First Round of Games
1. Blue vs Gray (GMT Games)
Brian Marrs and Steven Sheasby played a card based game on the American Civil War by GMT Games, Blue vs. Gray. They were still playing it when everyone else left. Not sure if that was one game or multiple plays. Brian Mars gave a description of how both of their games went which I've quoted below.
Steven and I played two games of Blue vs. Gray. I took the CSA in the first game and managed to grab enough northern cities in the west to end the game early (British recognition of the Confederacy).
We switched sides for the second game and it took awhile to get the northern steam roller going. But once I had built up my armies I marched down the Mississippi and also grabbed Atlanta. Steven was almost ready to give up at that point, but decided to stick it out for another turn or two to see what happened.
He built up a pretty good sized army of his own in the west, and with a couple of good die rolls, kicked me out of Atlanta and bloodied my army pretty severely. By this time, the 1864 elections were getting very close and I needed to have 4 VP's to keep Lincoln in office. I had 1 VP for a full blockade, 1 VP for cutting off the Mississippi, and 1 VP for controlling the Shennandoah valley, so I just needed one more VP.
The Western army under Sherman was too far away from Atlanta and facing a rather large army under Hood. I had just put Grant in command of rather sizable Eastern army and was facing a somewhat depleted army under Lee, so the time had come to attack Richmond, which would give me my fourth VP.
Steven played "The Slows" card on me which reduced Grant's initiative from 2 to 1. This meant that Lee would win if the battle result was a "General's Battle". The dice were rolled and sure enough, Lee won the battle (I think it was a 1/3 chance of losing the battle outright or to a General's Battle). The 1864 elections put the Peace Democrats in power and the game ended.
It was a good, close game, and I find that I like the game more each time I play it.
2. Duel in the Dark (Z-Man Games)
Chris Trimmer and Brett Orr played Duel in the Dark. It is a new game by Z-Man games depicting the British night time bombing raids over Germany in World War II. A light wargame with Eurogame components. It looked interesting.
3. Age of Empires III: Age of Discovery (Tropical Games)
I played a 5-player game of Age of Empires III along with Mervyn Dejecacion, Mark Bausman, Mark Simonitch, and Mark Woodson. This was my second time playing this one and I enjoyed it again. Mervyn ended up schooling us all with a commanding first place finish at the end followed by Mark Woodson who made a large leap from the back of the pack in the final round. I finished third with Mark Simonitch and Mark Bausman taking 4th and 5th place.
I had intended to pursue a military strategy in the New World hoping to pick up at least one of the soldier producing buildings. Un-fortunately Mark Woodson managed to pick up both of them during the course of the game. He became the building, money leader, and a five-ship Privateer building owner. I expected him to jump out to first place during the final game scoring but I purchased the Navy building in the last turn stealing 20 VPs from him. I still stayed with my soldier strategy but had to acquire them on the Specialist track. After the Second Age scoring Mervyn was at 30 VP (Missionary Strategy), I was at 27 VP (Soldier Strategy), and the rest of the pack were down in the low teens or less. Mervyn had one of the Missionary buildings which helped him out quite a bit as he pulled away during the final round with a strong scoring for colonists. I just didn't have enough soldiers on the map, and in his areas, to contest his control. I believe I attacked at least one person every turn.
4. Arkham Horror (Fantasy Flight Games)
The final group of four of Al Hay, Steve Gallob, Steve's friend (another first timer), and Emily Blanchett tried their hand at Arkham Horror. I believe the group succumbed to the Horrors of Arkham and lost.
Round Two Games
After the Age of Empires game ended we broke up into twos. Greg Blanchett showed Mark Simonitch his playtest game, Fall Blau, he is working on while Mark Woodson and Mark Bausman played EastFront one of their favorites.
Since Mervyn had only about an hour before he had to leave he and I played the Wizards & Lore Aquitaine, 1369 scenario from Battlelore. Each side had a level 1 Wizard in their war council and the sides forces contained only human units. Mervyn was the attacker, Sir Robert Knolles, and I defended, Sire Bertrand Du Guesclin. Both sides required six flags for the win. This was the first time Mervyn played but he owns Command and Colors: Ancients so was familar with the basic system. Sire Bertrand's forces won 6 flags to 2. After Mervyn left, Mark Simonitch and I played the same scenario this time with Mark taking the forces of Sir Robert Knolles. As with all card driven games especially this one you play where you can. Most of my card draws were in the center followed by the left side. Mark smashed my center while I killed his right flank (my left). The game stayed close with the final score 6 flags to 4 in my favor, but it could have gone the other way if I did not get my last flag in the center as I had two single man units on my left that he could have picked off during his follow up turn, if he had the cards to do so.
After the Arkham Horror game ended, Steve and Al played a game of Blue Moon. I just caught this out of the corner of my eye and don't know much about the game myself.