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.

January 16th 6-tables again this week with a lot of variety. In the main room there was an arrival for the classic Alhambra which is the first of this year’s tournament games. Another game we have not seen for several years was Indonesia, which had been proposed for the tournament but did not get voted in. It is good to see these older games being dusted down and brought in. John had invited  a couple of new visitors for Wingspan with the European birds addition while our group started the evening with Cuba, won by Martin on his first go with a strategy of rum production, sales and export. We had time afterwards for two games of Web of Power. In the back room I noticed Alien Frontiers and a variant of Azul – Sagrada. I think I also saw Snowtails and Deep Sea Adventure on different tables.

January 9th We had 6-tables again this week with a mixture of old and new games. Matt had brought Caylus 1309, a new version on the original classic. Another new arrival was Maracaibo from the same designer as Great Western Trail. The theme is loosely based on travel around the Caribbean delivering goods, exploring, completing quests and gaining influence. It is a point-scoring Euro, where concentrating on one strategy and advancing on the tracks is the main aim – this is definitely not another Merchants & Marauders. Advancement on the player-boards by releasing new abilities and working with the cards you have in-hand are also important (the card art is very good). There is a lot happening, and there will be a lot of variety each time it is played. The reviews I have seen are generally very positive. It is relatively short, but not light. That group had plenty of time ofr Perudo afterwards. On our table we started with Vintage, a very thematic worker-placement game about producing port-wine. This came down to a win on the 2nd tie-breaker for Michel (home advantage), and we finished the evening with Web of Power, an older but still excellent short game, playing cards to establish a network of influence across Medieval Europe. On other tables I saw Terraforming Mars : Venus Next and Clans of Caledonia. There were several others that I missed.

January 2nd A Happy New Year for all of you. Our first session kicked off with a good number of people including some of our younger players accompanying James and Richard. There was a mixture of old and new games including Pret a Porter, the Lords of Waterdeep and Five Tribes. Our group easily fitted in 3 games of the Quest for El Dorado.  This is an untypical Knizia game, which combines a race through the jungle with a deck-building system. Previously I have tended to avoid deck-builder games, because you need to know how the card combinations work, there can be a lot of down-time as other players take complex turns and there is often little direct player interaction. El Dorado seems to avoid all of these drawbacks. Each turn is fast.  You can block other players in the race to El Dorado and mess up the card-market. Also it is not necessary to know how cards work together; they work with the board configuration which is visible to everyone. It is also very simple. I had played once before, Keith and Sam not at all, but we each managed to win one of the games. Highly recommended as a 60 minute light race game. Meanwhile in the back room the Last Train to Wensleydale was transporting cheese and stone from the dales to the main-line stations – another fine Martin Wallace train game with very peculiar artwork on the board. There were a number of fillers at the end of the evening including Azul which I have found works well as a family game.

December 19th was Christmas games night with the usual collection of events. The picture quiz was won by Brian, after a tiebreaker with Graham and Dan won the Pitchcar tournament. These were interspersed with games of Bucket KingDon Pepe, Azul and many others.  Our group in the backroom fitted in 3 games of Escape,  a real-time cooperative, simultaneous play adventure in which the group tries to escape a collapsing temple. Ed had brought the sound-track which adds greatly to the atmosphere and was properly audible where we were. We escaped on all 3 occasions, the last one being with the curses and treasures variations which I had not tried before- it is even better than the basic game. After it had all quietened down we fitted in a last game of Bausack, with two amazing constructions from Dan and Martin, who fitted and balanced pieces, that everyone else thought was impossible. Thanks to Steve for capturing these constructions before disaster overtook.

December 12th  The tournament final of Pulsar 2849 was won by Ian in a close but high-scoring game – congratulations and the curse of  league-leader has now been laid to rest. Meanwhile there were two separate tables with Brass;Birmingham. I like this variant very much, especially with the requirement for beer to oil the wheels of commerce.  The artwork is great for the cards, although  not very functional for a game-board and there are some quirks in the requirements for building industries and the progress of development in those industries especially potteries and manufacturing. On balance I prefer Brass;Lancashire, but will always be happy to play Birmingham. On the other tables I saw Castles of Burgundy and In the Year of the Dragon – a very fine but slightly older disaster-management game.

December 5th We had 5 tables in action this week. The new game that I noticed was Ecos, which Ian described as a bit like bingo crossed with Carcassone and a few other Euros – it has a vaguely ecological theme, but is mostly based on optimising sets, scoring with them and interfering with other players’ scoring groups. It is not long and they fitted in Citadels afterwards. The last in the trio of Power Grid mini-legacy games was on the 2nd table, while our group played Merchants & Marauders, with the smuggler option from the expansion thrown in. No-one has produced a better piracy game IMO. We had time later for two games of Deep Sea Adventure. The last two tables played Tapestry, T’zolkin and Sail to India.

November 28th We do not play cooperative games so often so it was good to see Pandemic: Iberia this week. With some extra variety added by the ralways and travel, several people think that it is the best short version of this game. Our group had the annual outing for Age of Empires III – simple rules but lots to think about and in this case the winning scores were tied, as were the first and second tie-breakers; Brian finally pipped it on the 3rd tie-breaker. We still had time afterwards for Bausack, an auction game cunningly disguised as a building/dexterity game and just excellent for a family game at Christmas. On the other tables I saw Blue Lagoon and Ponzi Scheme and ?? another rerun for Glenmore?

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