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.

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3rd Feb 2022 (Write up from Robin)

Games played tonight were:

Brian, James, Paul T, Nigel- Dune Imperium
Simon, Steve, Pedro, Elsa - Teotihuacan
Ian, Dan, Robin, Andrew H - Golem
John, Ed, Paul D, Dave H - Ark Nova

This week our group played Golem, which Ian had somehow contrived to get hold of before it was available in the UK. Good man to know.

I was attracted to this game primarily by the quirky theme. In case you missed it, the original Golem was a clay giant, built and brought to life by a 16th century rabbi to defend the Prague ghetto. It then rampaged out of control and went on a murderous rampage, before the rabbi managed to deactivate and bury it. That’s got to be fun, right?

The game is fairly faithful to its theme – albeit that between the 4 players (rabbis), we had at times as many as 10 different golems on the loose. We were building golems, which gave immediate and short-term benefits; but the longer they “lived”, the more trouble they became, and we had to bury them. Dan and I built loads of golems and had to deal with the consequences, while Ian and Andrew buried most of theirs, and consequently had fewer golem-related problems to distract their rabbis from the victory points.

In terms of mechanics, this game is what’s known in the club as an Ed game: that is, it’s about building an engine and sequences of accumulated actions. I understand the appeal of these games, but they’re not really my thing. The downtime in this one wasn’t too bad, all things considered, but there’s still this accounting phase in each player’s turn that no-one else cares about: “I’ll do this, which lets me do that, which gives me this, which I can use to do that,” and so on. Accountancy has never been my choice of spectator sport.

So it was good for the theme, and – if you’re Ed – good for mechanics as well. If you fancy a go, our learning was that lots of golems is good, as Dan won with me 2nd. The clue’s in the title.

Elsewhere, we had Dune: Imperium and Ark Nova. The other 3 in my group for the tournament were all playing Teotihuacan: City of Gods, so I guess I’ll be looking for a practice of that myself to keep up with them. Hopefully David will be back next week to distract them with Cuba :-)

April 21st (From Robin)

This week, I signed up for the first game that was posted on the board – and then saw several other good games follow.

Dan and Anthony were continuing their series of Vital Lacerda re-implementations with Kanban EV. This game looks to be at the more complex end of the Lacerda spectrum – though my attention was mainly drawn to the interesting selection of car game-pieces :-) . In the other room they were playing Tapestry, which is a much simpler game that I’ve always enjoyed, but never mastered. And Paul-B’s table were playing a selection of “lighter games” – I think I saw Quadropolis among them but I’m not sure.

Notwithstanding all these great options, I was still happy with my original choice of Brass Birmingham. This is one of my favourite games: every turn a tactical challenge, but with a better strategic element than the original Brass, in the clearly-distinct development tracks. And, like the original, the randomness in the cards ensures every game is completely different.

We also spent a long time worrying about the tie-break rules. It turns out the tie-break for this version is income – which ended up being important in our game. David-G, who started out by explaining that he didn’t know the game too well, having only played it once before, ended up with the joint-highest points, and – crucially – the highest income, to take the win. Well done, David!

And David-K was offering a good selection of games for sale – I’d encourage you to check it out on the Market page if you haven’t already. I picked up Agricola, which I’ve been after for a while. Hopefully I can get it back to the table at the club soon, after its lengthy post-tournament hiatus.

Finally, shortly after 9pm, there was what felt like a collective sigh of relief from the other room, as the latest tournament game of Shipyard concluded. When I looked in earlier, I’d seen a lot of confused faces – plus Ed, playing another game on his phone during the downtime. So, if I had to guess, I’d guess that Ed won. We don’t seem to publish the results on the website anymore, but hopefully by the end of the year we’ll be able to work out who’s won the tournament, based on who gets the trophy :-)

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13 Responses to Recent games

  1. Robin says:

    Well, reading Bill’s excellent notes last week, I’m reminded to give a write-up for all the games, not just the one I played. So lots to cover, with 6 tables again this week. First off, we had the last tournament game of Brass Birmingham upstairs. If you happened to look at the “Games this week” page at a particular hour on Wednesday, you will have seen a PANIC note from Paul about needing a fourth player. But this was swiftly resolved, as Anthony stepped in to cover. I think this means he has now played in more tournament games than anyone else this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed it :-) . I for one will miss Brass Birmingham – I would happily have played another game of it – but there were many other good options this week…

    On other tables we had Ark Nova and Lost Ruins Of Arnak. Both of these are highly-rated newish games that appear often at the club, and both of which I’ve not got round to playing, though they look really good. Then at David’s table they were 3 players, playing a selection of games having failed to get the numbers they wanted for Western Legends. I was one of those who had let them down on that one, having been tempted elsewhere. When I looked in they were playing Alien Frontiers. By the sound of it they will have Western Legends on next week instead – listen out for the spittoons and gunfire.

    Our room had a thoroughly American feel to it already. As a fan of Americana myself, I was intrigued by the game of Riverboat at John’s table. Lots of nice artwork of paddle steamers and plantations, though this one was really a game of farming – production, shipping and selling. It reminded me a lot of Puerto Rico, though I’m sure that’s just superficial.

    So, from Western Legends in the west, via Riverboat on the Mississippi, to our game: Clinic: Deluxe Edition, which is set in “a large field near New York”. This is an Alban Viard game about running a hospital the American way: that is, by advertising and making a profit… It’s a heavy game – rated over 4 on BGG’s complexity scale – but very engaging. We came poorly prepared: Karen had not played it for a long time, I had read the original rulebook instead of the “deluxe edition” version, and between us all we’d half-watched a couple of videos. So it took us over an hour to get started, but we eventually figured it out and rattled through 5 of the 6 rounds before closing time. And it was a lot of fun.

    This game bizarrely reminded me of Sun, Sea and Sand – which is a game about running a holiday resort. Partly because, like that game, there are various different sorts of “customers” (ie. patients) that you are competing with other players to admit into your site. But mostly because of the humourous way in which both of these games use their mechanics to depict real-world challenges.

    The main challenge of the game is to treat your patients as well as possible, while following numerous thematically bureaucratic rules about what can go where. The rules are mostly – but not quite – very sensible, and this “not quite” is what provides the entertainment. Doctors grow less competent over time. It takes time to move people around your clinic – except through corridors, which are instantaneous. A treatment room can hold at most 2 doctors and 2 patients… but an unlimited quantity of nurses. The more entrances your clinic has, the more patients you can admit. And every person in the clinic needs a parking space, even those that arrive via the helipad.

    And best of all, like all good winemaking games, your patients “mature” (ie. grow more sick) over time. So the smart way to play is to admit people with minor ailments, then keep them in the waiting room until they’re at death’s door: then you can “sell” (cure) them for more money. But you should only admit patients that you have the facilities to treat. You’ve got a psychiatric ward when all the new patients have broken bones? You’ll need to use your extra entrances to confuse them into thinking they’re in the orthopedic unit. Or something like that. As I said, the rules are mostly sensible…

    I’d definitely recommend this game. It’s a really good technical challenge that is also very plausible. And it takes a theme that is not traditionally cheerful and manages to make it very enjoyable.

  2. Bill says:

    So, as there was a Robin sized hole in the attendance on Thursday I thought I’d post a few words to the site on what was going on.

    Having a bit of a wander around downstairs I spotted Founders of Teotihuacan on John’s table. Apparently, if you’re thinking that it might be similar to Teotihuacan: City of Gods then you’d be wrong! It’s got the same setting and it uses the same symbols that are used in the pyramid pieces and it’s even got an eclipse but that’s where the similarities end. Everyone has their own player board and they seemed to be engaged in positioning tetris shaped building pieces on those boards, reminded me a bit of Princes of Florence in that respect. On the other table was the enormous board of High Frontier. I loved the look of this, the artwork was right up my street. Apparently this was just a taster as there was no way they were going to get close to finishing by closing time. I like the idea of trying this at some point but the BGG weight rating of 4.7 looks scary and I’m assuming there would be a substantial time commitment to get acquainted with that ruleset before getting anywhere near the table.

    In the main room there was an appearance for the old Feld classic, Castles of Burgundy. I’ve enjoyed all of the Feld’s that I’ve played like Trajan, Macao, Notre Dame, In the year of the Dragon, but I think CoB is my favourite, maybe got something to do with some happy memories of playing it in the tournament many years ago :-) Speaking of the tournament, the other table in the main room was playing their tournament game of Brass Birmingham, previous weeks of practise games out of the way it was now getting serious. In fact, that was one of two tournament games of BB this week, I was playing in the other one upstairs with Brian, Elsa and Michael.

    Also upstairs, Dan had managed to entice Jess back, after an absence of about a year, with the promise of a game of La Granja. Although, listening to the tale of road rage woe of their trip down from Welly I’m not sure how keen she’ll be to join Dan on that journey again anytime soon! :-D They were joined by Pedro and Steve and I’ve no idea how that went as I was engrossed in our game of Brass Birmingham.

    We had a bit of an etiquette protest before we even got started as Michael appeared to be accompanied by the flowing blonde locks of what we suspected was his strategy advisor… no, I know what you’re thinking, it wasn’t his dad. He reassured us that his female friend was there purely to offer him some moral support, translated to misogynist-speak I think it was his burd. So, objections resolved we got down to it.

    I’ve been a bit of a Martin Wallace fan since my first night at the club when I was introduced to modern boardgames by playing Tinner’s Trail but the original Brass has always been my favourite of his titles (I occasionally played it online at the sadly demised OrderOfTheHammer). So I bought the new version when it was kickstarted a few years back and got Brass Birmingham at the same time. Shamefully, I took it down from my shelf of opportunity that afternoon, split the shrinkwrap and started frantically Punching Cardboard during my lunch break.

    So, in my couple of practise games (with other’s copies) I just couldn’t get to grips with BB, I seemed to be approaching it in the wrong way. I had been thinking of it as Brass with a few extra bells and whistles that were just distractions and that I could use the same strategies from the original Brass, specifically focusing on developing to L3 Cotton mills in the canal phase and getting them shipped. Well, that didn’t work for me so I tried something totally different for this game and it sort of fell into place and I had a small lead from the canal phase. As we neared the end it looked to me like Brian was going to take the win, ironically he had managed to make the cotton strategy work and got L3 cotton in canal phase and got out the L4s in rail. In addition he had gazumped my attempt to get some higher level pottery happening. However, when we totted up the points I’d just managed to hold on to that lead from the Canal phase.

    Having played it a few times now I can appreciate why it has climbed so high in the BGG rankings supplanting the original Brass. However, I suspect that I will probably continue to prefer the original game… even if it is for nostalgic reasons.

  3. Robin says:

    We were a small group this week, with many regulars off in Birmingham for the convention – or possibly in London for the Jubilee – I forget which :-)

    John’s group were playing Eternal Palace, which is a new dice manipulation game about building monuments and painting pictures for the emperor (not sure which emperor). Not necessarily my kind of theme, but the mechanics look great. And while I was over there Ed showed me another Alley Cat Games kickstarter, Dice Theme Park, which looks even better. Not sure if they found time for that one as well – but I’d certainly interested to try it.

    Nigel and David’s group were on Quartermaster General: 1914. In general, wargames are not my thing; but I have enjoyed the QMG titles that I have played, because they manage to recreate the historical context very well – not just the military side but also the economic and even political elements. When I looked in near the end, Paul – as Russia – was weighing up whether it was even worth it for him to carry on playing, or if he’d be better off passing; which seems like a good example of contextual accuracy for the end of the First World War. I’ve not played the 1914 version but I’d be keen to try it sometime.

    And that left my table, who were playing Agricola. Elsa has previously instructed me to cap this at 4 players, but it looked at one point as if we would be ignoring her warning, as we initially had 5 booked on. But Steve switched to QMG as they were a player short, and Matt didn’t turn up, so we ended up playing with only 3.

    I’d not played Agricola with 3 players before, but it was disproportionately quicker than with 4 (or 5). The scores also seemed very low – perhaps inevitably (less workers means less actions means game over quicker and low scores). I never established whether this was due to the different actions available in the 3-player version, or just due to general incompetence on our part. It was also partly due to a more dog-eat-dog game (again perhaps expected with fewer players): on one occasion, David-K managed to cost me somewhere in the vicinity of 9 points in a single action by taking the 3 available sheep, even though he only had room for 1 of them on his farm. Allegedly he really needed the 1 – though not as much as I needed the 3 :-)

    Nonetheless, it was great to get Agricola back at the club after what’s felt like a long absence. Still the same diverse – and sometimes brutal – challenge that it always was. I will hope to bring it back again soon, hopefully with 4 players next time.

    I will be away for the next 3 weeks. If anyone else fancies trying their hand at this write-up thing in the meantime, that would be most welcome. It will be good to see what I’ve been missing.

  4. Robin says:

    Back in January, while we were voting for which games would appear in the tournament, I remember a conversation about Last Train To Wensleydale. Don’t vote for that game, James said: it’s just a Martin Wallace game, there’s always Martin Wallace games in the tournament, it’s time for something different. A fair point, surely? But apparently not. I guess we’re just a Martin Wallace kind of club.

    Anyway, hopefully no-one will begrudge Brass Birmingham its place in this year’s tournament, being Martin Wallace’s highest-rated – and almost the highest-rated – game on BGG. We enjoyed another great game of it this week, with various different strategies all interacting and conflicting; and ending up with all four of us separated by just 5 points. Which wasn’t great for me (being towards the lower end of that 5-point spectrum) but it was still a lot of fun, and a great challenge.

    This is a game where you aim to follow a strategy but, like the original Brass, so much about what you do on your next turn depends on what other players have done in the meantime. This is what makes it so great, for me; but it also contributes to some severe meltdowns as you re-evaluate your options. As a result, the real competition of the evening was between the two Brass Birmingham tables, to see which game would go on for longer. We did okay, finishing about 10:30; at which point the other table looked like they still had a way to go. Hopefully they did finish before closing time, and before the brains completely melted…

    Elsewhere, we had games from several other great designers. In our room we had Stefan Feld’s Castles Of Burgundy, while in the other room they were playing A Feast For Odin: The Norwegians by Uwe Rosenberg.

    And, with comfortably the most diverse selection, the last table had the excellently-themed “Night At The Races”. This was a table of 6, playing a selection of lighter games, all of them races. It looked like great fun. I saw Flamme Rouge, but I’m not sure what others they had. Maybe someone from that table can fill in the detail here?

    Still, at least we’re not just a Martin Wallace kind of club :-)

  5. Robin says:

    This week, I played Railways of Portugal with Michel, Paul-T and David-K. This is one of the Railways Of The World series, but designed by Vital Lacerda. Combining two of my favourite ingredients (train game; and Lacerda game), I was always going to enjoy it.

    After all my previous grumbling about Shipyard, I was worried that this might turn out to be another game with end-game bonus cards that might be slightly unbalanced. Last time we played, I had been able to win easily with the “hotels” bonus card, which stuck in the memory: making money from others’ hard work, as Michel put it. So we started off this time with the understanding that building hotels was a good way to do well, bonus card or otherwise.

    For me, this map is distinctive from the other Railways Of The World maps because of its compactness and congestion: no matter how you start, you will almost immediately be competing with other players for space and goods. Our various tactics all led to very closely-matched final scores, but the learning I took was that thinly-spread networks don’t work well here: Paul’s tracks were entirely concentrated in the south half of the map, and he won; Michel and I built chaotic, sprawling networks from one side to the other, and we finished joint-last…

    Anyone familiar with the RotW games will know that the end-game bonus cards contribute relatively little to the final score: no matter which bonus card you have, you will only win if you play the general strategy well. In our case, Paul managed to monopolise a couple of routes and towns, and thus control a significant number of goods cubes; so it was no surprise that he won. The fact that he also had the “hotels” end-game bonus card was coincidental :-)

    The other table in our room were playing Obsession, which is a deck-building game about social standing in the Victorian aristocracy. My first thought was “High Society”, but Dan quickly set me right: this is a proper medium-heavy engine-building game. As such it was presumed that Ed would win it – they were still going when we finished so I didn’t find out how it transpired.

    In the other room there were two of the club’s more familiar games: Brass Birmingham and one of the West Kingdom games – I think it was Architects? We had regular updates on the Brass game, as Ian came across several times to check on the rules smallprint. I will be playing in Ian’s group in the tournament for this game next week, so the prospect of a classic play-with-some-of-the-rules-wrong game with Ian looked on the cards… but it seems that Dave-H is the authority on Brass Birmingham rules, and he’s also in our group, so I guess we’ll have to use the correct rules after all :-)

  6. Robin says:

    Firstly, thanks to Bill and James for helping to present a balanced verdict on Shipyard. In general I try to keep my reviews positive, but perhaps I should go for more controversy to provoke more of this kind of discussion…

    This week, my table was enjoying some post-Shipyard therapy with the altogether lighter game of Western Legends. It’s one of these games that is more about the thematic experience than the deep strategic thought. There is a tactical element, particularly with the deck of semi-standard playing cards that are used for actions and combat, and also for playing poker. But, regardless of how well you play, it’s most importantly a lighthearted game that’s just a lot of fun.

    Like all good Westerns, our game eventually came down to a conflict between The Good (Sam, David and Paul) and The Bad (me). I had managed to rob the bank 6 times, which felt like pretty good going in the face of so many do-gooders. They were all distracted by a last-round shootout against Brian the sharpshooter, who picked most of them off; and this allowed me to stay in the running. But in the end, Sam prevailed in the shootout and became top cop; so he won. And the game once again delivered on its promise of very enjoyable chaos.

    David and I were originally interested in Western Legends because of its similarity to Merchants & Marauders, which is another very thematic sandbox game. Western Legends is a much newer game, and better-balanced, which definitely makes the tactical element more engaging. Nonetheless, I personally still prefer Merchants & Marauders, though I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps it’s simply that the rich, tropical colour scheme of the Caribbean is nicer than the dusty beige of the Wild West. And then, in the eternal trade-off between thematic faithfulness and good strategic mechanics, Merchants & Marauders is purely about capturing the theme. So when I’m looking for a thematic-experience game, it’s still my first choice. Controversial? Comments welcome…

    Elsewhere we had Ark Nova and Azul: Queen’s Garden, both back by popular demand after the previous week. I saw nothing of Ark Nova, being prevented by my bank-robbing commitments from making the journey across the hall; but during my spells in jail I got a good look across the room at Azul Queen’s Garden. See also John’s notes here from last week: looks like a great little game.

    Lastly, Ian had brought Brass Birmingham in again. This is a great example of a good tactical/strategic game with a decent thematic side – I’m really looking forward to playing it myself sometime in the next couple of months. It is, of course, similar to the original Brass, but with the Shipyard removed: so naturally it’s an improvement :-)

  7. Robin says:

    We were back up to 6 tables this week, with half of them playing tournament games of Shipyard. This seems to be a Marmite game, with plenty of fans but also plenty glad to see the back of it. After all the hype since this game was first nominated in 2020, I ended up, sadly, in the latter group.

    The good points about this game, according to the fan club, are the intriguing (multiple) rondel mechanic, with the evolving spectrum of permutations that you get to choose from each turn. For me, it seemed as though these various turn-to-turn options would make only small differences to your final score, which was instead utterly dominated by your end-game bonus “contract” cards. The local mechanics were arguably too well-balanced, so that, having decided on your contract cards, it was largely a case of following a routine – choosing which of the 4 options each turn would help most with completing the contracts.

    What almost everyone agreed on was that the contract cards themselves were not well-balanced. In our game, we saw scores as high as 56 points, directly from the pair of contract cards; while many cards offered a maximum of 12 or 15 per card. Where the average winning score seems to be 80 or 90, this is huge. Good games use a blend of luck and judgement – but I think it works better when the big points are decided by judgement, and the little bits come down to luck.

    In the non-Shipyard half of the club, we had Ark Nova and Azul: Queen’s Garden. I would like to try this version of Azul with the hexagonal grid: for me, the Azul series is a nice exemplar of the right balance of luck and judgement.

    And finally we had Ian and Paul’s group playing Paris. I saw little of it, being distracted by the choice between green rondel and brown rondel and orange rondel, etc. But the artwork on Paris looks lovely. And they seemed strangely quiet by their usual standards – I guess they were saving Perudo till after we’d finished our Shipyard struggles.

    • Bill says:

      Another great write up from Robin on this weeks activities :-)

      As a fan of Shipyard I completely understand his issues with the contract cards and there is a variant detailed on the geek, to mitigate those specific concerns, where random “community” contract cards are drawn at the start of the game and you can choose which green and blue one you wish to fulfill at the end game scoring.

      However, having played it a few times now, I’m not sure that the contract cards are as big an issue as it may appear initially. In my tournament game I managed to score 94pts of which only 26 (15, 11) were from my contract cards ( 1 step below maximum on both cards). Anthony scored 90 and managed to score the maximum 32pts on one of his contracts and, I think, mid teens on the other(?).

      So, by focusing on maximising the contract scoring he had built and sailed six ships but some were only three tiles long and not well equipped. I sailed three 5 tile ships so missed the max score on the contract for four ships of that length. However, when they sailed they scored well on the base score and the shakedown bonuses.

      The previous week Ed managed to score 60 points just from sailing one (“filthy”) ship alone! (not sure how much he added on contracts).

      I like the “get lemons make lemonade” tactical aspect of this game. Play to what is available to you, if you get too hooked into a strategy based on the contracts you’re likely to get dragged into sub-optimal plays.

      I know that Robin won his game and managed to do so with high scoring contracts but I suspect he’s devaluing his all round play in wringing out the best value from those contracts ;-)

      Anyway, as per most tournament games, I don’t think we’ll be seeing much demand for this one anytime soon, anyone for Tikal?

      :-D

      • James says:

        I agree that there is no balance issues with the contract cards. Games tend on average to be quite tight in terms of final scores and that’s after probably > 50 games played. One of the contracts mentioned Ed by Robin is specifically designed to give you more points because trying to do it severely hampers your ability to get in game points. A decent score in Shipyard is 70-80 points of which 20-30 should be end game scoring.

        Selecting your actions is by no means on rails either, with limited turns and no guarantees that the actions you want will be available careful planning to ‘thread the needle’ to maximise efficiency is quite the brain exercise as is the balance of when to switch from build up to executing your plan. You can win by building ships right from turn one and you can win by only building ships after the game is half over. The variety is a strong benefit for repeated plays. In my opinion this is one of the best games ever made and will never leave the collection.

    • John says:

      The new Azul Queen’s Garden is much thinkier than previous iterations. I think this one takes the Azul series past being Gateway Games to more a Gamer’s Game. You really have to plan ahead and take care not to be caught with unplaced tiles at the end for negative points. Probably my favourite Azul so far.

  8. Robin says:

    This week, I signed up for the first game that was posted on the board – and then saw several other good games follow.

    Dan and Anthony were continuing their series of Vital Lacerda re-implementations with Kanban EV. This game looks to be at the more complex end of the Lacerda spectrum – though my attention was mainly drawn to the interesting selection of car game-pieces :-) . In the other room they were playing Tapestry, which is a much simpler game that I’ve always enjoyed, but never mastered. And Paul-B’s table were playing a selection of “lighter games” – I think I saw Quadropolis among them but I’m not sure.

    Notwithstanding all these great options, I was still happy with my original choice of Brass Birmingham. This is one of my favourite games: every turn a tactical challenge, but with a better strategic element than the original Brass, in the clearly-distinct development tracks. And, like the original, the randomness in the cards ensures every game is completely different.

    We also spent a long time worrying about the tie-break rules. It turns out the tie-break for this version is income – which ended up being important in our game. David-G, who started out by explaining that he didn’t know the game too well, having only played it once before, ended up with the joint-highest points, and – crucially – the highest income, to take the win. Well done, David!

    And David-K was offering a good selection of games for sale – I’d encourage you to check it out on the Market page if you haven’t already. I picked up Agricola, which I’ve been after for a while. Hopefully I can get it back to the table at the club soon, after its lengthy post-tournament hiatus.

    Finally, shortly after 9pm, there was what felt like a collective sigh of relief from the other room, as the latest tournament game of Shipyard concluded. When I looked in earlier, I’d seen a lot of confused faces – plus Ed, playing another game on his phone during the downtime. So, if I had to guess, I’d guess that Ed won. We don’t seem to publish the results on the website anymore, but hopefully by the end of the year we’ll be able to work out who’s won the tournament, based on who gets the trophy :-)

  9. Sam says:

    Good write up of Western Legends there, Robin, I enjoyed it and the game. I’m definitely in the camp you describe where the gameplay and the theme have to be storngly interlinked and this game delivers on that and was great fun. One example is the way your hand of cards have various special actions on them, but they are also a normal deck of cards, so when the players play poker they play it for real (in a simplified way). Of course, you then have the dilemma of using a card for its card strength or it’s special action.

    As the game progressed I sort of concluded that you had to take a path (not dither about like i did) and stick to it and that in addition to score best this meant becoming and sticking to being either a Lawman or an Outlaw. However, ‘GoldFinger’ Huggins disproved that. On the other hand, ‘Billy the Kid’ Brian definitely had the most fun along the way – by my count he robbed the bank three times, got thrown in jail twice, got shot, won a few poker games – now that’s what I call an eventful night out!

  10. Robin says:

    This week we had 6 tables, which is becoming the normal amount at the club now. Our group had a try-out of Shipyard and, on the other table in our room, John’s group were playing Explorers Of The North Sea. This inspired a wistful comparison from Steve about how complex all the tournament games are this year. Other games included SpaceCorp and another appearance for History of the World.

    I also looked in on Burano in the front room. This looks like a very interesting game, with much of it revolving around the movement of coloured cubes; starting in a pyramid for each player and ending up on the game board in what looked like a cross between a multi-storey car park and a Jenga game. Knocking the whole thing over looked like a definite possibility, but it’s not a dexterity game, and the rules overview left me quite fogged.

    Upstairs, Elsa & Pedro’s group were playing Hamburgum, which I think was another one nominated for the tournament this year – only to be outvoted by a more complex game :-) . They had chosen the Londinium map over the Hamburgum one – I guess the merchants of the 17th century still used the Latin names??

    Elsa – or, strictly speaking, Pedro – had recently bought a copy of Shipyard, which is of course the next tournament game. I, meanwhile, was already playing Shipyard this week, which marked me out as super-competitive. It’s not quite that simple: ever since this game was first nominated back in 2020 I have been hoping to give it a try, but been thwarted by various things (clashes with pre-arranged games, pandemics, etc). It’s now almost unique in having been successfully elected to the tournament twice. This heightened the anticipation, and this week I finally got the chance to play it.

    I guess we’ll hear a lot more about this one in the weeks to come. My first impression was that the rules aren’t too complex; but I don’t feel any the wiser in terms of strategy. It seems to depend a lot on your initial hand of “government contract” (aka. end-game bonus) cards, which is a good thing as it will vary from game to game.

    I did like the final afterthought-like line in the rules: “break ties in favour of the player with the most money.” The last turn often offers the chance to gain more points by paying extra money, so it was no great surprise that we all finished with zero money. So ties remained tied.

    And we very nearly got to experience Ian’s trademark of forgetting one of the rules. We got as far as concluding that Ian and Steve were tied for the win before anyone remembered that we had to add on bonus points for traders. This meant Ian won the game and, impressively, that we had played through following all the correct rules – as far as I know :-)

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