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.

20th Jan 2022
Another busy night and once again I played Barrage with Paul, Michael and Karen.   This time my water management was much better.

I heard tales of Jorvik been a brutal game, which, has now got my attention to try out in the future.

2 other games played look like people potentially getting in some practice of some possible games for the tournament with Endeavour Age of Sail and Last Train to Wensleydale.

13th Jan 2022
Was great to see a busy night again with 5 tables in total booked.  As a precaution James, Dan and Ed played upstairs.  To be honest we should take that precaution with them all the time ????

I played Barrage with Karen, David E and David A.  It is a great game all about water management and dam building.  The shock was that I actually won when you consider my water management and dam building were not very good.

Both David’s had some great setups and got some high energy scores whilst Karen had some very well-placed conduits which gained her a good income.  My setup was a bit all over the place.  I had resigned myself to either 3rd or 4th so just concentrated on building lots for the 15 points bonus.  By doing so my income of points and by special tiles used, which also gained points, seemed to be enough to get ahead.

I am up for playing this again if anyone wants a game whilst it is fresh in my mind.

Other games played were Lancaster, Mombassa, Glass Road and Arnak

December 9th This week our group got to refight the Peloponnesian war in a 2vs2 team game (Victory or Death), where the Oligarchs of Sparta and Corinth take on the Demos – Delian League and Athens. This historical, card-driven game was close until the last two turns when the Oligarchs pulled ahead. The end was particularly tense as Corinth (Robin) and Sparta (Michel) sent combined armies to besiege Athens. The Demos tried to cut off their routes of supply by seabourne landings at the isthmus which separates Attica from the Peloponnese, but the cities of Attica sided with the Oligarchs, supplying their armies and allowing them to continue the siege. It turned out that the great Athenian defence was partly a bluff and the city fell on the last turn of the game.  The Quartermaster General series provides a great set of games. The original which covers WW2 is for 6-players and is much improved by the inclusion of the Air Marshal extension. The WW1 game is in my opinion even better, but plays with 5-powers, while the Peloponnesian War is best for 4-players. I think the series went off the boil a bit with the Cold War game.   On other tables this week, they played WingspanLondon and the Great Wall.

December 2nd This week we got Samurai & Katana to the table – an older game (1999) about warring clans in Feudal Japan. As always, this produced a very tense finish, – initially tied between Date Masamune (Richard) holding areas around Kyoto and Uesugi Kenshin (Dave-A) sweeping in from the West on the final turn to win. That said anyone could have won on the final turn. The thing I like about these older games (apart from the simpler rules) is that there is one board in the middle (no player boards) one pack of cards that everyone uses, not many pieces and continuous interactions between all of the players. There is a certain amount of randomness, but in S&K you have to look carefully at what everyone else is doing, especially when it is not your own turn. Another feature of some of the older games is that the end is triggered when one player reaches a certain point/score, (Settlers , Merchants&Marauders) which means that controlling when this point is reached is really important. Samurai & Katana took a little longer than I expected, but the time flew by. On other tables I noticed Coffee Traders, Pulsar 2849 and Merchants Cove, which is currently very popular.

November 19th.  Another very popular night.  At this rate we are going to have to expand again which is great news.  Games played tonight were. Dinosaur World, Automobile, Tigris and Euphrates, Magnate First City, Wingspan, Lions of Lydia.

So a good selection of various classics to the new ones.  I was on Magnate with Robin, Michael and Paul.  I am really loving this economics based came where you are looking to maximize rental income and then sell before the Market crashes.  It can be predictable when it crashes but it can also come out of no-where which is where risk = reward.  As usual I have been playing with one rule wrong which we correct in last nights game

November 4th Concordia was suddenly very popular with enough people piling in, so that two full tables of it were needed. Meanwhile, we had decided to dust off some golden oldies – we started with Domaine, an area control game by Klaus Teuber (even he, of Settlers fame) which is a development of his earlier Lowenhertz.  As games were in 2003, the rules are quite simple and involve one run-through of the pack. We zipped through in 90 minutes, and I rediscovered how bad I am at it. Following on Keith had brought his copy of Princes of Florence, last played in the tournament a few years ago. Again, it has simple rules, but a lot of interesting decisions and player interaction in the auctions. The aim is to provide a fabulous palazzo and facilities to attract artisans to produce magnificent works for you. Graham had decided that a ‘pool-party’ was going to be the biggest pull  (Lake and 2-jesters). Robin figured that lots of tight-packed buildings would do it, while Keith and I ended up with sizable parking-lots for carriages. This is still a great game for half an evening.  Before I left I noticed a group were rounding off with Durch die Wuste.

October 28th – another busy night with 5 tables in use.

Games in play were Robinson Crusoe, Keyflower, Amerigo, Maracaibo, Furnace.

I did not get chance to really look around too much as Maracaibo took most of the night.  Was good to see some classics such as Keyflower and Amerigo out.  Always happy to play them.

DM – For Robinson Crusoe we played the ‘Rescue Jenny’ adventure, in which we had to make a raft to rescue our stranded companion, before building a lifeboat to escape the island ahead of an incoming hurricane. With all-4 roles being played (Explorer, Soldier, Cook, Carpenter) we had plenty of abilities to keep ourselves alive, collect resources and build shelter and inventions, but were hampered by the rapidly dwindling sources of food and wood around our camp. We managed to collect just enough to build the lifeboat and escape on the final turn – very satisfying. Having played this solo several times, I found it much better to be part of a group with all the discussion and each player with their own special abilities and contribution to make. A recommendation I saw recently is to play this cooperative game more for the experience than to win, and I agree – it is very atmospheric. And if you try it, my one hint is to keep your morale up.  We still had time afterwards for Ticket to Ride, and finished with High Society – a particularly nice set of large cards with beautiful artwork.

 October 21st We had decided to get out Vintage, a highly thematic game based on Port wine production in the Douro valley. Although not very well known, this is possibly my favourite worker-placement game, with a very clean board, logical iconography and fairly simple rules. There are 7 game turns (years) in which you plant vineyards, harvest, ship your wine down river and age it in cellars to produce the best quality port – and it really is quality that counts rather than quantity. We were all rather hampered by poor weather in the first few years, but finished with a flourish with two bumper top-quality harvests. I am always happy to get this out again, and we had time at the end for Azul and Cartagena.  On the other table in our room I noticed they had started with Castles of Burgundy.

 October 14th.  Quiet night this week with only 3 tables. We had Fire and Axe: a Viking Saga, Cosmogenesis followed by Tiny Towns and finally Black Orchestra.

Well, we would have had Black Orchestra but the owner, whose name shall not be mentioned *cough*, for got he sold the game a while ago. Instead, we played Maracaibo.

I really like Maracaibo and it has been sometime since I played. The main board is set in the Caribbean where out ships sail to either cities to do a big action and drop of goods or a village to do 1, 2 or 3 actions depending on how far you travelled.

You have a hand of cards (start with 4) which you use either as goods and just discard them at a city or you set them out as a project to later buy them as permanent bonus cards in games. These may increase your income, give you extra actions or enhance current actions.

Whoever gets to the end of the circuit (think great western trail) triggers the end of round and some end of round scoring. Do this 4 times to trigger game end.

The other part of the game (and the big points scoring) is the battles. This is just an action, and you turn over a tile which shows the 3 factions of England, Spain and France. Each have a combat value and using your own combat value you spend that many combat points to gain influence with a single faction and/or lay out cubes on the board. Your big bonus comes from the amount of influence you have with a faction x the number of points revealed by putting their cubes out.

I have not played for sometime so rules took a while however I miss playing this and will definitely bring it to the club more often.

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6 Responses to Recent games

  1. Robin says:

    For Brian and anyone else who’s interested, here’s a review of the 1830 game that we played on Games Day.

    2 of us – me and Dan-B – were completely new to 18xx games, while Paul and Dan-M had some prior experience, and Dave-E was a relative veteran. This was to become relevant as the game played out, though not in the way we expected…

    For anyone in my category, these are games about building railways, running trains, and making money from shares in your – and other – railway companies on the stock market. Dave had trailed this particular 18xx game to me as a “brutal” game of screwing others over, though in the end most of the brutality was less direct.

    I think the outcome of the game mostly came down to the middle phase, known as the “train rush”, in which many of the early trains become obsolete and need to be replaced by expensive new ones in order for the companies to continue operating. When this happens, as company president, you have two options: squeeze all the money you can out of the company and then sell out, leaving an insolvent shell in the hands of an unsuspecting new president; or withhold dividends to invest in new trains that will be nice and profitable for the rest of the game. Either way, the one who times it perfectly will likely be the winner.

    Forewarned about the “screw-you-over” element of the game, I was jittery and sold out early, as did Dan-M. We then had to watch the others raking in the profits while we rebuilt with new investments. This was bad, but not nearly as bad as leaving it too late, which is what happened to Paul and Dave. Left with companies with no working trains, they had to liquidate shares to prop them up. Dave in particular, left with 2 such companies (one of which he’d bought when Dan-M sold out), was very nearly bankrupted, but somehow managed to bring it back from the brink.

    The upshot was a result exactly ordered by experience, with those of us who’d never played before 1st (Dan-B) and 2nd (me); followed by Dan-M, Paul and Dave. The scores seemed quite widely dispersed, though I can see how just a subtle difference in the middle of the game could easily have reversed the positions.

    From my first try of an 18xx, I would say I really liked this game. The only obvious downside is that the climax was in the middle: it would work better if it was at the end. As it was, after the “train rush” bit, it was fairly clear that Dan was going to win, while Paul and Dave had to play out the rest of the game knowing that they were already out of it.

    Other than that, it was great. The thematic realism, combined with the frequent small “successes” of receiving dividends, made it very enjoyable even over the 7 hours that we took. And there’s a strong co-operative element (joining forces to start new companies, helping another player so that they in turn can screw over someone else) so, along with the backstabbing, no shortage of player interaction. I would really like to play it again.

    Thanks for another great Games Day, everyone!

  2. Ian says:

    Barrage rule that was played wrong. If David E see’s this just FYI (I did ask at the time if we played this right).

    Correct rule for setup on Tech tiles is:

    Place the Patent Office board next to the Map. Divide the Advanced Technology tiles according to their backs and shuttle the three piles separately. Place the three piles face down in their corresponding spaces on the left of the Patent Office board. Pick the first three tiles from the pile T and place them face-up In the designated spaces on the right of the board.

    Correct rules for end round:

    If there are any Advanced Technology tiles left on the Patent Office board, discard them by putting them back in the box.

    Take three new Advanced Technology tiles and place them face-up in the designated
    spaces. First, pick the tiles from pile 1 when depleted, pick them from pile 2 and finally
    from pile 3.

    • Ian says:

      This would also explain why I did so well on the points. I was able to pick up that level 3 one at the first round which gave me 3 points per advanced tile on every use. Whilst that was scored correctly I should not have been able to get it until much later in the game.

  3. Robin says:

    Thanks to Paul and Michael for sharing two really great new games this week.

    First up was Khôra: Rise of an Empire. This is a thematic dice placement game set in the city states of Ancient Greece. You aim to develop your state along various tracks (broadly speaking, some trade and some military). The different states all receive specific benefits and potential bonuses, which makes the game nicely faithful to history: in our example, Athens and Corinth were competing for trade and money, while Sparta and Argos were competing for military might.

    Unusually for worker placement / dice placement games, the development to get extra workers/dice didn’t seem to make a big difference in this one. Paul and I both went for the extra dice, but Michael ran out the comfortable winner with just his original 2. My 3rd dice did at least allow me the unheard-of thrill of rolling a triple-six in the final round – though I still came last :-)

    That was supposed to be the main game for the evening, so then we went onto Furnace for a “light” game to finish off. This game is quite something. Its name ostensibly refers to its setting in the Industrial Revolution, though I think it’s actually about what you put your brain through for the 90 minutes: it will be fried!

    The format is wonderfully simple: over 4 rounds, you bid on cards – each of which will do a combination of providing resources, converting them and selling them for VP. Any cards you win form part of your manufacturing engine for the rest of the game. But for any cards you bid on and don’t win, you receive other resources/actions in “compensation”.

    If you play it well, the compensation can be more valuable than the card itself, which leads to a great auction process: you can only bid once on each card, and you have to place your bids so as to win the cards you want, and also not win the cards from which you need the compensation. So you’re bidding for a specific plan of outcomes; and if any one of them doesn’t work out, it can mess up the whole plan.

    I really love this game – I would recommend it to everyone. It’s short – took us 90 minutes – so you could even play it twice in an evening. Though you may need a spare brain for the second go…

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