Recent games

This page has notes on games played recently at the club. Please add a few comments or a short session report on anything you found interesting. If you have not visited us before,  this page will give you an idea of the type of games we play.

January 11th was another busy evening with 5 tables. Two tables were having practice games of Scythe, which has appeared regularly at the club since it came out in 2016, but this was only my 2nd game of it. The artwork on the cards, board and player boards is truly outstanding. Together with the stunning miniatures and highly imaginative world set in 1920s Eastern Europe it creates a real experience to play it. (Thanks to Andy for giving a clear and concise rules explanation which got us going quickly.)  The game itself is well designed and all the parts fit together, but it reminded me somewhat of Terra Mystica, with its multiple scoring tracks. The economic engine, which is the core of the game presents a continuous combinatorial puzzle as to what order to play different actions. The complication is produced by the pairing of actions, which is usually not helpful or intuitive. For example one needs resources to build (of course), but production and building are not paired. Nevertheless, I can see why it is so highly rated, based just on its art and highly  imaginative world-order. In the backroom there was a return for anothother of our tournament games after a long absence – Tikal. Also in the main room, I noticed, Ra, Perudo and Cosmogenesis, amongst others.

January 4th We had nearly 20 people for the first session of the New Year, with a variety of games. After the tournament draw, one table got a go at Scythe, which is going to be the first of the tournament games this year.  The 2nd table played the Gaia Project, a sort of Terra Mystica in space, with each player taking the part of a faction aiming to spread across the galaxy while advancing in navigation, terraforming, AI, research etc – thematically this seems to make more sense than TM does, and the board space is appropriately large. Our group played Fire and Axe; A Viking Saga, a relatively light game of exploration, trading, raiding and colonisation, loosely based on the Viking civilisation. The fourth table started with Pompei, complete with local volcano, and followed on with another new game, Century; spice road – any comments on the two new games are particularly welcome.

December 21st was Christmas games night with 20 people in for some light games. This year we ran the Pitchcar as a mini-tournament with two heats and a final. This seemed to work well and Dan came out first in the final to win a copy of Skull.  There were a number of our regular Christmas games including Escape: the curse of the temple and Gestesblitz. Steve brought in an older game that I had not seen before Don Pepe, in which all players are a group of Mobsters around a table, trying to wipe each other out by a combination of back-stabbing, shooting across the table and giving each other exploding birthday cakes.  This was absolutely hilarious and  I would be happy to see this again at any time. On other tables there was For Sale and a particularly raucous game of Secret Hitler. We also managed to fit in the picture quiz, possibly a little easier this year, Graham won with 15/16 games correctly identified.  We also had a visit from Secret Santa who produced a lot of beautifully wrapped games to kick off the festive season.  The tournament prize was presented to Daniel who ssemed very reluctant to let go of it for the entire evening, so it may be difficult to recover it for next year.  Happy Christmas to all of you, and I hope to see you in the New Year.

December 7th There was a big turnout this week with 20 people distributed around 5-tables.  The Power Grid mini-tournament produced another win for Michel. Our group had 5-players for Age of Empires III. We have not seen it at the club for a while, but it really is an excellent game, with worker placement happening on the European side of the board and area control in the Americas. Everyone is constantly engaged, because of the one-by-one placement of the colonists, and each placement by another player may require a reappraisal of where your own colonists should go. On the neigbouring table they started with Kingsburg, before moving on to Carcasonne. On other tables I noticed Camel Up and Mombasa.

November 30th The tournament finished this week with Concordia as the final game. It was won by Daniel, who has come from behind on the last few league games – shows it can be done. They still had time afterwards for Oh My Goods. There was a first appearance for Noria, it has a most unusual long board of a mountain and a kind of interlocking gear wheel for each player board (see pic), which reminded me of the large interlocking gear set in Tzolkin. That table moved on to Dead Man’s Draw. Meanwhile, the centre table started with Championship Formula Racing, on a board that reminded me of the venerable Formula 1 – something I first played at the age of 7 and which introduced me to the, then revolutionary, concept that games do not have to all be roll-and-move. This group then spent most of the evening on Istanbul. Our table was engaged throughout on Francis Drake, a high-production value game with a strong theme of equipping your ships for expeditions to plunder the Caribbean. It includes a neat mechanism that makes you choose between dashing ahead at the docks to get the best equipment, but then potentially losing out on other things you might need. The 5th table spent most of their evening on Castles of Burgundy.

November 23rd. There were 4 tables out this week, and a number of older games, including In the Year of the Dragon a disaster-management game as successive waves of plague, famine and invasion strike your Chinese Empire, interspersed with occasional festivals of fireworks. That group followed with Parade, a card game, where you are (usually) trying to avoid having cards foisted on you from a parade in Wonderland. This ia nice filler for the end of an evening. Our group played two games of Victory or Death: the Peloponnesian War, a team game in the Quartermaster General series, in which the Demos (Athens and the Delian League) prevailed over the Oligarchs (Sparta and Corinth). The campaigns ran similarly to the historical events, with Sparta strong on land and Athens strong at sea. However this time the Athenians did not make the historically disastrous invasion of Sicily. The third table were engaged in banana-republic economy and politics in pre-revoutionary Cuba, one of my favourite games. I missed the main event on the 4th table but they finished with something that looked like Bottle Imp ??

November 16th A new arrival this week was Charterstone. When I first saw the board, I thought it looked a bit dull, but this is because it is a legacy game, where new townships and buildings are added permanently to the board on successive games, so that each version of the game is unique. It will be interesting to see how it develops. That group then played what appeared to be a new version of Geisterblitz, a mind-bending game of rapid evaluation and lightning reactions to grab the appropriate piece from the table before anyone else does. This variant appears to have the added complication of hiding one of the grabable items underneath a cup. I was bad at the original version of this game. I don’t think I would be any better at this one. After starting with Tsuro, our table played Alien Frontiers and K2 before finishing with two games of Perudo. There was a return for Clans of Caledonia, which appears to have some of the elements of Terra Mystica but without the cumulative scoring tracks, hence possibly a bit more straightforward. Power Grid on the France board for 6 was played on the 4th table and another group occupied the adjoining room with Concordia.

November 9th Games played this week included a new arrival, Clans of Caledonia, and an old favourite Power Grid for 6 players. Our table had 6 Bootleggers running the moonshine into the speakeasies. This game really benefits from lots of table-talk, negotiation, threats and extortion, which fit with the spirit of the game. However it is not for the faint-hearted – you will be double-crossed or have your bar shot up by rival mobsters at some stage. There was still time for Perudo afterwards. The 4th table were playing Trajan for most of the evening and finished with some piratey card game, which I had not seen before.

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One Response to Recent games

  1. David H says:

    Gaia Project is very similar to Terra Mystica, the core of the rules are pretty much identical. It has taken a lot of what was learnt from Terra Mystica and it has just made small tweaks to streamline and in my opinion improve it.

    The biggest for me is probably the research tracks that have replaced the cult tracks. The scoring on these tracks is no longer a race with scores allocated based on relative player positions, now every rank raised on each track beyond a certain level scores a fixed number of points. Each of the tracks also gives specific bonuses, which can either be additional incomes, special actions, and determines your terraforming costs and shipping range.

    The use of power tokens has also been tweaked, factions start with less power, there are more actions that use or burn power and there is also a way to gain more power. I’ve found although both of these changes are fairly small they have a large impact in terms of the choices you have to make.

    Ultimately if you didn’t enjoy Terra Mystica you probably won’t enjoy this, but if you liked Terra Mystica then I would recommend you try it.

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