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.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Session Summary – 19 March 2008


For those of you who are interested, Steve Hilton & I got together outside the club to give Fury of Dracula another go. The saga that unfolded can be found here.
Anyway, on to tonight, we were back up to 7 and a split of 5 & 2 with Dave & Ben wanting to practice their Memoir 44 for some kind of big family showdown over the weekend, the scores are below, but I don't have any further details.
1. Omaha (Ben – German, Dave – American)
Memoir '44 35 mins
Player
Posn.
Points
Ben
1
6
Dave C
2
1
2. Omaha (Ben – American, Dave – German)
Memoir '44 30 mins
Player
Posn.
Points
Dave C
1
6
Ben
2
3
3. Battle of the Bridgehead (Ben-German, Dave – Canadian)
Memoir '44 55 mins
Player
Posn.
Points
Ben
1
5
Dave C
2
4

The other five were myself, Mike, Steve Perkins and Paul; together with Mike's son Jonathan back again from Oxford. This game would be a small landmark for me as it would be my 500th recorded at the geek, although my total played over the years before records began would be far in excess of that. Being a little short on 5 player options, there was only one real choice, Power Grid. This one was played on the French map (South West region eliminated) with the Plant deck 2. Steve and Paul had never played with the new deck, while Jonathan was new to the game. Mike and I could not really claim much experience with the new deck as I'm not sure we've played more than one game using it on its own as opposed to some combination with the original deck.
On with the game. On the first turn I picked up plant 3, Jonathan 4, Mike 6, Paul 7 and Steve 8, so I was left to go first in the acquisition of raw materials and building. I don't like going first on the first turn as it seems that wherever I go someone contrives to block me in. I went in to one of the Paris locations while Jonathan went slightly South West, Paul slightly north west, Mike to the east. This left Steve with most of the board to choose from and he went down on the south coast. Everybody built to their capacity so the 1 & 2 plants remaining in the market disappeared right away.
Some good plants came down in the following turn, Mike picking up the number 30 (1 coal -> 4), while I waited until the end and was rewarded when the number 32 (green 4) dropped in my lap, the number 21 (3 trash -> 5) was also available but went un bought at this stage as the trash price was high and the operation of that plant would have resulted in at best it's stagnation or maybe more likely it's rise. The split of plants at that stage meant that all fuels with the exception of trash were very cheap and Mike was able to power his 30 for the price of 1 elektro.
Things now went quiet for a turn or two as we built up our cities to match our increased capacity, some players bought another plant, but I stood on what I had as I could power my five for next to nothing, as a result of this I remained on 5 cities while others went past me and I was therefore given first chance to build when step 2 arrived courtesy of Steve.
Just before the first step 2 building, we had the only major auction battle of the game, everyone had their eyes on increased capacity and the 31 plant (1 nuke->5) was up, by this time, the price of uranium had fallen to 2 and only stayed that high when Steve declined to use his 8 plant. Everyone bid on this plant and 3 fell by the wayside when the bidding reached 50 or so, leaving me and Steve, I eventually let him have it for 67. I knew that 29 (3 hybrid-> 5), which I also liked the look of was available, so I sat out the rest of the auctions, while no-one bid on that and actually the 34 (3 coal->6) dropped at the last and I picked that up at face value. It was at this point that Mike picked up the 21 plant, while the 27 (1 trash ->4) also went and the trash price started to edge up. This was also when the price of coal took off as I stocked up my 34 plant, knowing that my time of building and buying early was likely past. When the building phase came I built out to 10, picking up the rest of Paris and some other cheap connections, tied with Paul and the others were back on 8.
The game went on for 2 more turns, the following one I bid on the 29 and was a bit surprised to get it at face value, at which point all the remaining available plants were 4 capacity or less. I had 15 capacity but not quite enough money to end the game so I just bought connected 2 more cities to put me 1 behind Paul on 13.
The following turn there were still no plants more than 5 capacity available, so no one was able to match me and they had to fight for second. Step 3 turned up during phase 2, so it was too late to make a difference to the market and I was just able to pick up the 3 cities I needed.
At the end of the game Steve was well behind in capacity but had lots of money, he had been waiting for plants to appear, but was caught out because of the differences in the new plant deck as compared to the original which he apparently knows off by heart from many games on BSW.
Power Grid 110 mins
Player
Posn.
Points
Dave D
1
15
Paul
2
13++
Mike
3
13+
Jonathan
4
13
Steve Pe
5
8

After that there was time for a filler and Steve produced Saboteur, which Mike, Jon & I hadn't played before, I'm not sure about Paul.
The idea is that the players are dwarves mining for gold, but at least 1 or 2 of them are saboteurs who aim to prevent the others from reaching the treasure. The game is played by placing cards on the table showing tunnel sections and the good dwarves win by successfully making a connection from the mine entrance card to the card with the gold on it, which will be one of three face down cards on the other side of the table. Instead of placing a tunnel section card, a player can also play a number of other types of card. Maps give the chance to look at one of the face down cards, equipment breakages (of various types) prevent a player from playing tunnel sections until the equipment is repaired, equipment repairs repair broken equipment and rock falls remove previously played tunnel sections.
From the evidence of this game it seems to me that saboteurs (who are determined at random) are on a hiding to nothing as the good dwarves found the gold without difficulty in each of the 3 rounds we played, even if there were 2 saboteurs in play, in addition there is an advantage to the good dwarf who make the connection to the gold in that they get first pick of the gold cards and will end up with an extra card when compared to whoever is late in the picking order. It was these factors, I think, that determined the scores.
Jon was a saboteur 2 out of 3 times and ended up with only one card. Mike was never a saboteur, but was always low down the picking order. Paul was a saboteur once and had first pick once but ended up with only one gold card on the other time he was a good dwarf. Steve and I were saboteurs once and had first pick once, but unlike Paul, on the other round when we were a good dwarf, we still ended up with 2 cards.
So, all in all, it's OK but seemingly a bit lucky on this evidence. Maybe with fewer players the saboteurs would have more chance against less opposition and maybe there would be a more even spread of gold.
Saboteur 30 mins
Player
Posn.
Points
Dave D
1=
7
Steve Pe
1=
7
Paul
3
5
Mike
4
4
Jonathan
5
1

Until next week

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