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.
December 13th There was a mixture of old and new games this week. In the back room they started with Modern Art. This is simple, pure auction game, where the value of everything is decided by how much people want it and are prepared to bid for it. The delightfully cynical underlying premis is that for modern art, it is essential worthless unless enough people decide that it is worth buying as an investment. A new edition came out recently, which is just the same elegant game in a new box with a few better components – a classic. This group finished with Carcassone and fitted something in between that I did not see, as our group were colonising the Americas in another classic worker placement/area control game Age of Empires III. This again is a very elegant game with simple rules, but with a small (manageable) number of critical choices each turn and a theme that fits perfectly with the style of the game. On the other two tables I saw new arrivals Dinosaur Island and Monster Lands, before everyone finished with a round of Perudo.
December 6th I was not able to make it in this week, but there are some notes below on the tournament final and some of the other games played, kindly sent in by Bill.
Game report from the tournament final: Brass. Initially there were four disparate strategies, Ed had a blended approach, Steve went after ports, Robin built a couple of level one mills and crashed the foreign market and focused on high income, I tried to develop cotton and get all my level 3’s out and flipped in the canal era. Despite Steve’s protestations that things were going dreadfully for him he somehow managed to go into the rail era with a four point lead. Having trailed slightly behind at the end of canal era Ed had manoeuvred himself into prime spot for the start of the rail era and grabbed most of the juicy connections clawing back a fair amount of the shortfall. Robin continued to extend his income (to about 20 per turn) and developed through his mills to get all of his level 4’s out and flipped. It was difficult to see who was winning but we all suspected it was Steve especially after he overbuilt my iron. So, when the subsequent overbuilds came from Ed and Robin it was no surprise to see Steve taking a little bit of a hit. There was the usual endgame scramble for the last rail links and despite Ed’s best attempts he only managed to get one of the shipyards while Steve claimed the other two, which looked like it would swing it to him…. Final scores were Steve 153, Robin 142, Bill 140, Ed 133. A hardfought and well-deserved win for Steve who finally put to rest the hoodoo over the league winner! Congratulations!
There were only three other tables this week, the first were playing Caverna for the evening. On another they were playing Rise of Tribes…a random luck fest by the looks of things ;-> followed by Space Bases. The final table were having a raucous time playing the Dinosaur Island i.e. Jurassic Park the board game. By the sounds of things they were trying to imitate the roars of the dinosaurs. They moved on to the Perudo which, unbelievably, reduced the volume
November 22nd We had five groups in this week and a mixture of old and new games. There was a new edition of Brief History of the World, which fortunately can be fitted into one evening, unlike the original. The picture above and the header show Zhangu. In the back room there was another new game La Granja, which I was told has a dice selection mechanic. There was a return after a long gap for Thurn und Taxis, a rather good game about establishing postal networks across Germany. It has an interesting way of assembling cards into the routes by adding to one end or the other of a card-line. I am sorry that we don’t see this game more often. Our table started with another classic worker placement outing for Pillars of the Earth and we had plenty of time afterwards for Arboretum. I also saw Bucket King, and of course Perudo.
November 15th I was away this week so the notes below come with thanks to Bill:
I arrived a bit late and only David and Paul hadn’t joined a game yet so this seemed the perfect opportunity to get 1944:Race to the Rhine out of my bag and to the table! Luckily they both agreed and we headed off to the back room for some WWII action playing the roles of Monty, Bradley and Patton. Although at first glance of the box and the components this may appear to be a block wargame it is in fact a very thematic, logistics focused, pick-up-and-deliver, race euro. Each general is allocated a specific section of the map for their advance based on the historical events. To win, one of the generals has to capture one of the objective cities across the Rhine. If no-one manages to do that by the time the Germans deploy all of their reinforcements then the general with the most medals wins. Medals are awarded for capturing other objectives on the way to the Rhine or for defeating elite german divisions in combat.
There are no dice and the abstracted combat involves the allied corps attacking an enemy unit/position having to expend a specific amount of ammunition and fuel as dictated by the card drawn from the relevant deck of cards. The push your luck aspect of the combat can be mitigated by the use of recon and air support, etc. The main fly in the ointment is that each corps can only carry a limited amount of supplies with them and needs to be kept resupplied during its advance….but, when you resupply you clog up the roads making it more difficult for the next resupply until the logistics chain is reset. David won with the most medals having driven his army up to meet the advancing German reinforcements grabbing a few key objective on the way, Monty got a bit bogged down trying to take a fortified channel port to shorten his supply lines and lost the use of a corps he couldn’t feed. Patton left his rear a bit exposed allowing a German counterattack to retake one of his objective cities. There’s various other thematic aspects of the game such as weather, airborne units, unique special abilities per General, encirclement, etc. My main gripe would be that the rule book wasn’t great, one specific rule (which we missed) only appeared on the player aid on the back of the rule book and not in the main body of the rules. Looking forward to giving it another go now that the rules are a bit clearer.
I didn’t make it into the main room until the end of the night but have been informed that one group played Helios followed by Oracle of Delphi, another group played Kingsburg, there was also a table playing Dice Settlers and the last table was playing Nusfjord..inevitably followed by Perudo
November 8th The last two tournament games of Panamax were completed this week and we have four clear finalists. I was fully engaged with Merchants & Marauders all evening, and we had a visitor David Nicholson join the game after David-L very kindly gave up his place. There is some luck in this game which creates some of the interesting narratives. A lot depends on how to ride the luck and mitigate disasters. Eventually it revolved around who was spotted by NPCs. My pirate/smuggler was able to get past a French Man-o-War blockade at Havana twice undetected to deliver cloth and contraband: Paul’s trading vessel escaped detection once and traded for a lot of cash on board but was then hunted by a pirate frigate, and sunk in a battle outside San Juan. With M&M, I can accept this amount of luck, because it creates very interesting stories for each captain, and it is excting to see what risks can be taken and got away with. I can also underrstand why some people find it too dice-dependent. On other tables I saw Steam and Ra, but there were quite a lot of other games, including something with a lot of miniatures that I did not recognise (Ian?).
November 1st This week we had two tournament games of Panamax. It is still quite open as to who ends up in the final. On other tables I saw Power Grid for 4 on the Netherlands board, Ticket to Ride in the back room, and Great Western Trail. We also had time for Flamme Rouge, which recreates the tactics of cycle racing quite effectively – do you stay in the peleton and conserve energy or go for a breakaway hoping to stay ahead? The version we played had very high production values with nice interlocking pieces to make the variable tracks, neat pieces for the cyclists and well-produced cards and player boards – very good if you have 45 minutes left at the end of an evening.