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.

Sunday 5 August 2007

Hamstercon - 4th August 2007

Having had to work in the morning, me and Ben set off for Luke’s games day in the afternoon, arriving about 2.45pm. The place was easy to find; the upstairs room was a decent size with plenty of tables. A games library had been provided so there was no shortage of stuff to try.
When we arrived, Dave D was already there, deep in a game of Power Grid. Having been relieved of our entrance fee, we were introduced to a guy named Chris and immediately set to playing Age of Empires III. This is currently Ben’s fave as he trashed me at it on Thursday night. The game went well and lasted about 2 hours; Ben pulled off another decisive victory with an inspired use of the University on the final turn. Chris was second, I trailed in third.
Steve Pagetis had arrived, I stopped for a brief word and to watch the game of Tempus (must play this again).
Ben wanted to play HeroScape so we set up a basic two-player game. It drew a few admiring comments from onlookers; the game is fun to play and the modular terrain and pre-painted miniatures are excellent. The dragon figure, in full colour, is nearly 6” long and 6” high to wingtip. An awesome model. Ben won 13:4 in about an hour.
A young lady named Gemma was interested in playing Tikal, so whilst our Heroscape game finished Dave D introduced them to Canal Mania. A chap named Jonny came over and introduced himself and got chatting to Ben; we then tried a new game called Hey, That’s my Fish! In this, you play a colony of penguins zooming around an ice floe, catching fish. As the game progresses the ice floe fragments, eventually you can’t move and you’re out. Once everyone is out then you score your catch. Jonny won the first game; me and Ben tied in second. The game was such fun we played again, this game was more tactical; Jonny won again, Ben was second and I came third.

We then broke for something to eat; as Dave D, Gemma and that group were still playing Canal Mania. When we returned, they had vanished, so we ate tea and chatted in general to Luke, Anna and several other people whose name I never found out.

Dave D then wandered back so I suggested another game of Age of Empires III. We gained a fourth player named Connor and settled down. This game took longer, nearly three hours and ended in a win for DD. I came second, Ben was third with Connor fourth. As Dave himself pointed out, he scored a lot in the final round on colonies as was surprised no-one tried to stop him. I was the only one with a soldier, taking over Brazil; but Connor just kept putting in more men so the battles dragged on a bit. I got it in the end however. It was now 11pm so we returned home.

Overall, it was a great day. Ben really enjoyed it; and can’t wait for the next games con. I think he’ll be coming to MidCon this year. We never got to play Tikal – maybe next time. Thanks to Luke and the other organisers for putting it on; you’ve got to do it again. And for everyone who couldn’t make it: - try and get to the next one.


  1. What a fantastic write-up! Not only beautifully written but Dave appears to have a photographic memory of everything that happened. It's worth playing this game just for the description afterwards but also there's no denying it is an extremely playable game with great variability. Also equally enjoyable for either side (maybe being Drac edges it a bit).

    This was probably the best game Dave and I have played of this yet, as I was on him from the very first turn (if only Van Helsing had been armed!). Although in the end Dracula didn't take too much blood damage, I had enough hunters near him to make it very tense.

  2. Thanks Dave for writing this, I didn't take any notes and as I haven't really got the photographic memory Steve suggests, I thought I'd wait for you and then add my thoughts as a comment, incidentally I think Luke's name for the event was actually the Happy Happy Boardgames Day, but Hamstercon seems appropriate.

    I was there for approximately 12 hours, played 6 games (3 of which were new to me) and met a number of new people, many of who's names I don't remember.

    First up was Modern Art with Luke and I think Mike and Paul, I came 2nd, which was an improvement on my last try when I was last due to buying far too many paintings for too much money. I quite like this one, certainly more so that Medici and rate it 7.

    Next up was The downfall of Pompeii, a light fun game (unless, I suppose, you're the one being engulfed in lava), I was doing alright until my exit was blocked by the flow and ended up 3rd out of 4. I enjoyed the game, helped by it being a theme of interest to me. This gets 7 as well.

    After breaking for lunch, next up was The Pillars of the Earth (which is what I was playing when Dave arrived rather than Power Grid), 2 of the players were new to the game while another had played just once. Experience is, I think an advantage in this game and I ended up a clear winner. This one remains at 8.

    Following that it was Knizia time again with Blue Moon City, I've looked at comments about this before and thought it looked interesting. It is that, but I was left uncertain, so I think a fence sitting 6.5. I was tied for second behind Gemma (who Jonny reckoned always wins), but I'm not sure whether there really are any other places but first here.

    Next up, On the Underground was suggested by the other guy from the Blue Moon City game (whose name I don't recall). I was happy to play this of course, but then he spotted Canal Mania and asked about that, so that was what we played with Gemma, Jonny having disappeared for a bit. Everyone enjoyed the game, feeling as I do that it is nice to have a good game with a local setting. This playing seemed to bear out my thoughts of being a closer game with the 2nd edition being the only game I've yet known to end with a tie break, out of which I came 2nd, although I think I'd have won if I hadn't been giving out advice to the others. This is still a 9, but I'm thinking of raising that to 10. Due for a Wednesday night outing soon.

    Finally, after tea there was the AoE3 game Dave mentioned. Dave is a fan of exploration games, but I confess that I've not been that enamoured of any of the previous ones he's come out with. This, however I found myself quite enjoying, although I'm not sure the game was that representative, as everyone else seemed to be fighting amongst themselves, leaving me to go about my business mostly undisturbed and win comfortably. The game seemed to have a bit of a Caylus feel about it in parts (but with the added ingredient of a bit of fun). On first impressions I'll go with 7.

    So I had a good time and expect to go again if Luke repeats the event.

  3. Other exploration games presumably being Entdecker, Tikal and New World? You haven't played Source of the Nile or Struggle of Empires; Tempus I don't own; Conquistador hasn't really made it out of the box (as it's an SPI title), Outreach is exploration of a kind but hasn't been played since the 80's. Giganten is oil exploration so probably counts and you do like that (even though that hasn't seen the light of day for several years). There is of course the old classic Exploration itself, although I suspect that is probably a bit dated now. Any others I've missed? :)