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Game Night Report – October 28, 2010

Starting this week, the Saxon board game group from over in Rockrimmon is merging with the Petrie’s board game group for a limited time while the Saxon household gets ready to welcome a new member into the family. We’ll do our best to present write-ups similar to the calibre that Doug usually presents.

As usual the evening started slow. Nate and Jeremy showed up early and it was decided to play something simple while waiting for the others. We got out Tonga Island, a great kids game from Ravensburger. The concept is simple: Move your boat around a series of islands picking up various products that the king of the islands wants delivered. The trick is that the tiles that make up the board are hidden and it becomes a memory game as a tile is only revealed as a player moves on to it. In addition, there are specific currents that the boat must move on which frequently move a player PAST the island they are working towards. This meant that there was a final race to get the final piece and Jeremy pulled it out with Nate and Cam needing the last piece.

Emily joined us—she’s new to Colorado Springs, so “Welcome!”—and Kevin and Mike showed up after that. While trying to figure out the next title, Pat came in and we decided on a simpler game to slowly easy Emily into things. Cam pulled out Hoity Toity. It took a while to remember the specifics of the game and with a few interruptions and a few missteps in teaching the game, it finally took off. For some reason the blonde cards and the black cards were not paying off and Nathan took an early lead. In the end, Patrick won accidentally as Nathan’s final collection wasn’t enough to surpass Pat.

The Saxon group had started showing up at that point and we were then at 10 people. It’s a tough number to match enough people up without having mismatched games. It was decided that 5 of the guys would like to see Maharajah, one of the Phalanx games, while we taught Emily and Pat Revolution by Steve Jackson. This time Jeremy took the early lead and ended the game with 166 points.

Prescott and the Hopkins brothers showed up while the Maharajah crowd was still going. Emily took off for the evening so we broke out the great Z-Man modern classic, Endeavor. The score was remarkably close with four of us ending in the mid-forties but Nathan was able to dominate Asia giving him the victory with 50-something points.

The mood was split then between Adventure game and Euro. The Maharajah had ended with Dave winning his own game and some wanted to change the mood. So out came DungeonQuest. If a GW 80’s classic doesn’t hit the table at some point, it’s just not a good game night! Four of us went to the back to learn the new Z-Man reprint of Hansa Teutonica. The game ended abruptly with Steve winning the game. Cam got trounced and Nathan, who was in the lead most of the game, lost mainly due to his lack of connected paths. As a side commentary, I have to admit I have never felt more frustrated with a game in my life, however, frustration shouldn’t be confused with discouragement. I would like to see this one again and would consider this a game with an extreme learning curve.

DungeonQuest was still going and finished out the evening giving Dave another win. No one made it to the Dragon’s chamber but there was enough random gold coin finds that Dave ended with 200 points while Prescott made it out with a grand total of 10. Patrick died to suffocation from his room turning due to the Wizard’s curse so he could not make his way out. Jeremy got stuck in the catacombs and ended his life to a pack of rats. Adventurers surviving at all in this game is rare, let alone having two make it out alive, so it was a small milestone.

Thanks again for everyone who came and we hope to see a successful merging of the two groups again next week!

~Cameron

STONE AGE – Game Review by Mike Mehl

Stone Age is Not Your Fred Flintstone Game

Stone Age by Rio Grande

By Mike Mehl

I had the opportunity to buy Stone Age about a week ago. My friend introduced me to it, and the very next day I had to find it at my local gaming store. This is a light strategy game in my opinion, but it plays relatively fast and tons of fun. It will play very well with two players, but more strategy is needed when playing with 3-4 players, which boosts playability.

If you really like a worker placement type game like Carcassonne, and enjoy the strategic element of Agricola, then I suggest that you buy this game immediately. You will not be sorry. The game focuses around collecting resources and food to pay for short term and long term rewards that end up with victory points. Other elements of the game let you add tools to your inventory which help you when collecting resources. Collecting resources starts with laying your meeples on various locations around the board. When it is your turn to collect those resources, a dice roll determines how much you get. This is where the tools come into play. For every tool you own it adds +1 to your overall dice count. So as you can see the tools can be very important to own, but it is not necessarily the most important either. It all depends on your strategy.

Now I know you’re thinking: “DICE! DICE!!! I don’t want to play Yahtzee for crying out loud. I am looking for a gaming experience that cuts out the luck factor.” Which in part I do believe that dice do add somewhat a luck factor to the game but it is so minor and natural that you will overlook this occurrence. It’s actually really fun to roll for your resources and start building tools to really stock up to earn other rewards within the game….

You also have the opportunity to make a bigger workforce by leaving two of your meeples (they actually look like meeples with afro’s though ) in a hut (loveshack) and the end of the turn you have another afro guy to do your bidding. I have spent a few nights now perfecting my game play and trying various strategies. All in all being flexible is the name of the game and it could spell big VP’s for those who can be.

You see not only do you think in short term victory point’s but also long term. There is a system of civilization cards that you collect. Some give you music, culture, art.etc to your side that can spell big points at the end of the game. They can also give you immediate rewards like resources, farms, and food. Another type of civilization card that you collect give you more points based on how many tools, huts or meeples you collect and reward accordingly. The possibilities are endless.

As a newer gamer myself I would rate this game an 8/10. Simply because it is a really fast moving light strategy game. It plays surprisingly well with 2 players. There is a grunt factor to the game that, if anyone who has played this game can tell, anyone that has a silly side to them will not have any trouble displaying them.

Murder Mystery Dinner

Inside every one of us is a performer. Granted, it’s a much smaller part for some of us than others, but the spotlight is an attraction to everyone eventually. I think this drive is what inspired the mystery party genre of games. I’m pretty sure of it. I can see a game or toy designer sitting in a meeting room somewhere, discussing how to market something that would merge the party game with our childhood talents of play-acting.

What the first Mystery Party Game was, I do not know. But I can attest it is an ever growing market with just as rabid fans as any role-playing or card game. It has brought about many styles, formats and genres. You can even attend professional mystery shows where the audience is among the suspects.

At Petrie’s we do a clue-style game where every person attending plays a role and is given clues throughout the evening about the other player’s and about themeselves. It’s a pre-written script so who the murderer(s) is or even the accomplices, is an unknown until the time of reveal. An example of a clue might read: “The night of the murder you saw the maid climbing through the second story window” or something more personal like this: “You have been blackmailed by the victim for the past ten years over the knowledge that you were once an international jewel thief”.

Armed with these clues, conversation ensues in order to find out (or hide) who the murderer actually is. Sometimes the murderer is a little too good at hiding the facts, such as during our last Murder Mystery game, but in the end, whether he/she is found out or not, good food and plenty of laughs highlight an evening well spent.

And even the most shy of us will enjoy this spotlight. We promise.

The next Murder Party is October 23. Sign up today if haven’t already!

CAYLUS – Game Review by Mike Mehl

Hi all, I recently had the pleasure of finally playing then buying Caylus. After weeks of reviewing tips and reviews of this game, I had a friend who owns it teach me. I was blown away with how many ways this game can be played. There are so many ways to score victory points and the flow of the game works very well.

Caylus

After explaining the game to me and jumping right in, I was able to see that this game is much deeper than I had anticipated. There are so many routes on your trail to victory that the combination’s are endless. My first experience with the game was with 4 players. At the beginning, the game was very light-hearted as I was learning, but the tone of the game shifted to a high competitive atmosphere which was an experience in its own right.

I was finding that I had to be very careful with what types of moves I was making or it would give away my intentions. ninja I really liked the aspect of the many different residences and that you can actually help your own game-play by strategically monopolizing certain areas so that other players are forced to use that space earning you a victory point. This is just one of the strategies that I deployed early on, in my very first experience.

I also have to say that during my first game, I truly underestimated the royal favors and their value. Believe it or not the outcome of the game was determined by one of the players strategy of relying on royal favors that helped him to build a prestigious building that gave him a very big boost in his game that spelled victory for him. It became apparent that having different strategies will make you get ahead in this game, but also having a specific strategy can be taken advantage of and you may not do as well as you think you were. Even now, as I am typing, a million different strategies are flowing in my head, and I am becoming very excited for my next session of Caylus. I’m addicted zombie.

This game for me is a great worker placement game. I am a big fan of Carcassonne, Agricola, and Stone Age. Even though the same aspect of this game is laying your workers to do your bidding, this game is much heavier than the previous mentioned games.

The induction of the provost really had me going. We played very friendly as I was trying to learn all the different rules, but as the game heated up, I drew first blood with that provost and soon realized that the provost can really screw up somebody’s game. Whether it is to chip away at their gold or just let their worker become useless, it always brought a smile to my face when I moved the provost at the behest of my opponents and watch them squander gold just to make sure their workers were not placed in vain.

Overall, the experience had me hooked immediately. I was impressed by the depth of Caylus, the millions of different strategies that can be deployed, and just the overall fun-factor and feeling of accomplishment as I was playing. For the amount of money I payed for this game, you get a lot out of it as far and what the game comes with, the amount of time you will spend playing it. Out of I give this . I believe that Caylus will be one of my all time fave’s and will have many sessions to come out of this game.

Game of Kings

The following is a classic article from our newsletter series, written by Don Morgan.

It has a history spanning millennia. To trace its roots you need to be an archeologist. And yet it remains one of the most popular games of the 21st Century. There are clubs, web sites, tournaments, magazines, and a musical devoted to it.

We’re talking, of course, about the one and only CHESS. This enigmatic gaChess 2me has, in turns, been described as “intellectual gymnastics” (Wilhelm Steinitz), “mental torture” (Garry Kasparov), “life” (Bobby Fischer), “ruthless” (Nigel Short), “the gymnasium of the mind” (Adolf Anderssen), and “a total [ahem] mystery” (Ellis Redding, The Shawshank Redemption).

Its legacy is so vast that much of the details have been lost. However, many scholars agree that the earliest form was the Indian battle-simulation game chaturanga, popular throughout India in 6th century AD. Chaturanga was the first game to feature game pieces with different powers, and the first to have its outcome depend on the fate of one piece-the “king.” The name chaturanga is related to the Sanskrit phrase “four divisions,” meaning the four divisions of ancient militaries: infantry, cavalry, elephantry and chariotry.

The original chaturanga spread to East Asia, although the version played in China is thought to have incorporated elements from chess’ rival traditional game, Go, which dates to the 6th Century BC! Similarly, a prominent variation of chess in Japan is called Shogi.

By the start of the 7th century, historians believe, chaturanga had spread to Persia, where it was dubbed chatrang. Players would shout “Shah!” (Persian for “King!”) and “Shah mat!” (“the king is finished”) similar to the way “Check” and “Checkmate!” are used today.

After the Muslim conquest of Persia, it is believed that chatrang became a popular diversion as a means of re-enacting real-life battles. The oldest recorded game in chess history is a match played in the 900s AD between a Baghdad historian and his pupil.

The Muslim shatranj featured pieces that were beautiful and ornate, but comprised of abstract objects because Islamic law prohibited the crafting of statues in the likeness of humans or animals. Shatranj was carried to North Africa, Sicily, and Spain by the 10th Century.

Chess began to gain a foothold in Europe once figure pieces were incorporated and ornate boards were produced. During the medieval era, chess became seen as a prestigious game of nobility. Numerous chess books were written between the 12th and 15th centuries. It was during the 12th Century that the characters with which we’re familiar today were established.

During the Middle Ages, a game could last for days. Chess was frowned upon by the Church due to its potential as a time-waster and as an incentive to gamble. The rules for chess continued to evolve in Europe during this period. It appears that the first incarnation of chess to feature modern chess moves for each character appeared around 1500.

Cam&Girls White Burn

Chess became more widely recognized as a competitive sport in the centuries that followed, and the first modern tournament was held in London in 1851. In modern times chess is perhaps surpassed only by soccer’s World Cup as an occasion to display national pride. During the Cold War, in particular, chess matches between “eastern” and “western” opponents became symbols of a larger political reality and gave way to movies like White Knights and the musical Chess. At the same time, chess theory became a legitimate sociological and academic pursuit. And the drama of man vs. machine was embodied in highly publicized match-ups between accomplished chess champions and computer counterparts.

With a history this diverse and interesting, what’s not to love about chess? It is a game like no other that has been enjoyed by peasants and kings the world over. It’s easy to learn but impossible to master.

Game Night Report – Sepember 16, 2010

We had a varied group tonight with four games going at one time. With City Wide Gaming Event happening this weekend, two of us wanted quick reviews of the games we had to run for that event. A quick review of Carcassonne didn’t turn into a full game but when the first head-count of the evening revealed we had 7 people, the need to “review” Shadows Over Camelot quickly turned into 7 gamers that wanted to actually play it.

Nathan showed up shortly after that with a friend who had a copy of Citadels. Meanwhile Jake Z. showed up and wanted to play A Game of Thrones LCG. With the three games going, Camelot wrapped up first with the good guys winning by filling in the table with the most white swords. We lost count of how many games of Citadels happened and the AGoT card players got two games in with Jake Z winning both games against Jake S with his amazing House Greyjoy deck.

After this, the new Castle Ravenloft came out so the larger group split into two 4- player games with the other group falling back on the classic Vegas Showdown. Jeremy Squire made an early lead in Vegas and we spent most of the game trying to keep up. I never heard if the Ravenloft guys won or not.

And the Citadels players were still playing…

Most of the group went home an hour early and those that stayed, who weren’t playing Citadels, broke out the winter Runebound.

Good night over all. Missed seeing a lot of our regulars but still got a good set of titles in and most are looking forward to coming to this weekend’s boardgame and role playing demos.

HeroScape Tournament

Photo slide show of the event.

On August 7th, Petrie’s had the first of many HeroScape Tournament. It was great to see various members of our customer community come together and meet each other for the first time. Several had been coming to our HeroScape club since we started it, but many had not been there at the same time and had only heard of each other.

We set it up as 3 rounds on 3 different boards. One of our boards was shown to be a bit unfair toward specific races but since no one was playing those races, it was allowed for this time. We also utilized house rules of invisible barrier around the edges (no ranged attacks over empty areas), and races that brought back pieces beyond the initial starting point can still be considered points at the end of each round.

Everyone pre-made 250 point armies and at the end of each round, players counted up their surviving pieces and any pieces they claimed from other players. The total was their points for the round. There was also a limit of eight turns per player in a given round, but that quickly became a non-issue as most people were done by turn three or four.

Next time we’ll allow for a larger point limit (probably around 400) but bring down the turn limits to 6.

Our winner was Garrett and considering he helped to start the HeroScape club, somewhat fitting. The prize was a boxed heroes set. We’re planning on doing this in bi-monthly events, so hopefully we’ll see everyone then.

Game Night Report – July 22, 2010

Tonight started early when a small group came in to play L5R CCG and a couple got out Space Junkyard, both at around 5:00. The regulars started filtering slowly and a round of Opera was decided upon. Opera is a game that we have a running “joke” about merely because several of us were excited about it when it came out but then we did nothing but look at how pretty it was on the shelf. So we finally broke the barrier and got it out. The learning process was fast but we quickly found out that we had skipped a couple of key rules. Looking forward to the next play to get a full comprehension of it. Nathan took an early lead due to controlling the bank but Jeremy S. surprised us all by making up the difference and came in a very close second.

Mike D., Reed and Kyle showed up later and Jake had spent some time standing around watching us play. They decided to break out the Magic decks and several rounds of that took off. Meanwhile, the L5R players transformed their group into a D&D adventure and spent the rest of the night battling monsters.

Meanwhile two more of our regulars decided to take on Titan. Titan is well received by our group but the fact that they read through the rules and figured it out on their own in less than an hour… well that won them some brownie points.

Hurry Cup, a new filler favorite came out next. HC is a fun racing game that takes some very slight similarities with Formula De and merges it with Spoons. Yes, spoons. Lots of grabbing and clawing is the main mechanic to find out how far you can move your classic roadster. Jake and Nathan had early leads but after much frustration, Nathan was never able to use his special ability and Cam took the lead near the end of the game. Jake hit the empty gas can token that took him out and Cam used his wrench to gain automatic movement over the finish line.

The D&D group began to break up at this point but the Titan guys were still going, so the rest of the regulars decided to break out one more game. Since CCG was already ruling the night, Magic and World of Warcraft CCG came out.

BattleTech

I was worried. I admit it.

Every time we come up with an idea for an event, there is a part of me that is skeptical. Sure I personally would love to see this event happen or that event happen, and I know people who would be happy to see most any gaming event, but real life gets in the way, right? Schedule conflicts, kids, job… you know, that responsibility thing. So when Johannes Bowers of d20Radio said he would be happy to run his full scale BattleTech demo at Petrie’s—the one he normally runs at GenCon and the other large conventions—I of course screamed “Yes!” Giant robots beating up on other giant robots using a system widely known as one of the longest running and strongest systems created… and all of this on a board big enough to fill the entire back room? What else could any self-serving 80’s child want?

But as the advertising went up and word was spread, I began to think it might be a bad idea. Here we have Johannes coming to the store to set up a large game of which we had only one person sign up right away. No one seemed interested in RSVP and the general reaction was “That’s really cool!” followed quickly with “I might show up.”

This morning I was once again surprised and humbled by the power of ‘geek’. One by one, they started showing up. Since opening the store I have repetitively had those “build it and they will come” moments. “Do not underestimate the power of nostalgia,” I have to remind myself. And that is precisely what happened here.

I find that some people are a bit tentative when it comes to trying new things if they aren’t sure anybody else is doing it. Human nature. I have to admit I’m the same way. But as soon as there’s a trickle it quickly turns into a flow. As these grown men, most of which had played Classic Battletech in high school or college, began to gather and assign their ‘Mechs’, I’m pretty sure I heard a few of them giggling. Like I said… the power of nostalgia. Before long, these six men—of which only two had previously met each other—were standing together laughing, joking and virtually blowing things up. As I walked back to adjust the air conditioning, one of them turned to me and sarcastically commented “I think we’re having fun.”

What was I worried about?

UPDATE: 4:00pm – The game is still going. While a few of them look a little drained, the laughter is still erupting at random times. So far, one Mech has been obliterated from trying to do a jump. Yes, a jump. Using his jump-jets, he went over a mountain not aware that an enemy Mech was on the other side. He landed on the shoulder, fell over and damaged his internal systems. Oops. But no worries… almost all the rest are still being held together by string and wires. I’ll post the winning team here later tonight.

UPDATE: 7:00pm – Yup… they’re still there. We’re down to 4 players of which only 3 have Mechs left. This is epic. And the funny part is that they’re still only half way to their objective. Today has been a sort of social experiment. In their efforts to be the first one to the end goal, they spent too much time beating on each other, and now no one will be able to get there (or so I predict). Human nature won out and now they’re barely limping along.

Game Night Report – July 8, 2010

The night started off with Arkham Horror and Leaping Lemmings. Regulars Luke and Liz, made use of one of our large tables to play a semi-basic version of Arkham while the rest of us “leaped” on Lemmings (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Turns out that GMT’s first venue into the family game market is pretty fun. I’d recommend it to any family especially with kids around 8 or 9 and up. It’s very ‘cat and mouse’ with a lot of good random fun.

Then while waiting for another member to show up we ran into the awkward ‘what to do with six people’ conundrum and decided to break out Cartagena. The night’s not a proper game night without a little pirate theme thrown in.

While Arkham was still going (remember this is the base game version) we split into two more games of Vegas Showdown and Roborally. The Robo crowd only played two flags so it ended quick. While waiting for Vegas to end, they threw in a quick game of Can’t Stop. Jake ended up pulling out a masterful victory in Vegas due to building all the fancy lounges in existence (or so it seemed).

Part of this night was the fact that it was Andrew’s last night. We wanted to make sure he had a chance to play the titles he hadn’t had a chance yet and his final choice was Dungeon Lords. The groups re-sorted and we ended up with D.L. at one table and Arcana at another. Arcana is a simpler version of the deck-building games that have been all the rage lately. It went very quickly but obviously didn’t last nearly as long as the infamously longer D.L. which had two new players involved. In the end, the Dungeon Lord victory went to Larry.

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