Saturday, December 08, 2007

Recent Gaming

Yesterday I played games for about 12 hours...

Starting with a 5+ hour 5 player game of Starcraft. We randomly selected teams and I ended up with Aldaris. I started with my base on the 2 Conquest point area of a planet with 4 areas. My other planet option was resource rich, and had much fewer ways in, so I likely should have started there. My plan however was to rush to 15 VPs, and I thought I might be able to protect my base long enough to get there. I did protect it for 2 or 3 rounds, and oddly I didn't build a single unit for 2 or 3 rounds. eventually Jim Raynor successfully took over that base, but I had set up 2 others on the Conquest areas of 2 other planets (1vp apiece). When the game finally got to Phase III, I had 14 Conquest Points - just shy of victory. Jim Raynor ended up fulfilling his Special Victory condition - and surprisingly no one else did.

All game long, the Queen of Blades did nothing but complain that Raynor was going to win, and I maintain that the best way to have kept that from happening would have been for the Queen player to have built a transport adjacent to Raynor (in any of the 3 build orders he did on the planet), which would have put some pressure on Raynor's back door. In some respects that would have been a bad play because it would have put the Zerg in a 2-front war, but then again, without doing so the Zerg player was sure Raynor would win... maybe that's a catch 22. I personally would have liked it if the Zerg had done something to distract the Terran at all, as that might have bought me 1 more turn of 2VP from the conquest area on my home base. As it was I as fighting a 2-front war the entire game.

Oh, and I could note that without an event card that allowed Jim Raynor to place 2 Marines on my home planet for free, I don't think he could have attacked my base for another whole game turn - thus I would have gotten 2 more points and would have won.

I am not a fan of long, so called "epic" games, and Starcraft is no exception.

Next we played a turbo-quick game of Puerto Rico while waiting for John to arrive with pizza. We decided ahead of time to only play until he arrived, then finish out the round and see who's got the most points. Tyler (who played Jim Raynor in Starcraft) adopted his strategy and played for the game to end early. Jeremy and I (the 2 Protoss players from Starcraft) played more as if the game would end normally. I thought we'd be able to get through it. it turns out we didn't and Tyler wrecked us! He had 3 Big Buildings (2 manned) and a total of 36 points. I had 27 and Jeremy had 26.

While we ate pizza, John explained his new game, Amyitis. Jeremy took an Irrigation strategy, earning 2vp for Irrigating, and mooching a couple points off of most of the planting for the irrigation bonus. I only planted 1 tree - I tried going for improved income right off the bat. I thought however that the 3rd level offered an income of 3 instead of 2, so I was disappointed when I bankrupted myself to get the 3rd advance in a particular round, expecting my income to increase, and it didn't. I also tried to pile on the cards which give you more and more VPs as you get them. I got to the 4th level there, not too amazing.

I like the tech tree represented by the cards, but the game felt pretty dry and not terribly fun.

Finally, we played a game of Railroad Tycoon. There was a Service Bounty to Jacksonville available first turn, and I bid 4, willing to take 2 shares. i should have bid 9, to take 3 shares - which is what Tyler did. I decided I didn't want to go with 4 shares for that bonus (though perhaps I should have bid up, as there was also another Service Bounty in the area). I decided instead to try something I've been meaning to try - I took a total of 5 shares to upgrade my train all he way to level 4 in the first round. next round I built on to Jeremy's route and delivered a 3-link delivery. That cost me a 6th share, but I took no more the rest of the game. We play where you get your choice of 2 Tycoon cards, and I declined the "New York to Chicago" tycoon card, thinking Io wouldn't be building near New York. Instead I held onto the "Most Money" tycoon card - a bad idea if I was intending on taking 5 shares on turn 1!

In the end I did complete the New York - Chicago Major Line for 10vp, and made a number of 5 and 6 point deliveries, but I did too much building and not enough delivering, as I had a number of potential deliveries left at the end. Tyler delivered all the cubes on his network except 1. But Jeremy ended up winning with his 2 shares, fewest Shares bonus, and fairly uncontested Northeast network. John got third place with his mid-western track, and his Mobile-Minneapolis Major line for 10vp. I ended up dead last.

That's the third game of Railroad Tycoon in a row where I've done miserably!

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