Next Games Day Booking Sat July 30th
Table 1 [Downstairs - Front Bar] - 18CZ – Robin, Paul-D, Dan M, Michel
Table 2 [Downstairs - Front Bar] – Altiplano, Lost Ruins, Inca Empire - Pedro, Simon, Elsa, Steve
Table 3 [Downstairs - Front Bar] - TBC – Anthony, Daniel, Ian, [SPARE]
Table 4 [Downstairs - Side room] – Axis and Allies – Nigel, Paul B, [SPARE], [SPARE]
Table 5 [Downstairs - Side room, round table] – Lisboa – David K, John, Keith, Matt
Michel suggests a shorter starting game to begin with. Feel free to join when you turn up.
Once again you can now start to use this page to arrange the next games day which is on July 30th
Games Day April
At the April Games Day we had a couple of very strongly thematic games. While Paul and Ian’s group were on the dead man’s chest with a bottle of rum in Merchants & Marauders, John, Steve and I were up to our knees in Portuguese lagares in Vinhos. Two very thematic games with very, very different mechanics.
Merchants & Marauders is really more about the thematic immersion than the gameplay. The game has a lot of downtime and can feel unbalanced – the event of being shipwrecked is recreated accurately enough that it can be an all-but-game-ending experience for the victim. But, if you set aside any concern about a competitive outcome and just enjoy the adventure of being a sea-captain in the golden age of piracy, it can be great fun. Provided it’s your kind of theme, of course.
When I looked in, it seemed as though everyone had chosen to obey the law and play as merchants; which seemed odd, given the presence of a large and aggressive NPC pirate ship in the middle of the board. I was fortunate enough to witness the first of its various attacks on Paul. I found out afterwards that he managed to escape each time and recovered to finish 2nd, which is pretty good going in the circumstances.
Vinhos, meanwhile, is a proper heavy strategy game from Vital Lacerda. As such, it’s a game you can thoroughly enjoy even if it’s not your kind of theme; just like Kanban, which is another Lacerda game, on the theme of doing projects in an office – which surely isn’t anyone’s kind of theme… The theme of Vinhos is, of course, wine making – surely a popular one? This successful combination of an immersive thematic game with a very engaging strategic element is what makes this game so special: it’s one of my all-time favourites.
The main points in the game come from presenting at wine fairs: you can impress the wine magnates with their specific requirements, impress the wider public with a really high quality wine, and buy bonus actions from the magnates with (usually) low quality wines.
In our game Carolina, the regional magnate, consistently seemed to require wine from regions where none of us had estates. In the lead-up to one fair, I hastily bought a new estate, planted some grapes and harvested them in time to produce a borderline-unsellable wine – but Carolina was impressed because it was from Ribatejo. At last, in the final fair, she wanted a wine from Douro, where my best estates were, and I was able to present an amazing wine while impressing all the magnates. John, meanwhile, had been churning out a high volume of mediocre wines and so accumulated a lot of bonus tiles. But neither of these strategies was good enough to catch Steve, whose focus on good quality wines saw him win the game – which, from a thematic point of view, seems sensible.
I have played this game before on a Thursday evening with 4 players, and finished in time. This time, with only 3 of us, we somehow managed to take almost 6 hours. This probably says something about the more leisurely approach to Saturday games days. We also had an interval to have lunch, and another interval for Paul’s quiz.
I thought the quiz was really good: a set of cryptic clues to game titles, approachable to all in the club no matter how good your boardgames knowledge – or your knack for cryptic clues. Hopefully the quiz can be published on here for those who missed the Games Day. An incentive, if any were needed, to try to be there for the next one!
Other games in play were a return for Churchill with Sam and Michel, plus Cooper Island and Lost Ruins Of Arnak and a few shorter games. And Ed, Dave and Dan playing a space game which looked very intriguing (and somewhat bureaucratic, with the clipboards). But I’ve forgotten what it was called; so, because they didn’t post on the board beforehand, we’ll never know…