Well, here it is again, the day of game night, and I find myself still trying to finish up the report from last week’s game night. And as I’m trying to get this posted, I also realize that I haven’t had the chance to process my pictures from last week either, so until I get them taken care of, this post will have to rely on some on my “stock” images for a modicum of visual appeal.
And finally, it’ll be a rather short report due to the fact that a significant portion of my time last week was actually dedicated to a playtest of the upcoming 3rd edition of Primetime Adventures, one of the most iconic and well-respected indie/storygame RPG’s in the hobby. Basically, it lets you design and play out pretty much any idea that you might have for a TV series. And last week, we started the process with what’s called a “pitch session”, where you all talk about the series you’d like to see, flesh it out some, and come up with your characters. Since it’s a playtest, though, I don’t want to get into too much detail about the mechanics of it.
What I will say about the PTA session, though, is that the series is going to be called “Skeleton Crew“, which will be a gritty Sci-fi series about a colony ship making the 100-year journey from a ruined earth out to Episilon Eradani. The colonists are all in cryo-sleep, and a small rotating crew is supposed to be awake for 5-year shifts to keep the ship maintained and things running smoothly. Unfortunately, for reasons as yet unexplained, various individuals and whole blocks of colonists are starting to wake up, and there is neither space nor resources to support them. If the rag-tag skeleton crew of player characters can’t find a way to halt the wakings and figure out what or who is causing them, some tough decisions will have to be made about who will survive and what will need to be done with the rest…
Neuroshima Hex [BGG]
But before I got into all the RPG goodness, my evening actually started with a quick game of Neuroshima Hex against Ian. Ian is relatively new to our game nights, being introduced to us from Sceadeau’s Friday-night game group. I showed him the basics of how to play and then we got down to it. Ian was playing the Moloch (robotic insectoid monstrosities that specialize in ranged attacks and calling down air strikes) and I picked the Outpost (the humans in the game, who are very mobile and have pretty decent ranged attacks as well).
I’ve played a lot of Neuroshima Hex on my iPod, so the game wasn’t very close. But Ian definitely started to get his head around it by the end, and we both had a lot of fun with it.
Time: 30 minutes
Score: Norton (Me) 14, Ian* 0
Ratings: Norton 8.5, Ian 8.5
I really can’t say enough good things about Neuroshima Hex. It’s a very abstract, tile-based combat system, but it plays quickly and is a lot of fun. There’s certainly a lot of randomness in the tile draw, but usually, an experienced player (who knows the tiles in his army) can still have a good shot despite what the tiles throw at him. The most awesome thing about the game, though, is how unique the armies are. They play very differently, and to do well, you must rely on your army’s strengths. Again, it’s something I want to play a lot more in person as well, and probably want to pick up the expansion with 2 more armies.
To fill in a little time, we had a Parade. It was pretty close… except for Tom. I like the choices in this game, but it’s way random most of the time, so it’s definitely only a light filler.
Time: 18 minutes
Score: Keith 15, Kenny 17, Norton 18, Tom 45
Ratings: Keith 7, Kenny 8, Norton 7, Tom 7
Puerto Rico [BGG]
One other cool thing about last week is that we were joined by Surya and Myriam, a couple from Belgium who are travelling through the US. They found our BGG Guild a month or two ago and asked if it would be okay to stop by, and we were more than happy to welcome them into our game night. Due to getting there late and then doing the RPG thing, I was a little afraid that I wouldn’t have a chance to actually play a game with them, but we pulled together a game of Puerto Rico including Sceadeau and Matt (another new gamer to our group) to wrap up the night.
I started off a little slow feeling, but ramped up pretty good in the midgame when I was swimming in money from my Factory and trading away Tobacco. I got shut out of a Coffee Roaster, though, denying me the complete rainbow and making my Factory a little less than ideal. I did pick up both the Fortress and the City Hall, though, so when I got shut out of shipping a couple of times, I spent my last few turns trying to buy up violet buildings and get lots of colonists (the last of which got to vacation in San Juan rather than be put to work as the game ended). I scored a respectable 49 points in the process.
Unfortunately, Sceadeau was the one shutting me out of the shipping (see the picture over there to the right), and with his patented Harbor action netting him lots of points with each delivery, he managed to keep ahead of me by just 3 measealy points! Of course, Matt also had a really good game and edged me out by a point as well. More than anything, though, this meant that two of us had almost beaten Sceadeau, which is sort of an accomplishment all on its own!
My final player board…
Time: 58 minutes
Score: Sceadeau 52, Matt 50, Me 49, Surya 37, Myriam 36
Ratings: Sceadeau 10, Matt 9.5, Me 9, Surya 9, Myriam 8
Sceadeau asked me during the game about something I had written previously, where I had said that I was sort of inclined not to like Puerto Rico. He wanted to know why that would be so, and more than anything else, it’s just because I didn’t want to feel like I was jumping on the fanboy bandwagon, especially when that wagon got rolling 9 years ago! I had missed the boat on it and felt left behind by the PR community, and basically gave up on wanting to invest myself in it. And even though I’ve now had the chance to really jump in with both feet and have definitely come around to liking it, I still think that this predisposition not to conform to popular opinion about it is the only real thing that’s been keeping me from rating it a 10.
So, in the spirit of being honest with myself and totally fair to the game, let me make it official and say that, along now with only Pandemic and The Princes of Florence, I grant upon Puerto Rico the lofty rating of 10! I just love the game, I want to play it all the time, and I can’t really see how that’s going to change for as long as I can see into the future.
Here’s Matt, Sceadeau, Surya, and Myriam playing Puerto Rico with me!
But as far as game night was concerned, it was late. And while I did wish Surya and Myriam well on the rest of their travels, I pretty much headed to the van and went home afterwards. Because, man, I really need more sleep…
Other Games Played
Time: 30 minutes
Game 1: Ian 58, Chris 54, Another Chris* 50, Jen 48, Josh 47, Austin* 46, Grace* 35
Game 2: Chris 58, Surya 50, Keith 48, Myriam 47
Ratings: Chris 8.5
Time: 70 minutes
Score: Sceadeau 40, Chris 36, Matt 33, Shawn* 26
Ratings: Sceadeau 10. Chris 9.5, Matt 10, Shawn 7
Score: Another Chris* 29, Josh* 21, Austin* 21, Grace* 15
Time: 120 minutes
Score: Sceadeau* 161, Surya 128, Matt 105, Myriam 78
Ratings: Sceadeau 8, Surya 10, Matt 8, Myriam 10
Time: 120 minutes
Score: Josh* 61, Adam 59, Jen* 34
Ratings: Adam 7.5, Jen 8
Time: 25 and ?? minutes
Game 1: Keith – Complete Ogre Victory; Ken – CP Loss
Game 2: Ken – Ogre Victory; Keith – CP Loss
Ratings: Keith 9, Ken 9
Time: 60 minutes
Score: Sceadeau* 46, Ian* 36, Shawn 31, Matt* 27
Ratings: Sceadeau 6, Ian 8, Shawn 9, Matt 6.5
Race for the Galaxy
Time: 46 minutes
Score: Kenny 27, Shawn 24, Keith* 20, Chris 18, Tom* 16
Ratings: Kenny 9, Shawn 9, Keith 9, Chris 10, Tom 7
Score: Chris A. 30, Brad 26, Sean 19
If I can count, I think that makes 16 of us!
* First play for that Person