Monthly Archives: May 2007

Game Day 05/31/2007

Game #1

Mini Bridge

As we were waiting for people to show, Adam dealt out a mini-bridge hand. With the point count being 16 (Mark), 4 (Mike), 7 (Adam), and 13 (Dummy), I got the bid. With this many points between myself and the dummy, Adam would not let me bid low. So I was forced to bid game in a minor suit (which means all of the tricks except for 2). My combined hand was: AKQ76542 K85432 AKJ9862 AKQ05. I called clubs as trump. Mike lead the three of hearts. Which I won. When I started trying to run out trumps, I had a bad split. Mike was able to win a trick with the Jack of clubs. One mistake that I made was discarding the two of diamonds which I needed to keep to protect my king of diamonds. So I ended up being set.

Game #2

Call My Bluff x 3

While we waited for Tim and Mary to show up, we played three quick games of Call My Bluff. I made one dumb mistake when it was down to two players. Sigh…

Game #5


Chapel went off to play the fluffier game of Andromeda while Tim, Adam, and myself played Funkenschlag. I missed playing this game. I spent most of the game going first. Mainly because I would connect to more cities than I needed to (or could power for that matter). But I was doing so to stop others from cutting me off or getting there first for a cheaper connection fee. Towards the end of the game, I was running just a little short of money. So I couldn’t end it. And then I made the classic mistake of not guaranteeing resources to power your plants. I noticed during the power plant auction that Adam was going to buy resources before me and he would buy all of the oil away from me so that my big oil plant wouldn’t power any cities. So I bought the fusion plant to replace it for 62 dollars. Adam was thinking of buying all of the coal away from me as well but decided against it when he thought that he couldn’t afford to both buy coal and connect to 20 cities. In the end, Adam and I could both connect to and power 20 cities. And Adam broke the tie by having more money left over at the end.

However, if I would have protected my oil plant by buying extra resources and not bought another power plant, I would have easily won the game. I was worried that Adam would connect to and power more than 20 cities. So thats why I bought the fusion plant. I only discarded the oil plant when I realized that Adam could have hosed me (the bastard!).

Still, I am glad that I played it and it was a fun game.

Game Day 05/28/2007

Game #1

For Sale

We started off with this light, but good game. The auctioning is simple and works rather well. You bid for properties which you then turn around and sell for money. There are a number of rounds based on the amount of people in the game. You either increase the bid or drop out, loose half your current bid, and take the lowest property (which number from 1 to 30).

In the second half of the game, you turn around and simultaneous blind bid for money (which number in two sets of 1 to 15). Obviously, you want to use as low a property as you can. I had won the 29 property and knew Susan had the 30. So my dilemma was when to use it. I passed the first opportunity for a 15 and hoped that Susan would acquire it. But, she didn’t. When the second 15 came up, I definitely skipped that one. At the end of the game, I learn that she was not even tracking or going after the 15s. Sigh. I only psyched myself out it seems.

Game #2

Through The Ages

Next up was Through the Ages. Harry specifically came to Ed’s to play this game. And you did not have to twist Adam’s arm to get him to play it again. I did alright in this game. My weakness was not keeping up my military strength. Adam was in last for most of the game. But, towards the end, he built up his army to be much stronger than the rest of us. He first attacked Harry and took him down a notch. Next he was going to go after either myself or Marty. Fortunately, he went after Marty and came up with an astonishing 37 points taken from Marty. Thankfully, the game ended (he had mentioned that he was going to go after me next). The end game scoring slowly moved Adam firmly into the lead and me into second. I was doing alright with Elvis as a leader and some Theaters. But I think what had hurt me was not having enough civil actions during the game. That and not enough science generation.

Game #3a
Game #3b

Age of Steam: Mississippi Steamboats

With this being one of the last of Adam’s gaming days in Austin, he got to pick the games for us. Which meant some nice and meaty games. He decided on playing a game of Age of Steam with a new map. The addition rules were short and terse. So we misunderstood some of the aspects of the game. Like, for example, of do you need to purchase the track from a city on the river to the river itself? We decided that you had to. Apparently you did not. But I think that it really didn’t hurt the game after all.

Apparently, Adam had made some mistakes in both calculations and misremembering the rules. So he was in catch up mode. Since this is such a tightly strung game, it was rather impressive that he was able to keep up with us after being forced to take three shares a round (and then maxing out early). I thought that I was not doing so well. I wasn’t able to get longer and longer deliveries. And I was dependent on the northernmost river connection which turned out to be rather flaky and only one space wide. The steamboats (which allow you to transport across the river and give you bonuses for delivering on them) are pretty random on where they end up. Rolling two dice and moving the result will do that.

I was surprised when we started the final scoring. I turned out to have the most victory points after the shares were subtracted. And no one out built tracks either…


To end the night (and to make me stay for another game), we played a game of Tichu. Adam was aggressive in calling Grand Tichu as usual. But, the heroic team set him every time.

Our (that is to say, Ed’s) only Tichu call was amusing. I led the Mahjong with a straight and random-wished a ten. Which turned out to hurt Ed as he was forced to play. However, he did call Tichu and played the rest of his straight when everyone passed. Ed was able to go out first. And I was able to make it out second with my nine bomb. Sadly, Adam couldn’t either set Ed or stop me from going out with three Aces and three Kings left in his hand…

05/28/2007 The scorecard for a game of Tichu

GT or T bet made or lost

This team scored more points than the other or one twoed

GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T
Ed & MarkH AdamR & Marty
  T+ 145  
  60   T+
  345     555  
  GT- 395  
  T+ 510  
T+ 935     665  
  GT- 505  
  1045   GT- 355  

Disc Golf 05/26/2007

Gravitt on seat

The group met today at Cat Hollow for some disc golf. Eight people were in attendance, which is definitely too large for my tastes. John surprised me by buying a small seat for disc golf. I had jokingly told him to get one. But I never thought he would actually go out and buy it. With the large bag, many discs, the harness, the shoes, and now the seat, I think that he owns every disc golf accessory.

Notice the blue tooth receiver dangling off of his ear? Even almost losing it last week was not discouragement enough for today.

hole 3

I got my first birdie on hole 1! I had to squeeze back into a grape-vine covered bush to putt, but that was not going to stop me from trying. And on hole 3, I had a good throw as well, but was not able to convert that one into another birdie.

another attempt

As well with this shot too. Close, and challenging but unable to follow through.

We ate lunch at Extreme Pizza. And ended up playing a simultaneous round of Tichu and mini Bridge, a round of Mu, and then finally a game of Tichu. Where John called, and made, a Grand Tichu on the first hand. Way to be aggressive, John!

05/26/2007 The scorecard for a game of Tichu

GT or T bet made or lost

This team scored more points than the other or one twoed

GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T
Jon & MarkH JohnG & Traci
  25   GT+
  70   T+
T+ 340    
T+ 565    
  565     935  
GT+   940  
Temple disc golf

John and I then drove up to Temple to scout out the disc golf courses up there. We heard that there were two of them. Unfortunately, Temple is 50 miles north east of Round Rock. Which puts it about the same distance away as Dripping Springs would be.

nice signs

The baskets were the professional disc catchers by Innova. They have informative metal signs. And concrete tee pads. All are good things for a course to have.

course flooded

But we came at a really bad time. With all of the recent and heavy rains, the course was majorly flooded and unplayable. At least Old Settlers is playable when it floods. Notice that tree and brush line on the left? And the wide open space on the right?

gravitt in trees

Well, John found the tree line. With a vengeance.

flooded hole 2

Hole two was unplayable. And, unfortunately, we could not figure out where hole three would be since the tees were also flooded. We eventually found hole 6.

Gravitt jumping streams

We played the rest of the course. Jumping across a raging stream or two. Sadly, both myself and John lost a disc at that course.

One of the roads was closed in the park (presumably due to flooding). But we needed that road to drive to the other course. So we wandered around Temple for a bit. And finally connected up to a road which lead to the other course. Which was much more open and less challenging. So we ditched it and drove home.

Memorial day biking

biking on Memorial day

With this stormy weather over the Memorial day weekend, I was worried that I was not going to be able to ride my bike (at least comfortably). But the rain showers were off and on. And I was able to time the rides where I missed the showers.

Unfortunately, my new route now takes me past a problem house. As I bike by, an aggressive dog there will break out of the fence and chase me down the road. It gets quite close to my bike and growls and barks at me. Fortunately it gives up after a while and never gets close enough to bite me (although I don’t doubt that it would bite me if it was able to).

So I was surprised when I biked past it again today. The same sequence happened. But the truck, which had just pulled out in front of me and picked up its mail, pulled over and shouted at the dog. Calling her Roxanne. I asked if that was her dog as I biked by. But I wasn’t about to stop and have a talk with the supposed owner. Not with the dog six inches away from me.

Wow, Roxanne, what an aggressive bitch you are!

I am going to have to buy some pepper spray and douse the dog the next time it happens. Which I am sure that it will. Since the owners are not likely to fix the fence.

Game Day 05/24/2007

Game #1

Mini Bridge

While we were waiting for everyone to show up, Adam dealt out a hand of mini bridge. And I was the lucky person with 12 points. Sadly, I didn’t turn on the big halogen light and get the aperture up to f/8.0 so that you can see my dummy’s support. But it wasn’t much: two spades and no Aces. So, I bid the minimum spade bid and ran trump when the second heart was led. Adam commented that I should have promoted my club King since I had the Queen in the dummy. Sigh. I should have.

Game #2

Guatemala Cafe

John brought out a new game by Eggert Spiele. This game has a theme, but it plays dry and turns into an abstract game. My mistake was teaming with Jon on my left. Jon had created a black plantation on his first turn. And I did as well on my first turn. Then, he had placed black ships in the corresponding port to increase the multiplier. Next he had tried to score black a couple of times but other players blocked it. However, it can only be blocked so many times. So I thought that I was finally going to score. Adam never gave me a chance to score myself. I could only set up Jon to score it. But I knew that Jon was not going to score it again in the game. Even though it was his highest scoring opportunity with 16 points. I even left black people on the board so he could catch up to my potential score which had not changed the entire game.

Sigh. You can’t do all of the work alone in this game. You need to team up with others. But when that person actively denies their own scoring, you are hosed.


Jon had the mojo tonight for stopping non-desperation GrandTichu calls. On the first stoppage, Adam was left with three Aces and a Phoenix. Apparently, he should have played pair of aces, pair of aces, dog instead of dog.

Game #4


Another game of Battlelore while we waited for Rehana to show up and another game of how sucky can the dice roll for me. Ugh.

Disc Golf 05/24/2007

poison ivy sign

After the cruise was over, Jon and I went to play disc golf at Pease Park since it was so close. It seems that the Poison Ivy warnings are up in force…

new hole 13

It seems that they changed a couple of holes here. Hole 13, instead of being a short run up a hill, is now a much longer hole.

hole 14

And hole 14 is also a tighter run through the cedar trees.

All in all, it was a fun day and it sure beats working.

Austin Party Cruise

film crew at dock

Wow. We actually did a team outing with some morale money at IBM and took a cruise on Lake Austin. The boat was docked next to the Tom Miller dam. And when we arrived, a couple of news camera crews were filming segments for the upcoming Memorial day holiday (where drunk people flock to the area lakes).

film crew on police boat

After they got some free footage of someone unloading their boat, they started filming a police boat. Remember folks, don’t drink and sail!

Tichu on boat

Jon tried teaching Tichu to some new people, others played Texas Hold-Em, and most of the people just sat around and talked.

The weather was not as perfect as it could have been. It was overcast with an occasional sprinkle. But I did manage to get a little sun burnt.

Lunch Time Tichuers 05/22/2007

The game started off alright. The first two Tichu calls were set by opposing bombs. Nothing new there. Ed’s call was also set with a bomb. But the amusing thing, however, was that I was able to go out first when I had two cards left in my hand: a Jack and a three!

The came the Tichu and one/two round. So I called Grand Tichu when my partner picked up his first eight cards. Little did I know that he also was fighting against me. We needed to go out 1/2 for the win. Unfortunately, he kept all of his strong cards and passed me a totally crappy card. So, as a result, I had no chance in going out first (I would have gone out first if he would have passed me his Dragon). Sigh. I will have to remember that in the future. Don’t make GT calls with Jon as a partner…

05/22/2007 The scorecard for a game of Tichu

GT or T bet made or lost

This team scored more points than the other or one twoed

GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T
Ed & AdamR Jon & MarkH
  T- -70  
  -15 T-  
  100 T+  
T+   185  
T- 315    
  615 T+   285  
    90 GT-

Lunch Time Tichuers 05/21/2007

The first two Tichu calls were set by bombs. The next set Tichu was set even though the opposing team had two bombs. I had the perfect hand: AA,JJ,22,Ace high 8 long straight.

So Adam goes on a Tichu calling rampage. While the heroic team slowly crawls ahead to the finishing line. Jon’s Tichu call on the last hand of the game gave our team the win! Woo woo!

05/21/2007 The scorecard for a game of Tichu

GT or T bet made or lost

This team scored more points than the other or one twoed

GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T
Ed & AdamR MarkH & Jon
T- -35    
    265 T-
  -65 T-  
GT+   495  
  355 T+   545  
GT-   560  
  380 T+  
GT+   655  
  870 GT+  

Game Day 05/20/2007

Game #1

Through The Ages

Marty was in town and wanted to play a full game of TtA. And he didn’t have to twist Adam’s and my arm to get us to play. Weirdly, Chapel couldn’t make it. So, Marty invited Harry over.

This game probably took us five hours to play. I went to bed after 12 which meant I lost some precious hours of sleep.

I was able to get Michelangelo as my era 1 leader. Mainly to stop Adam from getting it (he had St. Peter’s Basilica) but I was able to turn him into a point generator. My second and third era leaders were not so good (William Shakespeare and Elvis Presley). Fortunately, I was able to draw the assassinate leader card. And discard it eventually when I didn’t think that my military would get up to strength. Sadly, after that, Adam jumped out into the lead with Sid Meier. I was only able to attempt a raid on him which he defended against.

When the game was in its last round, Adam declared war on me. Usually, the defender gets a chance to respond and build up its defenses. But not in this case. And I had just spent my military in getting a +11 victory point colony. Flawed!

When the scoring was over, I was able to pip Marty by a couple of points for second place! Woo woo!