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.

May 23rd This was my first chance to play Agricola in ~10 years, and it deserves its place in the tournament. It still holds up well against many of the later worker placement games which softened the system, allowing you to place in  slots that had already been taken, but at a cost; not in Agricola though, which can be tough. Thematically it makes no sense (I have wood and people who want to build fences on my farm, but I can’t because my neighbour has already done it – why not?), but it works for a competitive game. A new worker placement game was also out this week Neta-Tanka, themed around native North American communities.  There was a return for Chinatown and much negotiation on the next table, while the final group were playing a card-game Villager. Our group also had time at the end of the evening for Condotierre, which fills a half-hour slot quite well with some area control, competitive card-play and bluffing, based on occupation of regions of medieval Italy.

May 16th There was a very interesting mixture of different games this evening, spread across 6-tables. As we have just moved to the next phase of the tournament, I was not surprised to see Agricola for the first time in a few years. Brian had brought in Chinatown, an older  game (1999) which has been in print ever since, so it has something going for it. It is in fact a pure negotiation game, where each player is trading with the others, however they think works best, to get blocks of businesses in New York. Surprisingly, this genre is very uncommon and if this interests you, I suggest looking at the Shutup and Sitdown review which you can find on the BGG link above, because this game had completely passed me by. Meanwhile in the front-room our group had started with Vintage – making port in the Douro Valley; this is a classic worker placement game with some transport problems thrown in – both thematic and quite educational. We had time afterwards for Perudo. Next door to us the two tables were playing  Castles of Burgundy and Kanban (running a car construction business). The last group were occupied with Bunny Kingdom – I was struck by the whimsical meeples that look like rabbits, but what they were doing in castles was beyond me. However I did notice that the rule-book looks quite short, so not too difficult to pick-up, although with much more depth than the title suggests.

May 2nd Many thanks to Paul for organising the printing and distribution of the club T-shirts this week – these things always take more effort than it appears.

 I am a little short of time  so will just list the games I saw tonight. Our group played Ave Caesar followed by Brass. There was a TF-Mars sequel Venus Next, a win for the Eyrie at Root, with the lizard cult included, the last tournament game of Pulsar 2849 Power Grid played on the India board for 6-players and still time afterwards for Perudo.

April 25th With 4-tournament games of Pulsar 2849, I thought that there might be a shortage of other things this week, but not at all. There were 7-tables and some classics being played by some of our grand originals, including Carcasonne and Caylus. Other groups had chosen Root and Wingspan, and there were several fillers fitted in towards the end of the evening, including Crypt, Cartagena, Piepmatz and Parade.  Pulsar is a game that grows on me, and I will hope to see it back again, even now we are finishing this round of the tournament. It takes one or two games to get the idea, as there are so many options, but it is the perfect length for this type of game and a great option for a dice-selection game.

April 18th When I left at 10:30 the game of Vinhos, one of the heavier wine-production games, was still in progress. Again there were practice games of Pulsar 2849, one followed by Perudo and the other by Piepmatz. This is an interesting and distinctive card set-collection game with elements that reminded me of Parade and Ra. It is themed around birds and seed-eating, and the artwork on the cards is particularly pleasing. The distinct element is that you may have to play your cards onto the table, (where they may be taken by other players) before you can recover them into the sets you are trying to make in your own tableau. It takes a while to get the hang of how to do this. On other tables I noticed Scythe and Powerboats, followed by ??

April 11th With 7 tables and several games happening on most of them, I just cannot  remember everything that is happening. This week however I did notice the return of two games that have not been seen for a several years: Last Train to Wensleydale and Flashpoint Fire Rescue. TTtW is a Martin Wallace railroute development game, but quite different from his other railway offerings. It involves delivering cheese and stone to the mainline routes outside the Yorkshire Dales. I played it once and it is a good game, but I was put off by the unattractive board. I know it should not matter, but there is no excuse for poor art these days. Our table were rerunning Risk Europe, this time with a win for the English (Huggy – we will never hear the end of it). Again we had time afterwards for Via Nebula.  I also clocked Kanegawa, Spirits of the Forest, Pulsar 2849 and Exchange as well as a small German cardgame about birds, Piepmatz.

April 4th We hit a new high this week, with 7-tables of games, and it becomes increasingly difficult for me to remember everything that is going on, so please feel free to add notes on anything that I have overlooked or that was particularly interesting. I have not played Risk for 50 years, but was persuaded to try Risk Europe, which is a huge improvement on the original. It has a limited set of card driven orders, differentiation between the units (siege engines, cavalry, archers and footmen) in how they fight, taxation and supply lines. [It still has loads of dice-rolling, no opportunity for retreat from battle and player elimination.]  But best of all is that it plays in 2 hours. A major drawback for the original was the long play-time and extended stalemates that could develop. We had time for Via Nebula afterwards. In the main room there were games of Pulsar 2849, as expected and Gaia Project. In my one visit to the back room I noticed Root (with the Riverfolk) and Trajan. And in the main room there was Euphoria and Wingspan. The great thing about having so many groups is that it gives plenty of choice of different kinds of game – hopefully something to suit everyone.

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One Response to Recent games

  1. David W says:

    Interesting game of Root last week, which took three hours, but was worth every minute.

    I was playing the Eyrie, Andy was playing the Cats, Graham was playing the Vagabond, and Tom was playing his first game, as the Woodland Alliance. The boards were updated with the official balance changes, which most significantly give the Alliance less points for placing sympathy tokens.

    In the first half, the Eyrie sustained their decree for longer than usual, the Vagabond amassed far too much equipment, while the Cats spread their attention between the Eyrie and Alliance. The Alliance struggled to expand from their corner clearing, and it was probably my fault that they put their first base there.

    Then the Eyrie fell into turmoil, releasing some Dominance cards.

    Following private negotiations, the Vagabond claimed one Dominance card to join forces with the Alliance, who in turn, claimed a Dominance card covering their now-unassailable corner clearing. The Eyrie and Cats piled into the opposite corner, restricting infighting to undefended buildings in vacated clearings. The Vagabond attempted to clear them out on a caffeine-crazed rampage, but after three turns which all could have been the last, and an Alliance revolt claiming twelve warriors, the Cats crept forwards just enough to win on points.

    I like Root.

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