Thursday, September 05, 2002

Games played at Mike Kent's this past Sunday included a simple hockey card game, Union Pacific, and Puerto Rico. Also went out to dinner with two guys to Hartz Chicken Buffet. I did not do that well in Union Pacific but did not come in last and it was my first time playing a railroad building game.

The hockey game was not to my taste, too simple but did have some strategy, in that you could get rid of bad cards, and a couple slight variations in the cards so it was not quite War.

Finally Puerto Rico, my favorite. I started thinking I now knew how to win this game. I would collect 3 quarries and build, build, build, while trying to buy a wharf. However, by the luck of the die I played last and never, repeat never, could get a quarry. the other players built construction huts or played the settler card until they were all gone. With two people with 3 quarries and one with 2 I resigned myself to coming in last.

I was moping around playing what strategy I could, collecting corn and sugar, making plays to get either money since I needed everything I could lay my hands on, or early victory points by shipping and I suddenly realized I was winning. I kept shipping and getting victory points, particularly after I managed to make a trader play that got me money one time and I then bought a wharf.
I am winning with everone else having money and quarries!

But then I misplayed because I hadn't thought you could win this way. I had thought the strategy was to built something every turn. I didn't play to end the game early thinking I could just keep shipping produce to win and so the game ended at the last possible turn. On the last turn, victory points ran out, all colonists were placed, and two people built out. Because I played a couple turns to let the game continue the points other people had from the buildings lost me the game. Now, I really know there are multiple paths to victory. A great game.

Made up for getting lost repeatedly on the way there, getting stuck in Gulf Freeway traffic to Galveston on Labor Day Sunday, and even getting lost on way back. Even not getting to playtest my Risk 2210 variant.
At dinner it was also discussed that there are other game groups in Houston including one that playtests new games one night a month. I could see how my Diamonds and Dirt plays with a large group of gamers.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Played Saturday at San Jacinto College and Sunday at Mike Kent's. More later.
I'll probably add another Risk variant which reduces random factor which is the other objection to the Risk games.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Latest game night at San Jacinto college. I played Die Glucksritter which is quick easy game. Not a spectacular game but it goes fast.
I played RISK 2210 again after adding some minor speed improvements which I'll keep.
Here is the list:

Lightning Strike: A Risk 2210 Variant

Setup: give all land territories out. Players place 24 armies then all their commanders and a space base on their territories.

You do not need naval and space commanders for sea and lunar attacks. They still only get their 8-sided dice when doing a naval or space attack. You only need commanders to draw and play their cards.

Turn sequence:

1. Count territories and continents, collect and deploy armies and energy. Remember the 1 bonus space base army.
2. Hire and place commanders and space bases if desired.
3. Buy up to 3 command cards.
4. Play command cards that must be played at start of your turn.
5. Invade territories. Bonus if you take 3.
6. Make your fortify move.

Change Card - invade earth is attack any one land territory from all landing sites or space stations on the moon.

Add the following cards:

Nuclear cruise missile attack anywhere, cost 2, roll a 6 sided dice.
Land cruise missile attack anywhere, cost 2, roll a 6 sided dice. Counts as nuclear for Armageddon card.
Naval cruise missile attack anywhere, cost 2, roll a 6 sided dice. Counts as nuclear for Armageddon card.
Space - add another Invade Earth card with the modified rules.
Diplomat - Territory Cease Fire - cost 0 - Choose a territory that cannot be attacked this year. Play anytime.

Add neutrals to all games, just add another place as you deal out the cards. Neutrals also get 1/3rd of all sea and lunar territories. I suspect this is another speed up but mostly I like neutrals as it makes each game different. This could be optional and you would need another set of pieces if playing with 5 players.

Very optional, adds to time required to finish a game. Autobuilding - at start of each year draw 6 land and 2 sea and lunar cards and add 2 armies on each. Neutrals get empty territories drawn.

Played a two person game and took 2 hours only because we wanted to see if I could wipe him out in 5 turns, really would have ended a half-hour or more earlier if playing normally.