Board Game Session Report August 2 - 13, 2006


August 2, 2006

Gaming at Rusty Scabbard:

Command and Colors: Ancients

Mike came in first, so we tried a game of Command and Color: Ancients. This was Mike's first time. We played scenario one.

I've played this game many times, and I enjoy the wargame feel of it, with simple decision-making driven by a hand of cards. And it's a quick game, too!

Mike 5 (win)
Vitas 4

Then I played the same scenario with ShaunG when he came in and Mike stepped out.

We ended that game early when Andy showed up.

Click here to buy Command and Colors: Ancients at

Click here to learn more about Command and Colors: Ancients at

Age of Steam

We played Age of Steam, France. Players were Andy, Mike, and myself. It was Mike's first time.

We familiarized ourselves with the variant for this map.

Andy took back his first move because he figured he couldn't go bankrupt, so it'd be worthwhile not to have an income. This was a mistake, but it didn't adversely affect his game.

Mike and I made the same mistake, because Paris is a sink for most of the colors (except black) -- we couldn't deliver all the things we wanted to deliver past France. Andy noted that this would happen and quietly exploited the southwestern area of the map. He also remained silent when we were looking to squeeze out some extra points at the end of the game, when we could have built extra links.

The game lasted 126 minutes, and Andy won.

Andy 96 (102 + 10 - 18)
Mike 56 (72 + 8 - 24)
Vitas 65 (78 + 8 - 21)

Click here to buy Age of Steam at

Click here to learn more about Command and Colors: Ancients at

Aqua Romana

Justin came in for a game, and we played Aqua Romana. Mike was new to the game.

We screwed up and forgot to let Justin place his bonus master builder when he closed his aqueducts. He was squeezed out of the game early, so this adversely affected his score. We decided not to award the master builders at all after that point.

It seems, with four players, things get very nasty, as master builders don't get positioned in advantageous positions, and forced plays abound. (Maybe this was a side-effect of not placing bonus master builders.)

I was looking to get some very long aqueducts, but my workers were out until the end (along with Andy's workers) and they were forced to close too soon for my taste.

I'm eager to try this again with four players to see how it works in general.

The game lasted 57 minutes.

Justin 17 (8+3+5+1)
Andy 21 (9+4+6+2)
Mike 16 (7+2+4+3)
Vitas 10 (7+3)

Click here to buy Aqua Romana at

Click here to learn more about Aqua Romana at


We closed the evening with Diamant. Mike was new to the game.

Mike and I tried to hold on in the mine too long, and Andy, from past experience, knew when to cut and run.

Andy 41
Mike 20
Vitas 19

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August 6, 2006

Command and Colors: Ancients

We had a new gamer come in, Hunter. Everyone else was late, so the two of us got a game of Command and Colors: Ancients going.

We played the first scenario. I played Carthagians and Hunter played Romans.

I think I lucked out because I kept dropping back when my units took losses, and advanced full-strength units. I took a chance and ran up to him with my cavalry. I even lucked out with cavalry retreating after his attacking them.

The game lasted 50 minutes and I won in the end.

Hunter got caught up with a crowd discussing video games, and then was gone. Then again, maybe I was overly enthusiastic about winning Command and Colors: Ancients for the first time, and turned him off.

Click here to buy Command and Colors: Ancients at

Click here to learn more about Command and Colors: Ancients at

Once Upon a Time

Then, Andy, ShawnG and I played three games of Once Upon a Time. It's a story-telling game, in which players try to use elements on the cards in their hands to tell a story and interrupt other storytellers to pick it up. The goal is to play the final card that ends the story.

Andy was very good at this and one every one of the three games we played, despite the fact that each of us had a chance to start the game.

Each game lasted 12 - 18 minutes.

Click here to buy Once Upon a Time at

Click here to learn more about Once Upon a Time at


Then, Andy, ShawnB and I played a game of Tempus. I had just gotten it and was eager to try it out.

It took about a half hour to go over the rules for the first time.

We had gotten a few rules wrong: we counted each hex for progress points instead of each token in the hex. We each played all our actions before going to the next player, instead of playing each action one at a time. This we didn't catch until very late in the game because Andy drew Government cards and they didn't make sense the way we were playing, so we just didn't use those cards at all from that point on. ShawnB built a city next to another, but we just didn't catch that he did it until late in the game.

I thought the game went very quickly for what it was, but maybe it was getting the rules wrong that made it so.

I tried building big cities and bidding high for eras. I think that was a mistake, because I lost to Andy and ShawnB who both spread out as much as possible.

In the end, Andy and ShawnB tied, but Andy had the tie breaker.

Andy 25 (win)
ShawnB 25
Vitas 14

Click here to buy Tempus at

Click here to learn more about Tempus at


Then we played a light game of Guillotine, because brain activity levels were decreasing. Players were Andy, ShawnB, ShaunG and myself. We all played before, but had to refresh the rules. ShaunG went first.

This game was quick and dirty fun (lasting 22 minutes.)

Andy 19 (win)
ShawnB 7
ShaunG 18
Vitas 13

Click here to buy Guillotine at

Click here to learn more about Guillotine at

Cube Farm

I've been meaning to get some Cheapass Hip Pocket games in, so I suggested Cube Farm as a closer. What could be more fun than emulating the work environment?

I played the dirtiest, placing a -3 scoring cube near ShaunG. ShawnB wanted to play dirty as well. However, by the time he played his negative card, there were no good places to screw me over (being the leader.)

Andy 20
ShawnB 20
ShaunG 16
Vitas 23

Click here to buy Cube Farm at

Click here to learn more about Cube Farm at

August 9, 2006

Icehouse pieces

I brought my Icehouse pieces to Rusty Scabbard. It's been a long while since I've put them to use.

Andy and I started off with a game of Volcano which is my favorite Icehouse game. We played four games lasting 10 - 20 minutes each. We tried three different starting configurations for the caps.

Andy 17 11 15 15
Vitas 17 5 9 16

Then, Andy, ShaunG, Marvin and I tried Thin Ice. Thin Ice is a dexterity game in which players place two Icehouse pieces on an ever growing tower. But they all gave up in frustration. Maybe having too slippery a table top is not a good idea.

Then, Marvin, Andy and I played an actual game of Icehouse. It's a real-time game in which we try to have points standing, while pointing at pieces and eliminating the opponents scores.

Andy played the game before and he had a good intuition as to how to win.

Marvin 19
Andy 25
Vitas 18

Then, Andy and I played Pikeman, which is a kind of Chess.

Andy 11 12 12
Vitas 12 9 8

Click here to get a start on buying Icehouse pieces at

Click here to learn more about Icehouse at


Then we finished the evening with Tempus. Having got some rules wrong the last time I played, I was eager to try again.

Players were Andy, ShaunG and myself. ShaunG was new to the game. Andy went first.

All of us actually tied for the first era, so we all ended up with bonus ideas.

Andy used a strategy of trying to be the player who advanced each era.

ShaunG tried to spread himself far and wide and built a city wherever he could.

I tried to balance advancing eras and building cities.

My strategy proved to be bad knowing that I lost so many bids to advance in different eras. If I had focused on one strategy, I could have done better.

ShaunG and I both managed to get the three point bonus for the final era.

In the end, ShaunG won. However, somehow, he shuck in a city next to another city without anyone noticing until late in the game, so it's a tainted victory.

The game lasted one hour 40 minutes.

Andy 16
ShaunG 21
Vitas 15

Click here to buy Tempus at

Click here to learn more about Tempus at

August 13, 2006

Viktory II

I just received Viktory II in the mail the day before, so I was eager to try it out at Rusty Scabbard. I read Tom Vasal's positive review of the game and I was intrigued with the random board creation ala Settlers of Catan, with an added exploration aspect to it. After reading through the designer's web site ( I was impressed with the production values that went into the game. Plus, having a lot of bits makes a good impression on a variety of gamers.

I printed the latest rules (version 1.1) off the designer's website. It was well organized -- better than the rules included with the game, and contained more diagrams which helped explain the game.

After the fact, it's simple enough to explain the rules as having the following phases:

  1. build a town or city
  2. move, bombard and/or attack
  3. replenish units from reserve

An innovative rule is that a town or city supplies a specific number and type of units. So, a player can always derive the number of units that should be in reserve and in play from the number of towns and cities and the terrain-type a city is on.

Also, at the end of a player's turn, all units in reserve get placed back on the map onto towns or cities that can support the specific units (with the capitol being able to support all the unit types.)

This makes for a fast paced game (but it took one playing to familiarize myself with the rules before I could see how fast this game really is.)

ShawnB came in before anyone else, so we started a two-player game right off. As we were setting up, a kid saw the game and asked if it was that new Viktory II game. I was impressed that someone would recognize a newly released self-published game.

We were both new to the game.

We took 25 minutes to go over the rules. The rules weren't that complex, as further playings later on showed, but it took me (as it usually does) actually playing the game for the mechanics of the game to sink in.

I went first.

I started out with fast landscape. I mean, I was able to branch out and build new towns and cities fairly quickly which gave me a lot of units to spread around. ShawnB, however, was locked in a mountainous area with lakes, and was slow to branch out.

I ended up fighting him for a mountainous area where I would've liked to establish a town and consolidate my forces there for an attack on his capitol, but, eventually, he beat me and established his own town.

This proved to be unfortunate, because he was amassing a fleet of frigates, and could maneuver around the map. He effectively blocked my lone frigate, and I had a hard time making headway through the mountain pass past his city to his capital.

In the end, ShawnB wiped out all my forces and took over my capital.

The game took an hour and 35 minutes, and the game was satisfying throughout that time, though I had to double check the rules many times because the interactions of the rules didn't become clear until I played it.

ShaunG win
Vitas lose

Click here to buy Viktory II at

Click here to learn more about Viktory II at

Andy, Dee and ShuanG started up their own game of phase 10, so they were busy when our game of Viktory II was over. So, ShawnB and I played some Cheapass Games while we waited for them.

Steam Tunnel

ShawnB and I played Steam Tunnel. ShawnB was new to the game. He went first.

It's a brain teaser to guess where the paths are going and to trace whether they're open or not. Even the scoring at the end is also a brain teaser. I ended up using additional tokens to mark which caps were already scored. The game took 26 minutes to play and score.

The final scores were:

ShawnB 194
Vitas 186

Click here to buy Steam Tunnel at

Click here to learn more about Steam Tunnel at


Then, ShawnB and I played Agora. ShawnB was new to the game. I went first.

I don't know if I was drawing better than him, or if it was dumb luck. His first draw kicked off a festival, so I was the only one who scored. It seemed like we were fairly even, but a fire late in the game destroyed my big shop, but it took a couple of his as well. That must've been the clincher. In the end, I won that game.

Rules explanation and game took 23 minutes.

Click here to buy Agora at

Click here to learn more about Agora at

Andy closed up shop (being the game store owner.)

So, ShaunG and I went back to my place to watch The Usual Suspects and get some more gaming in. (Having seen No Way Out, I could see the surprise twist coming in The Usual Suspects coming a mile away.)

Viktory II

Then, we broke out Viktory II. It only took fifteen minutes to go over the rules. And then we played three quick games that lasted 21 - 35 minutes. That was great fun, to have the variety of map configurations each time, and to quickly get additional satisfying games in.

I'm eager to try the game with more players. I'm afraid, though, that the game may be unbalanced with more turns going by before each of my own turns. It gives all the opponents a chance to bash on me before I can respond. But, I'm hopeful that the game is balanced enough to prevent it from being a game breaking problem.

ShaunG went first in each of the three games and they went like this:

ShaunG lose win lose
Vitas win lose win

Click here to buy Viktory II at

Click here to learn more about Viktory II at

Zombies!!! 5: School's Out Forever

Then we broke out my newly purchased Zombies!!! 5. We played the expansion only, and we played with the Alternate Setup rules and the Quick Play rules. (After all, I like Zombies!!!, but it gets stale if it drags on.)

The "guts" rule was new to us. Players have guts, in addition to life and bullets. This defined how many event cards we could hold. During combat, a roll of 1 loses a gut, and a roll of 6 adds a gut, never exceeding five.

We ended up completely blocking in the map with only six tiles in play, so we had to win by killing enough zombies (given that we'd never see the helicopter.)

Towards the end, we both played "Where's the Admin Building?" which caused us to run away from the building with all the victory points... ahem, zombies, towards the admin building. We argued about how long the card lasts. One turn? Until we reached the Admin Building? Sigh. Twilight Creations is notorious for their unclear rules. I let it stay in effect until I reached the Admin Building. I was winning, so I let ShaunG catch up a bit.

It was only a bit, because I rolled enough movement and eventually high enough to kill the final zombie I needed for the win. It was a very close game, though.

The rules review and game lasted 52 minutes. (Still a bit long. Maybe I should reduce the victory condition some more.)

ShaunG 20
Vitas 21

Click here to buy Zombies!!! 5: School's Out Forever at

Click here to learn more about Zombies!!! 5: School's Out Forever at

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