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.

November 14th Plenty of variety again this week although I did not get to see absolutely everything. The group who are playing the mini-legacy version of Power Grid have now got their set of games underway.  In the back room I noticed a double table of Trickerion with a visiting assistant and a rerun for Terraforming Mars, again with the Turmoil expansion.  In the main room there were returns for two classics El Grande, which is the godfather of area-control games, and Pillars of the Earth, a standard worker-placement which still holds up very well in comparison with more recent offerings. We had time after that for Snowtails, a great race game which has the advantage of being easy to teach, but still with a lot of decisions and planning to keep your sledge on track and dog-team under control. The 6th table were trying out the new kickstarter version of Glenmore, with 3-players.

November 7th We had 5 tables this week, another good turnout and an interesting variety of old and new games. The new one was Deep Blue, a push-your-luck game about hiring divers and trying to do some underwater archaeology. It looked very well produced, with an attractive board and pieces. Also it is relatively short as the group managed to fit in Wingspan afterwards. Our table played Brass, which even after many plays continues to surprise me – Paul won with a strategy that included almost entirely coal and railroads and no development, while the rest of us came in some way behind with more conventional strategies of developing, shipbuilding (with no iron mills at all)  or mills and ports (with lots of iron mills) and a generalised coal shortage.  We fitted in another diving game afterwards Deep Sea Adventure. In the backroom they played through Terraforming Mars with the Turmoil expansion. Finally, there was two  tables with a standard 4-player game of Root and what I imagine will be the last appearance of Suburbia for a while, as we have now finished the annual league won by Ian. That table finished with That’s my Fish and Origins.

October 31st The two tournament games of Suburbia this week appear to have settled who will be playing in the final, with Ian coming out on top of the league (don’t expect to play Agricola in the final). After our game we fitted in 6 Nimmt, Perudo and Celesta.There was plenty of variety on the other tables too. Dan had brought in Terramara, which took nearly all evening. I thought it looked a bit like Terramystica, but apparently it is quite a different type of game - there are a few notes from Dan below. The 4th table in the front room had set up Commands & Colors, but following some late arrivals switched to 4-player games Wildlands followed by two goes at Sagrada. I briefly visited the backroom, while trying to build the industrial wasteland which constituted my attempt at city-planning. There I saw Puerto RicoVegas and Chicago Express.

October 17th We had a big turnout this week, with 6-tables, including 3 of Suburbia  – two for the tournament which had astonishingly  high scores (by comparison with my woeful attempt in a first practice game- 42).  I also had a first run at Azul (2 games). I am sorry it has taken me so long to try this. Iit looks great, has really simple rules and plays in ~45 minutes, which is perfect for what it is. I am not a great fan of tile-laying games, but in this case I was very impressed,  not least because the game is actually about tiles, and I like it when the theme fits the game - most enjoyable.  Ian had brought in Cyclades with the Hades expansion; as you would guess, lots of miniatures. We have not seen Dominion for a while. That group also fitted in Snow Tails. There was too much happening in the main room for me to see everything, but in the back room I did see two standards, Puerto Rico and Carcassonne.

October 10th  Notes this week come with thanks to Bill:   … It seems that games are being setup and starting earlier and earlier by the week so being a bit tardy means that you can struggle to get a choice of game. Despite that I was still shocked when I walked in slightly late to the main room and found that Perudo had already started! Fortunately they were just waiting for Ed to turn up with his copy of Suburbia for another  tournament practice game. The other tables were already setup and ready to go, on the first of those they were playing In the Shadow of the Emperor, I’ve not seen this before but it’s an older release from 2004 which apparently is a political negotiation game of some sort which the Geek (optimistically) lists at 90 mins playtime.  On the next table was another copy of Tapestry making an appearance for a second week. I did try to get a photo of this but by including the players in the photo it seems to have played havoc with my picture quality rendering them unusable….well at least until Halloween in a few weeks time. I was warned about including Tonksy but didn’t listen  ;->

The fourth table was setting up The Quacks of Quedlinburg which I had played relatively recently but this copy looked like it was a Kickstarter variant as all of the tokens (of which there are many) were plastic rather than the cardboard ones that I had played with. Upon inquiring further it transpired that this was a user added enhancement, I’ve used card sleeves myself  but this was the first time I’ve seen what were effectively sleeves for tokens. Top marks to David for geeky dedication!

Fortunately I did arrive in time to grab a place in the last table and we headed off to the back room for my first play of Wingspan. Another Stonemaier production which has an aesthetically pleasing table presence like so many of their others (like the aforementioned Tapestry, etc.). In this case it has a Bird feeder dice tower, some colourful pastel shaded mini-eggs and a large deck of cards with wonderful illustrations of various birds. It’s essentially a tableau builder where you try to build an engine to gather resources to allow you to play your higher value birds and try to meet some individual hidden goals. Very much a medium weight multi player solitaire which has the additional bonus of the card art being quite educational. Midway through our game Graham made an appearance to introduce three new visitors who had dropped in, I noticed that he had managed to get them squeezed into some games later on but I’m not sure what they were, hopefully they enjoyed themselves and we see them again soon. We finished off with one that had been on my shelf for a while, Cartagena. It had been on that shelf for so long that I had forgotten that it only had German rules. A quick check of the Geek for a copy of them but this version of the game seemed to have different numbers of components than mentioned in the English rules that they had. I decided to avail myself of Michel’s German language skills to help us out but arrived as he was about to take his turn, I was met by scowls from the rest of the table for interrupting him, no idea why… :-D

Between Michel and Steve’s help I got a quick overview of the rules and after we had used our pistols, lanterns, spyglasses, grappling hooks, etc. to escape our pirates to the boat I popped my head back in the main room, two of the tables had packed up already, the Tapestry table was just leaving and the political intrigues in the emperor’s shadow continued…

October 3rd  The evening started with the assembly, disassembly and finally the  correct reassembly of a largish tree, which is a central component of Everdell. The board for this game was also a novelty shape – oval with side attachments. I did not get to see how it played, but by the end each player had  accumulated a big tableau of cards, which really covered the entire table. Andy had brought it the new designer edition of Snowdonia, a very nice thematic game about clearing the ground and laying a railway up the eponymous mountain. The board for the edition is much larger and better illustrated than the original, rather austere design. This is a nice game and it is good to see it come out with a new edition. Our table started with Res Arcana, an engine-building game based on cards and tiles – beautifully illustrated and with very intuitive iconography, so you can see what each card does. My main reservation is that there is almost no player interaction, – it is limited to playing the occasional card which takes a small number of resources off everyone else. Afterwards we had time for Deep Sea Adventure, one of the best of all the push-your-luck games, with elements of Incan Gold and Cartagena (don’t get left behind by the rest). And we still had time after this for Via Nebula. There was also one table with Suburbia and the evening finished with Perudo.

September 26th  Notes this week come courtesy of Bill as I was not in….  There was a good turnout with four tables in the main room and two in the back room being used. In the main room there was an appearance for Madeira, a pretty heavy Euro that has been out of print for a while but has just announced a Kickstarter for a new “Collector’s Edition”. There was also an appearance of Caylus, a “classic” worker placement which featured in the tournament a few years ago. I’ve completely forgotten what was on the third table but the fourth inevitably played a practise game of Suburbia as did our table in the back room followed on by a card/tile city building game whose name also escapes me. Joining us in the back room was the first appearance that I have seen of Tapestry, a new Civ building game from Stonemaier Games.  Lots of high quality minis, as seems to be the norm for Stonemaier, and apparently has some novel game play where you can carry on with your turns without having to wait on others?

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4 Responses to Recent games

  1. Ben G says:

    We also got Qwinto played this week, a 15 minute roll-and-write. Thought that it packed a surprisingly high amount of decisions in, plus the option to use other players’ rolls (as per a lot of the current crop of dice games) and very short turns kept it flowing. Will bring it again.

  2. David W says:

    Had an interesting mix of factions on Root this week: the Cats, the Woodland Alliance, the Vagabond, and the Lizard Cult.

    I thought that, without the Eyrie as their main competition, the Cats would storm ahead. Which they did, until they were starved of building slots, by which point the Woodland Alliance were ready to win by their usual late explosion of sympathy (with the Vagabond not too far behind.)

    The Lizard Cult are still a bit of a mystery, because although their ability to convert other pieces and buildings makes them look threatening, I have yet to see them come close to winning. So that’s my challenge before the next expansion arrives.

  3. Dan Brownsill says:

    I wouldn’t say Terramara is like Terra Mystica. It’s part of my growing collection of games, not John’s.

    Terramara is a worker placement game where you can place workers in more valuable spots lower down the board, but they won’t come back until a future round. Most of the time you’ll place higher up the board to get workers back at the end of the current round but with less valuable actions.

    There’s three main tracks to progress along giving different benefits and the main aim is to gather resources to build artefacts which score the majority of your points. A fair bit of rules explanation last night, the game should play in 2 hours once everyone knows what they’re doing.

    • Matt 'Tonksey' Eyo-Tonks says:

      Yes, I’d agree with Dan that Terramara has no similarities with Terra Mystica except in the name only. Really enjoyed this one, some really neat aspects to it – the three tracks work really well & there are benefits to advancing quicker on any of those.

      My only niggle with the game is the future action mechanic purely because for a Stone Age themed game, sending a worker to the future really has nothing to do with the theme at all! But it works well & provides some tough decision over whether to lose a worker for at least one round but have a more beneficial action.

      Definitely one I’d like to play again soon.

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