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.

February 14th and my first try-out for Great Western Trail which is a very good game, but it is daunting to be confronted with a score sheet which includes 9 different ways to score points. Bill gave an excellent rules run through, and the number of options at each turn are usually quite manageable, so it did not take long to get going. The iconography on the board also makes it clear what can be done in each place, although the small size of the symbols meant that a lot of peering across the board was needed. I also liked how the theme and the cattle-drive mechanism worked well together. IMO, and this really is just my view, if the game had only the cowboys, the cattle, the buildings and the obstacles this would be a brilliant game. By adding the engineers, the station-masters the transport conditions and the bonus cards, it actually detracted and made it just a good game. There are so many interlocking layers of complexity that working out the consequential effects of any action is difficult and having 3 or 4 ways to score would be plenty. That said, I did enjoy it, and many people like their games more complex than me. Although I did not get to circulate much, Bill tells me that there were also games of Suburbia and Terraforming Mars, as well as something called ‘Tea at a whack can’ (really).

February 7th We had the biggest turnout ever last night with 6-tables, including as expected two with Great Western Trail. In order to try something lighter another group had chosen Airlines Europe, followed by Speicherstadt. It has been some years since these were seen last. It was a first opportunity for me to try out Root. This is a highly asymmetric conflict game themed around jolly woodland creatures. I presume the designers are trying to engage the ‘no-wargames-for-me’ end of the hobby. The rules are simple and the action sequence laid out well on the player boards. While it takes little time to work out what you are doing yourself, figuring out what every other faction is up to, is more difficult since everryone scores and plays to slightly different rules. Essentially the cats are the military-industrial status quo, the birds are an invading force, while the woodland alliance are fomenting guerilla uprisings. The vagabond is a solitary piece, playing a completely different type of game while trying to ally with or antagonise the other factions. It was all very enjoyable and I am looking for another game of it very soon. We still had plenty of time afterwards for Bausack. On other tables I saw Azul, Carcassone and Honshu – a tableau building game with an auction mechanism.

January 31st A very good turnout despite the warnings of snow which failed to materialise. As expected there were a couple of groups on practise games of Great Western Trail. Also in the main room an interesting new arrival Teotihuacan: city of the gods (see pic.), which appears to have some dice selection as well as construction on a very full board. Our group were occupied with a couple of older games Evolution: Climate and the game which I still think is the best thematic reconstruction of mountaineering K2. With three new mountaineers on the easier face of the mountain in winter weather, only 5 of the original 8 climbers survived – quite challenging. I particularly like the aspect of risk-taking that is needed to make an attempt on the summit as well as the planning needed to spot a window in the weather and keep the right cards for the final assault. In the back room there was a game of Root. I am hoping to try this out soon, as I missed it when it first came out and it has been well-rated as a very asymmetric conflict game.

January 24th – a busy evening with 5 tables and an interesting assortment of games, including the first appearance for Wingspan and the Quacks of Quedlinburg. Wingspan, while being a conventional Eurogame, has some very interesting cards and components, including a birdbox dicetower, eggs rather than cubes, and very pretty and educational cards with photographs of 170 species of birds – it almost works as a field guide to birds of North America - a European add-on is planned. That group managed to fit in both of these new games in the evening. Our table started with Fire and Axe: a Viking saga, won by Robin, mostly on the basis of pillaging  towns wherever his longship beached and we still had plenty of time for Ra. Another group were playing Founders of Gloomhaven. The original Gloomhaven (D&D style with progressive character development) takes several sessions to play through even single scenario, so I presume this offshoot is based in the generic world and more adaptable to a club-evening – they finished with Perudo. On other tables and in the back room I saw Intrigue and a tournament practice game of Great Western Trail.

January 17th.  I was away this week so the notes on the games come with thanks to Steve.

There were 5 tables playing this week. As the tournament is approaching it was inevitable that Great Western Trail would feature and there were 2 tables playing this. One group finished early and had time to play Bucket King afterwards, the other was still going when I left at 10:30. The 3rd table was playing Champions of Midgard for most of the evening. Our table had a first time visitor, Martin, so we player some light-middleweight games, starting with Kingsburg, then Parade and then joined up with the quicker GWT group for a 6-player game of Bucket King, which was very entertaining. The final table started with Chicago Express, then moved on to Ra and then finished off with Parade, picking it up after our group had finished with it.

January 10th We had 4-tables playing this week. This was my first run at Lords of Xidit, an interesting game of programmed movement and recruitment in a fantasy world, where points were scored for defeating monsters and establishing reputation. It is fairly easy to learn, and had a very interesting scoring mechanic, slightly reminiscent of Tigris and Euphrates. I enjoyed it, but thought that the mechanics could be applied to almost any theme – ie collect appropriate resources and use them in appropriate combinations. We finished with Arboretum. On other tables I saw Terra Mystica and Nations. On the next table to us, there was a group of 5 playing Cyclades, which looked very entertaining – quite raucous.  They finished with Perudo.

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