Seattle Cosmic Game Night

(Saturday, 20 May 2000)



Seattle Cosmic met again for a game night on Saturday, 20 May 2000. Everyone had fun, and, far more importantly, no drive-by shootings by rival game clubs took place FOR AT LEAST THE THIRD WEEK IN A ROW! Present were seven people: in no particular order, Ron and Marty Hale-Evans, Mark Purtill, Dave Adams, Paul Unwin, John Braley, and Peter Schultz.

Mark and Dave showed up right around 8:00. Marty had previously said she was going out with her sister Meredith (who was present the week before) to take in some Irish fiddling, so while we were waiting for the others, Mark, Dave, and I decided we'd play a quick game of Aquarius, another game by the makers of Fluxx, Looney Labs.

Aquarius is sort of like dominoes with special power cards. Certain cards have icons on them representing various of the five alchemical elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Aether). Players draw a secret card at the beginning of the game that tells them which element they have, and then try to lay down the icon cards so that they form an unbroken chain of seven of their element. Other cards let you exchange hands or element cards with other players.

Paul, Peter, and John arrived soon after we started Aquarius, so we had to cut it short, but Dave was the de facto winner, as he was well on his way to a chain of seven when we quit. I believe his element was fire. Here's a snapshot of the board (Mark added a few cards so the layout would be more typical):

In the flurry of finding chairs for the new arrivals, I forgot to give Dave his prize. Dave, you can collect it the next time you come.

Marty discovered Meredith couldn't make it to the concert, so she decided to game with us after all. We were ready to play Cosmic, but now we had 7 players. Marty volunteered to sit out and take photos, saying Cosmic made her head swim anyway. This made it 6.

Everyone drew two random powers, and groaned when Mark drew both the Virus and the Plant -- a couple of VERY good powers. No one else's were anywhere near as good, so we made a practice of ganging up on Mark, especially early in the game. Here's Mark doing his best snarling, villainous impression of what Darth Vader looks like under the mask, as the five other players attack him via the Cone:

Peter, as Grief-Vacuum, loved to be sent to the Warp. As Vacuum, he got to pick other tokens to bring with him; as Grief, he got to take extra cards. Because of the Grief power, he usually had a massive hand of cards. This photo doesn't do it justice:

Here are Dave and Mark trying to look cute and innocuous enough for me to invite them as offensive allies, as Paul looks skeptical in the foreground. Poor Paul; he spent a lot of the game attending to the frozen pizza in the oven, and had little time for tactical niceties. I'd be grumpy too.

By the way, Marty claims that this is my head:

You might think that this settles the weeks-old debate over whether I have a head. However, I claim that this is not in fact my head, but a mere arrangement of electrons, photons, and bits in JPEG format. The debate rages on...

Thanks to concerted effort on the part of the five other players, lots of people (Dave, Peter, and I, as well as Mark) were up to 4 foreign bases near the end of the game. It looked as if I would get a fifth base on my turn, but I wanted an ally or two to help me push the numbers over the edge. I invited Peter and Dave, but drew the line at Mark, the all-powerful Plant-Virus. "Nothing personal, Mark," I said. "It's just a matter of pride."

Peter, Dave, and I won the challenge, and got our 5 bases. Peter decided he'd whittle the 3-way joint win down to a 2-way by playing a card that eliminated one of Dave's bases. There was some debate over whether this was legal -- wasn't 5 bases an instantaneous win with no chance of appeal? (There is currently a discussion on this at the Warp. I don't know how long the "5 bases" discussion will stay at this URL, though, so poke around if you have to.) The eventual consensus was that "5 foreign bases to win" really means "5 uncontested foreign bases to win", and if you can play a card to undo someone's fifth base, the game goes on.

Peter and I were declared the winners, and for his valor, Peter was awarded the Amphibians Package, a compilation of frogs and whatnot from Archie McPhee. Hey, some of them even glowed in the dark!

Next up was Bohnanza, the German game about bean farming. It's actually a negotiation game wherein players try to collect the best-scoring beans to plant, harvest, and bring to market. Sounds dull, but it is quite fun. 3 to 7 players could play with Bohnanza Expansion 1, so Marty played this time.

The game is actually pretty easy, but took some getting used to. The rules translations from German are confusing, and the game mechanisms are novel: you can't shuffle or reorder the cards in your hand, and you have particular slots, or "bean fields" into which you must "plant" your beans at certain times:

Naturally the Seattle Cosmic slug wanted a piece of the bean action, though it prefers lettuce:

Notice the cute cartoons on the cards in the above photo. The one on the left is a Sojabohne, or soy bean, making a peace sign; the one in the middle is a Saubohne, or pig bean, swimming in filth; and the one on the right is a Kaffeebohne, or coffee bean, many-armed like Kali, frenziedly phoning, faxing, taking notes, etc.. On the back of the card at the bottom, you can see a gold coin with a winged bean (your beans turn into coins when you sell them).

Here's another shot of the game. Marty says this one should be captioned, "AtsaLOTTA beans!" That does look like what Dave is saying, doesn't it? (Amazingly, there were no fart jokes during the game. I couldn't believe it, but I wasn't going to, er, crack one...)

I had heard that people could spoil your crops by making you play incompatible beans into your bean fields, so my main strategy lay in buying a third field right away, and keeping my fields open by selling my beans for short-term profits whenever I could. This turned out not to be as big a factor as I thought, at least in the short game we played (we only went through the deck once instead of the three times we were supposed to), and Peter, part of whose strategy was to create the biggest crops possible, cleaned up. He had warned us on his first meeting that he tended to do really well at games involving money. We'll have to watch out during Acquire...

For his second prize of the evening, we gave Peter New Games for the Whole Family, another book of cooperative games:

That was about it; people tidied up and went home. AND THERE WERE NO DRIVE-BY SHOOTINGS!

I hope you'll join us again on Saturday, 27 May for another Seattle Cosmic session. It will be a non-Cosmic week, since we played Cosmic on the 20th. Dave and I want to play Acquire, and we may break into two Acquire games, because Dave doesn't like to play it with more than 3 or 4 people. (Dave and I both have the new Hasbro edition, so this should not be a problem.)

Remember, however, that I cannot absolutely guarantee there will be no drive-by shootings this week. You play at your own risk. We may have just been lucky the last few meetings...



Saturday, 27 May 2000, 8:00 PM at Ron and Marty's in Kent.

Remember, game nights at Ron and Marty's are every Saturday at 8:00 PM. Come play for fun and FABULOUS PRIZES! Please bring a snack or drink (cookies, chips, soda, juice, etc.).

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All photos on this page copyright © 2000 by Ron Hale-Evans except where otherwise noted.

Maintainer: Ron Hale-Evans, rwhe@apocalypse.org
Page last updated 5 June 2000.