Railroad Tycoon, Cartagena, Havoc …
Wednesday was the first session of our gaming group for 2006. I hosted and had 9 for most of the evening. Jill and the boys hopped into a couple of the games during the evening as well. Last year’s sessions were once a month and rotated between 3 homes. This year, we added a 4th host, and are gathering twice a month — on the 2nd Wednesday and the 4th Friday. We use Evite to gauge how many gamers to expect at each session and also poll attendees to find out who’d like to pitch in for some pizza. Folks started arriving around 6:30. We socialized and chowed on pizza until everyone was there.
I showed off Jill’s Crokinole board to the group. Everyone thought it was very nice, especially Troy who has owned a board for many years.
Denise brought For Sale. She’s had it for awhile and wanted to try it out. She, Kieron and Leroy headed for the basement and grabbed a table. While they got started, the rest of us discussed what we were going to play. We decided on Railroad Tycoon, the game I had suggested in the Evite for this session. I grabbed that off the shelf and a few others and we were off. RT takes up a lot of space and the only place I really have available to play it is where I keep Heroscape set up. After a quick breakdown of the set, we had the board out and were setting up the game.
I’d played RT once at BGG.con and again around New Year’s with Caleb, Tristan and Logan (but without any of the cards so they could learn the basics of the game). After the setup and about 15 minutes of explanation, we got started. We had 5 players (Jeff L, George, Bob, Troy and me) so we needed to empty 16 cities to trigger the end game. Jeff started in the southeast, George in the mid-Atlantic and I was scooping up the short routes along the east coast. Bob started in the Great Lakes area and Troy camped out around Cincinnati.
Of course, For Sale doesn’t take that long to play so the other group had moved on long before. They were taking a look at Cartagena when Tristan and Logan wandered down to check things out. The boys helped explain the game to Leroy, Kieron and Denise and were invited to play. They were excited to be included and the noise level in the gaming area rose to a dull roar during this raucous game of Cartagena. Kieron took an early lead but I later heard that Leroy was the one to escape with all his pirates.
Meanwhile, the RT game was progressing nicely. I jumped into the lead early snatching up the short routes along the east coast. Since I wasn’t spending a lot on track, I was able to get in a couple engine upgrades quickly without increasing my debt load and was able to pick up the reward for being the first to deliver a goods cube over 3 links and followed it up with another engine upgrade to get the reward for being the first to a level 4 engine. This stretched out my lead and I had to take some grief over having played before. 🙂 In reality, I was just being opportunistic. Hmmm…kinda like some of the robber barons depicted in the game! As the game continued, though, the pack started closing the gap with Jeff and Troy leading the way.
At the other table, they’d finished Cartagena and the boys were headed to bed. Kieron, Denise and Leroy broke out Havoc and in between my turns on RT, I explained the mechanics of the game. They played a short game, only 4 battles. Denise didn’t want to stay late. She’s pregnant and the baby’s due date is this Saturday! She gets the award for most dedicated gamer from me. We are all wishing her the best and will look forward to when she’ll be able to join us for another session. I didn’t hear who won the game but was told they enjoyed it.
I found out later that after Logan went to bed, Jill, Caleb and Tristan sat down for a quick game of San Juan. This is one of my favorite, shorter games. Jill and I played quite often until I picked up a copy of Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper last summer and that became the top, 2-player, short game at our home last year. Jill won San Juan and it was time for the older boys to be in bed. After the Havoc game was over, Denise left and then Leroy. While we were finishing RT, Jill taught Kieron how to play Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper. Kieron’s been watching my games played list over at the ‘geek and has become interested in some of the games I’ve been playing a lot of recently (MR: JtR being at or near the top most weeks).
In RT, I was running out of the longer distance deliveries. George had built parallel segments into many of the same cities and was “helping” me deliver and empty the cities along the coast. In the meantime, the others had built up large networks in the central and southeastern U.S. They were now delivering goods over distances of 5 to 7 as my long deliveries had peaked and were falling back into the 2 to 4 range. I was waiting for an opening to place the last empty city markers so the end game would be triggered. I was able to do it quickly but not before Troy with a little help from Jeff was able push ahead of me by 1 point. We both had the same number of shares outstanding and were able to accomplish our hidden goals that were worth the same amount. Our net scores remained at the same relative positions. Troy was crowned Railroad Tycoon for the evening!
Thanks to everyone that came. I’m glad everyone had a good time and was happy you enjoyed playing some new games. I’ll see you at the next game night in a couple of weeks.