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.

March 12th Once again we had a large turnout with 6-tables of games. Our group were occupied with Alubari; a nice cup of tea, which is in some ways similar to Snowdonia. It involves clearing rubble, laying track and building stations. However it is certainly 2-steps more complex than Snowdonia as there is a whole extra layer of setting up tea plantations, harvesting tea and converting it into chai;  all the time keeping an eye on the weather which can affect both railway building and tea growing. I sometimes think that one way of judging the complexity of these types of game is to see how many entries go into the end-of-game score sheet. In this case there were 7 different ways to score points of which the main item was completing contracts. I should add that we all enjoyed playing it, but it did take all evening for our first play, with 3-players and several breaks to look up rules. The final scores were quite even, although I suspect quite low. On the neighbouring tables in the main room, I noticed Railways of Portugal, the Conquest of Nerath and a return for Pax Pamir. Although I did not get into the back room, I gather that the groups there played Terraforming Mars and Black Angel.

March 5th There was lot happening this week with 7-tables of games. Alhambra was played on two of them, which completes the first round of the tournament. I do not remember seeing Pax Pamir before, an area control game with a lot of built in history, set in 19th century Afghanistan. The company makes a number of games in this series, with very clean boards, simple but attractive pieces and historical figures and events on the cards. On other tables in the main room I saw Pipeline, Merlin and Power Grid on one of the newer boards. Our group started with 2  games of El Dorado before moving on to Alhambra, and on the neighbouring table Graham with 2 new visitors were playing Awkward Guests, a much improved take on Cluedo. Some of these groups combined to finish the evening with Skull and some other fillers.

February 27th A technical hitch as no-one in the group playing Alhambra in the tournament this week, had a copy of the game – it has been rescheduled. They opted for Puerto Rico  and some card games instead. There was a full table for Automobile, which is very competitive with 5-players. Although each player only has 12 actions in the game, every one requires key decisions and that group spent most of the evening with it. We had a 3-player game of Eclipse (Orion, Mechanema & Hydrans), which left us time for 2 games of Incan Gold in the back room where I had also seen For Sale and Estates. There was one other table in the main room playing Wingspan.

February 20th It was mostly older games this week, including two tournament games of Alhambra. The anniversary edition of Puerto Rico, with some rather fancy boards and ships was happening in the back room alongside Power Grid on the Korean board. I heard a comment that it was difficult to reach the winning number of power-stations on this board as the higher level stations were not recycling quickly through the deck to become available for auction. It is the first time I have heard this problem and presumably is a quirk of the Korean board/rules. Our group had started with Brass; Lancashire before finishing with Web of Power. The 6th table had a rerun of Rising Sun, and finished with Deep Sea Adventure.

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.

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