Thursday, August 16, 2007

Session Report: More Settlers With Dinner

The Mrs. and I played Settlers again with James and Karin, this time at their house and eating their dinner.

(aside: in order to keep the blog more honest (especially where it involves me), "The Mrs" (who, as a quasi-feminist, slightly despises that name and will from here on respond only to "Layla" or"IR princess") will be adding comments in purple. The blog owner (Nathan) states that he reserves the right to DELETE (not edit) any additions he finds particularly unsavory)

Dinner was great: ricotta stuffed manicotti, green salad with vegetables and olives, crusty Italian style bread, all delicious. I brought the wines this time around, although I managed not to pay much attention to the brands. I chose a simple Riesling and a Grenache/Shiraz mix, both of which were quite tasty. The Mrs. and I mostly drank the red (I'm a red kind of girl...and champagne! and long island iced tea! and shots of whiskey!), with Karin & James polishing off the majority of the white. Midway through our gaming later on we ran out of wine and had to transition into mixed drinks, so perhaps next time around three bottles of wine would be in order. They seem to be the white wine type, so I'm thinking two whites and a red is the way to go.

Everyone was eager to get to the game so we finished up with dinner and only paused for a quick smoke break before setting up the game. This time we jumped right into the random setup, unlike our previous one where we used the standard beginner's configuration. Everyone had lots of fun this time around and James and Karin seem quite addicted to Settlers, which is a very good thing!

The first game seemed to progress quickly until we had about six to eight victory points, where things began to stall. I was sitting on three cities, largest army, and absolutely no options for further building as close quarters gave me no room to place settlements. My only avenue to victory was pulling two vp cards out of the development deck. The Mrs. was stalled as well since she had lots of brick and lumber, all five settlements on the board, and was fighting over the longest road with Karin. She had no access to ore so had to rely on trading to upgrade to cities. James and Karin had been a little behind but began to edge closer as both the Mrs. and I spun our tires. I began to lose hope when the development deck got down to the last six cards, not even knowing if there were still two vps in there. Miraculously, two turns and two lucky vp cards later, I was the victor. An exhilarating win, indeed!

(Luck and persistence are the causes of this pathetic victory -- we were both at the same point, struggling with poor opening decisions, grasping at whatever we could do. The next game was much better....)

Karin suggested a second game, and we all heartily agreed. Certainly it is a good sign for things to come when everyone is up for another game when there are three exhausted kids in the next room and it is already 9:00pm. It was decided the kids could stay up a little later, and the game was on!

I don't remember a lot from our second game (defense mechanism), only that I had a good mix of all five resources and was building and expanding at a very healthy pace. Suddenly the Mrs. swept in, stealing the longest road from Karin, and adding it to her largest army and cities and settlements to score a decisive win. Still a fun game, but the ending was a bit of a shock, since I don't think any of us saw it coming quite so soon.

(Except Layla, who KNEW it was coming and tried VERY VERY hard to not give away the secret prematurely. The urge to shout "just give me the damn lumber so I can win already since it is happening ANY moment" was quite strong, but I called upon my meager allotment of self-control and managed to stun them. Honestly folks, it was a beautiful victory. I wish you had been there to observe their stunned silence at the massacre.)

This is as opposed to the previous game when the end dragged on a little until you expected someone to claim victory at any moment. We never had time for that feeling to develop in this one (too true).

Well, I'm quite happy to report that our first two sessions together seem to be pointing towards a frequent game night, which makes me very happy. Until our next meeting, I'll wait with much anticipation.

One last note: the unusually late bedtime for the kids (11:00pm) resulted in them both sleeping in until unheard of occurrence in the Todd house! Certainly no complaints here (Layla isn't so eager to embrace this late awakening...who knows what tonight will bring).

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