Seattle Cosmic Game Night, Saturday, 15 March 2003

There IS Such a Thing as a Tesseract!

Seattle Cosmic met again on the Ides of March at the apartment of Marty and Ron Hale-Evans in Kent. Present (in rough order of appearance), were Marty_Hale-Evans? and Ron_Hale-Evans? (me); Timothy_Higgins?; Dan_Crouch?, Alex_Swavely?, John_Braley? and Alex_Rockwell? (arriving in the North_End_Taxi?, that is, Dan's car); ChadUrsoMcDaniel; Meredith_Hale?, Kisa_Griffin?, and Kisa's daughter Alexandra; JT_Thomas?; Nat_Dupree? and Steve_Dupree?; Tim "AlphaTim" Schutz; and Steve_Vall\xE9e?. That makes a total of 16 people in the flesh (including one kid); we also had two virtual visitors, Tom Scutt and Louise Maskill (see the section on Lost_for_Words?, below).

Game night officially started at 5:00 this week. It was a CosmicNight.

Alex R returned A Player of Games by Iain M. Banks to the GameLibrary. I urge gamers in the group who are also SF fans to borrow it and give it a read. Many people in the group have enjoyed this book.


Res Publica

First up, around 5:25, Tim H, John B, and Marty and Ron started a game of Res_Publica?, a SetCollectingGame?, almost a RummyTypeGame, with some deduction aspects and a somewhat thin theme of civilisation building. Tim had received this game as a Christmas present and seemed unsure he was going to like it. It had been panned pretty widely (for a Reiner Knizia game) in its first edition (German); rumour had it that the second edition (American) fixed a few things, and indeed none of us seemed to find anything really wrong with it. Take it as an opener, closer, or filler, and you'll be OK, in my opinion.

L-R: John, Marty, Tim.

Players are trying to collect sets of five ancient person cards (Atlanteans, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, or Romans) or five technology cards (Architecture, Metalworking, the Wheel, etc.). Five of the same person cards get you a City, which scores 3 points; five of the same technology cards get you a monument. Available monuments start at 9 points and decrease in value throughout the game. (I was startled to see that the Pyramids were only worth 7 points.) At the end of each turn, you may draw a number of technology cards equal to the number of cities you have (max 3 cards), or a combination of a person card and city cards. (You always have the option to draw a person card even if you have no cities or monuments.)

On each player's turn, that player has the option to announce either "I have X and/or Y cards" or "I want X and/or Y cards." Limitations: you may only announce two cards, and you may not say both what you have and what you want. Then the other players in turn announce what they have (if you said "I have") or what they want (if you said "I want"). Savvy concealment of what you really need and savvy deduction of what others really need counts big here.

Marty, who is a past mistress at RummyTypeGames, spanked us. I came in last, but not much behind John and Tim, who tied for second. I may buy a copy of this game myself, if only to pretend to myself that I can compete in a Civilization-style game. (I like the theme, but I'm hopeless at resource management and empire-building games.)

Tim's main comment was that we hadn't yet mastered the subtleties of trading: "We need to trade better." (Sounds like a good reason for people to post trading strategies on the TradingGame page. -Paul)

Marty declined a prize.


Marty H-E 32
John B 23
Tim H 23
Ron H-E 20

Comments from the players?



Alex Swavely tried to drum up interest for the domino game 42, but could not find four players, so at 5:30, Reiner Knizia's Traumfabrik came out for the fourth or fifth week in a row at Seattle Cosmic. I am really amazed by the renaissance this game has undergone in our group and online lately. When I introduced it to the group at our Fourth of July extravaganza last year, everyone yawned. Hanno Girke declined to play it on the grounds that all of Knizia's auction games are alike. Now people can't seem to get enough of it, and I've read people saying online that this is their favourite Knizia auction game.

In any case, Alex S won this one, walking away with a copy of Chessboards: The Planes of Possibility by Dave_Howell?.

Alex and Alex fabrik a traum.


Alex S 94
Alex R 88
Dan C 56
Chad McD? 39

Comments from the players?


BANG! (x5)

Another hot game at Seattle Cosmic right now is BANG!? (a.k.a. "Werewolf with strategy"). Five games were played at this game night.


(1) Alex (fists clenched) has a BANG! problem. We may have to do an intervention, dude.
(2) Alex gets to show his stuff.

Hehe. I think that I was cheering for something which had just happened to benefit my partner (Steve D), in the game the picture was taken from. I was an outlaw and had been eliminated, yet Steve D, the other outlaw, managed to pull it out and kill the sherriff, giving the two of us the win. Intervention indeed. ;)



Alexandra Renegade n/a n/a n/a n/a
Kisa G Renegade n/a n/a n/a n/a
Mer H Renegade n/a n/a n/a n/a
Alex R n/a Outlaw Vice Outlaw Renegade
JT Renegade Renegade Sheriff Renegade Sheriff
Nat D Renegade Sheriff Outlaw Sheriff Outlaw
Steve D Renegade Outlaw Renegade Vice Outlaw
Steve V n/a Vice Outlaw Outlaw Vice


Bold: Player won that game.
Italics: Player was killed.
Bold Italics: Player was killed, but their side won anyway.

Well, once again the outlaws carried the night, winning all four games. During one game, Steve D and I were the Renegade and Deputy (respectively), and had a very good chance of killing the outlaws, who were quite weak. However, outlaw Nat jailed us both, and we sat in jail for 3 straight turns, neither of us being able to pull the card necessary to free ourselves. (Its a 1 in 2 chance each turn of breaking free). Had we been able to get out of jail, we could have killed the outlaws and the Sherriff side would most likely have won. However, our bad luck with the jails meant that the sherriff had no backup, and his defenses were gradually weakened and then he was killed, before either one of us could come to his rescue. Another time, it was down to JT (sherriff), myself (renegade), and Nat (outlaw) all at 2 life. I had a gun in my hand that let me play any number of Bang! cards per turn, and a couple Bangs. However, I got put in jail, and was stuck there, again unable to get out. Had I been freed, I would have been able to shoot Nat several times. If this had killed her, I wouldve gotten the 3 card reward and then most likely I would have killed the sherriff as well, leading to a very rare Renegade victory. However, in the end Nat was able to kill JT before I could do anything, and the outlaws won again.

In another round, Steve V and myself were outlaws, and both had good offensive hands, as well as having Jail cards. On the first round, Steve V let loose on the sherriff, getting rid of his defenses (missed cards), and weakening him. I then was able to unload on the sherriff on my turn, and the sherriff Nat was dead before JT even got his first turn! That was the quickest Bang game I have seen, lasting a total of only 4 player's turns. There was much rejoicing by myself and Steve V, and we quickly moved to another game.


The first game of the evening was a role-less, character-less learning game for Alexandra. Thus, in essence, every player was the Renegade, trying to be the last one standing. The first person to die was JT by my hand. I was quickly identified as a threat and taken out by Nat and Alexandra (sitting to either side of me). I know Nat came out of the room a while later looking for another game, but I don't know what else happened in there.

One of the great moments of this game night's regular Bang! games was when JT (after some buttering up by the outlaws) convinced Sheriff Nat to kill her own Deputy, Steve V. Some excellent psychologizing. Another intersting game was Game 3 when JT never even got to play. In that game Steve V scammed me into thinking he was the renegade, so I put JT in jail instead of him (or even Alex, the other outlaw).

As a (concise) side note, I played two 5-player games of Bang! Sunday afternoon. In both games the Sheriff+Vice won. Also in both games the Outlaws were both killed first, and the Renegade seemed apparent and thus the Sheriff and Vice were both able to gang up on him. But the outlaws don't *always* win....


In the game where JT never got his turn, I was the second outlaw, and after Steve V let loose on Nat with several cards (a Bang, a Duel and an Injuns I believe), I was able to play the Magnum which allowed me to play any number of Bang cards in one turn, and then hit Nat the sherriff with three more Bangs in order to finish her off. (My character's ability was that I could shoot other players as if they were one closer, thus allowing me to shoot Nat from across the table with the Magnum). After Steve D jailed JT, Steve V jailed Steve D, and thus only the two outlaws and the sherriff were not in jail. After Steve V attacked the sherriff, I told him that I was the other outlaw, to ensure that he didnt jail me, and I could finish off Nat. I had the third jail card in my hand, and thus even if the game had continued, I could have jailed either the renegade or deputy, whichever of them got out of jail first, to ensure that Steve and I had a large advantage over the sherriff team.

Another memorable play for me was when I was the deputy and JT the sherriff started out by playing a Duel against me. I announced that I was his Deputy, a statement commonly made by all players, and that I had several Bang! cards in my hand, yet I would not use them against him, as I knew that he was my teammate, and instead I would suffer the damage.


Mare Nostrum

At 6:30, five players set up for the hit game (Mare_Nostrum?) of last week (SeattleCosmicGameNight20030308). Amazingly, Kisa passed up the Cosmic_Encounter? game that was starting; he had even said on the mailing list he wanted to play a game of CE with three different expansions. I guess the lure of Mare Nostrum is hard to resist -- it's sort of Civilization Lite (as opposed to Res_Publica?, which is Diet Civilization Lite).

(1) Once again, the rest of the Mediterranean tries to stop Carthage.
(2) They don't.
(3) The shape of Mediterranean civilization near the end of the game.

At one point during our Cosmic Encounter game, John B leaned over to me and, trying not to attract Marty's attention, whispered, "The one looking imperious seems to be winning!" I glanced over and saw Marty presiding over the table like the Empress Theodora, and heard someone at her table mutter that Marty was in the lead.

Unfortunately for Marty, some LederHosen occurred, and Tim H won, as Carthage. (Mark Purtill won as Carthage last week. A trend? Too early to say.) Marty remarked, "I would like to point out that I was unstoppably going to win next turn" and flipped Tim the BelgiumFinger. Tim H was awarded a plastic pig and a dog, two of his favourite animals.


Tim H 1st
Marty H-E 2nd
Alex R 3rd
Kisa G 4th (tied)
Chad McD? 4th (tied)

Around this point, Meredith and Alexandra were taking a break in the bedroom. Mer was reading Alexandra Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.


I have switched my and Kisa's names on the score, as I was able to build a hero on the final turn, putting me in third. If Kisa also build a hero or wonder on that turn, then the two of us should both be tied for third, with only Chad in 4th. I dont know whether Kisa was able to build a hero or wonder or not...if so, someone please correct it, and then delete this comment.

Well, I was determined to do nothing to stop Tim H this game, as in the last two games I played with him, we engaded in some nasty conflicts. (First in Abentauer Menshheitt, when the two of us were winning, and I kept hitting him with the robber (neanderthal), and then in Taj Mahal, where I foolsihly conflicted with him on the first round, fighting over the purple card and the elephants. In that Taj Mahal game I had little other choice, as all the cards in my hand were heavy on elephants and purple cards, but I should have decided to not play a card, and instead draw cards and prepare for later rounds. By fighting him, I weakened us both, and did not have the strength necessary to win later conflicts, leading to my humiliating defeat. Tim was upset with me during/after both of those games. I planned to make up for it in this game, by not conflicting with him at all. Thus, the great Rome-Carthage rivalry was nonexistant, and Tim carried the day. (I was Rome, and Tim was Carthage).

At first, I gained an early lead in the number of resource cards I was gaining each turn, as I focused on building multiple markets and filling my territories with caravans. However, I neglected to expand early enough, and thus got stuck being unable to build a caravan at a later turn. By the time I was able to build caravans in regions outside my starting provinces, they had run out. I realized that it was more important to expand at the beginning and build new caravans, and then build the markets later on, as the supply of markets lasts much longer.

Interestingly, I followed basically the same strategy that Marty did in her first game, when she was Rome, to basically the same results. I got an early lead which then vanished as soon as the caravans were gone, as I had less diversity of goods than everyone else, and didnt have a way to get up to 9 different goods very easily, in order to build the wonders and heroes necessary to win the game.

I also made a couple mistakes in where I placed my military units. On the turn in which the caravans ran out, I had hoped to build a caravan and a market, and set myself up for gaining a huge amount of resources per turn. However, Marty selected me to take my turn last, thus screwing me out of building the caravan. Chad was to play directly before me, playing Greece, and I threatened that if he build the last caravan, that I would use all of my resources to build a huge military right next to him and take him down. He build the caravan, and I built the military. However, I realized soon after that I should have build less legions right next to his provinces I planned to attack, and should have built a defensive legion and anopther fortress to protect my own territory. While my attack was successful in taking two provinces from Chad, he was able to move his two legions through a series of boats into one of my provinces. The end result was that neither of us really gained from the conflict, and merely wasted our resources, while Marty and Tim went for the win by building wonders.

On the final turn, I managed to acquire the 9 different resources necessary to build a Hero, and did so, in an attempt to get myself into third place. It was clear to me that either Marty or Tim was going to win the game, but I didnt know who. Marty built a second wonder on the final turn, giving her a total of 3 wonders and heroes, but then Tim surprised us all by building the Pyramids to win the game. He had managed to acquire a full set of resources through the trading phase. I actually felt at that point that Tim was probably going to win (even before he surprised us with the pyramid build), because it looked to me that he could move his military units in in such a way as to deny Marty from being able to get the nine tax cards she needed for a 4th wonder or hero, while I felt that no one could really stop Tim from getting the nine resource cards he needed. But I am not really sure. Marty will probably dispute this and state that she could have prevented Tim from stopping her. That may be true, I dont really know.

I plan to play this game again, and I feel I will do much better on my second game, as I made several mistakes this game that I learned from. Primarily, that I needed to expand more in the start, instead of building up my infrastructure, because its possible to build the markets later, but the caravans run out too fast.


Cosmic Encounter

Since it was a CosmicNight, five of us set up for Cosmic_Encounter?. Dan Crouch, who hadn't played in many years, was eager to play again, and told us a story of how he had once traded his guitar for a fully-expanded CE set. He moved out of town, two years went by, and he still hadn't received his copy of CE from his friend. When he finally bopped back into town and demanded his copy of Cosmic Encounter, he was asked, "Uh, you want your guitar back?"

The game got going around 8:15. Setup took longer than the game!

During our standard power-selection routine, someone passed me Werewolf, which requires Moons; we weren't using Moons, so I tossed Werewolf and drew a random power. It was Silencer, which is quite powerful, but I tossed it too because I really wanted Spiff (which lets you get a base if you lose badly enough; I've seen people get their fifth base with it), and I judged Henderson (which lets you "steal" bases, similar to Machine) to be a better match for Spiff. Someone else was passed an inappropriate power, tossed it, and drew a random power as well.


Alex S Delegator-Empath
Dan C Demigod-Void
John B Wrack-Disease
Ron H-E Spiff-Henderson
Tim S Destiny-Serpent

(1) Alex S and Tim S.
(2) The dread Purple Disease has spread throughout the Yellow System.

As mentioned, the game was fast. It ran approximately as follows. Turns are numbered and regular challenges are marked with "a" and "b".

1a. I (Ron) attack Alex S. I have a hand of low Attack cards and one War card. I figure Alex the Empath will play a Compromise if he has one, turning my low Attack into a Compromise, so I play a low Attack. Alex plays an even lower Attack. I take a base. As Henderson, I then point the Cone one planet counterclockwise to another of Alex's planets. I play a War card. If he plays a Compromise, he doesn't beat me as he normally would, because my War card becomes a Compromise too, and maybe I can make a deal. If he plays any Attack card, I win. He plays an Attack card, and I get my second base. I decide to terminate this regular challenge in case I lose my next Henderson challenge and all my bases up to that point.
1b. I play a second regular challenge, this time against Dan. Dan invites a lot of allies and plays a high Attack card. I play a low Attack card and lose by more than 10 points, so I get a base by crash-landing as Spiff. It is the end of my turn and I have three bases.
2a. John starts his turn, but Dan interrupts with the Wild Disease card and forces us all to lose lots of cards. Alex loses his Delegator power. John then draws Yellow (me) in the Destiny Deck. I say encouragingly, "I'm feeling friendly", but John is not, and plays an Attack 7 versus my Compromise, taking a base with four of his tokens.
2b. John draws a "rainbow" Destiny Card and chooses Yellow (me) again. As Disease, he can now spread some of his tokens to another planet in my system, so before he even challenges me, he has two bases in my system. He obtains a bunch of allies and lands more tokens in my system for his third base.
3a. It is Alex's turn. He draws Purple (John) in the Destiny Deck. As Wrack, John offers Alex a base for a base, or else Alex will lose two bases on which he only has one token each. Alex accepts and John gets his fourth base.
3b. Alex draws Yellow (me) as the opponent for his second challenge. This gives John (as Disease) the chance to spread to yet another planet in my system. This gives him his fifth base, and he wins while I'm talking to Nat about the Buffy game.

John won two bases by normal attack, one by Wrack, and two by spreading his Disease. Good going, John! As Disease, John was awarded a plague of frogs.

John remarked (looking pointedly at me), that this week, no one was shouting, "What is the tiebreaker?"

(1) Unordered frogs.
(2) Ordered frogs (tetrahedral formation).

Comments from the players?


Buffy the Vampire Slayer (x3)

Five players played three quick games of Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer? in the computer room. (Think of it as Lord_of_the_Rings? with the Sauron_Expansion?, Lite.) The scenario chosen was The Master, for all three games. Mer H, Nat D, and JT took turns playing Evil, and Evil won every game. The three Evil players were given plastic toads for their quick victories. (In one game, Buffy was actually sired as a vampire!)

(1) The forces of Niceness repeatedly take a serious beating.
(2) The gang decides to march down the street facing evil along the way.

Roles for Game 1

Mer H The Master
Nat D Buffy
Steve D Willow
Steve V Xander


The consensus was that Evil has a serious advantage in the Master scenario. On the last game, with JT as Master, we got some lucky die rolls and managed to get the forces of evil a bit on the run. But sooner or later The Master and his Minions were beating up on Buffy and killed her. If you think about it, I don't see how it can go any other way: The goals of Good and Evil are identical (kill the other side's "leader," be it The Master or Buffy) but the abilities of each side are unequal (the Master has 20 hit points, but Buffy has only 12; the master's minions are stronger than the supporting good characters, and yet the master has more cards that let him bring a new minion into play should he lose one). The only advantage the good players have is the Weapon, Help, and Research cards, but it takes a turn to pick up each card, far too slow to be useful.


Give Me the Brain

Next up, the five Cosmic players played a quick game of Give_Me_the_Brain? (the new colour edition). This is the card game in which zombie fast food workers have to pass around a brain (represented by a six-sided die) in order to get their menial jobs done and return to their graves before the sun rises.

I don't want to brag (much), but this is one of "my" games, and like Citadels?, for some time after I bought my first copy, I was undefeated at it. My theory is that this is because both GMTB and Citadels are fast, highly tactical games without much strategy, and with a terrific "fog of war". Master strategists like John B thus spin their wheels, whereas gamers who are better at maximising their momentary advantage (like me) do quite well.

Although Alex and Dan were both down to one card at some point during the game, I emptied my hand first and won the game. I declined a prize.

Comments from the players?


Lost for Words (Alpha Playing Cards)

AlphaTim Schutz and I adjourned to the computer room during the great 9:30 mixing of players to play Lost_for_Words?, the card game designed by Tom Scutt for Tim's Alpha_Playing_Cards? GameSystem and loosely based on Reiner Knizia's more conventional card game Lost_Cities?. Tim and Meredith played it last week (SeattleCosmicGameNight20030308) and had a great time, so I was eager to try it.

Now, usually the screensaver on the main computer in our computer room (the very computer that is serving you this web page) is an animated tesseract, a four-dimensional hypercube, as shown below.

Imagine my surprise when text from the designer of Lost for Words, Tom Scutt, suddenly began appearing on my computer screen, as if by email!

We're very excited about being mentioned in the Seattle Cosmic Game Night report. We actually started reading them a couple of nights ago... It is a sad fact that my partner Louise and I became strangely addicted to reading the archives of the Seattle gaming group - it's like following a sort of spielfriek soap opera. We probably should get out more :)

When I asked Tom whether we could quote him, he answered,

Please feel free to include the "spielfriek soap opera" quote... I feel I should justify our need to live vicariously in this fashion by pointing out that we have three children under the age of six.

He then went on to say that, being stuck at home so much, he and Louise had developed some little-known but advanced technology called a two-way tesseractic telepresence link, or TTT. This would warp the space between his location in the UK and our location in Seattle, allowing the transmission of signals faster than light between the sites and enabling Tom and Louise to observe -- and even participate in -- our game of Lost for Words. It would be just like the tesseract space warp that occurs in Madeleine L'Engle's juvenile science fiction novel, A Wrinkle in Time. Here's a photo of Tom and Louise playing cards with me and Tim:

I realised people might not be able to see Tom and Louise clearly in the photo above, so I hastily made a screenshot of them as they appeared looking out of our computer:

Aren't they both just cute as a bug? (I don't know if you have that expression in the UK, T&L, but it's a good thing.)

After a while, Tom and Louise had to go to bed -- it was 5:30 AM where they were, and it had been a long night for them setting up the link. I'll just say that Lost for Words is a very good WordGame?, and if, as AlphaTim tells me, Tom says this is one of the weakest of the roughly ten games he has designed for Alpha Playing Cards, we are in for some fun when we see the rest.

See the bottom of the newsletter for more on the "Seattle Cosmic as soap opera" motif.


Tim H 182
Ron H-E 164

Tim and I both played some words that we weren't sure we could find in a standard dictionary, but we each cut the other slack. Questionable words played by Ron: monkeyed ("He monkeyed with the carburetor.") Questionable words played by Tim: texas (what Tim called "an old trick Scrabble word" meaning the wheelhouse on a boat) and mouthy (which Tim, who sits and walks dogs for a living, says refers to a puppy that likes to gnaw on human hands).

--Ron_Hale-Evans?, with Marty_Hale-Evans?

I went to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary and looked up the words in doubt and I am happy to say all three words are... well... words, although the meaning of the word mouthy is a little different then how I am used to it being used, and I am close but not exactly right on what the word texas means. Ron was dead on about his word. I guess I can give Ron an extra 17 points to make up for it.

Main Entry: mouthy
Pronunciation: 'mau-thE, -[th]E
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): mouth\xB7i\xB7er; -est
Date: 1589
1 : excessively talkative : GARRULOUS
2 : marked by bombast or back talk

Main Entry: tex\xB7as
Pronunciation: 'tek-s&s, -siz
Function: noun
Etymology: Texas, state of U.S.; from the naming of cabins on Mississippi steamboats after states, the officers' cabins being the largest
Date: 1857
: a structure on the awning deck of a steamer that contains the officers' cabins and has the pilothouse in front or on top

Main Entry: ^2^monkey
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): mon\xB7keyed; mon\xB7key\xB7ing
Date: 1859
transitive senses : MIMIC, MOCK
intransitive senses
1 : to act in a grotesque or mischievous manner
2 a : FOOL, TRIFLE -- often used with around b : TAMPER -- usually used with with

--Tim "AlphaTim" Schutz

Oh pish and tosh, Tim; you won fair and square. When you play a WordGame? like this, you don't usually need to define a word, just prove that it is in common use -- which you have now done! However, I will take this opportunity to point out that my losing score of 164 this week beat your winning score of 161 last week (SeattleCosmicGameNight20030308). :)

Tom Scutt later wrote in:

We're very happy with our appearance in the Seattle Cosmic Wiki; though slightly annoyed at you spilling the beans on our TTT technology... have you any idea how many calls from defence contractors I've had to field today? :)

What? Didn't any of them ask you for the rules to Lost_for_Words??


I just wanted to jump in here and tell Tom how much I like Lost_for_Words?. I would love to see more of your Alpha Card games. I'm one of Tim's biggest Alpha Card fans.


Die Handler

Around 9:30, four players started Die_Handler?, the game of commerce in medieval Europe. I have only played it once, but it is one of Chad's favourite games, so I hope he'll describe it more below.

(1) Misnomer: No one actually handles a die in Die Handler.
(2) Ah, such a pretty game.

There are no formal scores in this game, only social ranks. Ranks for the game were as follows:


John B 1st (Ratsherr)
Chad McD? 2nd (Alderman)
Alex S Tied for 3rd (Patrizer)
Dan C Tied for 3rd (Patrizer)

Comments from the players?


Tigris & Euphrates

(1) T&E: The game in which even people who know what they're doing don't know what they're doing.
(2) Civilizations rise and fall.

Also around 9:30, four players started a game of Tigris_&_Euphrates?. Tim H warned he was lousy at it before the game started, and Marty told me afterwards, "I can't understand T&E. I'm playing at this point just to understand it!"

Kisa won with 13 points. Mer did quite well with 11, and told me later she had forgotten she had six tiles with which to defend, not just four, so she was playing with a severe handicap all game.

I also want to jump in and say how much I love T&E. I've been working a lot lately to get myself into strategy games, and I suppose this is the first one that 'clicked' for me, but I just love it. This was a really good game. I was surprised how far the scores were from each other because it seemed closer. Tim was hammering on me most of the game, and he also forced me to put leaders in two different kingdoms, which I hadn't had to deal with yet. It added a great challenge to the game. Of course, when I figured out that I could have defended against him more than once if I'd actually been playing with all 6 tiles, but oh well. He mentioned at one point 'You'd need 5 of this color to beat me' and I thought 'Yeah, right... 5?! I only have 4 to start out with!' So, you'd think I would have gotten the hint...



Kisa G 13
Mer H 11
Tim H 7
Marty H-E 6

Tim H left at 10:50, after the T&E game.

Comments from the players?


New City (piecepack)

(1) Give Me the Brain bid card #32: "I forgot how to wear a baseball cap!"
(2) The New City board.

At 10:13 Tim S and I continued playing games in the computer room. Tim and I decided we would play the winner of the third piecepack game design contest, called New_City?. Tim figured out the rules while I snapped photos of the other games that were going on -- thanks, Tim!

New City is a GermanStyleGame for the piecepack in which players attempt to build the most prosperous quadrant in a city. To this end, they build residential areas, entertainment districts, slums, and so on (all tiles), each of which has advantages and disadvantages. For example, Parks only generate one gold piece per turn, so I let Tim obtain two or three for next to nothing in the auctions -- but it turns out that if parks receive certain "improvements" (coins), they generate a lot of revenue because they have a high tile value (5). The player who has the most gold at the end of the game is the winner.

New City is normally a four-player game, but there is a two-player variant in which both players take two quadrants of the city, and the player whose lower-scoring quadrant scores higher is the winner. Just about everyone except Tim left game night around 11:30, so we called the game after the end of Turn 3, around 11:55. Tim's lower-scoring quadrant (Red) scored higher than mine (Green), so we declared him the de facto winner. We agreed that next time, we would try to play with four players.

Tim was awarded a set of Fluxx Blanxx. He said his daughters would enjoy making up new Fluxx cards.


Blue Ron H-E 29
Black Tim H 27
Red Tim H 19
Green Ron H-E 13

Note: New City, in an attempt to get the most out of the components of the piecepack, uses a weird base-8 scoring track. We quickly switched to using Cheapass Money instead.

Comments from the players?


Closing Thoughts: A Celebration of Special Ness

In the section on Lost for Words above, Tom Scutt writes that, way over across the Atlantic, he finds our session reports almost like a "spielfriek soap opera". I know that we have readers all over the world, and Marty and I have often speculated that our newsletters may have a soap opera aspect for some people.

Some people may think our newsletters are inappropriate, full of distracting "colour commentary", or uncomfortable. Unlike a lot of game groups, who sanitise their session reports and provide only "appropriate" information, such as what games were played, the scores, and (sometimes) what strategies were used, the Seattle Cosmic newsletters are (much as I hate to admit it) more like so-called reality TV. What are Dave and Ron quarreling about this week? Ah, I see Jay won another game by a wide margin, but he's the only one who's played the game or even read the rules. Who's sleeping with whom this year? (Examples can be multiplied.) We also do goofy crap like the photo of Chad with the lampshade on his head. (WHY, Chad, WHY?) The point is, it's Dirty Laundry 'R' Us here at Seattle Cosmic... but we (mostly) like it that way. We like taking the risk of being real, and it's nice to see that some other people like it too. A fair number of our members have joined because of the newsletters, which makes us even happier.

So here's to the weird, quirky, boisterous people of Seattle Cosmic, and here's to the friends like Tom and Louise we sometimes make just by being ourselves and talking about it.

Special thanks to Marty this week for helping with captions.

--Ron_Hale-Evans? and Marty_Hale-Evans?

Supporting Seattle Cosmic

The Center for Ludic Synergy and Seattle Cosmic Game Night are associates of Funagain Games. This means that 5% of your purchase there goes toward supporting us if you buy games via THIS VERY LINK. Any game you buy during a web session you start by clicking the previous link qualifies; in fact, if you click it and bookmark the Funagain page that appears, you can donate 5% to Seattle Cosmic whenever you buy games, without having to return to this page. It's just as easy to bookmark as not, so why not make this your regular Funagain link? THIS MEANS YOU.

As of March 2003, people have spent over a thousand dollars through our affiliate program, and we have earned almost $60 from it, which we are planning to use for charitable purposes. (See AgogProject for more details.) Keep bookmarking and clicking the affiliate link, folks -- it works!


Saturday, 22 March 2003, 5:00 PM at the house of Timothy_Higgins? in Mill Creek (Bothell). Come play for fun and FABULOUS PRIZES!

Remember, Seattle Cosmic Game Night occurs every weekend, in one of three locations: Kent, Mill Creek, or West Seattle. Email Ron Hale-Evans for a full schedule and directions. If you come, please bring a snack or drink to share (cookies, chips, soda, juice, etc.)

NewslettersFor?2003 | CategoryGameNight? | FrontPage