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Below are the 5 most recent journal entries recorded in Syracuse Boardgamers' LiveJournal:

Sunday, August 21st, 2005
10:47 pm
Gaming at Rochester
Five of the Syracuse Boardgamers (Scott, Ian, Jeremy, Stu, and Don) went over to Rochester on August 20th to help them celebrate their 5th anniversary. We brought a big decorated cookie, and they supplied cupcakes and subs. We split up right away and played different games.

Don and Ian moved into different games of Puerto Rico, while Jeremy, Stu, Scott, and four others settled down for Junta. Junta is a 20-year old game from West End games that has you playing the role of of "Presidente for Life" and his cabinet. You backstab and benefit each other, some times in the same turn, and the game goes to the sneaky players. I got assassinated three times (the next highest was one), and lost miserably. I guess I opened my mouth a little too much. Jeff from Rochester and Jeremy from Syracuse did well at this.

We then moved on to Princes of the Renaissance, which is a Martin Wallace game about recruting armies and families, being hired to go to war for cities, and outbidding your opponents.

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This one ended in a two-way tie with me and one of the folks from Rochester.

Ian played in a game of San Marco, which is a gem based off the "I split, you pick" mechanism combined with the area control mechanism of El Grande.

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After some very tasty subs, our table moved on to Viking Fury, a game with a cloth map.

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You know, for a game named "Viking Fury," you would think there would be bloody combat. I liked the name Don Dennis gave the game - "Viking Tea Party." You sail around, taking treasures, settling, and trading with the cities. It was too long for the enjoyment of the game.

Speaking of too long, Ian got himself into a game of Russian Rails, which is an old-fashioned crayon rail game. These games usually take about 45 minutes a player... let us count the players:

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Our group moved onto a light game - the old Daytona 500. This is a classic driving game, and I feel it's better than it's current cousin (Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix) as it's focused more on the racing and less on the bottlenecking around corners.

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The Happy Pirate Don did quite well at this game.

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(or, maybe he just accidentally sat on the trophy...)

It was a fun time. There were about 25-30 folks there, and it seems we will make the trip another month to play with them.
Wednesday, August 10th, 2005
7:24 am
August 9 Session Report
As a reminder, there are a group of us going over to the Rochester boardgame day on August 20th; they are having their 5th year anniversary and have invited the Syracuse Boardgamers to join them. If interested in joining the carpool, send me a note.

A good number of people showed up for the craziness on August 9th. Six of us started with a game of Elfenroads. In this game, you are working to create the most effective route possible using different modes of transportation. The problem is that everyone else is also traveling around, and you have to either take advantage of your opponents' routes or be blocked up by them. It was a close game, with the top three players scoring 19,18, and 18 out of a possible 20.

Another group began the Traders of Genoa at this point. This is a game all about negotiation (and bickering, from what it sounded like. :) ) I'm not sure what happened here, as I was busy with..

Shadows over Camelot. In this game, everyone is working together against the game. However, there may be a randomly chosen traitor to help the game along. I was the traitor (again), and was doing my darndest to sneakily cause trouble. As the game went on, I got bolder in my choices, and was unmasked. We weren't able to finish, but it would have been an interesting battle. The traitor is weakened after being unmasked, and the knights were doing many good deeds. It would have been close, had we another 30 minutes for the game.

Sound fun? Come on over and play!
Sunday, August 7th, 2005
12:00 am
World Boardgaming Championships
Being served my behind stir-fried, deep-fried, and medium-rare at the World Boardgame Championships.

This is my first time to come to the WBC. Since it's moved to Lancaster, PA, it's only about 4.5 hours from Syracuse, so I decided to go. I've never been much for tournament play, but figued I'd try it out.

There are about 1500ish people here playing games. These people know the games well, which makes for some fierce competition.

I have learned that I don't shoot for first; I shoot for "not last". I've managed to win 2nd in two preliminary games, but that's about it.

The way this works is you show up with 50-100 people who want to play in a round of competition. People bring their copies of games, and they split the players into games. Each game plays at a table and scores are recorded. They do several early heats, then the top players advance. Top are people who win 1st or 2nd or get high points. So, if you play in several games, you increase your chances with each play that you'll make the next round.

On the first day, I played in tournaments for Princes of Florence (strong 2nd), El Grande (not last by 1 point), Euphrat & Tigris (last by 1 point), and Ra (last by a lot). I also learned a new game (Monsters Ravage America - silly fun). Many of the players were good, but some were new to games. The problem with an inexperienced player at this level is that one player can make bad choices that take out another player. When this happens to you, it's quite frustration; however, I still "play" too much to really settle in on these games and good. I am very much a "jack of all trades, master of none" when it comes to these games.

The second day, I opened up with a game that I really don't like - Taj Mahal. The person I was with wanted to learn it, so I went with him so he could learn how to play before the tournament. After learning it, I decided to play it to see if I had mellowed about the game over the years. I really hadn't; each round of this game is a combat with another player. It's like poker - there's a goal and people drop out as the rounds go on until there are two players fighting it out. I ended up with a strong 2nd place.

I went to chat with Ian, my roommate and fellow faculty member, to see how he was doing. He won his game! This was a real surprise, as he had just learned it. The strategy of the game is to stay out of fights; with aggressive players, you can just step aside and let them fight it out.

Ian qualified for the next heat, and I had scored highly enough to be an alternate. In the semi-finals, the top 20 or 25 go forward, then the winner of each game advances to the finals. I ended up in my favorite not-last position, but Ian tied for 1st. He lost the tiebreaker, so we were both done.

On the second day, I also played in El Grande (not last), Jambo (2-player, resigned to go play something else; I grew weary of it quickly. I also played more pickup games for fun, and really enjoyed those.

Day 3, and I played in another Princes of Florence heat (3rd out of 5), and then went shopping. Much to everyone's shock and amazement, I bought another game. (gasp).

I then found the people from Hangman Games and played some games with them; I enjoyed these demo games quite a bit.

I was then 4th alternate for Princes of Florence semis (even though I only had a 2nd and 3rd placement, it was enough to make me about 30th on the list). 4 didn't show up, so I got into the semifinal round.

And then.. something really weird happened. I won my first tournament game in 3 games of playing!

Since it was a semi-final round, that meant I had just made it into the Finals at the World Boardgame Champships! I went and found Ian, and he won his round as well, so we are going head-to-head with others in the final round. They are giving away 4 awards, so we know one of us will place.

Saturday morning, I was tied for 30th in Ra. 25 got into the semis, and I slipped in again on the bubble. I ended up placing 2nd in the round, which isn't good enough to advance into the final unless someone doesn't show up.

Ian continues to do well, qualifying for Euphrat & Tigris semi-finals, but not being able to play because of the Princes of Florence game. He's also qualified for the Puerto Rico semi-finals; I played one round of this, and while I did take 2nd, am just tired of the game and am giving up on more heats of that. So many people play this game that you've got to play in 3 or 4 preliminary heats before making it in.

I'll post another entry in few days to let you know how it's going...
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005
11:16 pm
Arkham Horror and El Grande
It was a bad night at the Syracuse Boardgamers as evil crawled its way across the land. First, 8 hearty adventured attempted to enter Arhkam Horror and clean it of its critters. They failed rather quickly, as too many open gates brought about Shub, who happily devoured everyone at the time, only leaving three to taunt him a bit before being eaten.

Half the group tried another valiant attempt while others played the classic El Grande. Spain was struck by a flood...

This blog posting interrupted by the special announcement.

When drinking and playing, please make sure your drinks have lids on them. It is easy for someone to knock over a drink, and seeing water go all over the cards of your out-of-print El Grande game is enough to send you into a REALLY bad mood. Grrr. Come on, man, have some respect for other people's stuff.

Back to the post -
The group backstabbed and bickered, but couldn't put together enough to stop the mighty onslaught of Ken and Ian, Ian and Ken, back and forth. It was a close battle for the two of them, and the rest of us were somewhere in the back of this classic area control game.
Thursday, July 28th, 2005
2:22 pm
July 26th games
I'm teaching this week, so came to the gamenight with two students in tow. There was already a game of Bootleggers going with Stu and others. They supplied booze to a thirsty public in the 1920's. This game obviously had some legs, as it took them from 5:30ish up to 8:45 or so. We settled into a game of Manila, which is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. In this game, you have attempting to smuggle goods to the black market. The more you smuggle, the higher the stock prices go, as there are fewer available in the normal market. It's a luck-driven game where you place bets much like Roulette; the more expensive the bet, the more likely it is to pay off. However, at the start of each round, you bid to take a role of Harbormaster, which allows you to adjust the outcome somewhat. This is a nice 60-90 minute game that, while not overly deep, is a lot of fun. I think this one is moving from a 7 to an 8 on my ratings at http://boardgamegeek.com

We then played Um Reifenbriete, which is a bike racing game. Each player controls a 4-member bike team going up, down, and over cobblestones. The game has a drafting mechanism which allows you to hang right on the back of the player in front of you when they move (as long as they don't announce they are breaking away from you). It's a tough call - do you hang on and go 7 spaces, and be sure to not fall behind, or do you let the leader go and hope you can roll a higher number. Again, not a tough game, but made for a fun trip.
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