Monday, April 04, 2005

Game night – 2 April 2005

We had planned on playing Traders of Genoa, aka “Divisoria” (we could so retheme ToG for local flavor), but Erik called in sick and we hadn’t asked Titus to bring his copy along, so that game had to be rescheduled. Blame it all on Peking Duck. Get well soon dude, hope to see you and Annie for some tiangge action next week!

I was leaning towards traveling light, but in another effort to get Vinci to the table I decided to bring a second bag. Damned Eurogames big boxes don’t fit into my regular game bag that’s perfect for alea big box games. Packed in Nix’s copy of Evo as well, since that’s not been at the table in ages either. This all allowed me to stick three bigger game into the main bag (Torres, which Titus was asking for, Princes of Florence, which Frog asked for, and the too-big Bluff, which I can’t leave home anymore). Modern Art took the top space usually reserved for Silver Line games, and I tucked a bunch of the card games we’ve been playing so much of lately into the cracks.

After dinner, I brought out Falling since Titus and Nix were around and Javy and Greg hadn’t tried the game yet. Javy found the game’s premise rather silly (hey, it IS silly), but was willing to give the game a shot despite dire warnings from Frog.

Falling [5P]

Greg won the first game, and immediately declared he’d retire from the game undefeated. Oh well, a game can’t appeal to everyone, especially one as unusual as Falling. :) I don’t think Javy was too impressed either.

We had enough personnel for two groups, so after a bit of confusion as to who was playing what, we settled comfortably into a 5/3 split. Javy, George, Nix, Greg and Mog set up for some art gallery action in Modern Art, and Titus got his wish. Frog and I joined him for another playing of Kramer and Kiesling’s best game, the fantastic Torres.

Torres [3P]

Prince Titus was kind enough to set up the King’s Day One accommodations in a central location. This allowed all three Princes to easily deploy a tower guard for His Royal Highness in one turn. This resulted in the King’s Tower having a pretty decent base to build on, so Prince Rick decided to make himself at home. Sir Verdant and Sir Emerald joined Sir Green in guarding the King, with Sir Green ascending to a lofty height of four stories, and Sir Verdant having his back. This gave the forces of Prince Rick control of the King’s Tower. Sir Emerald remained on the ground floor per the King’s command. Prince Frog decided to deploy most of his orange men to the western side of the realm on this first day. Prince Titus remained in the area of the King’s Tower and its surrounding environs. At the end of Day One, the King was pleased as all of his potential heirs had obeyed his command. A feast for all the brave knights!

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Frog considers how to get to the King

Torres – Scores after Day One:
Prince Frog – 34
Prince Rick – 39
Prince Titus – 31

Prince Titus had earned the right to escort the King to his new chambers, and decided to house the King in a northeastern tower. Prince Rick dispatched Sir Moss to guard the King in his new quarters. Sir Moss was a slippery one, and despite the efforts of Sir Azure of Prince Titus’s command, Sir Moss made a mighty diagonal leap and landed on the second story of the King’s Tower, fulfilling the King’s command. Prince Frog eventually had Sir Tangerine in a similar position, but it took a bit more effort. Prince Rick continued to have the Royal Builders construct new stories in the former King’s Tower in the eastern reach of the Kingdom, and at the end of the second day, Sir Green was atop a lofty seventh story parapet with a majestic view of the countryside. Sir Sapphire was dispatched by Prince Titus to try to match the achievements of Sir Green, and with the help of the magical Royal Builders, he managed to claw up to the fifth story of the former King’s Tower, which Prince Rick renamed to The Tower of Leaves. The King was pleased once again as all three of the Princes had sent knights to protect His Royal Hide so there was much feasting once again.

Torres – Scores after Day Two:
Prince Titus – 128
Prince Frog – 114
Prince Rick – 127

Prince Frog decided that the King was not safe in the eastern reaches of the Kingdom, so he sent Sir Marmalade to spirit the King away to the southwest. Also, Prince Frog was very concerned that Sir Green and Sir Sapphire were generating too much favor for their Princes, so he pulled a significant number of strings to get Sir Orange into The Tower of Leaves. The valiant Sir Orange was conversant in the secret passages of The Tower of Leaves, having been a stonemason himself, and he found a way to emerge onto the sixth story of the mighty fortress. It was an amazing performance. Sir Sapphire and Sir Green were not idle, and each increased his presence by a story more. Over in the latest King’s Tower, Sir La Salle and Sir Ateneo worked on getting to where the King wanted them to be. They both succeeded spectacularly. Sir La Salle’s maneuver involved cajoling the Royal Builders into uprooting a nearby tower structure and transplanting it into the side of the King’s Tower. Two quickly-built new tower floors later, Sir La Salle was in position per the King’s command. At the end of the day, the reckoning of favor was very close between the mighty, cunning and debonair Princes. The King was pleased with the perfect safety accorded to His Royal Behind, so a sumptuous feast unrivalled in the history of the Kingdom was held. At that feast, the King announced his heir.

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Note the huge Tower of Leaves near the top!

Torres – Final Scores:
Prince Frog – 251
Prince Rick – 263
Prince Titus – 258

So it came to pass that Prince Rick was named heir to the throne of the Kingdom. He eventually married Princess Jessica Alba, had many beautiful children and ruled the Kingdom wisely, ushering in a new Golden Age of prosperity.

While the succession of the crown was being contested, the art speculators at the other table had completed all four seasons with the following results:

Modern Art [5P]

Final Scores:
Mog - $511,000
Nix - $428,000
George - $309,000
Javy - $287,000
Greg - $282,000

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Javy greedily fingers the cash

Myles walked in as the art galleries were closing their doors for the night. This led to Bluff being brought to the table for six-player lying, cheating and stealing. Deej arrived to fill up the table.

Bluff [6P]
Winner – Myles

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Myles displaying his winning "game face"!

During the Torres game, while Frog was struggling with his entrée into the big tower, Titus and I broke out some Brawl decks. Titus was toting his promotional Ting Ting deck, while I decided to try one of the newer characters that we hadn’t seen in action yet. This would be the Catgirl, Nickie.

Brawl [2P]

Nickie is a tricky character to play, running an enormous seven Clears and sporting limited Hits in all three colors. She has a single Reverse and a couple of Doubles, so there’s a bit of sneaky potential, but without any Holds, Presses or Nulls it would be tough against Ting Ting. Ting Ting is a fairly straightforward fighter, dominant in Red, with a bunch of bases, a few clears, a couple of Doubles and her infamous three Wild Blocks. My lack of experience with Nickie showed in the final tally of a race to seven wins.

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Nickie wishes she had a better player

Brawl – Final Record:
Ting Ting (4-1-2) d. Nickie (1-4-2)

Frog still wanted to play Princes of Florence. Hey, it’s my favorite German game, but it’s not exactly one that you’d want to start playing at 12:30 am. Titus and Myles begged off since they had to leave shortly (Myles had work at 1:30 am) so with assurances of brisk play, we launched into five-player Prince of Florence as our closer.

In the meantime, Titus and Myles had a few minutes of gaming left, so Titus pulled out the third Cheapass game of the night – the Tom Jolly and James Ernest collaboration Light Speed.

Light Speed [3P]

After all the ships had flopped onto the table from hyperspace, and all the shots had been fired, Myles emerged victorious.

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Titus seeing who shot who in Light Speed

The Princes of Florence [5P]

If we were running on fumes at this point, it didn’t show. (Despite the hour, we hadn’t really played anything too taxing yet. Torres is a light, breezy game. It was Brawl that took a lot out of me due to the adrenaline surge.)

It was probably a mistake to allow Deej to take three Builders at reasonable prices early in the game. Another mid-round snafu allowed Nix to pick up a cheap jester. I don’t really know it that was a mistake though, as most of us had just three works left to play (Nix had four) and the jester sold for 600 florin. Or maybe we just screwed up at one in the morning. I’d managed to get a jester and a builder, and with four works and eight actions I was resigned to a one-building, one-work pattern for the rest of the game. I scored a Prestige that gave me 7PP for a jester, a builder and two landscapes, easy enough, but two other Prestige Cards that may have been useful to me later I buried in a fit of paranoia. That burned me later when I won another 200 florin Prestige Card and drew nothing but dreck. Stupid. Deej was happily filling up his Palazzo, and he also managed to pick up a Recruiter, giving him five available works. If he managed to get them all off he’d be in a great position. Nix was building up infrastructure to fire off his final four works, and eventually assembled four jesters.

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When you have to pay 1,000 florin for a forest, all you can do is laugh

The pivotal play came in the turn six auction, where I needed a forest for my last two works to make the minimum, and to add power to my remaining Bonus Card. Frog picked a lake to auction off, and George bid on it. This stunned the table, but George was later revealed to be holding a Bonus card powered by lakes, besides not having any other landscapes so the lakes were the only thing that provided incremental prestige. Anyway, Frog bailed on the lake with much muttering, and picked a forest. Ack. So I bid on it and the whole table erupts in disbelief. The hell can I do, it’ll wreck my final two turns if I don’t get it. Frog bid it up to 1,000 florin and I’m forced to bail. So much for those plans. I still get my round six work off, but net three prestige less than I planned from it.

In the turn seven auction, I’m forced to go for the forest again, and George goes for a third lake for reasons already stated. We both win the landscapes, breaking Frog’s All Three Landscapes prestige card and reducing the power of a couple of his bonus cards. With all that carnage, the race for fame was down to Nix and Deej.

The Princes of Florence – Final Scores:
Deej – 58 (Most builders)
Rick – 54 (1 jester + 1 builder + 2 landscapes)
Frog – 40 (Most forests)
Nix – 56
George – 35

I whiffed on that second prestige, and it was pretty awful since I had zero chances to fulfill any of the five cards I drew. I sucked even more because the last two cards I drew were two top two I returned earlier. If I didn’t bury the other two, I’d have drawn them and gotten a card with a condition that I eventually completed (2 large buildings). Ah, well. Such is the story of a five player Princes of Florence game, which ended past 2 am and clocked in just over 90 minutes.
I still didn’t get Vinci to the table, sadly. Frog is going to take a look at A Game of Thrones to see if it’s something he’d like to play next weekend. I want another go at Princes. And a go at Vinci. We’ll see what turns up.

1 Comments:

At Thursday, April 14, 2005 9:22:00 PM, Blogger Yehuda said...

Just found your blog, Rick. Excellent, excellent work.

Yehuda

 

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