February 7, 2003 Session Report by DaveO

As the two unemployed gamers in the group, Matthias and I got together early to check out some music I just got and to play a few two player games before Linda and Tim showed up.  I hoped to introduce Linda to some new games to show her some more of the basic mechanics of German games as she just started playing these recently; it turned out Tim got a look at a lot of classic games that he had never tried before as well.

Eins Zwei Drei Kaese Hoch

  This is an obscure 2 player abstract strategy game from 1999 put out by DaVinci Spiele; it was designed by Christoph Cantzler.  The game title translates to something like 1,2,3 Cheese High - I guess I should have first translated the game before I pulled it off the shelf as the title may have been a deterrent to this one; I'm going to rename it to 1,2,3 Suck Cheese as this game does...  The game is basically a 2 by 8 grid with pieces of alternating color on each square of the grid.  Each player owns one of the colors.  On your turn you can move one of your own pieces to an adjacent square.  The only exceptions are that you can only move a piece if it's on top of a stack, stacks can never be more than 3 high, and you can't move a single lone piece to an empty square (it has to be on top of a two high or three high stack).  To win you need to get a stack of 3 of your own color or prevent the opponent from being able to move.  Simple rules - what didn't I like about it?  Well, basically it had a lot of moving back and forth over and over, leading me to believe that there needs to be some kind of a rule that prevents a player from making a move that would lead to the same position again.  The whole second half of the game Matty and I were just kind of moving around from stack to stack and I was praying one of us would make a mistake; luckily I did and Matty won the game.  It felt very boring; it may be that I don't see some of the strategy but unfortunately I doubt I will ever find anyone who will know this game, let alone be good at it.

Ratings
Matt - 5/10
DaveO - 2/10

One On One Hoops

  After playing the Cheese game, I was a little leery about breaking out another game I hadn't tried yet.  However, I've been determined to get a lot of these unplayed games on the table, so Matt and I broke out this basketball card game.  I'm a sucker for sports games but they always seem to come up short.  This game is primarily luck as your turn consists of rolling a die to see if you score and playing a card which does different things.  At first Matt and I were slow to get into this but once we had seen all of the different cards (there are about a dozen types), the game started rolling along.  Although there isn't much strategy here, it is a lot of fun when you're just looking to talk trash and throw back a few beers.  We only played one half as Tim Thomas was on his way;  Matt and I ended up tying, 48-48.

Ratings
Matt - 8/10
DaveO - 8/10

Can't Stop

  TimmyT joined us at this point and asked about Can't Stop; Matthias was excited to give this one another play so we brought it out.  This was Tim's first play of it and he enjoyed it quite a bit.  I got off to a quick tear rolling 2 double 8's in a row which enabled me to grab the victory very quickly.  I ended up with 3 numbers claimed; Tim with 2 and Matthias with 1.

Ratings
DaveO - 8/10
Tim - 8/10
Matt - 8/10

Dragon's Gold

Linda made it so now we had 4.  We wanted to get a quick game in before the pizza arrived so I suggested Dragon's Gold; this was new to Linda and Tim but they were ready to give it a try.  I knew TimmyT was gonna be a thorn in my side very quickly when on the first kill of the game he, Linda, and I split up the bounty and I got what seemed to be a great deal with a gold piece but I forgot that Timmy had a thief on the dragon so he stole it right back from me - Damn that Tim Thomas!  Anyway this seemed to be somewhat recurring as we had a couple deals die on the vine (although Matthias insists that they were my fault and not TT's).  At about 2/3 of the way through the black diamond came out and to my surprise Linda jumped on it (we were using the advanced scoring where the black diamond is worth 15 but discounts the rest of the colored jewels).  At this point I thought there was no way she would win but when the final tally occurred, Linda came out the winner.  The amazing thing is that she beat us even though we basically got 20 point bonuses as we had three-way ties in two of the gem colors.  Tim ended up having the lead in 4 colors, I had the lead in 3, and Matt had the lead in 2; Matthias and I both got the multicolor bonus but Linda eked out the win with the 15 point black diamond and a whopping 46 points in silver, gold, and magic!!  Final scores - Linda - 61; DaveO - 59; Tim - 48; Matthias - 42

Ratings
Linda - 7/10
DaveO - 9/10 (I love this game just for the pure negotiation; leave those stinking cards out of it!)
Tim - 7/10
Matty - 7/10 ("I would have rated it higher but DaveO deliberately f**ed me over!")

Ra

This was the first time Tim and Linda had played this one so after a fairly quick rules explanation we got going on this Knizia auction game.  I have the player mats from the Boardgame Geek and they really help beginners get up to speed, unfortunately the learning curve is a little steep as the seasoned veterans were in one group and the beginners in another.  Matt did consistently well throughout the game but I managed to score 16 points in monuments along with the 5 point sun tile bonus at the end to beat Matty by one point; Scores:
DaveO - 35
Matt - 34
TT - 16
Linda - 15

Ratings
Linda - 5/10
DaveO - 8/10
Tim - 9/10
Matty - 9/10

Samurai

Another Knizia and another first play for Linda and Tim, however, the learning curve was overcome by Tim in this won.  I'm looking forward to Klear Games' (link to the website on our links page) computer version of this; the demo is awesome and the final version should be even better!  This was a great contest with Linda and Matt surrounding cities while Tim and I tried to exert influence in places and then hope someone else would complete the areas to let us Tim barely won over Matt with a score of 5 to 4; the complete scores were:

               Rice Buddhas Hats

Tim          1         4          4

Matt         4         2          2

DaveO     3         3          4

Linda       1          3          2

Ratings
Linda - 6/10 (with potential to go up to as high as an 8 with more playing)
DaveO - 9/10 (this is about as good as a tile laying influence game can get)
Tim - 7/10
Matty - 6/10

Basari

And once again we played another game which was new to Tim and Linda (hey, I have to use the O'Connor advantage when I can; now there's gonna be the Matthias advantage as well though).  Everyone seemed to like this one and after a few rounds everyone started to understand how to use the negotiation round to their advantage.  The last few deals were a lot of fun as Matt, Linda, and I tried to jockey for the majority in the jewels.  I ended up getting the most valuable and another and also forced Linda and Matt into a tie for another color.  Tim somehow thought he could win with just grabbing points and racing around the board but he learned that it's hard to make it to the winner's circle without some jewels (at one point in the second round he only had two jewels in front of him!). Scores:  
DaveO - 83
Matt - 66
Linda - 60
Timmy - 49

Ratings (somehow half points crept into the rating system at this point)
Linda - 7.5/10
DaveO - 7/10
Tim - 6.5/10
Matty - 7/10