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 20th The first of the tournament games of Blood Rage took place this week with a win for Ed. There was also a practice game going on in the neighbouring room. In the main room there was a return for Xia: legends of a drift system. Our group started with Cuba, which is very competitive with 5-players – not much room for goods on the ships – which necessitated other strategies and Bill won this with his reservoir and golf course. We followed on with Port Royal an interesting card tableau-building game, and we finished with Perudo. On other tables I saw Agricola (now something of a classic worker placement game) and Ethnos.
July 13th – another good turnout with 24 players and 6 tables. Most notable was a first appearance for Xia: legends of a drift system. This is a beautiful game of space-trading, piracy and missions, on a modular board, that expands as you explore. It has a terrific set of painted miniatures. Each player takes the part of a starship captain aiming to gain fame and fortune. The ships can be customised and upgraded, and there are choices as to whether to take the legal trading route or to become a smuggler or pirate. There are NPCs to be pounced on or avoided, and there is the distinct possibility of your starship coming to a dematerialised end. Does this sound at all familiar – yes it is Merchants and Marauders in space with a dash of Eclipse thrown in – looks good. In the meantime, our table played two games of K2, first on the easier board with Summer weather. This was deemed too soft, so we shifted to the hard routes on Winter weather – no-one made it to the top and survived, but it is just as good a game. Following this we tried Flamme Rouge, a very thematic cycle racing game, slightly reminiscent of Snow Tails, but giving a big premium for coasting in the peleton, or trying to make decisive breakaways, so it really did feel like a cycle race. On other tables in the main room, I noticed, Caylus, and Scythe. That group also fitted in Bang and Oh My Goods. I dropped into the backroom (two tables) on one occasion and noticed Innovation, but there was a lot of other games played there, that I did not clock.
July 6th saw a good number of people on a very warm evening. One table started with Great Western Trail and followed on with Ethnos. Sam and David took the whole evening to play a scenario from Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear, which involved a wounded general holed up in a farm surrounded by partisans. Another group had arranged to play the classic Caylus, and managed to fit in Pandemic afterwards. With just 3-players in our group, we were a bit more limited in choice than usual, so decided to go for a series of shorter games, starting with Snow Tails and following on with Metro. I had not played this before although it was Spiel des Jahres in 2000. The overall style is similar to the tile-laying in Tsuro, but the aim is to connect stations around the edge of the board to score points according to the length of the routes completed. After this we played Web of Power, an older but still very effective game in which cards are used to place and connect monasteries and states in medieval Europe. Two of us still had time to fit in Cold War: CIA vs KGB at the end. The 5th table started with Barenpark, before also progressing to Snow Tails.
June 29th The latest round of the tournament brought out two copies of Blood Rage for practice games this week. One of those groups rounded off with Gravwell. Meanwhile our group played Via Nebula, sandwiched between two games of Vegas. This has been around for a while but I had not tried it before. It is all about dice-placement with a handful of dice for each player. Very easy to learn, and with a bit of strategy, but not so much that it can’t be thrown haywire by the dice-rolls. It is a little longer than our usual fillers, but definitely worth fitting in on an evening of middle-length games. There were several shorter games happening this week, but the only one I clocked was Dead Man’s Draw, a push-your-luck card game.
June 22nd There were 4-tables this week on another very warm evening (I will bring a fan next time). The final tournament game of Puerto Rico ended quickly with the colonists quickly exhausted and low scores all round. This did leave us time for Evolution: Climate, which was also unusual with no food on round one and 4 species going extinct, with one carnivore and one hibernatory species just clinging on. On other tables they played Yokohama, Beer Empire, 5-Tribes and Ra. Yokohama is a Euro-style trading game with a worker-movement mechanism. The board looked complex, but with very nice pieces and clear art.
June 15th The main events this week were two tournament games of Puerto Rico, won by Paul-D and Anthony, which keeps them both well clear at the top of the league table. The third table spent most of their evening on a new game Scoville. The box-side says 90 minutes, but they did have quite a large group, and were presumably just picking up the rules. Our group were having another go at Steam on the South Africa board. The scores at the end were very tight (within 3 points) and I must say that I do like the special rules on this map which involve mining and mine development – it allows another way of putting new goods cubes onto the board in key locations and reduces the power of the urbanisation tile. I still have serious problems with the colours of the towns, and I was continually having to ask (and apologise for asking), which towns were blue/purple. Even the rest of the group had to look hard. Other games I noticed were Not Alone (cards and tableau) and Magic Maze, a cooperative game played against a sand-timer, where non of the players are allowed to discuss moves, but can only glare pointedly at each other and bang pieces on the able – look good.
May 25th I was completely engrossed in games of Quartermaster General this week and did not get to circulate so much, although I did see two tables with Puerto Rico and one with Ra. This time our group included the Air Marshall extension, which allows a little more flexibility in planning and responses – the airforce pieces can help defend a region and may also be involved in combined attacks and airlifts. While the 2nd game ran true to form (axis surges ahead and was too far ahead to be caught by the allies), the first game was quite different to any I have played before. In this case the allies moved steadily ahead, up to the mid-game and nearly won, but then (rather late in the day) the axis developed blitzkrieg and improved war production, catching up and overhauling the allies by the end. It was very close.