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Gaming at Work

Several of us BGGers are lucky enough to work in a place where we have fellow gamers. This blog will talk about games being played at work and how well they fit in a lunchtime environment.

Archive for Travis Cooper

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Drilling for oil

Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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I had the opportunity to play Giganten a while back at a game night at a FLGS. I really enjoyed the game, especially the ability to bluff your bid. After playing the guy that owned the game told us that it was being redone and that it would be printed in English this time around as well. So, I started watching for it to hit the shelves. I didn't pick it up right as it came out, but again at the same FLGS another guy had a copy and so I got a chance to play the new version for the first time.

Black Gold
The game I'm talking about is Black Gold. The game all about prospecting for oil. Each turn you will choose (from the remaining options when it gets to your turn) a card. On the card it tells you how many license cards you will get, and how many movement points you will get. Some of the cards also have another special action you can do at the end of your turn. The movement points are spent driving your truck around the board. Hopefully this ends in you buying a derrick and drilling for oil on one of the designated spots on the board. Of course, there is no way to know the depth of an oil well before hand, so these values are variable, and the tiles all start face down, so sometimes you have to gamble. The other thing you can spend movement points on is moving your train up the track. This is important so you can transport your oil.

After everybody takes their turn, each derrick you have yields one plume of oil. If your train is far enough along you can transport it for free, if it isn't and there is another train far enough, you can pay that player money to transport your oil for you. Then in player order each person will place all of their oil among three different companies. At this point an auction occurs once for each company. To win the auction you will be using your licenses that you have left over from previous turns, as well as the ones you got that turn. As I mentioned in the intro, you are allowed to bid more than you actually have to try and make people pay more than they want. However, if you get caught you will lose a lot of cards and the auction will then start over. The person who wins the auction is the only person allowed to sell their oil to that company. After the auction at each location, anybody that has more than 2 plumes at any given spot has to sell the overflow for a nominal price, so not winning the auction can mean losing a ton of money.

This repeats until the black train (it progresses 1-3 spots per round) gets to the end of the track. This signals that all of the big oil companies have arrived in the valley and buy everything out. You will get some more money for derricks in play (more to those that have their trains further along the track) and for each plume of oil that hasn't sold yet. The players then count up their cash and see who wins.

Does this work for lunch?
I'm a little torn on this. Can you finish an entire game in a lunch hour? Definitely not. However, it is very easy to modify this for a shorter game, and I don't think it hurts the game too much to shorten it. We just pick a spot that is the new ending point and once the black train crosses that we finish. As far as the quality of the game, I think this is a great one to pick up. I love all the different mechanics and the work nicely together to really make the theme feel right. I highly recommend this game.
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Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:01 pm
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Get in the hole ...

Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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So, I don't really follow golf much, but it seems like with every par 3 tee shot you hear somebody yelling, "Get in the hole!" When I play this game I hear that same guy yelling whenever I try for a 20 shot.

I have seen Crokinole in the BGG top 100 for a long time now. I never knew too much about it. It looked a lot like those penny hockey games people make in wood work sometimes. I always thought that was kind of fun, but as for spending a bit of cash to see if I liked Crokinole, I had always passed up the opportunity.

A few months ago there was a local Con here in Salt Lake and Mayday put on a Crokinole tournament. So, while it was going on I wandered over there to see what it was like. I was mostly expecting to just watch, but I was quickly invited to sit down and play a game. I instantly loved it, even though I didn't do well against the more experienced player. I was very tempted to pick up a Mayday board there due to the discounted price, but my wife didn't think I should, so I passed on it. From that time on I kept thinking about how much I really would like a board. My wife finally said she would get it for me as a Father's Day/Birthday present (even though they were both a couple of months away). I did some research and finally decided on my Muzzies board and I am glad that I spent the extra money over getting a Mayday board.

On a side note, I realized after playing that we actually had a Crokinole board growing up. It was a Carom board, and that is what we used it for, but on the other side was Crokinole. We didn't know how to play, but our discs were actually rings, so we thought we were supposed to flip the rings onto the pegs somehow. We couldn't do it very well, so we pretty much ignored that side of the board. Of course the pegs were all missing several years later, and my parents had thrown it out when they moved a few years ago.

Game Play
I'm sure most of you are more knowledgeable about this game than I was before I played it; however, for those of you who aren't I'll give a brief explanation. This is a dexterity game. I don't have dexterity games in my collection, but I've always liked the good ones. The basic idea is to flick your disc towards the middle. If you get a "hole" shot it will be worth 20 points. If not there are three scoring zones, the first zone is worth 15 points and surrounded by 8 pegs. The second zone worth 10, and the outside zone worth 5. There is a catch though, you can't just always try to shoot at the middle because the rules also say that when your opponent has a disc on the board you have to make contact with at least one of their discs in order to have a valid shot. This starts adding to the tactics employed by both players for position on the board.

Does it work for lunch?
This is definitely a great game for lunch time. If you only have 2 players it is one of few games that will really work well. If you have 3 you can do a little round robin and not have much downtime. With 4 you can play teams. Anything more than that you just have to figure out a good way to cycle people through. The games plays pretty quick, so you'll be able to get a bunch of games in during the lunch hour. With one exception, everybody I've taught the game to has loved it and wants to just keep playing.

It is definitely a little bit of an investment to get your board, and I would make sure to get a good quality board since you're spending the money anyway. With that said, I think it's probably one of the best purchases I've made. My board is going to see a ton of plays over the years and I don't see myself tiring of it. In fact at our last game night I had a table just setup with my board and it was played a bunch throughout the night. If you've been thinking about getting a board, I'd urge you to do it, it will be worth it.
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Sun May 22, 2011 6:28 pm
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Wait ... these aren't trains!

Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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My first game by Alan Moon was, like many others, Ticket to Ride. It was a great game, and we still get it out from time to time to teach to new gamers. A little over a year ago I got the opportunity to play Union Pacific. I have always liked stock games, and this worked very well. I of course went to get a copy of it and quickly found out it was out of print. Sure, you could pay well over $100 for a copy, but I didn't think that was worth it. When I first heard that a new version of the game was coming out I knew I had to get it. I placed my order with the first store that had it in stock, and it came in the mail earlier this week.

Airlines Europe
For those that haven't figured it out yet, the game I'm talking about is Airlines Europe. Of course, since it's a newer iteration of Union Pacific it is very similar. I like that the time has been cut down, which means we should be able to get in a full game at work. I didn't like that it only supports up to 5. In both of these games, I like that you have to help grow different companies in order to get stock in the company. The interplay between opponents where you're helping each other, but at the same time you're trying to get more stock on the table is a lot of fun.

I need to get in a few more plays of this before making any real judgments, but the first game that I think really handle stocks and growing companies well was Chicago Express. These two games definitely have some similarities. The biggest one being the involvement among players to work together in progressing the companies in which they have stock. However, the top scores are usually going to come from players who can get others to do most of the work for them, while they reap the rewards. With a lot more companies in Airlines Europe this works even better. Also, I think Chicago express works best with 3 or 4 players. Airlines Europe played great with 5.

Of course my first introduction to a good stock game was Acquire. I still really enjoy the game, but there is just too much luck involved with getting involved in a merger. The best most competitive games of Acquire I've been involved in didn't have anybody see a turn without money. I think once you see a few turns without buying stock, you have a really hard time getting back in the game. Due to the random nature of needing to draw the appropriate tiles, this can really hurt the game if you experience this too many times. Airlines Europe leaves you with your choice of which companies to grow, and usually a pretty decent choice of stock to pick up. There is still luck involved in that, but at least you have options.

Does this work for lunch?
The jury is still out on that question. I think for our group this will be great (assuming we don't have 6 people showing up). We tend to play games faster than the marked play time on the box. This one calls for 75 minutes. Our first of course had explanation time, and nobody knew how to set up the board without direction yet. So, we lost out on some time due to that. Which meant we couldn't finish the whole game. I think that future plays will see us wrapping up around the 60 minute time frame. For groups who don't typically get play times under what is suggested, this probably won't work out for you. There are enough decisions to make that new players, or people who have a lot of AP are definitely going to push the play time to 75 minutes. Aside from the time constraints, this is a great stock game. I think with some more plays this game will make it into my top 10. I'm not sure if it will surpass Chicago Express, but it will be right up there.
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Sun May 15, 2011 3:20 am
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Casting Dice

Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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I first played Alea Iacta Est at a local game store. It was fairly quick and actually offered some strategy, at least for a dice game. I really enjoyed that even though you are limited by the luck of the roll, there were enough options that you pretty much always have something worthwhile to do. I brought this in to work this week and it saw 1 play. Everybody has already played it in the past, so I guess that is why they weren't very excited to keep playing it.

Game Play
The game consists of 5 (or 6) rounds. In each round players will roll all the dice that haven't been allocated yet. These buildings to place your dice expect different things. There is a temple that just cares about total pips, a senate that wants runs, a castle for your sets and a forum for single dice or pairs that add up to 5. After you roll your dice, you have to allocate at least 1 die somewhere. This will continue until somebody has used up all their dice.

Then based on where you have dice you'll get various things. Straight up points, bonus cards, provinces or patricians. The provinces and patricians need to match up in color as well as husbands with wives to score points at the end. Once the 5 rounds are up, you will total your scores and see who wins.

Does this work for lunch?
I think this works very well at a work lunchtime setting. The game is very simple to teach, and pick up, and it isn't very heavy. Like I mentioned in the beginning, while it's still a dice game, you still have specific things you're trying to go for, and every die roll usually ends up with something that helps you out. It plays in about 45 minutes and could go even faster as everybody knows what's going on. I would strongly suggest this for a somewhat casual group. It is probably the best dice game I've ever played. So get the game, and get rolling!
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Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:11 pm
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Start Your Engines

Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Road Kill Rally Play Log

Road Kill Rally
I have liked a lot of the games that zman has been putting out lately. When I first heard about this game I wasn't sure what to think about it. I've never been a huge fan of racing games, but the cover just looked so good. I saw the threads talking about how the game isn't politically correct and some people seem to have issues with the game. To me, it's just a game, and all in good fun. The theme had something that might make me play a racing game.

Last weekend I saw an ad on a local classifieds site where a guy was selling his copy for $20. I thought that was too good to pass up. He told me it was already sold, but that he had seen some at a somewhat random store for pretty cheap. I made my way to the store and found 2 more copies on the shelf. The price was only $25. I couldn't believe it was that cheap, especially for a copy in shrink. I bought it and was excited to finally get in a play.

Today's Game
I brought the game to work today and broke it out for our lunch time session. Everybody grabbed their pieces and I started explaining. I was last to place and got put on the front row for the pole positions. Everybody decided it would be better to hang back and attack. I got to most of the pedestrians first; however, I kept missing them. With a seeking missile attached to my car I was able to pick off some of the pedestrians further down the road for several turns though. I started to slow down to let others pass and I found myself in 3rd place. This game Amanda and Jeremy opportunities to pick up a bunch of pedestrians. I found myself next to Austin and threw a grenade at him that eventually did 7 damage after some great die rolls. This game can be very harsh, but I like it.

We noticed we were close to out of time so I found the finish tile and put it out. We probably only made it through about half of a game. Amanda crossed the finish line first with Jeremy close behind. I came in third a couple of turns later. That is how we ended up finishing. Jeff and Austin just kept hurting each other and neither of them picked up any pedestrians.

Does this work at lunch?
I'm still not sure if this is something that works for a lunchtime session. Of course, right now it's new to all of us, so it is a lot of fun. However, the time frame is just way too long to expect a game to fit into an hour. The game is flexible enough to make it shorter, but I think you really need the full game to help balance things out. It seems like a player will go on spurts of scoring points and then somebody else will take their turn. With a shortened game you might not get your chance to get a good streak of points.

It was definitely entertaining, and we'll probably do it again. I just think it's going to be an even better experience when we get a chance to play outside of work and get in a full game. Should you get this for your group? I'd probably say no. If it's something that sounds like a lot of fun, and the theme just really grabs you, then I think it's fine to get. I just think there are many other games that work better in an hour or less that if your main gaming group is at work this wouldn't be my first choice to buy.
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Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:01 am
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This box is full of cards ...

Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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In my last post I talked a bit about some of the traditional card games we have tried at work. We have also played some of the boxed up card games as well. I have played several card games over the years, but they mostly seemed pretty random and kind of turned me off to most card games. You know Uno, Phase 10, etc.

I did play things like Killer Bunnies and Munchkin and even Fluxx through the years. These didn't improve my image of card games. I figured the only good card game was one with a regular deck of cards. Eventually, when I started coming around here more often, I wanted to try out Puerto Rico. I read a lot about San Juan and saw that it was a simpler version with an easier learning curve. I decided to pick it up and for once it was actually somewhat enjoyable. A much better game than those I'd previously played. I eventually did move on to Puerto Rico though, and San Juan doesn't get played much anymore. So, here are some of the card games we actually played at work.

Citadels
Somebody else brought this game in and we got in quite a few plays of it. I really liked the secret role selection. We did have some rules wrong, like once you got your 8th building you couldn't have one destroyed, that lead to a lot of king making decisions. After clearing that one up it seemed a lot better. In the end I decided to pick it up myself. My family has played quite a bit of Bohnanza, but I am not a very big fan of it. So I thought this would be a better substitute for a card game that could play a lot of people.

I still enjoy getting this game out from time to time. It is a great game to take camping. My copy is pretty scratched up due to playing in the great out doors. For a work time game, it actually can get longer as you add people. So, playing with full capacity could force you to have to rush. While there is some amount of luck in the cards you are drawn, the real meat of the game is in role selection, so that makes the luck of the game easier to overlook. This could be a great option and I think it actually plays better at around 4-5 people anyway.

BANG!
This is another game that another person brought in. I decided to give it a try and we played it for several games. This game got quite popular and I still see people playing it quite a bit. This game brought back some of the same feelings I had about other card games I had played in the past. There is a lot of luck in the cards that you are drawing. I also didn't like how they handled the range to be able to shoot people. With a lot of players it makes it pretty difficult to shoot any one given person. You get pretty limited to the people sitting close to you.

Is this game going to work for you? Probably. From what I see a lot of people tend to like this game. It just really bombed out for me. Some of the other people in my group felt the same way. I got a chance to play Shadow Hunters soon after we stopped playing this. When they described it as Bang! I had a bad attitude going into it. However, I found that it was a much more enjoyable game. The hidden teams from Bang! is still there and it has a somewhat similar feel. However, adding the board to change your attack range, rather than just seating position, the theme, and the shorter play time made Shadow Hunters a huge improvement in my book. I went out and bought it so I could have an alternate to when people suggested to play Bang!. I've never met anybody who liked Bang! that didn't like Shadow Hunters. I'd recommend getting it instead.

Race for the Galaxy
This is another game that somebody else introduced to us. I had read and heard about it here on the geek before we played it. The best description I had heard was it is San Juan in space. I had somewhat enjoyed San Juan in the past so I thought it would be okay. The first thing I noticed were the rules were more complex. San Juan is pretty simple and straight forward, but Race has all those symbols and other things that you need to learn and remember. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it just means you have a larger learning curve ahead of you. I thought that the simultaneous role selection was kind of cool, but it seems like several people will choose the same action. Even when you know they are going to take it, you still need to so you can get the extra privilege. I'm sure the more you play it the better this gets, but I found you really need to coordinate which cards you are playing to get a good score. It can be good that the cards work well together like this; however, I feel like in the end it just means you are depending on a lot of luck in order to get things working the way you want.

Again, from what others have said, I think this could be a good game to try out. I personally hate the game, and I usually sit out on days that people suggest to play it. I have played it a couple of other times outside of work as well, and I still didn't enjoy the game. This seems more like a gamer's game that you really need to play a lot with the same group to get the real feeling for the game. If you're going to be teaching new people frequently I don't see it as a good choice to have at work. You will find people on a much higher level and the new people probably won't enjoy the game very much.

Dominion
How can you have a post talking about card games and leave out Dominion? It seems like Dominion is talked about a lot these days. Several games are being influenced by it, and expansions just keep coming out. This was one I was a little hesitant about picking up. Again, partially due to my bias towards card games, I just didn't get this when it first came out. Several months after the initial release I got a chance to try this out at a local game store. I thought it was pretty fun, and the deck building aspect was really cool. I brought a few guys from work with me to the next game night to have them try it out too. Both of them had played a bit of Magic in the past and after the first few rounds they were both hooked. I then found out that it was out of print, but expecting to be back soon. I got my copy the first chance I could when the next printing came out and we've been playing it off and on ever since. I have played around 400 f2f games and it still doesn't grow old.

I think Dominion is a perfect fit for a lunchtime. The games play pretty fast and the variability makes for some fun games. Our group I think is also really good about experimenting, so we find pretty cool combos and strategies all the time. The other thing that I think works well at lunch, is that we started leaving out the same set to cut down on setup time. So instead of playing 1 game, and then moving on to another set, we get one set out, and then play that same set until the end of the lunch hour. The thing I really like about this is it allows you to try out several different things all with the same group of cards. This really allowed us to break out of several group think issues that everybody faces with this game. Dominion is a perfect fit, our group loves it so much that three of us own every set and some others have at least one of the sets.

Thunderstone
With the success of Dominion in our group, one of the guys decided to pick up Thunderstone. We were pretty excited and tried it out for a while. I think that the two different locations is a good addition. Trying to decide if you should go get more cards in your deck, or to go fight a monster was a nice touch. However, I started feeling like I had little control over the monsters. The monsters were switching often, and when a good monster came out after your turn, you were very unlikely to get a shot at it. This started giving me a feel of 6 player Alhambra where the winner was more based on luck than anything else. If the right stuff came out when you had a good hand you would win. I never tried the expansion, but they guys that did really didn't like the traps that were added.

I wouldn't really recommend this for work. Nobody in our group would choose this over Dominion even after all the plays we've had. I think if you want to get a deck building game Dominion is the best that I've found, and until I find something better I'll recommend it over any of the others.

Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
I stumbled on this at a game night and thought it was pretty good. I like to find little co-ops and I thought this would be a good fit for my collection. It was hard to find, but I got a copy at Barnes & Nobles. We played it at work several times, but I think I was mostly the one pushing it. The others got tired of it, but I still really enjoy the game. I think part of the problem was we were winning way too often, so it got dull to everybody.

As far as co-ops go, our group were never really big on them. I still think it's a pretty good game, but the rest of our group would probably tell you to pass on it. I personally like the difficulty of Pandemic (especially if you have the expansion with it) more. I find the tension is better throughout. If you are a space hulk fan you probably need this game, if not, you could probably pass on it.

7 Wonders
I saw all the hype for this game last fall and put it on my wishlist. My wife was able to get a copy and I found it under the tree on Christmas. I really wanted to see what this many civ building game was all about. I will say first off, that it isn't the drafting type of game that you might expect. You don't draft all your cards and then play, you draft a single card, play it, then draft your next card, and so on. Having the different wonders is nice to give people different paths to follow. I also like the aspect of using your neighbors' resources. The game doesn't get longer as you add more people. However, even with the duplicates in cards when you add more people I start feeling like you lose sight in what other people at the table are doing. You really start fitting in to your own little world with the people next to you. Also, based on how the cards are bunched, you might not get a chance to see the resources you need. I've had several games with large amounts of players where neither of my neighbors built a resource I needed and I never saw it. This really slows you down.

I think this is a great game to try out at work. It got several plays in our group, but I think we just have too many other games they'd rather play. With fewer players, where I think it works the best, we have plenty of options. When you start getting 6+ people would rather play Shadow Hunters. Many people in our group still enjoy the game, but with so many other options it just doesn't get the play time I wish it did. I believe it can work well in most lunchtime groups though.
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Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:10 am
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Welcoming John Munsch

Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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I was browsing through some of the new blog posts today and noticed another lunchtime gaming blog. It sounds like John has a great group where he works and is planning on expanding soon as well. I think that is interesting and I'm curious to see how large his group will grow. I thought it would be nice to have us both writing in the same spot and so I asked if he'd like to blog here with me. He has graciously accepted and you should see posts from him here soon. So, everybody please welcome John, I look forward to seeing his perspective on gaming at work.

John Munsch
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
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Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:13 am
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Deal 'em

Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Growing up I played the classic board games, but mostly my family played card games. Until high school where I was introduced to Settlers of Catan, board games were secondary to card games at my house. I can still hear in my head, after Sunday dinner was over, my brother-in-law saying "Deal 'em" and we'd get out the cards. So many great memories, and although I play more board games these days, I still have a love for card games.

There was a request to talk about card games here on my blog, so this post is going to be dedicated to them. I will say upfront that we usually don't have the right amount of players for card games (typically 4 is the sweet spot for card games), but we have played some. I'm also focusing on traditional card games, no RftG or Dominion talk here.

Tichu
I have talked about Tichu a couple of times here already. I will just say again that it is moving up rapidly on my list of favorite card games. We had another chance to play 6 player today. While I like the way they handle the 6 player game, I still think that 4 players is much better. The 6 player game seems to turn into whoever can get that straight will get a tichu. Without a good straight it is hard to know if your hand is good enough. It is also strange to pass only to your partners. Again, it is okay with 6, but much better with 4. I can't say enough how well I think this works in a lunchtime setting.

Canasta
I love playing Canasta. My wife and I used to play a lot more than we do now. We loved to get on to yahoo and join the same table and just destroy people. That doesn't necessarily mean we are the best Canasta players in the world, but when playing pick up games like that having a partner you're used to makes a big difference. My wife and I love to hoard cards and freeze the pile. This can be risky, but if you hold enough cards, and mis-lead through discarding and melding you can usually get the discard pile and pour on the points.

I still want to get this out more at work. We did have a day where it was just John and me and I knew he liked card games, so I taught him how to play. I'm not a huge fan of 2 player Canasta, but at least it meant teaching somebody else how to play. We've never brought it back out, but after our recent successes with Tichu I think I might have to try it again. I truly hate 3 and 6 player Canasta. I think this is mostly due to my style. When you freeze the deck a lot and the other team doesn't work at it, they could easily give the 3rd team a huge advantage by giving them easier ways to pick up the deck. In fact I think this is why I typically don't like 3 team card games. That's why I like how Tichu keeps it to 2 teams. I would never turn down a 4 player game of Canasta, and if your group likes to play cards, this is a great option.

Euchre
If it wasn't for my brother-in-law I probably wouldn't even know about this game. That is sad, because I've played it so much. I really liked the uniqueness (at least to me) of the bowers. This is actually used in other games too, but I didn't know any. In euchre you also play to a pretty low score, so the games go quicker.

We did have a 4 player day at work once and so I convinced them to try this out. I still don't know how much the other guys enjoyed it, but we haven't tried it again since. I think the bower was new to them as well, and when teaching new people you have to keep reminding them that the other J is trump too. Probably my biggest complaint about euchre is the number of cards. Since you are only dealt 5 cards, it seems easier for you to have a whole game where you don't feel like you have a single good hand. I've had plenty of games like this, and they aren't very fun. It is so much better when you can call trump, or at least set people. However, when your cards are just bad the whole time you don't even feel like you're making any decisions. You just follow the lead and don't take anything. I think you should give euchre a try in your group, but I can't give a huge vote of confidence that they will just love it. I love the game, and I'll continue to play it when I get the opportunity, but I can see why not everybody would feel this way.

Now, there is the option to play 500. I read the rules and have played it once. However, my family that really loves euchre doesn't live close enough that we see each other often, so I haven't had a chance to play it again since I taught it to them. In 500 you play with more cards, so you are less likely to feel like you are getting bad hands the whole game. The bidding is also more like bridge and gives you many more options than just calling trump. I really liked the one game of 500 I played, and I think it might be a better substitute for euchre.

Cribbage
I really enjoy cribbage, but I'm not sure exactly why. Maybe it's because of the cribbage board that you get to track your points on, or maybe it's because of the different ways to score points, either in your hand, or while playing. With all of this it seems like you really can figure out the "best" things to do in most situations, so maybe you don't have to really think as hard. In spite of that I still enjoy playing.

I did teach people cribbage at work. However, if you think getting only 4 people is bad, then getting only 2 people is even worse. This meant I needed to read the rules for additional players and we tried it that way. We tried 3 player, 4 player and I think 6 player. Probably the biggest reason I did it was just to teach them how to play. However, I really didn't like playing with more than just 2. 3 was okay, but I've just grown so accustom to not having teams that playing this one with a teammate just seemed weird. I would actually suggest not playing this one at work, unless there are just two of you. It's a great game, but I would be happy to never play a 3+ player game again.
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Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:00 pm
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What games should I talk about? Make your requests here!

Travis Cooper
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Salt Lake City
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Since starting my blog I have been focusing on games as we play them at work. Some of them are new to us, some of them are ones we have played before, but rather than just doing all the games we've tried that is how I've been doing it. However, we typically play the same game for several days, maybe even weeks (especially when Dominion expansions come out), so those times will give me a chance to talk about games we've already done. I also want to talk about games you have interest in. So, this post will serve as a place for you to request a game in my collection that you'd like me to talk about. I'm giving it it's own category, so you can find it easier when other posts start pushing it down.

Another thing that might help you is my Lunchtime Gaming at Work geeklist. I try to update it from time to time with games we've tried. If you see something on that list you want to hear about, request it here and I'll do a post on it. I'll also try to keep this post up-to-date with requests people have made and the post for that game.

Requests
Card Games - Deal 'em
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:50 pm
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Potpourri

Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Poll
1. Check all of the reasons you read my blog.
I like to see what games you're playing and whether they work out or not.
I like to see the details of what happened in the game you played (session reports and reviews).
I like to see any insight you might have for a game (what strategies do you employ).
I have my own work group and I am interested in games we might like to try.
I just stumbled on your blog because it showed up under the blog section of a game I follow.
I just stumbled on your blog while browsing through all of the blogs.
Other.
2. What is the biggest reason you read my blog?
I like to see what games you're playing and whether they work out or not.
I like to see the details of what happened in the game you played (session reports and reviews).
I like to see any insight you might have for a game (what strategies do you employ).
I have my own work group and I am interested in games we might like to try.
I just stumbled on your blog because it showed up under the blog section of a game I follow.
I just stumbled on your blog while browsing through all of the blogs.
Other.
      44 answers
Poll created by monkeyboy157

I haven't been posting as much as I had hoped this past little while. The biggest reason is because we've mostly been playing games that I've already blogged about. We did get together last Saturday to play some longer games, but I wasn't sure if my readers (do I have readers?) cared about those since they won't fit into a lunch time gaming situation. So, I've been thinking, why are the people that are reading my posts coming at all? In order to keep up interest and in order to say what's important, it's always good to know who your audience is, and what they are expecting. So, I have put together a quick poll to see why people are coming to my blog. This will hopefully give me direction as to what I should talk about here. I hesitated doing a poll because somebody always speaks up about the option they wanted to see not being there. Well, I'm going to try and include as many options as I think are important, and if your option isn't there please feel free to comment on what your answer would have been. In fact, I welcome discussion from everybody on what they like, and even don't like, about my blog.

For today's post I would like to cover some of the games we've played over the past week. These are games that I have either already blogged about, and therefor will just be a little more discussion on the game itself, or they are games that are too long to fit at lunch, which is why I hadn't blogged about them here yet.

The Resistance
When I first talked about The Resistance I mentioned how the spies were winning too often. I guessed the reason for that was the fact we were approving teams too easily. Without failing votes on teams it is very hard for resistance members to figure out who everybody is. The next time we played we did a much better job at this. We definitely had some lucky games where we found all 4 resistance members really early, but the other games were much better than they were before. People were putting up no votes more often, we failed approval for many teams, and it helped us to learn a lot of information. Just that little change made it a lot harder for the spies to win. In fact, I think that day they only won once.

I also had a chance to play with some family members over the weekend. I found that some people just don't have a good poker face and I could tell who the spies were very easy. I think if you have enough of those people in the game it can make for a less enjoyable experience.

I have grown to love this game more and more as I keep playing it. However, there are a couple of people in our work group that don't like it anymore. This means we may not be playing it as much. I didn't think I would really enjoy social games, but this one has proved me wrong. The deduction, the finger pointing, all of it just keeps me wanting more. Trying to figure out how to read people, and especially those times when somebody plays you really well, keeps my interest going.

Tichu
This is another game we've been playing quite a bit. It is growing on me more and more. If I play it enough times it might even become my favorite card game soon (sorry Canasta). I'm not sure what it is about the game, perhaps the tension when you call grand tichu, or just trying to set somebody else's tichu. I have always loved partnership games, but adding in the ladder climbing element is pretty cool.

We even got in a 6 player game one day and it was much better than I thought it would be. In most card games the 6 player variant means one extra team you have to worry about. I really like how tichu keeps it with only two teams. It is a lot different that you only pass to your partners instead of everybody too. You don't want to give them your bad cards, but in turn you also don't get bad cards back. I still prefer it as a 4 player game, but I would still be interested in playing with 6 players as well.

Automobile
This was the first game we played this past weekend. I finally got my hands on a copy and was able to get in the first play. We had all 5 players and we were all new to the game. Reading the rules things seemed more complex, but after teaching the game and going through the first turn everybody seemed to know what was going on. I really enjoyed the game and I think the others did as well. There are a lot of difficult decisions in the game. Knowing when to build factories, whether or not to wait for somebody else to build first so you can get a better one for less R&D cubes was pretty tricky. Also, when it came to producing cars, being able to predict what would be sold by your salesman as well as what would be left over after seeing the demand made for some hard guesswork. I think we really settled in and the 3rd and 4th rounds were great. I can't wait to play this again.

Merchants & Marauders
This was the other big game we played over the weekend. We all had played before, but some more than others. I really wanted to try pirating since I usually go the trading route, but my captain had horrible scouting so I figured it wasn't worth it. I was doing really well, but I didn't use my glory card to attack Austin with the navy soon enough. So, I had to go do it myself. I figured my scouting would fail, but luckily it succeeded with just one die. However, I wasn't able to roll skulls after that. I tried to board, and he ended up fleeing because I missed with all 4 dice. In the end I got 9 points, but if I could have beaten Austin the game would have ended with me walloping everybody.

I still like the game. I really enjoy the choose your own destiny part to it. However, the downtime is starting to bother me more and more. There is hardly ever a time that you really care what the other people are doing. This is party because you can pretty much predict what they are doing anyway. So, you spend a lot of time just waiting for your turn to come. I expect to play more games of this, but I don't see myself buying it anytime soon. Luckily two guys in our group have it, so I should be okay.
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:15 am
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