Sunday, January 22, 2006

Houston Gamers wrap-up: First trip in a while

Yesterday, I went up to Enigma's off of Hwy 249 on Spring-Cypress. Several of the influential Houston Gamers are big fans, partially because it's blocks away from their houses, also because the owner, Will, is a great guy who's given the boardgamers a lot of consideration.

The owner's adjusted his store's layout to conserve on rent, but it's still got plenty of room. There were about 20 people there when I showed up around 9 pm; including a lot of my favorite folks; Tim, R.J., Kevin Nunn, James, Lewis, Amy P.

I played Tsuro for the first time; it's a tile-placement game where you're trying to force other players off the board while staying alive yourself. It is a beautiful game, and supports up to 8 players. There's a strong hand-management aspect: only 35 cards are available, and as they're laid on the board, options get smaller and smaller. When someone dies, their cards get redistributed, so there's a definite advantage in vicious play.

Will rounded up a few people's orders for a great Chinese place not far away; I held off but regretted it once I saw how much food people were getting for a mere $4 or less. I tried not to drool over Jean's shrimp spring rolls, which were a mere buck a pop. I will definitely check that place out sometime.

I played Attika with Tim, Amy, and Laurence. There are two ways to win Attika: either connect two shrines on the board with an unbroken chain of your buildings, or put all 30 of your buildings on the board. I've played this a couple of times before. There are tons of difficult choices. The other times I played, someone made an error in play, allowing someone else to get a surprise win. This time, we had a lot of satisfying back-and-forth. I ended up winning the game and also feeling like I had earned the win.

I played James' prototype "Rocket Jockeys" for the first time. It was interesting as a filler. James has a trick-taking game about the stock market that he's shopping to a major German company. It was getting late, so I couldn't offer much in the way of coherent advice.

Other than that, I also talked shop with Kevin Nunn about his new Ice Heist game (I playtested it back when the working title was Hollywood Diamond Club). Evidently, Will, the owner of Enigma's, is backing Ice Heist to be published under Kevin Brusky's A.P.E. Games logo.

I'll see most of the Houston Gamers next in February when I go to run some games at OwlCon. Kevin Nunn is acting as Gaming Coordinator, Amy Pike is running some Days of Wonder demo slots, James is running a Magic tournament, etc.

That brings my Gamecount for the year to a mighty 13, and my games played for the first time to a mighty 3. The astute among you will notice that I'm already behind on my goals. Rest assured, I am working on it.


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