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.

April 18th When I left at 10:30 the game of Vinhos, one of the heavier wine-production games, was still in progress. Again there were practice games of Pulsar 2849, one followed by Perudo and the other by Peippermatz. This is an interesting and distinctive card set-collection game with elements that reminded me of Parade and Ra. It is themed around birds and seed-eating, and the artwork on the cards is particularly pleasing. The distinct element is that you may have to play your cards onto the table, (where they may be taken by other players) before you can recover them into the sets you are trying to make in your own tableau. It takes a while to get the hang of how to do this. On other tables I noticed Scythe and Powerboats, followed by ??

April 11th With 7 tables and several games happening on most of them, I just cannot  remember everything that is happening. This week however I did notice the return of two games that have not been seen for a several years: Last Train to Wensleydale and Flashpoint Fire Rescue. TTtW is a Martin Wallace railroute development game, but quite different from his other railway offerings. It involves delivering cheese and stone to the mainline routes outside the Yorkshire Dales. I played it once and it is a good game, but I was put off by the unattractive board. I know it should not matter, but there is no excuse for poor art these days. Our table were rerunning Risk Europe, this time with a win for the English (Huggy – we will never hear the end of it). Again we had time afterwards for Via Nebula.  I also clocked Kanegawa, Spirits of the Forest, Pulsar 2849 and Exchange as well as a small German cardgame about birds.

April 4th We hit a new high this week, with 7-tables of games, and it becomes increasingly difficult for me to remember everything that is going on, so please feel free to add notes on anything that I have overlooked or that was particularly interesting. I have not played Risk for 50 years, but was persuaded to try Risk Europe, which is a huge improvement on the original. It has a limited set of card driven orders, differentiation between the units (siege engines, cavalry, archers and footmen) in how they fight, taxation and supply lines. [It still has loads of dice-rolling, no opportunity for retreat from battle and player elimination.]  But best of all is that it plays in 2 hours. A major drawback for the original was the long play-time and extended stalemates that could develop. We had time for Via Nebula afterwards. In the main room there were games of Pulsar 2849, as expected and Gaia Project. In my one visit to the back room I noticed Root (with the Riverfolk) and Trajan. And in the main room there was Euphoria and Wingspan. The great thing about having so many groups is that it gives plenty of choice of different kinds of game – hopefully something to suit everyone.

March 28th This week I brought in an old favourite Serenissima which still stands up well against the current crop of games, not least because the rules are fairly short, intuitive and can be explained in 15 minutes.  The theme, trading, colonisation and naval warfare in the middle ages, is both interesting and well-integrated in the game mechanics. I have increasing trouble reading, let alone assimilating, small upside text on player-boards on the opposite side of the table, so I really enjoy a game where there is only one board and it is in the middle of the table with everything visible. [ that's enough nostalgia.  Ed.] There were a lot of other other games out this week including Seafall, a legacy game  – please tell us about it you were playing that – and two games of Pulsar 2849, one of which was followed by Arboretum. In the backroom, they had started with Year of the Dragon, with the Wall of China addition and had fitted in a couple of other short games, while the 6th table were playing Mombasa a game about company development in Africa, which features a simultaneous action mechanic.

March 21st Another busy week with 6 tables of assorted games, including as expected two of Pulsar 2849. Our group were having another try of Root, with everyone playing a new faction. While the basic rules are quite simple, one cannot really understand this game until you have played each of the factions at least once – they are so different. It was another win for the vagabond, although the final scores were all within 4 pts and anyone could have won on the last round. It is clearly very well balanced when everyone has a good idea of the basic game. We still had time afterwards for Ra. On the table next to us was a huge card-based game Food Chain Magnate, with slightly retro artwork, but clearly contemporary style of game-mechanics, and opposite there was a miniatures-heavy but medium-weight new dungeon-crawler, Cult of Barnacle Bay – please tell us about this if you were playing in that corner. Finally, I am happy to note that there has been a recent resurgence for Puerto Rico – it is good to see these classics returning from time to time.

March 14th We have moved on to round two of this year’s tournament and that brought out two games of Pulsar 2849. This is a dice selection game with a ‘points salad’ ie lots of ways to score points, accumulated over each of the rounds. The theme is flying around space, colonising planets, building girodynes (power plants) developing technology and satisfying members of the space corps . There are many options and the main thing is to concentrate on one or two  of them at most, while working out which combinations of technologies work best with any one strategy. The rules are relatively simple but the variety of things to choose is enormous and will change on every game (randomised board planet-positions, characters, personal technology trees and public technology). It might have been because it was first game for 2 of us, but the level of player-interaction seems to be relatively low – there is some potential competition for board-spaces or technologies, but mostly it is about working on your own points-engine. The board itself, iconography and artwork is excellent for the theme and a game should not be too long (only eight rounds); we easily fitted in Via Nebula afterwards. Also in the main room one group played Puerto Rico and another Euphoria, followed by Perudo. I managed one visit to the other room too, where they had started with Castille (not sure about this one - please correct or comment if you were playing it) and finished with Wingspan.

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2 Responses to Recent games

  1. David W says:

    Interesting game of Root last week, which took three hours, but was worth every minute.

    I was playing the Eyrie, Andy was playing the Cats, Graham was playing the Vagabond, and Tom was playing his first game, as the Woodland Alliance. The boards were updated with the official balance changes, which most significantly give the Alliance less points for placing sympathy tokens.

    In the first half, the Eyrie sustained their decree for longer than usual, the Vagabond amassed far too much equipment, while the Cats spread their attention between the Eyrie and Alliance. The Alliance struggled to expand from their corner clearing, and it was probably my fault that they put their first base there.

    Then the Eyrie fell into turmoil, releasing some Dominance cards.

    Following private negotiations, the Vagabond claimed one Dominance card to join forces with the Alliance, who in turn, claimed a Dominance card covering their now-unassailable corner clearing. The Eyrie and Cats piled into the opposite corner, restricting infighting to undefended buildings in vacated clearings. The Vagabond attempted to clear them out on a caffeine-crazed rampage, but after three turns which all could have been the last, and an Alliance revolt claiming twelve warriors, the Cats crept forwards just enough to win on points.

    I like Root.

  2. David W says:

    I was playing Wander: The Cult of Barnacle Bay with Andy, Martin and David. Some rules are a bit sloppy, and there might not be enough variety to sustain a full campaign, but it’s simple to play without being too trivial. There are lots of dice, though only heroes need to roll them, and controlling the initiative track requires a little thought. Loot persists between scenarios, but experience points are reset, allowing character builds to vary.

    Fun for what it is, if you’re not in the mood for a brain-burner.

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