Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Settlers is a 4 player board game where you gather resources to build roads, towns, and eventually cities. The trick is you won't be able to gather all the resources yourself, so you'll need to work with the other players.

Unless you want to be a total dick about it, that is.

Step 1: Development cards fuel this strategy. So when you're placing your starting settlements, see if you can grab the necessary sheep, wheat, and ore required. Plus side is this sends you to a city build later on, fueling more of the same resources, allowing for more development cards and opportunities of dick moves.

Step 2: Screw the hell out of your opponents with development cards.

Soldier will be your most common play early on; you're using these to slow down the leader and steal resources. This is important! Many times the right play is to stop the leader by moving the robber to his resources, but steal the resources from the other player. The flow of the game will dictate this; don't blindly nuke the leader. Don't use them defensively; move them offensively against others early.
If you can, move the robber to block wheat/ore, to keep your monopoly and increase the trading value. Starving them of resources will up the value of your trades. (provided they're nice enough to trade with you after these sorts of plays)

An important thing to note is the timing of this step - ideally you want to attempt to trade with someone prior to hitting them with the soldier. Feel out what they have in their hand. Sometimes you can offer a "sweetheart" 2 for 1, then immediately rob one of yours back. Sometimes they'll straight up trade 1 for 1 and you will laugh and laugh as they realize the depth of your betrayal.
(this is a good time to mention - make sure you've practiced your evil laugh in front of a mirror. It takes practice to make sure it really rubs in your cruel play)

This approach is the way I like to play the development card Monopoly as well - attempt to make trades with everyone, inventorying their resource positions. Figure out what everyone has the most of, trade away your own for value, and hit them all with monopoly.

Settlers is filled with opportunities for political moves as well. Often in the early game, 2 players will both build roads to a certain spot on the board, trying to lay a town ahead of one another. Trading between these players can be quite rewarding; do it on your turn so you can force them into bidding wars. They won't be trading with each other on their turn, but lord knows they really need that wheat to build a town. . . who has more cards in hand? Because you're getting all of them.

We'll revisit Settlers when people (WIFE) decide they'll play it with me again.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hearts - Passing Strategy

Hearts is one of my favorite "light" card games to play. You can teach someone the basics in about 15 minutes, but school doesn't really begin until you play some of these hits.

As per Wikipedia, Hearts is an "evasion" game. You're trying to avoid taking tricks with hearts in them, or with the "bitch queen" - the Queen of Spades, worth 13 hearts. It's relatively straightforward - there's no trumps to concern yourself with; just follow suit or shed high cards (preferring hearts) during play.
Most of the fun and stress comes when you're dealing with the King or Ace of Spades, since they can force you to unwittingly scoop up the Queen.
My favorite Dick Move in hearts is actually two phased.
The Pass
Phase I begins prior to the first card played. In Hearts, you pick three cards and pass them to either your left, right, or across depending on the hand. (it rotates hand by hand) The sort of hand you're looking for is a lot of spades with the Ace, King, or Queen. Ideally, you've got something like A, J, 10, 9, 8 of Spades. Even more fun is if you've got the A and 2 of clubs, to guarantee you grab the lead after the first hand (passing the 2) but that's a nuance you don't necessarily need. 
The real trick here is to ONLY pass the Ace of Spades. What you're trying to do here is twofold: 
  1. Grab the lead as early as possible
  2. Start running spades out just under the Queen
Ideally, the person you've passed to is dangerously low on Spades, which puts them in this position:
Jack is led
Villain doesn't want to run out the A, so they throw off the 7. Jack wins the trick.
You run out the 10 of spades right after. In a perfect world, the Ace can't do anything, and is forced to run it out there. The next person gleefully drops the queen on him.
Said player turns to you and says "That was a dick move."
Then you laugh and laugh and eventually apologize to your wife because you like having sex.

About This Site

I play a lot of board games, Euro and otherwise.
I'm an unforgivable asshole in most of them.
It's not even about winning at any cost. I rarely win at games, because I'm awful at game theory. Where most people realize at some point cooperation is in your best interests and temporary alliances are formed to prevent a winner (usually me), I am physically incapable of going through with such an alliance.
Eventually, they expose themselves in the game, trusting me, and I let them have it with all guns blazing.
In short, I pull a Dick Move.

Many times, however, these moves are very powerful and can help you win games if done at an appropriate time.

This blog is going to be somewhat about strategy (as many dick moves will help you surge ahead for a win) but mostly about lines of play in games that are horrifyingly awful. The kind of plays that cause massive fallout in your gaming group, and maybe you feel so dirty you shower after.

These are my stories.