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Subject: Our inaugural game of Basket Boss rss

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Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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The old game gang got together early on December 31, our first game oppoertunity in over three months. Many members of the game group are parents now, and very busy ones at that, not leaving as much time as we'd like for recreation.

In browsing my games to bring, I was a bit horrified to realize how little I'd remembered of how to play my various games. So I made a point of packing games that were either more familiar or could be picked up very easily. One of the games I brought was Basket Boss, which I'd received for Christmas and was quite eager to play. I lobbied to have it be our first game, and the others kindly indulged me.

I'd describe BasketBoss as something like a basketball-themed Traumfabrik. Each round, you bid on various performers who are rated for the quality of their performance on the court as well as their crowd-pleasing (i.e., money-making) potential. Other factors matter, too, such as height and playing position (you'll have a stronger team if your players are balanced between positions).

I find the game pretty intuitive -- you bid for players, the players affect your team strength, you win trophies (points) according to the strength of your team, you get income, and you have a chance to pick up special powers that give you particular advantages either on the court, in the auctions, in getting money, or in developing your players.

Although I felt the game was very intuitive and simple, our other players didn't seem to -- one seemed inordinately confused by the sequencing, and even the others forgot critical rules at critical times. I'm pretty confident that this is game-playing rust -- my guess is that with 2-3 plays, Basket Boss would be a very brisk play with barely a second thought to the rules.

Ben took the Texas Snakes, Kelly the Lima Llamas, Rick the Moscow Mammoths, and I took the Ghana Giraffes.

In the first season, Rick took gold, I silver, and Ben bronze. Then I made a huge blunder in selecting a special power. I took the bank, intending a strategy of piling up cash and getting a bidding advantage. But I failed to notice that the bank only provides an interest bonus right after the trophies are won -- in other words, right after spending occurs. So while I'd thought I would get a lot of money, I got none, as I had bid fairly aggressively.

I had also bid heavily on players who would be strong at the end of the game rather than the beginning. So in the second round, Ben took gold, Rick silver, Kelly bronze, while I sat in the cellar. So I really had a problem -- I was both behind on points and had no cash. That pretty well finished me as a serious competitor.

Still, I had a pretty strong team and expected to do better in the standings as the game wore on. It worked out OK though I was nosed out in a number of key races by opposing managers with more bidding flexibility. Third season, Ben was gold, Rick silver and Kelly bronze, Fourth, it was Ben gold, Kelly silver and bronze for me. By the fifth round, my long-term team strength was starting to show, as Kelly took gold, I silver and Rick bronze.

Somewhere along the way here Rick made his own huge blunder, failing to remember that an injury would affect his tallest player, not the player of his choice. But fortunately for Rick, we all had botched the rules, forgetting the special powers selection. So we all, including Rick, got a do-over, and this time Rick corrected his mistake.

Ben had racked up trophies early but had a weak team by the end. I had thought I would be very strong in the final round but both Kelly and Rick nosed past me. Kelly took gold, Rick silver, and I bronze.

We actually delivered this gold to Kelly -- she attempted to place a draftee in the wrong place to get cash, neglecting on-court performance and position balancing. We pointed out that the cash was worth almost nothing at this stage, whereas his 6th-round play would be worth a lot. This enabled Kelly to take the gold in that final round.

Ben had also made a blunder, forgetting that end-of-game team strength was a big factor in final scoring.

So basically, each of us had made a huge blunder. Ben and I each paid dearily for ours, whereas Rick got a do-over, and Kelly was saved from hers by her opponents. This reflected a social rather than a cut-throat atmosphere.

Final scores tallied this way:

Team strength:
Kelly 28
Rick 27
Chuck 26
Ben 15

Tropies:
Kelly 20
Rick 20
Ben 20
Chuck 12

Medals:
Ben 2
Chuck 2

Points from cash:
Chuck 3
Kelly 2
Rick 1
Ben 1

Total scores:
Kelly 50
Rick 48
Chuck 43
Ben 38

I really loved the game and look forward to playing it again!
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