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.

September 19th Suburbia has arrived, with two groups finding out how it plays before the tournament games begin. There was also an appearance for Black Angel; this new game has an interesting theme – that humanity cooperates to produce an an enormous interstellar spaceship to escape a decaying Earth. I would interested to hear how this went.  Our group played Victory or Death; the Peloponnesian War, a team game in the Quartermaster General series for 4-players. I particularly like this one as there is a lot going on all over the map and it does allow all the historical events to happen, while not being restrictive. One problem with all games of the Peloponnesian War is how to handle the Greek invasion of Sicily. In retrospect we can see that it had no rationale and ended catastrophically for Athens. So any game of the period has to provide an incentive for the Athenian player to invade Sicily, but not make it a game-ending disaster. This game does that well. On another table I noticed Root; they had originally planned for a game of 4 but managed to shoe-horn in one extra, with the Lizardmen extension. The other one that I noticed was Gluck und Auf, a card game with tableau building.

September 12th We had a couple of new visitors this week,  who joined in on Terraforming Mars. We hope to see them back soon. The last tournament game of Kemet took all evening on the neighbouring table, and I suspect we will not be seeing that again for a while now. Our plans were thrown slightly awry by the numbers at the club – as we needed a 5-player game we went for Princes of Florence, which still holds up well as an auction-game. We played it in the tournament a couple of years ago, but I found it considerably more cut-throat with the extra player. We had time afterwards for 2 games of Alles in Eimer, about trying to stop the disintegration of your own pile of buckets while undermining your neighbour’s buckets. It reminded me slightly of Bausack although lacking the physical construction and dexterity needed for that game. The 4th table started with Pipeline and also fitted in Perudo.

August 29th As expected, there were 3 games of Kemet this week, two for the tournament and one other group having a warm-up session. Like Samurai & Katana, move order on the final turn is really important and being in touch with the leader, but not actually in front can be an advantage. The report that I had on Barrage suggests that it is just the opposite, catching the leader is really difficult. As far as I could gather, this game is based on damming up lakes to provide hydro-electricity through your power stations. It is a heavy economic game, with a worker-placement core and some of the elements of Power Grid. It had a very good-looking board and nice pieces to represent the buildings. The table next to ours started with a kickstarter Potemkin Empire, which involves bluffing as to whether your villages consist of real or bogus buildings. It looked to be a lot of fun, and the group still had time afterwards for Carcasonne. Our group easily fitted in Arboretum after our tournament game.

August 15th We fished out a classic worker placement game this week Pillars of the Earth, and managed to fit in two games in the evening. For some of these older games, the theme fits perfectly, the rules are relatively simple and there isn’t a big pack of cards to spring surprises each game. The idea of replayability for games is theoretically very good, but when each game is different, because the set-up and card draws are very different, it becomes difficult to devise a strategy and try it out before having 50 plays under your belt. On other tables in the main room I saw Clans of Caledonia and Brass; Birmingham. In the back room there was a game about people trying to avoid or kill gigantic worms,, while collecting their eggs. – Terror Below looked like it might be loosely themed on Dune, but I really did not get a good look, as I was busy cathedral building. Unsurprisingly there was also a tournament practice game of Kemet.

August 8th We were back to 5-tables again this week, including 2 practise games of Kemet, one of them went on all night but the other group managed to fit in Sagrada afterwards. I am surprised at the variability in length, because this felt like it ought to be a 2hr game. There was a second appearance for Pipeline, but with a different group of players from last week – it would be nice to have some comments/thoughts on what this game is like.  We had a new visitor, Andrew, joined our group and looking for a 5-player game we pulled out Puerto Rico, which is still as good as ever. Afterwards we fitted in a short auction-style card game Geschenk, with simple rules – it has a similar mechanism to Bausack – ie pay to reject something you don’t want until eventually someone cracks and decides that the item is not too bad, given the amount of money involved. We finished with avery close game of Cartagena. The 5th table were perusing the rules for Concordia; Salsa when I first looked, but I did not get to see how that progressed. Finally to note that the Website has just received its 100,000th visitor since I set it up a few years ago.

August 1st The onset of the Summer holiday period, with many regulars away, meant that we had just 4-tables this week and unusually a 2-player cooperative as David and Michel tried to keep the lid on the zombies in Dawn of the Zeds. There was a first appearance for Pipeline, a newish game about laying pipes (not in a particularly logical way) and moving stuff around on them. The third table managed to fit in 3-games of which the first two were Evolution:Climate which we see  quite often and Cryptid a deduction game, which is not something we see that often. Finally our group had started with Kemet; I was keen to see what type of game this is, and am pleased to say that the rules and overall play are fairly simple. It reminded me considerably of Samurai & Katana and Game of Thrones, with hidden cards being used for battle being added to the forces involved. The major difference is the effective  symmetry of the board- everyone is equally separated from everyone else and unlike S&K there are no interactive card/events or opportunity for economic competition. Also distinctive is the teleport mechanism which mean that no-one bothered to make any conventional ground-moves in the entire game – a bit weird. Like Eclipse there is a points premium for attacking and winning. Our game did not take long, even though two of us had not played before and we still had plenty of time afterwards for a little light exploration in Entdecker.

July 18th An interesting mixture of old and new games this week, including a return for Gugong.  Robin Hood has a bunch of miniatures, a board that looked like a chunk of Sherwood Forest and a lot of cards with very detailed art and characters. With a new visitor our table kicked off with Tsuro and then moved on to Alien Frontiers followed by Stoneage. I had not played this for some time and it is a lot simpler than I remembered. it ended up as a very close game with all 4 scores between 101-106. Some of the older games like these benefit from having only one mechanism to deal with (in these cases, dice-placement or worker-placement) so they can be learnt very quickly. In the backroom they played Keyflower, some railway game and then finished with Coup. The 5th table played Bullfrog Goldrush, making money by mining or building railroads; the consensus was that it is brutal and unforgiving – Steve said that a mistake on his first turn could never be recovered, and Robin told me that he lost half his points on the last turn – it sounds rather good.

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