There will be RussCon As Usual next week January 1, including the ever-popular traditional second annual post-Christmas RussCon white elephant gift exchange! So if you want to participate in that, bring a wrapped gift, which could be a legitimately cool gift or some utterly ridiculous piece of crap you got for Christmas and want to palm off on someone else, whatever you like. The white elephant exchange may or may not be part of next week's Meta Game like it was last year, but the white elephant exchange will definitely happen at New Year's Day RussCon sometime in mid-evening!
There is of course also a shiny copy of Lords of the Sierra Madre waiting for Steve, courtesy of JimG's door prize last week.
In other news, The Book appropriately and coincidentally is now used up so I'll get a new one for recording our game statistics! This was the 4th book (I think), commissioned in October 2001 and retired December 25 2002.
|MarkH 4 RussW 2 Whendy 0 Clayton -2 Jerrie -4
|Brady 2 Clayton 0 Jerrie -2
|Fina 3 Whendy 1 MarkH -1 RussW -3
|Whendy 3 MarkH 1 RussW -1 Fina -3
|Clayton 2 Brady 0 Jerrie -2
|RussW 3 Fina 1 PJ -1 MarkH -3
|MarkH 3 RussW 1 Fina -1 PJ -3
|Fina 3 PJ 1 MarkH -1 RussW -3
|RussW 3 PJ 0 MarkH 0 Fina -3
|Whendy 2 Clayton 0 Brady -2
|MarkH 4 William 2 RussW 0 Whendy -2 Clayton -4
I came from behind in Frank's Zoo and was surprised to get 2nd place (thanks to tie-breaking). MarkH trounced the rest of us by 10 points or so, though!
MarkH brought La Guerre des Moutons (War of the Sheep). It is a nifty Carcassonnesque square tile placement game wherein each player is trying to build a large enclosed field with their color of sheep: your score is basically the number of sheep in your largest enclosed fields (and your other fields count for nothing). Your color is initially secret (though typically it becomes clear who is which color as the game progresses). For some recent I really sucked both games we played (in the first game, my largest field was only 2 sheep!), but it was a fun game. The tiles are double-sided, and you hold a set of 4 initially, which can grow in number up to about a dozen, so it can get a bit cumbersome trying to keep your tiles secret and looking at both sides of them to see if you have one which will fit where you want, but it's definitely a fun little game. It also has a neat ending mechanism, wherein people voluntarily quit playing: the first to stop gets a 6 point bonus, then 3, then 1, and finally the last person, who gets to make unhindered moves from then on, gets no bonus. A lot of the strategy involves trying to make someone else's big field be uncompletable (analogous to cities with cathedrals in Carcassonne). Or getting a wolf in an adjacent forest...
Mark also brought Blokus, which we enjoyed enough to play 4 games in a row (match style, with a different person going first each game). It's an abstract strategy game kind of like Cathedral meets Tayu. We are each placing oddly shaped pieces on our square grid (like Cathedral) trying to get rid of all or most of our pieces. Your first piece is played in a corner, and then each of your later pieces must touch another of your pieces at a corner and NOT at a side (that last bit is quite important and gives the game a different flavor from other such placement games!) Some interesting strategy and tactics arise. E.g. the diagonal connections mean that 2 players' networks can cross each other and typically we all get somewhat intertwined, but then you discover ways to block someone. It seems very important to get yourself spread about the board: since you can't play touch sides of your own pieces, but you can touch other pieces' sides, a strange sort of cooperation can emerge to fill a region more efficiently. It's also rather pretty to look at (translucent colored pieces which start to form a sort of jewel-like or kaleidoscopic pattern as the board fills). As we played our first game we all thought "How hard can it be to get all your pieces down!?" but it turns out to be hard indeed! We also found the first player won the game for the first 3 games, so then in the 4th game where PJ went first, PJ had extra pressure to win, or we would mock him mercilessly like the dog he is. It ended up being very close, but I beat PJ and Mark by 3 points. It was neat to find an abstract strategy game that caught our attention for so long, and I am definitely up for playing it more. Abstract strategy game fans like JP should certainly check it out.
Classical Traditions for the Season
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, soundtrack from the original motion picture
Bob Rivers & Twisted Radio, I Am Santa Claus
elf booty got soul! elf girls like to rock'n'roll!