Tied up with Netrunner

Noise-card-a

Sheer and I were able to play several games of Netrunner this week. I was the Runner, and Sheer was the Corporation. I used Gabriel Santiago twice, and Noise twice. Sheer’s games were all played using Haas-Bioroid.

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All were close, tense matches, finishing up with two wins apiece. In three out of the four games, the victory was by the slimmest of margins.

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For example, in one game I had the chance to draw the card I needed for the win from Sheer’s hand. He had three cards. Two out of three would have given me the win. I drew the wrong one. (Of course!) In the next turn, Sheer went on to claim the win.

In another game, Sheer was set up to get the win in his next turn. What could I do about it in my turn? Well, I did a run on R&D (his draw deck) which, at great costs, succeeded. The top card turned out to be an agenda, and that gave me the win, instead of him. Hooray!

We have had a lot of close games, and our general conclusion is that the game is very well balanced. Sure, there have been blowouts, but these have very much been in the minority. The more I play this game, the more I like it. I’m glad I picked up several of the expansions during my London trip.

Dominion

To finish off the night we played a couple of games of Dominion: Intrigue.

In the first, Sheer went with a Saboteur strategy, while I invested in cash. My purchases worked out faster than his Saboteur could destroy them, and that gave me the win. In the second game, the roles were reversed, and I could not keep pace with his buying. So, one win each.

A night of good gaming, with some memorable moments, thanks to a couple of great game designs. Gaming as it was meant to be.

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Bringing back the UK

I did bring some games back with me from London. As you will see from a later post, games were not the main purchase. I collected some Netrunner sets, like Creation and Control.

creation-control

And I also picked up a newly released Ticket to Ride variant: United Kingdom. It also includes Pennsylvania.

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I’m looking forward to trying them both out.

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Netrunner deck building

netrunner-pic
I finally had the time to sit down with Netrunner (and Sheer) and have a go at deck building, using just the core set. It absolutely adds to the gaming experience in a positive way, though with no advance preparation it meant we ended up only playing a couple of matches. (Sheer won both as the Corporation.)

Afterwards, I began to wonder if I shouldn’t have bought more of the expansions. But sanity prevailed; there’s more than enough good gaming in the core box. Plus, I do have the first cycle of expansions…

If you have access to an opponent (because this has close to zero solitaire playability) I thoroughly recommend this game. It is a great mix of bluff, planning, resource management, skill, and luck.

 

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Back to glory

nothanks

After an enforced break, this week saw a return to a euro gaming session. I was joined by Amiram, Peleg, Sheer, Susan, and Rosalynn.

Sheer’s watch was acting up, so he was late. Until he arrived, we busied ourselves with a quick game of No Thanks (aka Geschenkt). Peleg one with a single figure score. Well done that man!

Then we split into two groups.

Peleg and Sheer had several high energy games of Netrunner. As Sheer said afterwards that the more he played it, the more he enjoyed it, this game will definitely be back for more.

Amiram, Rosalyyn, Susan, and I played a couple of games of Dominion: Adventures. There’s a lot to grasp for those who are new to the deckbuilding style of game, and especially one as supercharged as Adventures. So, the first game saw some tentative play by novices Amiram and Rosalynn. However, that all changed in the second game, with both Amiram and Rosalynn pushing very hard indeed, and coming within one card of victory. Unfortunately for them, and me, Susan excels at this game, and she was the winner in both games. Let’s hear it for Dominion champ Susan!

Rosalyyn, Sheer, Susan and I finished with a quick game of the classic Reibach and Co. Rosalynn jumped into a first round lead, and never looked back. She easily held on for the win. Way to go, Rosalynn!

After all of that, the adrenaline was flowing and I could not get to sleep, even though it was late. The buzz was terrific. I love gaming!

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You cannot run. You cannot hide.

Sheer and I had an extended session of Netrunner.

Sheer had been looking for a while for me to introduce him to this game, and he was an enthusiastic and quick learner.

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We used the recommended out-of-the-box decks, with Sheer taking the Runner against my Corporation for the first two games.

Game one.

I drew a handful of Agendas and couldn’t protect them. Sheer made a successful run on my deck, and two runs on deployed servers. I came close to eliminating him with an Ambush, but not close enough.

Game two.

I drew a good starting selection of Ice and Ambushes, and a money engine that set me up for all situations. I soon scored a couple of Agendas. That made Sheer keen to make more runs, and my Ambush killed him off.

Game three.

We switched sides. Sheer let slip that he was holding a ton of Agendas, but I refrained from taking advantage of their unprotected status. Instead, I let him play out his hand, while I tried to deploy my own forces.

We were at 5-5 when, in quick succession, he ran a couple of bluffs. I brilliantly ignored these, only to continue the behavior when he he ran a genuine Agenda to claim a 7-5 win.

Well played, Sheer!

This only scratches the surface. We have yet to try any of the deckbuilding aspects of the game, so it was good to see that Sheer seemed to enjoy himself and is keen to play more. Peleg and John have also shown interest in this, so it should get further play.

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Acquiring a win

acquire

This week’s session saw newcomer Amiram, John, Sheer, and Yehuda join Susan and me for a varied night of gaming encounters.

While I waited for Yehuda, I setup Amiram, John, Sheer, and Susan to play the classic Ticket to Ride: Europe.

Amiram was the only one completely new the game, but he picked it up well, and wasn’t that far away. Poor John, who had played the app version was rather cut up by the human players in the real game! Susan had the most tickets completed, but Sheer’s combiantion of tickets and longest network meant he was the winner.

Yehuda and I played Netrunner and Tash-Kalar while the others finished off their Ticket to Ride game. We scored one win apiece.

Susan retired, and the remaining five of us played Acquire. I think both Amiram and John were new to this game, but again both picked it up well. Indeed, John did so well I think he finished second, with Amiram, Sheer, and Yehuda close behind. But I got the win. (Don’t ask me why, but there are some games I know I will do well at, no matter what. Acquire is one of them.)

Thanks to all who came for helping make the night great fun.

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Hidden agendas

coins

Newcomer John joined Susan and I for a game of classic Dominion. Susan’s favorite card, Militia, was included in the available Action Cards and so it saw a lot of, er, action. John wasn’t shy about using it either. I saw myself falling behind and unable to generate enough money, so I went for multiple small buys with the intention of adding Gardens cards and fluffing up my score.

John looked to be powering ahead as he secured the fist 6 victory point card (Province?), but Susan was keeping pace with him. John and Susan were both doing a good job of chaining action cards to acquire enough money to get what they wanted. Fortunately, neither of them went near the Gardens cards.

At the end, John did not have enough of the big victory point cards to challenge Susan’s score. But, rather surprisingly, I won by a point or two thanks to a veritable mountain of Gardens. (That is today’s mixed metaphor, folks.)

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John and I then played a game of Netrunner. I knew things were going to be bad when John made an early run on my draw deck and stole an agenda in the first of his turns… Things went from bad to worse as, despite what I thought was a decent set of defenses, John charged through and stole another agenda. He was one agenda away from winning.

At that point he had run out of money, however, and I took the opportunity to score a couple of agendas, while trying to trap him. I had the game won with a brilliantly executed trap. Unfortunately, I forgot to keep enough money to pay for the trap to operate. Oh dear.

Having blown that chance for victory, it was now a race against time for me as I was running out of cards. I beefed up my defenses, installed an agenda and went for it. But John ignored that agenda and instead made successive runs on my draw deck. I think it was the second or third that secured him the final agenda needed for the win. Well done John.

The more I play of Netrunner, the more I like it. And I know I am only scratching the surface, because I have done no deckbuilding and haven’t removed any of the expansion cards from their boxes. In short, I hope to play this a lot more. But I will need to sharpen my play if I am to beat John, by the looks of it.

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From the suburbs to outer space

Do you wanna live in my town?

Do you wanna live in my town?

Suburbia had another outing at this week’s session, with Yehuda coaching Ken, Laurie, and Susan on how to play. It’s not a difficult game, mechanically, but the consequences and impacts of each tile played can take a while to assimilate. And, if players think about it, this can result in analysis paralysis. From my nearby perch, I did see one or two instances of this, but not too many. And the two hour playing time (including explanations) was reasonable for a mostly first time outing.

The action heated up near the end, with enough verbal and visual evidence available to confirm people were enjoying themselves – a mix of joy, frustration, and post game talk of “If only…”  while thinking up strategies for the next game. It looked like it was a good gameing experience and all were willing to give it another go. (And I still have the expansion, unwrapped.) Oh, and Ken won. Well done, Ken.

A card, a card! My kingdom for a card!

A card, a card! My kingdom for a card!

Meanwhile Peleg and I completed a couple of games of Netrunner. He was the Runner and I was the Corporation. We were both a bit rules rusty, but eventually got into our stride.

Who shuffled these?

Who shuffled these?

After that, Peleg and I still had time for me to introduce him to Star Realms. I did a good job because he got his revenge for his losses in Netrunner, by absolutely squashing me! Well done, Peleg.

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Power to (some of) the people

powergrid

We (Ben, Peleg, Rosalynn, and I) started with a game of San Juan, the cut down card game version of Puerto Rico.

Ben’s early card combination put him into a winning position that none of the rest of us were able to challenge.

With Sheer arriving, we then split into two game groups.

Peleg and I tackled Android: Netrunner, the asymmetric two player living card game of ‘a dystopian future.’ It was more of a training game for Peleg, as I was familiar enough with the game, but it was his first time out.

I took the Runner and he played the Corporation. It was cool for me to try the other side, having only played before as the Corporation. Peleg did a not bad job of holding off my attacks on his servers – I suffered a couple of ambushes that could have been deadly. But a rule misinterpretation by me gave me an edge I should not have had. Ah well. We will fix that for the next time.

The more I play this, the more I like it. It was encouraging that Peleg enjoyed it, and both Ben and Sheer showed a willingness to play it in the future.

Meantime, the remaining players tackled the excellent Power Grid. I was only a distant spectator, but did see the finale when Ben claimed the win just ahead of Rosalynn.

I thought Rosalynn had played it before. She claims otherwise. In that case, her challenge was a fine piece of play, as Ben is no slouch at Power Grid and Sheer has at least one win under his belt. So, well done to Ben for the win, and to Rosalynn for making him work at it.

Thanks to one and all who came. It was a good night.

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