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 19th.  Another very popular night.  At this rate we are going to have to expand again which is great news.  Games played tonight were. Dinosaur World, Automobile, Tigris and Euphrates, Magnate First City, Wingspan, Lions of Lydia.

So a good selection of various classics to the new ones.  I was on Magnate with Robin, Michael and Paul.  I am really loving this economics based came where you are looking to maximize rental income and then sell before the Market crashes.  It can be predictable when it crashes but it can also come out of no-where which is where risk = reward.  As usual I have been playing with one rule wrong which we correct in last nights game

November 4th Concordia was suddenly very popular with enough people piling in, so that two full tables of it were needed. Meanwhile, we had decided to dust off some golden oldies – we started with Domaine, an area control game by Klaus Teuber (even he, of Settlers fame) which is a development of his earlier Lowenhertz.  As games were in 2003, the rules are quite simple and involve one run-through of the pack. We zipped through in 90 minutes, and I rediscovered how bad I am at it. Following on Keith had brought his copy of Princes of Florence, last played in the tournament a few years ago. Again, it has simple rules, but a lot of interesting decisions and player interaction in the auctions. The aim is to provide a fabulous palazzo and facilities to attract artisans to produce magnificent works for you. Graham had decided that a ‘pool-party’ was going to be the biggest pull  (Lake and 2-jesters). Robin figured that lots of tight-packed buildings would do it, while Keith and I ended up with sizable parking-lots for carriages. This is still a great game for half an evening.  Before I left I noticed a group were rounding off with Durch die Wuste.

October 28th – another busy night with 5 tables in use.

Games in play were Robinson Crusoe, Keyflower, Amerigo, Maracaibo, Furnace.

I did not get chance to really look around too much as Maracaibo took most of the night.  Was good to see some classics such as Keyflower and Amerigo out.  Always happy to play them.

DM – For Robinson Crusoe we played the ‘Rescue Jenny’ adventure, in which we had to make a raft to rescue our stranded companion, before building a lifeboat to escape the island ahead of an incoming hurricane. With all-4 roles being played (Explorer, Soldier, Cook, Carpenter) we had plenty of abilities to keep ourselves alive, collect resources and build shelter and inventions, but were hampered by the rapidly dwindling sources of food and wood around our camp. We managed to collect just enough to build the lifeboat and escape on the final turn – very satisfying. Having played this solo several times, I found it much better to be part of a group with all the discussion and each player with their own special abilities and contribution to make. A recommendation I saw recently is to play this cooperative game more for the experience than to win, and I agree – it is very atmospheric. And if you try it, my one hint is to keep your morale up.  We still had time afterwards for Ticket to Ride, and finished with High Society – a particularly nice set of large cards with beautiful artwork.

 October 21st We had decided to get out Vintage, a highly thematic game based on Port wine production in the Douro valley. Although not very well known, this is possibly my favourite worker-placement game, with a very clean board, logical iconography and fairly simple rules. There are 7 game turns (years) in which you plant vineyards, harvest, ship your wine down river and age it in cellars to produce the best quality port – and it really is quality that counts rather than quantity. We were all rather hampered by poor weather in the first few years, but finished with a flourish with two bumper top-quality harvests. I am always happy to get this out again, and we had time at the end for Azul and Cartagena.  On the other table in our room I noticed they had started with Castles of Burgundy.

 October 14th.  Quiet night this week with only 3 tables. We had Fire and Axe: a Viking Saga, Cosmogenesis followed by Tiny Towns and finally Black Orchestra.

Well, we would have had Black Orchestra but the owner, whose name shall not be mentioned *cough*, for got he sold the game a while ago. Instead, we played Maracaibo.

I really like Maracaibo and it has been sometime since I played. The main board is set in the Caribbean where out ships sail to either cities to do a big action and drop of goods or a village to do 1, 2 or 3 actions depending on how far you travelled.

You have a hand of cards (start with 4) which you use either as goods and just discard them at a city or you set them out as a project to later buy them as permanent bonus cards in games. These may increase your income, give you extra actions or enhance current actions.

Whoever gets to the end of the circuit (think great western trail) triggers the end of round and some end of round scoring. Do this 4 times to trigger game end.

The other part of the game (and the big points scoring) is the battles. This is just an action, and you turn over a tile which shows the 3 factions of England, Spain and France. Each have a combat value and using your own combat value you spend that many combat points to gain influence with a single faction and/or lay out cubes on the board. Your big bonus comes from the amount of influence you have with a faction x the number of points revealed by putting their cubes out.

I have not played for sometime so rules took a while however I miss playing this and will definitely bring it to the club more often.

September 23rd The 1829+ games are an epic series, but unfortunately each one takes at least a whole day to play. A group of five of us played Dual Gauge  this week which is a completely stripped-down take on the 18xx game system with some elements of Steam thrown in. Astonishingly, we had all finished by 9:15, with time left for Azul and Blokus.  And that included 30minutes to go through the rules. Dual Gauge, played on the Portugal board, consists of alternate share-buying and operating rounds. Critically, you can only buy 1-share per turn and (usually) can only operate 1-route, which underlies the rapid play. At the end of our game (due in this case to trains running out), I was ready for a couple more turns.  There are some elements missing, such as share-selling by players, survey parties and progressive development of multiple increasingly complex routes, but it also avoids the maths that is needed each round in 18xx games for distributing share income. Also the simplification, gives the huge advantage of being easily able to complete a game of Dual Gauge in an evening at the club. The components are basic, but this share/rail game really worked for me. (D)

September 2nd – Dan, Dave and I played Uwe Rosenburg’s Hallertau this week. The key mechanics listed on the back of the box were enjoyable! Sheep with expiration dates – or just slaughter them for meat! Field yield rotation system and for my game the most important mechanic – Card Combos!

After a first round where I was a bit lost in what I was doing, in round two I decided to go heavy on concentrating on card combos which turned out to be the winning strategy in this case. In particular being able to play the combo cards at any time meant you could fulfill card requirements right before you needed to spend the resources.

Plenty of replay-ability for the future with different decks of cards to choose from.

Unfortunately for Dave and Dan my streak continued with a very close win of 6 nimmit and then an Ace at Perudo – no dice lost myself!

Ed

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2 Responses to Recent games

  1. Robin says:

    Thanks to Paul and Michael for sharing two really great new games this week.

    First up was Khôra: Rise of an Empire. This is a thematic dice placement game set in the city states of Ancient Greece. You aim to develop your state along various tracks (broadly speaking, some trade and some military). The different states all receive specific benefits and potential bonuses, which makes the game nicely faithful to history: in our example, Athens and Corinth were competing for trade and money, while Sparta and Argos were competing for military might.

    Unusually for worker placement / dice placement games, the development to get extra workers/dice didn’t seem to make a big difference in this one. Paul and I both went for the extra dice, but Michael ran out the comfortable winner with just his original 2. My 3rd dice did at least allow me the unheard-of thrill of rolling a triple-six in the final round – though I still came last :-)

    That was supposed to be the main game for the evening, so then we went onto Furnace for a “light” game to finish off. This game is quite something. Its name ostensibly refers to its setting in the Industrial Revolution, though I think it’s actually about what you put your brain through for the 90 minutes: it will be fried!

    The format is wonderfully simple: over 4 rounds, you bid on cards – each of which will do a combination of providing resources, converting them and selling them for VP. Any cards you win form part of your manufacturing engine for the rest of the game. But for any cards you bid on and don’t win, you receive other resources/actions in “compensation”.

    If you play it well, the compensation can be more valuable than the card itself, which leads to a great auction process: you can only bid once on each card, and you have to place your bids so as to win the cards you want, and also not win the cards from which you need the compensation. So you’re bidding for a specific plan of outcomes; and if any one of them doesn’t work out, it can mess up the whole plan.

    I really love this game – I would recommend it to everyone. It’s short – took us 90 minutes – so you could even play it twice in an evening. Though you may need a spare brain for the second go…

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