Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Two Days at Water Street Games and Hobby

Day One
On Saturday I headed north to Dunkirk for an evening with Ron and the guys at Water Street Games and Hobby. If you are in the Dunkirk area, stop by and check out Ron's store. Great gaming and the inventory grows a bit each and every month.

(Old Shop) Different Digs, Same Great Fun!
Unfortunately, I don't have pics of his new place. I will make sure to post some updates ASAP. This picture is from a little over a year ago...

While at Ron's, we played three games of Pompeii. The game is set in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii just before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. In the first phase of the game, players add people to the city. The second phase of the game commences when the volcano erupts, and players now must get their people out of the doomed city. The player who leads the most people to safety wins. Now, to make things more challenging and fun, players can send opponents people into the volcano! This is usually followed with "aaaaaahhhhhhh, tssssss." In case of a tie, the player with the least people in the volcano is the winner. Pompeii is a light strategy board game that is fun for the entire family. I especially love the theme, having studied Latin and Roman Culture in high school and a little in college. (And throwing people in the volcano is pretty cool also.)

After Pompeii, I joined in an 8-player Magic: The Gathering booster draft. Magic is a collectible card game (CCG) created by Richard Garfield and published by Wizards Of The Coast. It is a "duel" between spell-casters, who draw upon the energy of the earth to summon creatures, cast spells and conjure enchantments to reign supreme.

In a booster draft, eight players sift through a pack of fifteen cards, choosing one and passing the rest of the pack either left or right. This continues until each player has fifteen cards from the first pack. Two more packs are opened and passing the cards alternates between passing to the left and right players. When players finish "drafting," they build a playable deck of at least forty cards.

After constructing their decks, players compete in a single-elimination tournament. Each match is decided by the winner of two out of three games. I hadn't played Magic in over a year, I enjoyed playing and meeting a few new people, but I don't envision getting back into the collectible card tournament scene.

We closed the evening playing a 5-player game of Constantinopolis. I covered Constantinopolis in a previous post. I absolutely love this game, it is a complex resource management game that changes every time you play.

Day Two

Today, I was able to get together with Ron and JD for a game of Le Havre today. Le Havre is a complex resource management and shipping game by Uwe Rosenberg (creator of the amazing game Agricola.) In Le Havre, players collect goods and resources, build buildings and ships, and export goods. Each round, players must feed their workers, and the food cost increases almost every round.

Stay tuned for an update early next week! We are getting together for a day of gaming in honor of JD's birthday on Saturday, November 27th. We picked up a new game this week, Sid Meier's: Civilization. JD and I were lucky enough to meet the designer (Kevin Wilson) and preview the game at Gen Con. I will let you know next week how it goes!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Surprise Gaming Session

Today began as just another casual Saturday. No one had made plans to play any games. My mom, sis and the twins headed back to Brownville, NY around 1:00 PM. Out of the blue, JC-Ross gave me a call to arrange an impromptu game day at my place. He showed up around 3:00 PM, and try as we may, we could not get anyone else to join us.

We decided to play Constantinopolis, a resource management and shipping game. John had never played, so after an introductory game, John proceeded to clean house for the next two games. The scores were very close, and the game allowed us to pursue different paths to victory each game. (At least John was able to find victory.)

Constantinopolis is engaging, plays very smoothly, but is a head scratcher. Planning, patience and persistence are all necessary in order to establish a good infrastructure that will allow you to produce, sell and ship your goods. It is a victory point game, where points are earned by selling goods in the market, as well as, shipping goods to distant ports.

Unlike many heavy strategy games, there is not a great deal of wait time in between players turns. This helps prevent players from becoming bored while waiting for their turn to commence. Each game lasted a couple of hours, pretty close to the suggested time of 90 minutes. I look forward to the next session with more people. Constantinopolis supports 2 - 5 players; with more players, bidding for turn order adds another layer of complexity and strategy to an already exciting game!

Another great gaming experience! Thanks, John!

Constantinopolis is published by Fantasy Flight Games,

Just the beginning!

A Visit From Mom

Thursday, my mom, my sister and the twins arrived from Brownville, NY for a short visit. My mom, a retired nurse, nursing instructor and former captain in the Army Reserves loves board games. Much to the dismay of my father, my mom has been known to stay up late at night playing Stone Age on Highlights of my week include her texts, emails and occasional phone calls to let me know that she just played with people from Germany, Australia, and other locales all over the World.

Last night, my mom and I played Power Grid: Factory Manager. This was her first time playing, and I hadn't played in quite awhile. We muddled through the setup, which can be tedious because of all the individual tiles, and then proceeded through the rulebook step-by-step. The premise of the game is that each player manages a factory and must balance resources of money, men, and energy to increase the production and storage capacity of the factory. Players earn money (Elektro) according to their production and storage, however, the amount of cash earned is based upon the level of the lower capacity.

Mom took an early lead, but over extended her workers in Round 3. She was cranking out lots of cash, but in the following round, had very few workers and fewer options. I capitalized on this and increased my production and capacity just enough to eek out a win in the final round.
11-12-2010 Me and My Mom

We had a great time playing. When we play games, it is less about winning, and more about bonding, making connections, and enjoying our time together. Time that seems to get less and less as the years go by.