Saturday, May 22, 2004

Session Report: GRAB Game Night- 5/21/2004

IQ-5 x3 Josh*** Chris

I saw IQ-5 at Gulf Games in Pensacola and I've been intrigued by it ever since. I ordered a copy from Funagain and got it just in time for our monthly gaming session. Josh showed up before anyone else and we decided to try it out. In IQ-5 each player has "pins" that contain two colored ends... red/blue, yellow/red, yellow/blue. Players take turns inserting a pin into the board in an effort to get 5 in a row. When you insert a pin into your side of the board, you are also adding a pin to the other player's side of the board (it stands between the two players like a Connect 4 board).

Josh won all three games. There is a heavy memory element in the game and he was able to keep track of the colors better than I did. I enjoyed the game, but I have a feeling the memory element will be too strong for it to become a favorite of mine.

Overall, it's a very interesting game with very nice components. Ben Baldanza talked the company into sending him a pair of pins that are red/red, yellow/yellow, and blue/blue. This mean you can't count on the fact that the color on the other side of a pin is different than a color on your side. I'm not sure if this will make the game better or worse. It seems it would make the memory element even heavier, which I'm not interested in.

Yinsh Chris*, Josh

My new discovered love affair with the Gipf series got quite the attention tonight. The first was Yinsh, which I had only played once and Josh had not played at all. I managed to win the game, which I take great pride in. Anytime I beat Josh in a game it is extra special, especially a true battle of wits such as Yinsh. I expect now that he has one play under his belt that he will take me next time... but maybe there won't be a next time.

I love Yinsh... and each time I play it I like it more. I look forward to MANY more games of this.

Auf Heller und Pfennig Chris*, Rob, Brian, Nick

We dug deep into my collection and found this classic which we hadn't played in a while. Rob managed only a few points (4 perhaps) in the first round. Brian and I got something in the 50's. Nick had 20. Round two went much better for Rob and he closed to within just a few points of Brian and I. In round three I was the benefactor of some ... we'll say generous placements by Nick and I managed to win by just a few points over Brian. Rob was perhaps 20 points behind us.

I'm really glad we got a chance to play this again. It's simply a terrific game with difficult decisions each turn. This is one of my favorite Knizia games and I need to make a point to get it out more often.

Hick Hack im Gackelwack Rob, Chris, Brian*, Nick, James

Nick suggested Hick Hack and Rob has been considering purchasing this for his kids so I gave in a played it. It's not one of my favorites... I'm not sure why, but we had fun with it. I've never won this game... in fact, I don't recall ever NOT finishing last. While it seems there isn't much to decide in this game, I think I've proven that it is possible to consistently make BAD decisions in this game. No matter. We enjoyed it, and I think it's something my daughter would enjoy, so I may pick up a copy to play with her. It would be a good introduction to some gaming concepts and some a chance to work on some light math.

Zertz x3 Chris**, Brian*

We now had 8 and we wanted to play 2 four player games, but when Nick talked Scott into Epic Duels I decided to take the opportunity to evangelise the Gipf series. Brian was anxious to learn some of the games. We started with Zertz. I had just finished reading the first half of Stephen Tavener's Zertz strategy guide, which I highly recommend, and I was anxious to give some of his tips a try. I won the first game very quickly, taking advantage of Brian's unfamiliarity with the game by quickly capturing three white marbles. In the second game I made a serious blunder. I attempted to set up a one for one exchange but didn't realize that I gave him a double jump. I couldn't recover and he won the game with 4 gray marbles. The third game was very close. We got to the point where either of us needed any marble to win. He had me trapped, where I couldn't take another marble without giving him one first. Then I realized that I could isolate a white marble, which I then removed from the board for the victory.

Now, back to the strategy guide for the more advanced moves. If you're at all interested in Zertz, read Stephen's guide. It will take several readings to digest it all, but it's time well spent if you want to truly master this wonderful game.

Tamsk x2 Chris*, Brian*

Rob and told Brian about the hourglass game, and since Brian enjoyed Zertz so much, we decided to give it a try. Once again, I beat him in the first game, but he demanded a rematch, which I gave him and he got his vengence.

While I really enjoy Tamsk, it seems like strategic than the other Gipf games, but that is likely because I don't know the strategy. It's the weakest of the series, yet I still really enjoy the game.

Yinsh Chris*, Brian

We still had some time while the other table was finishing up Hansa, so I continued through the Gipf series with Brian by busting out Yinsh. I took the first point, and then traded points with him... giving him one to get one in return. We battled for a few more minutes and I managed to win when he missed the fact that I had set up a very simple move for the victory. He was looking to set up a complex move for the win, but missed the fact that I had set up a very simple move for the victory.

I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of this game, but I've never played an experienced player, so my 3 and 0 record is probably not valid. I feel like I have no concept of the game opening. Much like Dvonn, there is probably some very important moves that done during the opening, but it feels like I'm just guessing. Since I enjoy the game, I expect to have many opportunities to figure it out.

My feeling is that the game is more tactical than Zertz, Gipf, or Dvonn. But again, that's probably due to my lack of experience with it.

Zircus Flohcati Dave, Brian, Chris*, Nick

Dave and Nick wanted to get one more game in before they left. He recommended ZF (the older one... ZF the Elder I guess) and I was happy with the choice. Brian collected many high numbered cards, but because he was only taking great cards he was the target of the action cards, which let us pick good cards from his hand. I managed a few sets and Nick ended the game with the gala show. I won by just a point over Dave as I recall, which Nick being just a couple of points behind. I think this is a great filler that probably doesn't get played as often as it deserves.

Funkenschlag Chris*, Josh*, Scott

I had been itching to play this game all night... all week in fact. I talked Josh and Scott into playing it. It lasted a bit longer than any of us had hoped, but we all really enjoyed the game. Scott had never played. Josh had played once and I had played twice. We all played conservatively and this really caused the game to last longer than it needed to. I believe it clocked in at over 3 hours.

I felt like I played very well. I did buy a power plant that never got used (the 8 I believe). The game ended when Josh connected his 22nd city. There was a bit of controversy... well, not really controversy, but and unfortunate event at the end. We all thought Josh had only connected 21 cities, but after recounting at the end we realized he had 22. We had apparently miscounted earlier in the game. Since the number of connected cities determines the turn order and has a huge impact on the rest of the game there was no way to determine what would have happened had we counted correctly. It was an honest mistake and I don't think it really changed the outcome. So, Josh finished with the controversial 22, I had 21, and Scott had 20. Since we thought Josh only had 21 cities during the last turn and I had more money, Josh declared me the winner, but it really didn't matter. I was very pleased with how I had played and enjoyed the game thoroughly in spite of the problem in the end.

I could have won the previous turn but I was 3 dollars short of connecting to a 20th city. I expect I spent over $1000 during the course of the game and I was a mere $3 short from victory. What's more, I had purchased extra resources during the purchasing phase because I assumed the game would go another round. Poor planning on my part, but it is so difficult (well, it's not difficult, but it's a bit of a hassle) to figure your total cost for a building phase, especially when you are connecting 5 cities in one turn that I didn't realize I had the opportunity to win. I was also very pleased with a decision I made during the round to purchase a garbage plant and then buy all the garbage so Josh couldn't power all of his cities. This, combined with better planning would have given me a very rewarding victory.

Wow! What a great game... easily a 9 for me. I just got Power Grid yesterday and I'm anxious to see if we can get the game down to 2 hours consistently. If so, the game will likely hit a 10 for me... joining very elite company (Tichu and Crokinole).

Games played by other players
San Juan
Ticket to Ride
Star Wars:Epic Duels x3