Gaming Long Weekend on Wells Part 2: 11-12 March 2012

Sorry for the lack of updates. It’s been a pretty busy week at work, working a couple of nights and I have neglected the updates in that time. That’s not to say that gaming did not happen though!

Part the Second of the Chronicle of the Labor Day Weekend of Gaming. Evan, Kat and Adam stopped by to say hi while they were in Melbourne. It had been some time since I last saw them, so it was nice to just catch up and have a simple dinner together. In the process, we also played plenty of games. Unfortunately there is a sore lack of photos as I was too busy either cooking or firing Nerf guns to remember to take some pics.

Prolix (apparently it’s a real word)

First off, we played a quick round of Prolix. I had planned on finding a copy for Evan and Kat for their wedding gift, since Kat likes word games, but I was not able to find one in time so I got them Dixit and some others. I’ve previously explained briefly how Prolix is played, and it really is an easy game to grasp. I like that you can try to come up with the longest words possible without being constrained by letter availability, and it really requires a different skill set than other word games. I’ve always maintained that Scrabble is at least 50% a spatial management game (a la Blokus) where you can try to limit your opponent’s options by judicious word placement and you can also play strategically to try and set up for Bonus tiles and Bingos. An extensive vocabulary is only one tool in a good Scrabble player’s arsenal. I find it amusing that some people find memorising the two letter word lists and three letter word lists “cheap”. I’d be interested to see how people play Scrabble if both players could openly consult reference lists/word anagram programs. I’m pretty sure it would play out more like an abstract spatial game like Go. I wonder if you could design a game that could be played using a Scrabble set but with other arbitrary rules on how you can combine letter tiles? But I digress. I can’t remember now, but I think either Adam or Kat won the game of Prolix. I could go look for the scoresheets and check, but they are a few hundred kilometres away in the box downstairs and I am much too lazy. So for the purposes of this story, I won the game. Huzzah!

King of Tokyo

Next up, I introduced the gang to King of Tokyo! We played with the usual Wells Street house rule of starting with 3 Energy, and my usual gung ho guns (and claws) blazing attitude to giant monsters bashing each other for supremacy in a large Asian city. I think the others were a little slow to get into the thick of things, preferring things like “points” and “survival” instead of trying to murder your fellow Kaiju, but I quickly set them straight with a huge attack from Tokyo. However, I probably stayed in Tokyo one turn too long and I was first to be eliminated. Poor Mekadragon. Evan was next to join me in the Tokyo Bay of monster tears and shame, and Adam and Kat were left to duke it out. There were a few mistakes when someone managed to heal while in Tokyo but I believe it was rectified pretty quickly and Adam managed to win it eventually. However, for the purposes of this story, I think it would be more dramatically appropriate if I won the game. Double huzzah!

Dixit

After a yummy (but slightly burnt) lamb stew and couscous dinner and numerous YouTube clips (Thanks XBox!), Jinwei and his brother Jinyu (in Malay, he would be the Shark Genie) dropped by too and we played a quick round of Dixit. Jinyu had a couple of rounds where he got no points as the Storyteller, once because he was too obvious and the other because he was too vague. It’s okay, it takes a while to learn the ropes. Not me though. I learned ropes as soon as I was born. When I was delivered, I was tying all kinds of knots with my umbilical cord and using it as a lasso. It was sweet. And then the doctor got so freaked out she dropped me and I forgot all about it until just then. Thank you Jinyu, you’ve helped me unlock my hidden past. Now you can be a Psychonaut too! Needless to say, I’m not even sure who played but I’m pretty sure I won this game too. Huzzahs all around!

Stone Age

For my next trick, I tricked Jinwei and Jinyu into playing Stone Age with me. Stone Age is a worker placement game in the style of Agricola or Scrabble. Each player starts with 5 workers which he can send to various action spaces on the game board to collect resources or gain improvements. Some actions only contain one space and thus only one player can use it in a round, while some others have multiple spaces. The improvements are building Tools, plowing Farms, building Huts, gaining Civilization Cards and Expanding Your Tribe Through Sexual Intercourse and Reproduction. Huts provide victory points at the end of the game, while Civilization Cards can provide an initial bonus (usually Resources) and are also worth Victory Points at the end of the game. Farms produce Food at the end of every turn which is used to feed your tribe. If your tribe ever starve (no food or resources to trade for food), then you lose Victory Points. Tools allow you to improve your dice rolls and Physical Intimacy lets you gain a new tribe member to be used in subsequent turns. Did you notice that part about dice rolls? Yes, Stone Age also incorporates a dice rolling mechanic for collecting Resources (Food, Wood, Clay, Stone, and Gold). You roll dice equal to the number of tribe members you have sent to collect those resources and then divide the result to get the number of resources, depending on what type of resource you are collecting. Tools can be used to add to the die roll result to improve your ability to collect resources. Once the Civilization Cards run out or one of the building piles runs out, the game is over and the person with the most Victory Points (from building Huts and Civilization Cards) wins the game.

Unfortunately, we made a major blunder with the rules for using Tools. Tools are supposed to be limited use, meaning you can only use one tool to add to a resource roll, after which it cannot be used again until the next turn.  However, we missed this rule and ended up adding up a total bonus for each player’s Tools to all resource rolls a player makes. By the time we realised it was too late and so we decided to finish the game with this changed rule. This resulted in us being able to get a whole lot of resources each, which made it very easy to feed our respective tribes and build many Huts and Civilization Cards. However, it was still quite fun to play with easy access to resources. Jinwei had a dazzling array of Civilization Cards, which gave him enough Victory Points to stay well ahead of us others and end up with almost 50 more points than anyone else at the end. However, for the sake of symmetry and weight distribution, let’s assume I won this game. Oh if the huzzahs could huzzah, they would.

Penny Arcade Deckbuilding Game – Gamers vs. Evil

We ended the night with a round of Penny Arcade the Game: Gamers vs. Evil, which is the Penny Arcade deckbuilding game which I’ve mentioned before. I believe this was Jinyu’s first ever deckbuilding game experience, and I do hope he liked it. Penny Arcade is a pretty straightforward implementation of the genre. It combines the freewheeling “play whatever you like” unlimited actions of Ascension but reduces the randomness of available cards to only the Boss Loot cards in favour of a randomised tableau each game. What I really like though, are the different Characters which provide different powers and even different starting decks. I’m a sucker for asymmetrical options, and that part of the game just calls out to me like a siren. I think Jinyu and Heng Lin went heavy tokens and lots of Touch Weiners. Man, they must have Touched Weiners at least a dozen times in that game. I was so jealous. I’ve never Touched Weiners before. Just once, I wish some one would Touch Weiners with me. I think it would be a great experience for all involved. I tried to go for a heavier power strategy but Jinwei was doing much better there and managed to kick Satan around a few times. I think Jinyu might have gotten some absurd amount of points but I invalidated them for being Weinertouched points, so I guess this was another game I had to declare victory in.

Dominion

On Labor Day Monday, I ended up playing a couple of games of Dominion at Allen’s place. We played with the  Intrigue, Seaside and Prosperity expansions. Man, it felt so weird playing Dominion again after playing Ascension on the iPhone for so long. I felt slightly handicapped at the start of the first game, since I was so used to playing whatever actions I wanted. After a few hand, I started getting back into that old Dominion groove though. In the first game I Swindled so many Coppers muahahaha. It is probably one of my favourite and thematic cards in Dominion, as it just feels so mean but somewhat amusing too. The other card I love is Harem, but only because of Heng Lin’s chuckle whenever he buys/plays one. The horny old toad. In the second game I struggled to get my engine up and running as the others had bought out all the Lighthouses and I was constantly harangued by Ghost Ships. I did manage to Mint Platinum a few times though, which was always a blast, but my lack of additional Buys meant I wasn’t able to catch up to Ken, who was leading, so I just decided I won. Yeah you heard me. I just decide to win, and I win it. That’s the Lim Way, guys and gals. Night brought chicken wings, Nerf guns and Dance Central, but that’s probably not something anyone would want knowledge about. Can you imagine me shakin’ mah bod to some sweet jams on the Xbox? Yeah I can’t either. Some things you just don’t imagine. It will cause your nervous system to shut down in self defense.

Look, I’ll be honest with you: I haven’t been entirely honest with you. All those games I won? I actually won AND got second place. Just not enough room up at the too, so I put my feet down on the second place podium too. If anyones of yers wants to challenge that, then come on over and try your luck with me in some games of the cardboard persuasion. (Please don’t actually do this. Your self esteem is fragile as it is, I wouldn’t want to cause you lasting harm.) Until next time, have fun gaming!

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