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 17th – The new round of the tournament has arrived with two tables playing Tikal – discovering temples in the cut-throat world of international archaeology. This game (chosen as our older game this year) was very popular when it first came out ~20 years ago, as one of the first games with an action-point mechanism, combined with tile-placement- essentially tactical. It is the forerunner of many games that followed, but still plays very well. One of the groups followed on afterwards with Parade. Our table started with Endeavor, which was very close, everyone ended up within 5pts of each other. Happily there is a new edition coming out soon, – this has been inexplicably out of print for about 6 years and very expensive to buy 2nd-hand. We had time afterwards for Alien Frontiers – again very close and won by Tom on a tie-breaker. There were also reruns for Immortals and Heaven and Ale.
May 10th – another busy evening with 6 tables out. One new arrival was Immortals an area control game based on the rule-set of Wallenstein or Shogun, with the unusual innovation of a double board with identical maps, one for the light-side and the other for the dark-side. Pieces eliminated from one map reappear in the matched position on the other ma, which must provide a strong balancing mechanism. This is set against programmed card play on each turn to determine the actions and their order of play (very important) and a cube-tower to introduce some uncertainty in combat, – it makes for an interesting mix. On other tables I noticed Heaven and Ale, Deep Sea Adventure and Power Grid. Our group played Brass and in the back room I noticed Race for the Galaxy. I did miss quite a few.
May 3rd The last two games of Black Gold were played this week, again with mixed results. One had low scores throughout, due apparently to low oil prices for the whole of the game. On the other group there was another tie for first place – this game is unusual in not having a tie-breaker mechanism, and the tournament this round has managed to produce 2 tied games. These groups finished with some shorter games including Ra (please can I have my copy back next week). In the back room there was another appearance for Merlin a relatively new game on a circular format board, I only got a glimpse, but it looked quite complex. Our table started with Vintage, a game which continues to grow on me each time I play it, as new nuances come to light. We also had time for Splendor before I left. On the 5th table, they were occupied for most of the evening with Chaos in the Old World.
April 19th This week there were two tournament games of Black Gold in the back room with a big-score for Steve on one of them and a win for Ian too, to keep him at the top of the league. A group with John had brought in Riverboat. When I saw the box, I thought it might be related to Le Havre as the artwork is very similar, but it is designed by Michael Kiesling. The theme is based on farming along the banks of the Mississippi, optimising your crops and loading them onto boats for export (pts). It includes an interesting card drafting mechanism for each round. They also fitted in games of Majesty: For the Realm and Azul. On our table we had time for 2 games of Vintage, the highly thematic game about port-wine production in the Douro valley. It is one of my favourite worker-placement games and the board itself is exemplary, – attractive and with clear icons telling you what everything does/costs/is allowed, and no clutter. The slightly subdued colours of the artwork actually help considerably. I wish some of the more recent (excellent) games would take their cue from this style. On the neighbouring table I noticed Trajan, and there was one other table that I did not get to visit.
April 12th After many attempts, I finally managed to get Serenissima back to the table. Despite its relative age (>20 years), it still plays very well, with simple rules, and plenty of interaction between the players. A new edition came out a few years ago, but the significant changes that were made to the map and rules did not really improve it. There were also two tables playing Black Gold and the last group were playing Civilisations (?). [I don't think this is a remake of the 1980 classic which covers an enormous table and takes about 7 hours to play (very memorable, but I have only done it once)], and I could not find a newer version on the BGG database, so please tell us what it was and how it played. – There’s a note from Dan below – it was in fact ‘A New Dawn’.
April 5th The first tournament game of Black Gold ended with the first 3-players all within $1000 of each other in a close-fought but quick game as the rail-baron raced to the finish ahead of all the players. It got to the stage where much oil was being burnt off and there was no point in building new derricks. However with a much shorter game, we still had time for Parade and a couple of games of Arboretum. On the neighbouring tables the evening was spent on A Feast for Odin and Altiplano (good to see John back with us again). The 4th group were trying out Power Grid on the Norway board, distinctive for the appearance of hydroelectric power plants. It is, I think, the first time we have seen this map at the club. Finally, in the other room, there was a very long game of Bruxelles – Steve’s secret santa prezzie.