florins in order to go through another round of bidding. Ferreira won in the end, by completing the most jobs ever in a game we played. He started collecting profession and scored some big jobs due to their high number. Unlike me, that did only 4 jobs, being denied the chance to do more, because no more profession cards remained by the end of turn 6. But the determining factor of Ferreira's win was the prestige cards (again). I had two by turn 7 having their needed requirements fulfilled. But Ferreira bought a prestige card on the final round, ending all questions on who won the game.

The Princes of Florence: Davide Ferreira

Next we played Ticket to Ride Europe. Unfortunately, after dealing the tickets, I realised that I didn't have a long ticket. I thought that I accidentally took my ticket from the short ticket pile. So I shuffled all my tickets, draw a new long ticket and 3 short tickets. And the game started. Only in the end I realise what really happened. A short and a long ticket were on the wrong piles, and Bação ended paying. In one of his ticket draws, he saw the misplaced wrong ticket. The problem was that he didn't knew that wasn't supposed to happen, and he even kept the ticket. Fortunately, despite being in last, it didn't affter the final scoring, since me (the winner) and Dinis had a big advance over the Davides. 13 points separated me from Dinis. The score could be closer if I didn't had the longest route. When counting the trains for the longest route, there was a draw between Bação and Dinis. When I was checking the rulebook to understand what to do with that situation, Ferreira insisted that I counted my longest route. I didn't believe that I had the longest route, so I didn't count them before, but with Ferreira insisting I did made the count and realise that I was the player with the longest route, breaking the tie.

Ticket to Ride Europe: Filipe “Sir Runegarth” Nunes

The second game of Ticket to Ride Europe was an unusual game. In the end, all the players had an unsuccessful ticket. That cost the victory for Bação. In the last turns he was rushing to claim routes, in order to activate the final turn, not realising that he still hadn't connected to a city he needed. Because of that, Dinis won a game that he didn't expect to win. I also wasn't expect him to win. In fact, the game didn't go well for every player except Bação. All of us were operating on the east side of Europe, but with Bação showing dominance. That was also unusual in the game.

Ticket to Ride Europe: Dinis

The third game was played rushing things a little, since it was getting late, and we where all getting a bit hungry. A regular game won by Bação. Not much to add to that.

Ticket to Ride Europe: Davide Bação

Session Notes:

  • When I was setting up Bohnanza, Ferreira said (joking) that Dinis would showed up in 3 minutes. Guess what? He did.

  • The Game of The Princes of Florence was our most aggressive game so far, in terms of auctions.

  • In one of the game of Ticket to Ride Europe, Ferreira used all three stations. This never happened before.

  • In our second game of Ticket to Ride Europe, all of us took a penalty for not fulfilling one ticket.

  • Also in that second game, we decided to refill the tickets deck. When the game ended we decided not to do that again.

  • All participating knights won a game this session.

5 Jan 2007

My thoughts on how to decide the starting player

I remember listening to an episode of The Dice Tower, that had a top 10 of the best ways to decide the starting player. After listening to that episode I realise that is a problem that our group faces when playing a game. Usually we roll a d20. But why we don't follow what the rules say. My opinion is that some methods to decide the starting player are very weak, and I just tend to ignore them.

But are are the methods that I consider weak and strong? In my opinion, the method is weak if it doesn't have a good connection with the game and another method could be used instead. For example, youngest player goes first. I'm still struggling to understand why that is even considered a starting player method. Every time the game is played in our group, the same person will start the game. I also consider weak methods that involve luck, like the roll of a die. Again, they have little connection with the game itself and other methods, like the youngest player could be applied.

A little stronger than that are methods that use game components to decide the starting player. Rolling a d20 when the game actually comes with a d20 is an example of that. While suffering from the same problems as the previous methods, the game itself provides the material, so there is no need to find the dungeons and dragons box where all the dices are stored.

The stronger methods are those that really make sense in the game and there are some good strong mechanics out there. Two of my favourite are: the starting player is based on the character and the blind bid. In the first one, the starting player is the one controlling a certain character/nation/etc. For example, in Bang the starting player is the sheriff; Fury of Dracula, the starting player is Dracula; Lord of the Rings, the starting player is the ring bearer. The blind bid mechanic is my favourite to decide the starting player. An example of this is Lord of the Rings CCG. Initially each player secretly selects 0-9 initial burdens on Frodo. When Frodo has 10 burdens, the game is lost, so the more you bid, the closer you are from loosing the game.

As a conclusion, if the game doesn't have a strong starting player mechanic, we simply ignore it, randomly decide who starts then we rotate the starting players clockwise. Since we all play to have fun, this system works perfectly.

To end my thoughts on this subject I would like to mention a method described on that episode of The Dice Tower. The method uses a game: “Start Player: A Kind Of Collectable Card Game”.The idea of this is to have a deck of cards, each describing a the method to decide the starting player. For example, the youngest player goes first; the person with the most facial hair; the last person that took a shower; the player that can name the most spiel des jahres winners; the player with the most 7's on their phone number; etc. I haven't tried this, but it sounds more interesting that the weak methods, because each time a new card will describe the method, and from what Tom Vasel some of the cards are very funny.

4 Jan 2007

KGB - session 10

Next KGB session will occur Thursday 6 January, 2007 at 14:30. Please confirm you presence.

I'm going.