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.
February 13th The annual tournament has started with Alhambra on two tables. One of those groups, finished with Harbour. Architects of the West Kingdom is an interesting take on worker placement, where the workers are not assigned to new tasks every round but may be moved as part of a strategy or even because they have been detained by the authorities. It is set in the Carolingian period and has suitable charcater cards which reminded my of the Sheriff of Nottingham – very nice art on the board design too. Also in the main room, there was a group playing Japanese themed games all evening starting with Tsuro before going on to Rising Sun and finishing with Kanagawa. Our group were occupied with Railways of the World on the USA- Eastern board. This is a slight modification of the ‘Steam’ genre, a little less tough as you don’t have to plan your loans and finance and there is quite a bit of space and resources on the board. Indeed the board is so enormous that seeing what is going on the other side is the major challenge. We had time afterwards for a 2- player game of Azul – it seems to work well at all player-counts.
February 6th We had 6-tables again this week, and a mixture of old and new games. We have not seen Container for a while, a highly rated game of stock control and delivery, which had reprint relatively recently. Our group, also in the back room, started with Root, including the Lizard faction but no vagabond. Each faction in this game is so different that it is like playing a different game with each of them, and then when the group of factions is altered the whole dynamic changes. I am still getting to grips with this after 4-plays even though the basic rules are not that complicated. We had time afterwards for Azul. In the main room, I noticed, Terra Mystica, Roll for the Galaxy, Perudo and Lancaster – do please add some notes if you were playing in games I missed.
January 30th Following last week’s Fire and Axe, we have had an outbreak of Viking games, with Graenaland an older game about the colonisation of Greenland (based on resource collection and negotiation), and Raiders of the North Sea (plunder). These are all good games and each gives a distinctly different take on what the Vikings were up to. We had a first appearance for Crystal Palace – a new dice-placement game about the World Fair, (not the football team). This appeared to be a full-evening Euro, with a lot of components and a theme built around inventions and patents with a smattering of historical and fictional characters. Our table started with two games of the Quest for El Dorado, before moving on to Azul; Summer Pavilion. This variant is sufficiently similar to the original to be quickly playable if you already know the original, but also considerably different in its tile-laying and scoring. I could not say which I prefer. They are both worth playing but if anything Summer Pavilion is a bit prettier. We finished with a curious card game about controlling the shares in companies – Startups. On other tables there were groups playing Alhambra and a variety of other card games including For Sale.
January 23rd This week I had brought Fire and Axe: a Viking saga, with 5-players. Despite its age it still works very well as a medium-weight game with a bit if history behind it. Interestingly it does not become more competitive with more players as often happens on a limited area map, but the overall scores are generally lower. We had time afterwards for two games of King Domino. I had not tried this before but it is an easy-to-learn filler. Two of this years tournament games were having practise outings, Alhambra and Shipyard, and there was a return for the new version of Caylus 1309. Michel (who else) had just acquired Railways of Portugal, and that took most of the evening on the 5th table.
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.