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.

July 12th and another rematch of the Gaia Project for Matt, but this time with Richard,  John and Dan. Our group got out Princes of Florence, for the first time since we played it in the tournament in 2015. It continues to be one of the cleanest and best auction games. The theme could be applied to almost anything, but it does work quite well in Renaissance Italy. We had plenty of time afterwards for Evolution:Climate, and this was a game in which the climate events really took over. In the middle of the game a volcano eruption triggered a cold snap followed by a heatwave, and the final turn plunged the world into total freeze-out with no food at all, and only the wooliest, and most intelligent species surviving. On the 3rd table there was another appearance for Civilisation and the 4th table played through Pulsar 2489.

June 28th Notwithstanding the England football match we managed to have 4-tables of real games this evening. Matt and Huggy have found that Gaia Project is a new take on Terra Mystica and look set for a long series of plays. Although I tend to avoid games that have multiple routes for point accumulation (and a score pad needed at the end). I enjoyed Clans of Caledonia, on my first encounter. Much of it is intuitive and there are good player boards showing exactly what is what, although quite how it relates to Scottish clans is a bit obscure. It is not too long either, as we managed to fit in Snow Tails afterwards. The 3rd group were playing Steam Works, which looks very engaging with its inventor-theme; they finished with Gravwell and the 4th table had a rerun of Merlin.

June 14th  The first two tournament games of Tikal were played this week – it looks like winning scores should be around the 100-120 mark. Our group also fitted in Love Letter – Gotham City version, which is essentially the same as the standard game, but with points for correctly identifying the other players with the Batman card (1).  There were a good number of other people in with Terraforming Mars in the back room and Gaia Project, Grand Austria Hotel and Ra in the main room. There was also a new game, Ave Roma, on a round board – I know nothing about this, so please give us your thoughts.

June 7th  A new edition of History of the World was in this week – pictures. It is based on the shorter ‘Brief History of the World’ that was developed a few years ago from the Avalon-Hill original.  Not only does this version play much more quickly (there are less epochs, fewer areas on the board and more-streamlined conquests), it also has an improved card-drafting mechanism for selecting empires and events. You can also see the additional chrome on the pieces and monuments, but the key point is that it fitted comfortably into the evening at the club, and that group still had time for Perudo afterwards.  The neighbouring table were playing Steamworks, which James says is the best worker-placement game he has played for years – a serious recommendation. Our group started with Cuba, won by one point by Steve, and then followed on with a bizarre game of Ra, in which a full set of Ra tiles had come onto the board and the 1st epoch ended before anyone had managed to get more than 1 or 2 bids in. The 4th table started with Aquasphere and still had time for Oregon at the end of the evening.

May 31st There were just 4 groups this evening, perhaps because of the games convention in Birmingham this weekend.  Games played included Libertalia, a Euro with a piratey theme, and Clans of Caledonia, which is a bit like Terra Mystica with its different groups spreading across the board, area-control and advancement on different tracks. Our table played a leisurely game of Tikal. It is many years since I last played it, but it still holds up very well – note that we are playing the auction version in the tournament, which is much better than the basic game. The 4th table played Castles of Burgundy, and I also saw Deep Sea Adventure.

May 24th – Notes this week come  courtesy of Bill, as I could not make it in.  …There was a first appearance of the year for the lesser spotted Huggy. Apparently he had got fed up trouncing all-comers at Terra Mystica and was only goaded out of retirement  by Matt’s invitation to a game of Kingsburg instead. Hopefully he was challenged enough that we may see more of him through the summer months. Elsewhere there were, yet again, two tables playing practice games of Tikal. Ed’s original Ravensburger edition from 2000 was being played on the table next to James’ new blinged out edition with the 3 dimensional sculpts for the temples and little meeple explorers rather than cubes….leading to the inevitable questions of clarity and functionality versus aesthetic attraction. It has to be said that the new version  does look great. On our table of Tikal the scores had been nip and tuck throughout but we had an incredibly tight finish, Steve took it with 94 (?) points, two of us one point behind and the other another point behind. Seems like this has been a good choice for the tournament but a few questions have been raised about tie breakers and using the auction variant of the game.  On the other table in the main room Concordia was being played and in the back room I believe Clans of Caledonia had an outing…not sure what else got played as I was so engrossed in our game. We had time to finish the night with a couple of games of Coloretto. We played the standard game first where more cards in a set scores higher (positively or negatively) and then flipped the scoring cards over for the alternative scoring in the second game. This was my first play using that variant where the optimum set size is 3 cards and then returns diminish after that. It makes an interesting variant as it leads to a divergent approach from the standard game and one that I will certainly play again the next time this comes to table.

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One Response to Recent games

  1. David K says:

    From my experience, Ave Roma is a medium-heavy Euro-style worker placement game, with a couple of unique ideas. At the start of the game, each player starts with 5 pillars, labelled from I-V (or 1-5 on the other side, for lesser educated players). Lower numbers seem to be more flexible, with more spaces they can activate, but higher numbers seem more powerful, especially when collecting money and advancing on the ‘senate?’ track (giving end-game points, and the enabling of ‘plugging in’ senators for in-game effects). At the end of the round, in reverse player order, each player collects as many pillars from a placement area as they can, in turn, until each player has 5 pillars each. The total value of the pillars, from lowest to highest, determines player order for the next round.

    Overall, I thought this game had some clever mechanics, but at full player count, it seemed to outstay its welcome. I’d definitely give it another try at 3 or maybe 4 players.

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