February 14, 2003 Session Report by DaveO

Valentine's Day proved to be a double header game session for me.  Pizula came over in the afternoon and then Matthias showed up in the evening.  I'd have to say that these were easily my ugliest valentines ever, but all in all, we had a good time playing a few games and throwing back a few beers.

Fightball (Cruisers Vs. Wildcats)

  We'd both been wanting to try this out for a while as we're both big fans of Brawl and since Fightball is a synonym for Slapnut, how appropriate that I play against the King of the Slapnuts.  Now of course Pizula had to be the Wildcats being from Univ. of Arizona and all so I was left with the cheapshot artists, The Cruisers.  This turned out to have a lot of resemblance to Brawl but way harder.  They both are real time games and you play your characters down onto shared stacks, but instead of 3 piles to concentrate on, this game requires that you try to keep an eye on something close to 20 piles.  Needless to say it was pretty tough.  Pizula and I only played 2 quarters but it was definitely Pizula's kind of game (I think this game may in fact reward ADD, because a player who pays too much attention to one thing can get crushed).  Final Score - DaveO-19; Pizula-26

Ratings
Pizula - 7/10
DaveO - 7/10

Fantasmi

  This Alex Randolph gem is known by more names than any other game I know, but basically all of the games have to do with ghosts, as each player controls an army of 8 ghosts; half are bad and half are good.  The object is to get one of your good ghosts out the back row of your opponent or to get your opponent to capture all your bad ghosts, or to capture all of your opponents good ghosts.  This game is pure bluffing and we loved it.  The first game the O'Connor Advantage paid off as Pizula didn't quite realize all of the tricks but we played another game and it was a real nailbiter!  Final Scores: DaveO - 2 wins (one with a good ghost escaping, the other by capturing all of Pizula's good ghosts)  

Ratings
DaveO -8/10
Pizula - 7/10

Combit

I then thought I should teach Pizula  one of the better quick two player games I'd seen - Combit.  This game is designed by Klaus Palesch (an excellent trick taking game designer with Sticheln, Hattrick, and David and Goliath being some of his creations) and slipped under the radar of many gamers.  Final Score: DaveO - 72; Pizula -44

Ratings
DaveO - 8/10
Pizula - 8.5/10 

Zwergen Ziehen

Here's another good little 2 player game that slipped under most people's radar.  I had the opportunity to have the game shown to me at the last Essen and thought the board was very cool.  The game is very similar to How Ruck! in that it is a tug of war contest, but instead of Scotsmen, this game pits lawn gnomes against each other.  The gnomes are pulling a hose between two yards which are separated by a fence.  To represent this, the board is 3-D with the fence standing up in the middle and the hose is actually a flat piece of cardboard which lies in a groove on the board and is moved back and forth under the fence.  A player loses when one of his gnomes is pulled into the fence.  We did have a couple questions though that don't seem to be covered in the rules: Do you reshuffle the discard pile between rounds?  Do you clear all the dwarves from each players team and secretly pick a color after a round, just like in the start of the game?  Final Scores:  Pizula won the first game in two straight rounds; DaveO won the second game after losing the first round

Ratings
DaveO - 7/10
Pizula - 7.5/10

Venice Connection

This is an abstract from Alex Randolph and can be taught and played in 5 minutes.  I showed Pizula a few of the tricks in this one as we played 3 games in a row, but I don't think he really liked it.  Final Score: DaveO won 3 in a row

Riddles and Riches

This is one of the more unusual games I've played; it's basically a scavenger hunt in a box.  The idea is very interesting as you travel from room to room trying to solve 3 different riddles; the problem is that two of our riddles were very simple while the 3rd still doesn't make sense.  It's also kind of annoying as you move from room to room a la Clue, but I still think the idea and the rooms are really neat.  We both figured out two of the riddles but the 3rd wasn't very intuitive.

Ratings
DaveO - 6/10 (out of sheer originality)
Pizula - 6/10

One on One Hoops

Pizula left at this point and a couple hours later Matt showed up.  Matthias and I continued our weekly basketball competition; we played a whole game this time and Matty made a last minute run to beat me 109-108.  I had all my crap cards left and Matt came back from being 6 down with 4 cards left to go.

Ratings
DaveO - 8/10
Matt - 9/10

ZooSim

I showed Matthias a bunch of music videos that he hadn't seen before and all of a sudden it was 11 pm, so we decided we had to play at least one more game.  Matthias and I have always been ZooSim fans and I've always wanted to try it 2 player so we went for it.  Matty kicked my ass!  I tried to make a run in the 3rd round but it backfired and Matty ended up running away in the 4th round.  I liked the 2 player version as the bidding has an outthinking element to it as you're trying to tie someone even when you don't want the tile just so you can have the "possession arrow" for the next round.  It's still best with more though...

Final Scores (Round by Round):

                Round 1  Round 2    Round 3   Round 4    Round 5   Total
Matt             6              20               33             68             85           212
DaveO         5              18               30             44             70           167  

Ratings
DaveO - 8/10
Matt - 7/10