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.

Monday 9 July 2007

Rosliston '07

OK - I'll get the important stuff out of the way first, five gamers shut in a lodge in the countryside for a long weekend. 18 games played, here's what we did:

1. Taj Mahal

1st Gordon 62
2nd Steve 45
3rd Mike 41
4th Rich 37
5th Matt 29

A nice Knizia loosener, Matt's first try and I think he liked it. Gordon got a phenomenal score from connections, and he probably had it too easy. I blame the others because I was concentrating on elephants / resources...

2. Ra

1st Gordon 41
2nd Mike 34
3rd Steve 30
4th Rich 28
5th Matt 27

More Knizia, another Gordon win - was it going to be another winning weekend for the G-Man? We shall see...

3. Poker

1st Matt
2nd Rich
3rd Steve
4th Mike
5th Gordon

It was getting late on Friday so as per tradition the poker came out(!). A morale boosting win for Matt.

4. Age of Empires

1st Steve 83
2nd Gordon 72+
3rd Matt 72
4th Rich 66
5th Mike 64

Now this is what games weekends are about - what a game! Four hours of intense activity, all of us in the hunt for the win. This is a game where you can follow five or six different strategies in the discovery-of-the-New-World theme. Matt, Gordon and Richard tended to focus on Discovery, which is medium risk but potentially high yield. Gordon and Mike also went heavy on merchant ships and trade, and the latter in particular had frightening amounts of cash by the end. I did my usual in such situations and focussed on the military and colonising other people's discoveries. Only Mike really fought back (in the vicious Battle of Peru) and I may have had enough troops elsewhere to discourage others from restricting my VP mountain. Superb experience, I loved this game.

5. Colosseum

1st Mike 77
2nd Steve 71
3rd Rich 65
4th Matt 62
5th Gordon 59

The jury's out on Colosseum - I really like it but others worry about the random elements in the game. Great theme, great production; it always feels like something good's going to happen when you set it up.

6. Amun Re

1st Steve 39
2nd Matt 38+
3rd Rich 38
4th Mike 36
5th Gordon 32

All in the 30s, you can see how close this one was. I sprang a bit of a surprise by hording cash and then building 8 blocks on the last turn.

7. Power Grid - Germany

1st Steve 14
2nd Mike 12++
3rd Gordon 12+
4th Matt 12
5th Rich 10

This was a very odd game because all the high plants came out first and players disdn't know whether to gamble all on the high plants or not. I ended up with a 6 and a 5 very early on, and it was really a race from there to get 15 connections out. There was no scarcity at all of raw materials due to the high efficiency of the plants that came out. Won in Phase 2. This was turning into my best ever boardgaming day.

8. Medici

1st Matt 132
2nd = Rich 102
2nd = Steve 102
4th Gordon 88
5th Mike 80

I'm surprised this one doesn't surface at the club more. Very playable one hour game.

9. Poker

1st Matt
2nd Rich
3rd Steve
4th Gordon
5th Mike

10. Poker

1st Rich
2nd Gordon
3rd Mike
4th Steve
5th Matt

Two games of poker to finish the day. We vowed not to get the cards out again that weekend...

11. Caylus

1st Gordon 65
2nd Matt 56
3rd Rich 54
4th Mike 51
5th Steve 50

The final day started with a classic. Gordon is very good at this game.

12. Great Wall of China

1st Matt 30
2nd Gordon 29
3rd Steve 27
4th Rich 25
5th Mike 22

This was only an hour but it seemed longer and was a trifle dull. Another win for Matt though.

13. Il Principe

1st Steve 58
2nd Rich 52+
3rd Gordon 52
4th Mike 43
5th Matt 38

This was one of those games where you spent the first hour querying the rules, and then at the end realised you got them wrong anyway. I won but I'm not sure how. We agreed it was worth another try or two on club nights.

14. Puerto Rico

1st Gordon 45
2nd Mike 40
3rd Rich 39
4th Steve 37
5th Matt 34

On went the somewhat anti-climactic Sunday. We all pretty much agreed that PR is broken , and you can't play it "straight". By that I mean everything I did seemed to play into the hands of Gordon and Rich who were like a pair of vultures waiting for me to do what you're supposed to do, ie produce goods. I'm really surprised that PR is so popular...

15. Web of Power

1st Mike 50
2nd Gordon 47
3rd Rich 37
4th Steve 36
5th Matt 31

Ugh it got worse! I've played this game half a dozen times and can now conclude that it is an absolute stinker. About 5 turns in a row I was compelled to play one card, while opening up vast opportunities for the other players. Mike tells me that if I'd done my Geek research I would have gone for a smaller territory to break the cycle. My response is, not worth the effort, and I know it's short but then so is a Robbie Williams single, and both are ghastly and best avoided.

16. El Grande

1st Rich 79
2nd Matt 74
3rd Gordon 72
4th Steve 68
5th Mike 59

The last of the five-player games and by contrast to the previous few this one was great fun. El Grande is a really charming game where lots of wild things happen. Sometimes that's good for a change of pace.

We'd decided on a simple points system that concluded with this game. It was 5 pts for a win, descending to 1 pt for 5th in each game. Unfortunately that meant Web of Power was equal to Age of Empires, but hindsight etc etc..

Rosliston 07 Championship (!)

1st Steve 52.5
2nd Gordon 52
3rd Rich 49.5
4th Matt 45
5th Mike 41

I hope I added it up right (over to you Dave??). A good time was had by all anyway. For an alternative scoring system based entirely on wins, see below.

17. Caylus Magna Carta

1st Steve 51
2nd Rich 49
3rd Gordon 45

Two fine 3-player games to finish with. I'm too knackered to do a review but this was probably at least as good a game as the original in my view. More emphasis on building, no emphasis on favours.

18. Pillars of the Earth

1st Steve 48
2nd Rich 47
3rd Gordon 45

Incredibly close and a very satisfying game as usual. I'm edging towards Dave's view that 3 is best for this game, although still very playable with 4.

Here's the alternative table, based on wins and including those last two:

1st Steve 6
2nd = Matt 4
2nd = Gordon 4
4th = Mike 2
4th = Rich 2

Here's to next year!


  1. I'm glad you all had a good time at Rosliston. Thanks to Steve for posting the report, I've checked the score tables and they look all right to me.

    A few comments from me:

    Colosseum - Were there comments about randomness before last Wednesday or were you thinking about what I raised then. My session report/review to follow shortly.

    Great Wall of China - I haven't played that much, but always think that the game should be quicker than we make it. That said, while the game is intense it has never seemed dull.

    Puerto Rico - Agree completely.

    Web of Power - Disagree completely, this game is a classic and one of my favourites. If I ever see a copy at a reasonable price I'm buying it.

    El Grande - In all ways but one a great game, unfortunately that one way is enough to make me never want to play it again.

    Caylus Magna Carta - Must try soon, hopefully will improve on the exercise in tedium that is it's big brother.

    Pillar of the Earth - Definitely the hot game of the moment.

  2. Age of Empires III was the game of the weekend for me. Long enough that I'd never consider buying it, but just right for days in a rain-soaked forest lodge. They should provide a complementary copy.

    Great wall of China is, I think, a shade stale.

    El Grande was one of two games that I changed my opinion of as a result of the weekend. Once you ajust te way you think it's pretty enjoyable. Needs more plays though- once a year is not enough.

    Ra was the other game. I don't if its just because I keep playing it with the same people but it seems tremendously easy to suck all the fun right out of that game.

    Medici by way of contrast is another bidding/auction game by teh same designer that seems more fun to bme as there's more risk and less accountancy involved. Certainly there's more scope for brash play that gets you an exciting win.

  3. There weren't really any adverse comments about Colosseum but neither did anyone rave about how good it was. I wrote this after our last club so I think I was reacting to that.

    I'll play Web of Power again if you play El Grande again. Deal?

    Age of Empires was unquestionably the best game of the weekend. It was long but full of suspense, a bit like War of the Ring. Brass Jester would love it.

  4. I have to open my comments on thanking you all for your company and a great weekend.

    1. Taj Mahal
    Our first game and my best performance. I owned you guys. Winning a five player game of Taj Mahal by connecting palaces with all the competition for board space was my finest hour.

    2. Ra
    Opening the weekend with 2 wins set me up for a mighty fall. I so like Ra. I don’t think about my moves, I use the force to feel my way to victory.

    4. Age of Empires
    Yep I go with the crowd on this one and agree that this was the game of the weekend.

    5. Colosseum
    Looked great and played ok. Kind of how I feel about all the Days of Wonder games.

    6. Amun Re
    I finished the first epoch in the lead and finished the second in last. There seemed to be plenty of money in the game even with early camel provinces coming into play.

    7. Power Grid – Germany
    The win for Steve only happened because he made no mistakes. Yes Steve got a lucky early plant but he could have blown it. We are all very experienced at this game and any of us would have gladly jumped in had Steve messed up.

    8. Medici
    I had not played this since last year. It is a lovely 60 minute game.

    3/9/10. Poker
    I like ending the day with a game of Poker.

    11. Caylus
    Only Richard built a blue building. I was last player for the first couple of turns and in a five player game you really are picking up the crumbs in that position. I managed to finish the first castle stage with no points, no cubes, but with a lot of money and up to first in the turn order. I won by being out of sink with others visiting the castle and picking up favours.

    12. Great Wall of China
    13. Il Principe

    14. Puerto Rico
    Steve is right that Richard and I benefited from following the “new” player. I won by building to bring the game end early before the shippers could get things going. It is a rather unsatisfying way to win at PR as it bypasses doing all the clever producing and shipping. It is a dumb simple strategy like doing nothing but grabbing double elephants and going for provinces in Taj Mahal. The surprise for me was Mike who I would have put on being last before totted up the scores.

    15. Web of Power
    I disagree with Steve completely on this game it is a simple elegant game that has the feeling of a classic to me. Mike always does well at this one.

    16. El Grande
    The weekend would not be the same without a chaotic game of El Grande. I know I take this P out of this game but I always have fun.

    Rosliston 07 Championship (!)
    It is a daft scoring system but whatever system we use would have put you on top Steve. Recording total number of victories makes more sense to me than your points system. Even better would be if we scored points for a victory equal to the game length in hours rounded to the nearest hour with half points for second and halved again for third with fractions dropped ie only in 2 hour plus games does anyone but the first played get points.

    17. Caylus Magna Carta
    It played very nicely I thought.

    18. Pillars of the Earth
    Another good 3 player game.

  5. Gordon said "I won by being out of sink with others visiting the castle and picking up favours."

    I'm not surprised you won if the others were in the sink. It must be very uncomfortable with 4 players and I doubt anyone would play anything well in such a situation.

  6. Very funny Dave! I know you know I meant sync as in synchronisation.