Board Game Session Report for October 17, 2002: Vortex, Dice Run, Lord of the Rings, Pylos
October 18, 2002: Magic: the Gathering


Danger Planet open gaming. 2-player Vortex, 5-player Dice Run, 6-player Lord of the Rings, 2-player Pylos.


Players were Karl and myself. I was new to the game. I played the first turn.

Karl needed to refresh his memory to play the game, so we took 25 minutes to go over the rulebook.

This turned out to be an interesting game. Play is with hex tiles, played around a central vortex. We each play a stronghold, with which we can play an additional hex that requires a stronghold's output as its cost. There are four types of hexes: strongholds, minions, events, relics.

Strongholds produce output which can be used to call in minions. They can be attacked. Minions can move and attack. Events are one shot abilities that affect something in the game. Relics are continuous abilities that affect the game.

About to be wiped out in Vortex.

After 70 minutes, Karl won the game.

Dice Run

Players were Jimmy, Pilar, Karl, Darren and myself. We were all new to the game, except Karl who brought the game. Darren played the first turn.

Karl spent seven minutes to explain the rules.

The game is played with a set of 30 dice of five equally distributed colors. Each player has a hand of three cards. Each player takes a turn playing a card then drawing a card. The draw deck has four cards inserted randomly which kick off scoring rounds. The game ends after the fourth scoring round. At the start of each round, players draw randomly from a set of chits that determines their goal for the round. Cards are played to advance the position of a certain number, advance the position of a certain color, to insert a placeholder position, to move last place to second place, or any card can be played face-down to re-roll a group of dice (except for the first place group.) During the scoring round, players earn one point for dice of their color in first place, one point for dice of their number in first place, and two points for dice of both their number and color in first place. For ties, players look at dice in second place, then third place, and so on until the tie is broken. But wait, that's not the real score. The real score is three points for the most points during the round, two points for second most, and one point for third most. The score for all four rounds are added together for the final score.

Dice Run mid-game.

This is a luck driven game if you just want to kill some time. Later in the game, most people seemed to just reroll the second place dice hoping to get their goal and move those dice to first place, which would most likely be the general strategy if we all knew the game in the first place.

Game lasted about a half-hour.

Here are the final scores with the points and scores for each round.

Click here to buy your own copy of Dice Run at

Lord of the Rings, with the Friends and Foes expansion and the Sauron expansion.

Players were Karl (playing Fatty), Jimmy (playing Pippin), Darren (playing Merry), Rich (playing Sauron), Pilar (playing Frodo), and myself (playing Sam.) Jimmy and Darren played for the first time.

The Sauron expansion lets us add another player being Sauron. I was excited about this because Sauron is no longer a random foil to the fellowship, but a directed foil able to exploit our weaknesses.

As usual, this game was very intense with plenty of discussion around the table -- even in Bree, one of the first scenarios, seemed especially tough. It seemed the fellowship often had to fight off the Naz-gul's advance, the foes' ranks and its own corruption. It was a debate to prioritize our moves. Rich enjoyed all of this because all he had to do as the lone Sauron is sit back and make moves based on our open debated weaknesses.

The fellowship faces impending doom.

I don't think the fellowship was as aggressive as it could have been because many hobbits still had their one-shot special abilities cards in front of them. Many Gandalf cards were available, though we didn't have the shields to call Gandalf. I would expect to lose properly we should have had no more options available and our resources completely depleted.

Sam died first. The rest of the fellowship bit it the next turn. In Helm's Deep, the fellowship lost on space 33. We killed 23 foes and had four shields left. Game lasted about two hours.

Click here to buy your own copy of Lord of the Rings,
Click here to buy your own copy of the Freinds and Foes expansion,
Click here to buy your own copy of the Sauron expansion


Players were Karl and myself. Karl played for the first time. We played three games and Karl. Each game lasted five minutes. I was pleased with myself having won two out of three games played, because Karl tends to be extremely good at puzzle games. I'm sure he'll improve over time, but hey, I gloat while I can. :-)

Click here to buy your own copy of Pylos at

Magic:the Gathering

I had some friends over for a movie night, and we played a few games of Magic. Two with Chip, and one with both Chip and Sara.

I like the three-player game Chip and I played one time. We played that attacks with creatures always went to the left. This would avoid hurt feelings when people think they're being singled out unfairly, as happened one game a long time ago. My attitude is, it's just a game.

Both Chip and Sara didn't have a problem with a free-for-all, so we played that way. Well, didn't I feel singled out by the husband-wife team! :-)

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