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 30 September 2007

Session Summary - 19 September 2007

I was hoping to post this together with last weeks summary, having again let it ride longer than it should, however I'm umming and arring a bit over comments on Caylus Magna Carta and it's taking a little longer to write than I thought, so here's this one that I did earlier.

It was me and Mike this week so he dug out some 2 player games.

Kahuna 50 mins
Player Posn.
Mike 1
Dave D 2

I seem to recall watching Mike play this in the past, but have never played it myself. The idea is to control islands by building the majority of bridges form that island to its neighbours. When you achieve this you get to knock down an opponents bridge form the island you've just taken. This is done by the play of cards to place bridges and also to knock down bridges. Scoring is based on whoever controls the most islands at the end of each of the 3 rounds.

The problem to my mind is that when you reach the 5 card hand limit you have to start discarding cards to draw new ones, so if you accumulate the cards to make a major attack, you are virtually committed to playing it immediately or lose one of the cards and if you are forced to do this too early in the round you give your opponent time to respond, while you have to start building your hand again.

Still fairly inoffensive 5/10.

San Juan 30 mins
Player Posn. Points
Mike 1 32
Dave D 2 26

This works OK with 2 players, but as has been pointed out by many people including the designer Andreas Seyfearth, the Library is so very powerful when one player has one and the other doesn't (despite the fact that you can only use it for one role when you're Governor). In this case Mike had one as his first build but he was unable to draw many other good cards to go with it. He still won by 6 points.

Babel 30 mins
Player Posn. Points
Dave D 1 18
Mike 2 5

Another in the Kosmos 2 player series and to my mind better than Kahuna. I seem to recall playing it before in the dim and distant past before records began (I think with Julian). The game has interesting options with scope for some nice combos to bash your opponent. It was indeed quite satisfying to finish the game off by stealing the top of Mike's big temple and then demolishing the rest of it and I'd certainly play again, but I think that if I know a session's going to be exclusively 2 player I'd rather fill it with Fury of Dracula. 6/10

Now I must get back to last week and Caylus Magna Carta.

Tuesday 18 September 2007

Session Summary - 12 September 2007

3 of us last Wednesday and the game chosen was

Power Grid 90 mins
Player Posn. Points
Steve H 1 17+
Dave D 2 17
Matt 3 16

This was played on the Italy board, only the second time this has seen play. The last time was a long brain burning affair when the game went on a turn too long resulting in the 2 leaders becoming back markers due to running out of fuel. This one was a more conventional affair played on the bottom 3 regions, so leaving out the 3 at the top of the country with all the cheap connections.

Matt set up in the South with me in North, while Steve sat in the middle. The game developed so that Steve was left in the position of starting Step 2 by making a very expensive connection up the east coast by passing several cities and then building last in the following turn after Matt and I had picked up the best of the newly available '15' spots. When the game came to an end I thought I was in a good position and was amazed to realise that Steve had so much more money left over. It's true that I probably paid more for fuel over the length of the game, but I'm sure he paid more for connections. I'm still wondering what I missed.

With plenty of time available it was onto

Industrial Waste 25 mins
Player Posn. Points
Matt 1 38
Steve H 2 35
Dave D 3 30

This game was a milestone for me, in that following it I was the one with the most recorded plays of it on the Geek. The fact that this was with only 23 plays tells me that the game is grossly underrated.

The game itself was not my finest hour as Matt rushed through for a quick finish, before anyone could really get going. It was a successful tactic that gave him the win.

After the quick previous game, it was suggested that we play another game of Industrial Waste, but as the second game probably would not have been as quick as the first, we settled on

Guillotine 15 mins
Player Posn. Points
Dave D 1 25
Matt 2 24
Steve H 3 22

This was the third successive week for this game. Early on (I can't remember the exact circumstances) Steve played a card to swap hands with me, I was at first unhappy about this, since I had a good hand, but as it turned out the hand I received was pretty good as well.

Going into the last day I was in 3rd place and was first to play that day. Steve had handed me a Double feature early on and Robespierre was second in line, so I was able to collect him and one other for 5 points and finish the game in my favour.

So 3 players, 3 games and we each achieved a first, second and third. It goes without saying of course that Guillotine is the most skillful of the 3 played.

Until tomorrow

Monday 17 September 2007

Session Summary - 5 September 2007

Another late report. There were 6 of us on this Wednesday with Mark bringing along his son Jonathan. The games were:

Canal Mania 110 mins
Player Posn. Points
Mike 1 93
Steve H 2 92
Dave D 3 89

This is was the first outing for the second edition of Canal Mania at the club. The new rules do make a difference in that there does not seem to be the previous tendency for a player to run away. I have played this edition 3 times and on one occasion the game was decided on a tie break, while as can be seen for this one the scores were very close. The other game was also very close for much of the game before scores spread out towards the end.

In this game I was set up in the north running down into the East Midlands, Steve played mostly in the south, While Mike seemed to stake out territory in the middle. Mike led early, with us not far behind, before opening out a bit of a lead, which was closed right up at the end. Each us us had our own story of bad luck/incompetence. Steve reckons he built his junction canal in the wrong place, missing out on the extra point which would have enabled him to take the game on the most prolific constructor tie break. Mike was just short of finishing another contract at the end. I made an idiotic move (in retrospect) of not taking a card to place a good in Manchester at the end, which may have made me 5 points potentially (although I'm not sure it would have).

The others still seem lukewarm about the game, but to me it is definitely the best game to come out in recent times.

We had another game on another table

Age of Empires III 110 mins
Player Posn. Points
Jonathan 1 54
Ben 2 50
Dave C 3 35

We had another table as well, with a game of Age of Empires III going on. This was the first Wednesday night outing for this and the scores seem very low. Mind you that is based on the limited experience of having played 1 game and read reports of a few others.

Dave & Ben disappeared after that and Jonathan joined us for

Guillotine 20 mins
Player Posn. Points
Jonathan 1 25
Steve H 2 23
Mike 3 21
Dave D 4 15

Guillotine seems to have become popular again. This was a very high scoring game, which saw me coming last with a score that was better than the one I won with last week, that was with 6 players mind you so the scores would be lower.

I hope to post last week's report either later tonight or tomorrow.

Saturday 1 September 2007

Session Summary - 29 August 2007

I have just posted last weeks delayed report, so if you're interested go there now.

Dave was absent this week so everyone, young and old, gathered for a 6 player game of

Cosmic Encounter 90 mins
Matthew (Parasite)1=5
Charlotte (Chronos)1=5
Dave D (Fungus)3=4
James (Gambler)3=4
Mike (Aura)3=4
Steve H (Oracle)63

After spending a little time explaining the rules, we were off, playing fairly straight with only the addition of kickers and some of the later powers. We had a slight advantage in the explanation in that Mike was the Aura, meaning everyone else had to play with their hands exposed on the table, meaning that edicts were visible and could therefore be explained. The downside of this was that more analysis was possible leading I suspect to a longer game.

The game was close and I was able to move to 4 bases and be confident that I was certain to win, if I got another turn. The problem was getting that turn and I didn't think I would, as each of the 3 youngsters could win before it got back to me. In light of this I thought a joint win was the best I could do and persuade James to create a grand alliance of the 4 of us against Steve, which was unbeatable with my stacks of fungus tokens and the sanity edict, which I was able to play to prevent me from getting zapped. But James betrayed us all and compromised sending my fungus stacks to the warp and splitting them up. My plans for galactic domination were ruined.

As is turned out Matthew and Charlotte finished the game when Matthew attacked her on his turn, playing Emotion Control and agreeing a base swap to give them a 2 was victory, so I was right about not getting another turn.

And the moral of this story is never trust children.

After that we played

Guillotine 25 mins
Dave D114
Steve H213

I was able to grab the king on the first day, but was Charlotte who revealed that I had missed and he went to the back of the line, but I got him again on my next turn and this time didn't miss. So I was well up there with Steve and James after the first day.

There was a lot of good nobles available on day 2, but I finished it early by grabbing Robespierre. Things were still close.

Day 3 was long to make up for the short day 2, with several extra carts being added. Steve was unfortunate to pick up some grey nobles and I was able to nobble James with the Missing Heads card, causing him to lose the Cardinal. When the day finally drew to a close, I was the winner, having only taken 4 heads, but they were good ones.

Until next week.

Session Summary - 22 August 2007

This is a somewhat delayed report as I haven't seemed to be able to summon up the inspiration to write it, but to get things up to date here is what happened.

Gordon, Steve and I met upstairs, while Dave ran another episode of his Corporation campaign down below. Unlike me, I noticed that he got this online over at his blog almost immediately (I suspect this was as soon as he got home) and the story can be viewed here.
Meanwhile, we were giving yet another outing to

Pillars of the Earth, The 90 mins
Dave D157
Steve H345

Things are a bit hazy now but these are the main points that I remember. Steve went first, but did not take the woodworker that I like (the one who converts wood to gold), so I was able to take this craftsman when I went second, beating Gordon (who is apparently also a fan of the card).

As the game moved into the middle sector, Gordon built up a bit of a lead and Steve was also doing pretty well on turn 3, while I fell a bit behind. I was able to overhaul Steve the following turn, with the help of Prior Philip and occupying both spaces in the priory for 5 points, but not Gordon.

The game was one of those where metal was common and I had 3 stored up as we went into the final turn, Gordon also had some metal on hand. On the final turn it seemed it was screw Gordon time, I can't remember the exact order of things, but I was able to grab first the Bell maker from the available craftsmen and then the Organ builder using a master builder. To compound this Steve used a master builder to grab the goldsmith. So I could convert my three metal into 14 points and Gordon had only a Glass blower and money that he had no goldsmith to convert into VP. Into has to be said that, if Gordon had been able to grab any one of 3 craftsmen, the 1-2 order would have been, I think, different.

Following this we played

Cartagena 30 mins
Dave D25
Steve H34

This was Gordon's first try at this and I thought my third, but looking back I can only find a record of my having played once before. The first time I played I made the mistake of running out of cards and being stuck at the back. In this game Gordon too ran down his cards, but was in a position to gain more by backwards movement and wound up winning.