Sunday, May 16, 2004

Kitchen Table Gamers game day

We traveled to Cleveland for the weekend to participate in the Kitchen Table Gamers game day. It was the first time the KTGers attempted this and they did a fantastic job. I feel really good about it because it was inspired by the game days we have had here in Grand Rapids which some of the KTG crowd attended in January. Craig, James, Michael, Mike, and John did a terrific job organizing the event. They did a few things that we didn't think of (like providing a map of area restaurants and a sheet of sources for more information about the types of games we play). I will suggest we do this for our next event.

They had 50 people in attendance, which is a great turn out, especially for the first event. As it turns out, the room would have been too small if more people had been there. If they plan to expand, they will need to find a different location.

The gaming started at 10:00 am and we played until 11:30 pm. I had a great time and I'm very glad they invited us to attend.


We arrived Friday evening and squeezed in 1 game before we decided to go to bed.

Ticket to Ride Chris, Elaine, Kim, Craig

This is one of my favorite new games of the year. I believe it's the 4th time I've played it and I finally managed to win. I kept my three original tickets and didn't take anymore for the rest of the game. My tickets were for Seattle to LA, Seattle to New York, and Dututh to El Paso. I begin by building Seattle to LA, and then ignored my western train and begin working from Duluth to New York. I was nearly shut out of El Paso, and had a bit of difficulty getting from Duluth to Seattle to finish my Seattle to New York route. After the Northern route was finished I still had to get to El Paso and the only route left was LA to El Paso, which takes 6 black trains. I spent 3 or 4 turns drawing cards to get a trains I needed... getting 2 wilds on my last draw. I plunked down my 6 black trains to complete all my routes and this prompted the game end condition since I only had 2 trains left. On my last turn I placed them at the end of my train, which gave me one contiguous track that included all of my trains (and the 10 point bonus for longest train). I believe I won by 30 points (with 150 points or so). I think Craig noticed that I was very vulerable and attempted to block me on the black track, but was unable to get the cards he needed. This would have devastated me and I expect I would have finished last.

I really like this game I expect it will win SdJ this year, which would be well deserved.

Coyote Michael Green, Mike Agams, James*, Chris, John Palagyi, Craig

I really enjoy the game, although I'm tempted to play next time without the special cards. It makes the game very random.

Attribute Michael Green, Mike Agams, James, Chris, John Palagyi, Craig, John Morgan*

I had played Attribute on BSW, but never face to face. Once we got the scoring straight we had a great time. We had a few other people join us part way through the game.

Frank's Zoo Chris*, Kim, Michael Green, Sarah

My 5 year old daughter wanted to play the where the animals eat other animals. Michael had never played the game so we asked him to join us. We played one hand, without any of the special scoring. Sarah actually did very well, although it was difficult for her to hold her cards. I think she is just about ready to play this without help... except for perhaps a card holder.

Tamsk Michael Green, Chris*

I got to play several Gipf series games over the weekend. I've played Tamsk before, but it had been a couple of years. Michael made a mistake early by allowing one of his timers to run out because he wasn't paying attention. In the end, that proved to be fatal for him. Great game. I love the whole series.

Yinsh Michael Green, Chris*

After Tamsk, Michael offered to teach me Yinsh. I had a copy on order, so I was very excited to give it a try. He warned me in advance that he had never scored more than 1 point in his several previous games (it take 3 points to win). He did manage to score 2 against me, but I pulled out a victory. Again, fantastic game. I can't wait to play it again.

Puerto Rico Ken Boone*, John Montville, Craig, Chris

John had never played, so I explained the game to him while Craig greeted some visitors. I attempted to start producing coffee early and did get off to an early lead, which is typical for me, but half way through the game I could see that I simply wasn't able to ship enough to make it work. Nobody else was making coffee, so the ships were filled with other commodities and I never managed to get my own ship, so my coffee didn't ship. I did manage to sell it a few times, which got me some big money, but by then it was too late. I finished fourth (behind the newbie AND Craig... yikes) and Ken won, quite handily.

Coda x2 Renee, Craig*, Chris, Rhonda*

I really enjoy Coda. I think it's a great filler and a good introduction to deduction games. I meant to pick up a coopy but forgot. I will be buying this soon.

Gulo Gulo Chris*, Sarah, Mick Adams, Todd Adams, James Miller

Sarah talked me into Gulo Gulo. She explained the rules to me (quite well actually) and we talked a few bystanders into joining us while they waited for their pizza. I managed to win, but it's a kid's game, so that really didn't matter. We had a lot of fun with it and I'll be adding it to my buy list. Now, I just hope I can convince my 1 year old that the pieces are not giant M&M's. She seems to think Gulo Gulo is German for Candy Candy.

Thingamajig Craig*, James, Kim, Chris, Patti, Nikki, Elaine

Another favorite of mine with the right crowd. James is notorious for very clever and obscure clues. Craig managed to win, but he told me later he was cheating... sharing his answers with Nikki who was really stuggling. No matter. Great fun. The best clue of the game was one that we came up with later... "This is where Ernest and Julio were hanged." The answer... "gallows" of course.

Coyote x2 Nikki, Chris*, Patti*, Elaine

Another session of Coyote. This seems to be a big hit with the kids. I noticed we were gietting a lot of funny looks from some of the kids at another table (who were in the middle of a 3 hour game of Ticket to Ride). I returned the favor when they played Egg Dance later.

Squint Chris, John Palagyi, James*, Patti, Elaine

I used to really like this game, but I guess I've grown a little tired of it. It's still fun with a big group and we had a good time with it, but I probably won't be looking to pull it out a lot in the future.

Cartagena Chris, John Morgan*, Patti, Mike Adams

I really like Cartagena with 2 or 3 people. With 4 or more it's just okay, but we needed something quick and a couple of the people listed above hadn't played it, so I suggested we give it a try. We played with cards hidden (Jamaica I believe), which is actually the way I prefer to play with more than 2 people (Dave VanderArk will be happy to hear this as I was previously a Tortuga fan and he is anti-Tortuga).

Bluff Chris, Chris, John Morgan*, Chloe, Craig

I was trying to score a late night game of Time's Up and we needed something to do while we waited for a few people to finish up. John and I were the last two remaining. But his 4 dice to my 1 was too difficult to overcome.

Time's Up Chris/Kim*, Craig/James, Mike Adams/John Morgan

Without a doubt this is my favorite party game, especially with the players listed above. The game always provides us with many laughs, and this was no exception. We had the usual set of confusing words. For example, we had King Kong, Stephen King, Martin Luther King Jr., and Don King. We had a couple of very difficult people as well... William Faulkner being the most difficult. The best clue I remember was James's attempt to get Craig to say Mata Hari. He said something like "This is a guy... from India I think. His last name is like "not bald."" Believe it or not, Craig did not get it.


Craig taught me Zertz, and then kicked me around. We also played Gipf, and as I recall I won. I have really fallen in love with the whole series. During each game I think "this is the best game in the series."

After Gipf we invited the wives to join us for Beyond Balderdash, which we aborted after 3 rounds because they weren't really enjoying it. I want to try it again, perhaps at a future Gulf Games event. We got Attribute out again and had a great time with it. As is often the case, Craig interrupted the game several times with stories from his comical past. I don't know if his family just has a lot of odd things happen to them or if they just remember them better than most families, but they seem to have an endless list of odd stories to tell.

In summary, Craig and the other KTG'ers should be very pleased with the event. The attendance was very good (capacity at times). There was plenty of refreshments and games to choose from as well. As far as I could tell, everyone seemed to enjoy the day and I expect future events will be a well attended as well. I'm always looking for excuses to spend time with these guys. Please let me know when the next one is scheduled and I will definitely plan to attend.