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.