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.
September 20th The header and picture below show a new game this week, The Ruhr. Each player acts as a shipper, trying to get goods down the river Ruhr, in the most efficient way possible. The snag is that the locals have built a mass of weirs and watermills that mean the goods have to be frequently trans-shipped and lose value as they do so. It is all about bypassing these obstacles to keep a profit by the time the goods reach the Rhine. On the other side of the board is another map, The Ohio, which gives a variant with the same basic concept – it looked really nice. This week was my first opportunity to try out Brass – Birmingham, which is also excellent. It took time to get my head around the idea that goods are permanently in demand, but you have to have enough beer available to sweeten the deal with the local buyers – the beer almost acts like a 2nd currency (comparable with Black Gold, where you need money to buy things but licences to sell them). It is a little more complex than Brass-Lancashire, but gives an interesting new twist on this excellent game. The ony thing I did not like, was the extremely quirky scoring, where a high level building can be of much less value than a low level building. I thought this added the need for an extra non-intuitive level of thought, which did not add to the theme or game-play – otherwise very good. We finished the evening with Perudo. There was quite a mixture on other tables too, and I noticed the new edition of Endeavour, and Shadows of the Empire in the main room and a group playing Trajan in the back room.
September-13th – I was engaged in the final tournament game of Brass, this week so did not get to circulate much. Our game revolved around each player trying to concentrate on one or two industries (James went for mills, Daniel for shipyards, myself for ironworks and ports, and Paul for ironworks). Eventually, shortage of cash forced everyone to build some coal-mines, but the final incomes varied enormously. Conventional wisdom has it that it is not a good idea to get a high income, but to use loans and concentrate on early development. I think it is possible to go for some income and save the actions that are spent taking loans for building industries. The great thing about Brass is that it always involves reacting to what all of the other players are doing. I am sure that this is why it has maintained its popularity for so many years. Meanwhile, other groups were getting set up for the next round with two tables playing Panamax and the 4th table played Root.
August 30th – Three tournament games of Brass and a shuffle of the league table – it is still very open for the top-4 places this year. One of these groups finished with Queen Domino. In the back room our group fitted in Evolution; Climate, and still had time for Alien Frontiers. – I am sorry to say that these were both deemed to be ‘skillful games’ and not a ‘big luck-fest’. Back in the main room there was a first appearance for Root, which is getting a lot of good publicity – it is currently top of the hot-games on BGG, if you want to find out about it.
August 23rd – The return of an older game this week – Mare Nostrum – we were playing the original version. Set around the Mediterranean in ancient times and with a very loose grasp of history, this game does have a unique trading mechanism which involves offering cards and trying to collect sets. But there is a Director of Commerce who can decide how much trading will happen each round – there may be none at all – and this role can be very tactical. The second phase of each turn involves expansion, development of resources and possibly some land or naval battles. The overall theme works very well although there have always been some slight weaknesses in the overall design – any military setback can leave it open for less audacious Empires, and there is often a final kingmaker – someone who cannot win themselves, but essentially determines who does. The new edition has ironed out some, but not all of the problems- still enjoyable though. There were reruns for Brass-Lancashire and Brass-Birmingham as well as Altiplano.
August 16th – similar to last week with reruns of Brass and Francis Drake. However there was also a table with Brass – Birmingham. The rules for this are modified, (not just a new board) and a bit more like Age of Industry. I am told that they solve the problem of the rush for loans, before the rail-era. The board is as murky as the new edition of Brass-Lancashire with a similar art style. The 4th table played Trajan and Welcome to the Dungeon and there was still time for Perudo.
August 9th – an interesting collection of old and new games on a much cooler evening. The group in the backroom managed to get through Steamworks and were just finishing with a new card/money game (I have not seen it before) Senators. In the main room there were reruns of Brass (original) and Lorenzo il Magnifico. Dan’s group were engaged in Heaven and Ale, this is a Euro with a variety of mechanisms (moving a along a track to get materials ahead of others like Francis Drake), taking control of areas to score or get money (Carcasonne-like?) and moving along scoring tracks, where the lowest score of the set is the key item (Tigris and Euphrates), but where it is possible to interconvert one type of score into another at varying ratios. The reviews I have read suggest that it is a solid game, with a lot to think about, but little relationship to either the production of consumption of ale (quite dry). Our group were playing Francis Drake, a game with two distinct phases – equipping the ship and then plotting a course for the Caribbean to raid the ships, towns and forts there. The sailing is essentially about outwitting the other captains to get to these targets first- there is no inter-ship combat. It seemed to go down very well with the three who had not played it before, and we plan to play it again next week. There was still time for a relatively quiet game of Perudo.