Another year has passed, which brings me to the start of the Lone Star Game Fest. I bypassed the usual Thursday gaming in order to pack and go to bed early. I left at around 6:15 am and drove east on 79. Google maps had me take FM-1660 south when I got to Hutto. But, when I saw the new SR-130 toll road, I was not about to try and find an unfamiliar road in the dark. Besides, the toll road was still at its introductory free price. It linked up to US-290 which I then took down to Houston.
US-290 is interesting because it is a road where you can drive 70. Yet it passes through all these towns. A couple are no stop light towns. They slow you down to 55. At one point I looked up and noticed that I was going north-east. WTF? I thought Houston was south-east of Austin. It was around Burton, TX. A road hiccup, I guess.
I made it in at around 9:15. The drive through Houston was a blight of interstates and big box sprawl. I wonder if there are any houses in Houston because I sure didn’t see any. I had one tense moment when I was in the left lane and realized that I had to be in the right lane immediately to make it to another interstate highway. I just put on my blinker and forced my way over. I think that the frontage roads here train people to just accept that behavior. After all, you are transferring from a three lane, 65 mile per hour road to a three lane, 45 mile per hour road and then making a right turn into a business.
When I got to Mosley road, I pulled into the first Marriott hotel. Which was a mistake. It seems that there are three Marriott hotels that are besides each other. And mine was the third. Go figure.
After I dropped my luggage in the room, I went down to scope out the scene. There was already a table of gamers playing. Kevin was there setting up and he started a game called Desert Bazaar. Which was designed by another gamer, Brian Yu. The rules are simple. But with analyzing gamers it takes a little longer than it should.
The board is a hexagonal map of the desert. Tents are built on that map that hold bazaars. There are four types of bazaars that are color coded red, blue, green, and purple. There are two parts to this game:
Collect materials: Take a card from one of the four supply decks. Roll three dice. The dice have on them the four colors, one blank desert, and one wild color. You can pick one of the four colors and get the number of cards that was rolled on the dice. Optionally, you may set aside one die and re-roll the other two. However, if the color that you picked did not show up on the re-roll, you loose any chance of getting cards.
Build: There are two groups of 4 tiles and you pick one to draw from. The tiles have three
colors that are required to build them. Already built tiles that have ownership markers can
generate the color of the tent pictured on the tile (which means you do not need to play a card
matching that color). As soon as 7 contiguous tiles are placed, then that group scores one
point per ownership marker and the ownership markers are removed from that group. Groups
can never exceed 7 in size. If a tile is placed by itself it scores two points. Otherwise, it will
not score until it reaches 7 in size or only at the end of the game.
I tried out a new strategy by choosing spice as the third player. Sadly, it didn’t work all that well. Also, people kept doing different things than I thought they would.
Unfortunately, players cheated during the game. Player A operates a shipping company and expands it by placing a new ship, I ship rubber to cities, then player C tried to operate a rubber company but they notice that they cannot ship rubber because the city has been occupied already by me. So then player A undoes the ship placement and places it to help player C be able to ship that rubber. Both players have played the game before so that wasn’t an excuse. Sigh.
I just had to try this game out. The company, Fragor Games, made a splash with their second game because it had such nice figures. This game continues that tradition by adding more nice figures. The game play didn’t wow me. And the pieces don’t justify its expensive price. But I had to at least try it once.
John brought out UR. It is a tile collection game where you fight over ownership of the tiles. Tiles have two colors on them (one on each side). The color that is face up determines what action you can perform if you have pieces on the tile. The actions are:
- agriculture – put two tokens on every green tile that has your tokens. Keep your tokens on adjacent tiles and remove tokens on all non-adjacent tiles.
- commerce – put tokens on every purple tile. The number of tokens that you can place is one for adjacent orthogonal enemy owned tiles and one for non-existent adjacent orthogonal spots.
- culture – put one token on adjacent orthogonal tiles that are occupied by you.
- politics – redistribute your tokens where ever you want. There is a limit of five tokens per tile.
- war – attack another tile. Losses are the number of enemy tokens and one extra if the tile is a different color than where you attacked from. You then move tokens into the attacked spot.
You have one tile in your hand that determines your two actions. You can skip an action to add one token to an already existing controlled tile. Or you can skip both actions to put one token on an empty token. After performing your actions, you then pick an empty tile that is different than the one you hold and then replace that tile for the one in your hand. At the end of the game, you score triangle points for different colored tiles that you control.
I started out with Italy again. But this time France did not hose me over by going into to Mediterranean Sea. Consequently, I was able to build Italy up quite well. I also had shares in England (from the start) and Germany. But the people who took those countries over didn’t increase their multipliers. The person who was controlling Russia realized that they could force another Taxation to end the game. Sigh. I tried warning them. But I still scored second place.