The Games We Play

The Games We Play

A repository of reports on the Wednesday night sessions of the club and anything else related to the club or boardgaming in general, which may be of interest to anyone who may be passing by.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Session Summary - 6 June 2007

A big attendance this week by recent standards, with Matt, Julian & Richard (fresh from his triumph at the UK Games Expo) returning.

With the recent expo and other things, some new games have been picked up and 2 of these hit the table.

Phoenicia 100 mins
Dave D136
Dave C3=24

This one was Dave's and he's posted a review on the Geek, on reading the review I was a bit concerned about his comment at the end that this would not appeal to those who don't like auction games, however I'm starting to learn that it's not all auctions that I have an aversion to but blind auction, where you lose your bid whatever the result. The auctions in this are the round the table type as seen in Power Grid, so that's alright. As the game went on though I did see other issues that I'm not sure of.

The game is essentially one of advancing a civilization from primitive roots. Each turn, cards are auctioned which give victory points, production and various advantages such as extra workers and storage, new and improved industries and discounts for other cards to come later in the game. At the start of this game I went with an indentured worker giving me a trained worker as did Julian, Dave bought a granary, increasing his storage space, while I think Ben went for a Tracker giving a discount on a Caravan and upgrading his hunting.

As the game went on I seemed to have found a good strategy. You need to be able to balance your production with the amount of storage space you have, early on I was a bot worried because I had more income coming than I could store, but once I rectified this by getting some more storage I was away, I had improved and then advance mining which brought in a good income as well as Victory points and the ability to store them, Dave had got in the situation of having storage but not being able to fill it.

This seemed to be a weakness in the game, because you can only store so much the incentive is to spend all you've got to make way for that turn's income if you've managed to balance income and production. If you've managed to get this balance in a way that your income is greater than the rest, which I had from a relatively early point, the I don't really see an easy way for the rest to catch up. Toward the end a lot of items with high VP value came up and I was able to pick up one of the best of these, despite other people have a discount of 5 on the items.

All in all an interesting game, but as I say I do have the fear that there is this runaway leader potential. Further games will show how easy it is to get into this position, when everybody knows what they are doing.

Over on the other table was

Colosseum 120 mins
Steve H189
Richard B466

This is a very pretty game from Days of Wonder and form the discussion seems to have more meat on it than other Days of Wonder games I have tried. I must play soon, but I was a bit disappointed that there is apparently not an option to assassinate the emperor to stop him visiting your opponent's shows. Oh Well.

I leave someone else to fill us in on the game, but there is a picture below.

Until next Wednesday.


  1. Phoenicia was interesting simply to see how the game worked. As you said, and Julian commented on the night, the game is about getting the resource/storage balance just right. I didn't do so and had so had more storage than income. Once players are aware of this, I think the competition for certain cards will be more intense. Julian commented that a big factor in your favour was the two workers on mining early on; well, so did I a turn or so later but it didn't help me so much.
    Also, the comment on the Geek about the player who lost on Turn 2 due to a mistake on income on turn 1? I know you can do this in St. Petersburg but in Phoenicia I think they must have either got the set-up wrong or the player just gave up.
    Turn 1 you have a '5'card and 2 coins = 7 to play with. Lets assume he got no cards and spent nothing. He'd pick up 3 coins, pay 4 for another card (which he could store), this would give him 5 + a minimum of 4 +1 = possible 10 - 12 to go into the next round with. This is surely enough to keep on par with the Turn 2 bidding. Or, he could have paid 4 or 5 to increase his Production by employing or re deploying a worker; the net result works out the same as above.
    Only time will tell. Must try it again soon

  2. Colosseum - It was our first try of this game. The ever-popular classical world theme enabled the designers to come up with some really good production, eg wooden guys wearing togas to represent senators who patronise your shows. Nice non-violent theme for a Roman game, if you exclude the lions and gladiators. OK, it is violent, but in the name of the entertainment business, so that's okay.

    In the game you juggle a number of systems in the overall aim of putting on the most mind-blowing show that Rome has ever seen. There's a bidding system, a purchasing system and a bit where you convince nobles to come to your shows. There are also the wild cards, the Emperor Medals.

    Overall, I really liked this game, although I do have a slight apprehension that there may be a "winning strategy" that is difficult for others to interfere with. It involves saving money on show production to give you more for "spoiler" bids in the late game, and collecting vast numbers of medals to boost your crowd (VPs)at the end. It won me the game anyway. Mike thinks I was playing a risky game but we'll see when / if my strategy gets tried again.

    I think also I had an advantage to going 4th in a 4-player. There is a natural cycle in the game that suits 5 players. It might be a better game with that number.

    Try it. At the very least you can design an ancient show where lions chase druids...

  3. How about Druids chasing lions? Now that'd really be a crowd-puller!