Sunday, March 05, 2006

Houston Gamers: I serve the beats

Saturday night, after getting the kids to bed, I left Lee with a DVD of "Hitch," starring Will Smith, known hottie. I made the trip down to Midnight Comics and gingerly tiptoed past the Magic players already hip-deep in drafting cards for a tournament.

Upstairs, I discovered that I had narrowly missed out on a newly-formed game of Fury of Dracula, and politely declined an invitation to be the 8th player at a game of Shadows Over Camelot.

I ended up playing Attika with John, who has mellowed a little since he's closed his board and card game store. I like Attika a lot: there are these hexes, you have four stacks of upside-down city buildings, and you've got to connect 2 shrines or put all your buildings on the board to win. I ended up blundering about five turns in, and John boxed in one of my streets.

Attika supports 2-4 players. In the 2-player, there's not much land on the board. John did a much better job than I did at picking starting locations, and got most of his building groups adjacent. I think I still had 8 or so buildings left to play when he placed his last building and won. This was my first time to play the 2-player and I liked it. With only 1 person to wait on, instead of 2 or 3, turns fly by.

From there, John and I rummaged through Jeff's box. I hadn't been formally introduced to Jeff before, although I think I've seen him around. We pulled out his new copy of St. Petersburg and went to town on it.

I've only played face-to-face St. Petersburg about 3 times, and I augmented this knowledge with lots of sessions of the computer version, available for free on the St. Petersburg page of BoardGameGeek. Evidently, I learned something during that time. I totally wiped the floor with them, finishing with 100 points to Jeff in the mid-80s and John in the mid-60s.

Fury of Dracula was still going on, and so was Shadows Over Camelot. Jeff suggested Cannibal Pygmies in The Jungle of Doom, but I saw San Juan in his box and got it out. I'd feel guilty about passing up a chance at a new game except:
1. all the b-movie games are supposed to be mediocre.
2. I freakin' love San Juan.

What followed was a weird game. Since no one cares, I'll skip most of the details. It started badly for me, and didn't get much better. I ended up talking Jeff into doing something that was a better move for him, AND a better move for me, and dropping a big building for a 12-point gain in the last round. Final score, me 29, John 25, Jeff eeh, 19 or so. A victory, but a dirty one.

During the game, Doug C. came up and watched. I asked him how furious Dracula had been. "Kinda, not all that furious, though. That sucked. I sat on the right of Dracula and every turn, I ended up going somewhere to find him, and didn't. Then someone else on the team would get to the OTHER location, since I had narrowed it down, and beat on Dracula. The team victory felt sorta hollow." Fury of Dracula came back into print recently after years of being a Holy Grail for collectors, fetching crazy $150 and up prices on Ebay.

After that, I hung out a little, bought a couple of small boxes to organize some trading card games that are cluttering up my life, and bailed. Kevin Nunn was trying out another of his prototypes I'd never seen yet. I didn't get a chance to look at it closely, but I think it was something about Mexican gods wandering the earth to reunite animal tribes... uhhh, as a partnership rummy variant.

Gamecount for the year: 45 individual game sessions played, 12 new game titles learned.

Strongly considering buying soon: Attika, St. Petersburg, Ark. Gaah, maybe I can trade away some games for them.


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