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, 7 July 2008

Rosliston 2008

Belatedly, here are the results from the Rosliston weekend away of June 2008, with brief comments from me on each one. As usual we had a great time, and many thanks to Gordon for organising it.

As the non-serious competition for the weekend, we decided to adopt the old points system we used to have at the club, the formula being number of players x number of minutes in points for the winner, with that number halved for 2nd place, halved again for 3rd, halved again for 4th, with zero for coming last.

I've included here every competitive game we played, so the cooperative game I can't remember about plagues is excluded.

Game 1: Settlers (60 mins)
1: Gordon 10 (240pts)
2=: Mike 8 (90)
2=: Steve 8 (90)
4: Simon 7 (0)

Ah, the traditional start to the weekend of a game of Settlers; subtitle - hand Gordon a nice easy win to begin with. He didn't disappoint. Matt arrived.

Game 2: El Grande (135 mins)
1=: Simon 116 (506 pts)
1=: Steve 116 (506)
3: Matt 113 (169)
4: Mike 102 (84)
5: Gordon 101 (0)

The mad Spanish game - I absolutely love it. Exciting from start to finish, and everyone has a chance to win throughout. Simon and I somehow emerged from the chaos.

Game 3: Poker (90 mins)
1: Gordon (450 pts)
2: Mike (225)
3: Steve (113)
4=: Simon (28)
4=: Matt (28)

Wow I didn't come last. Gordon got the best bed for the third year running.

Game 4: Age of Empires III (210 mins)
1: Steve 76 (1050 pts)
2: Mike 73 (525)
3: Gordon 70 (263)
4: Simon 64 (131)
5: Matt 58 (0)

A stunning game, highlight of the weekend. My shoot everything that moves strategy paid off for the second year in a row. The best bit for me was murdering the entire Dutch population of Peru in one turn (6 of 'em). But in the end it was the faintest of margins - Mike missed out by one discovery going wrong.

Game 5: Koalition (80 mins)
1: Simon 53 (400 pts)
2: Matt 22 (200)
3: Gordon 21 (100)
4: Mike 16 (50)
5: Steve 15 (0)

Suddenly there was no one left for me to shoot, and you had to be devious instead. So of course Simon won.

Game 6: Container (120 mins)
1: Matt 116 (600 pts)
2: Simon 70 (300)
3: Steve 67 (150)
4: Mike 56 (75)
5: Gordon 36 (0)

I started off hating the game, then I warmed to it, then I sort of hated it again. Ok it's a crap review, but you'd know what I mean if you were there. I remember Gordon was badly stuffed by the games mechanics. Matt crushed us all with his production strategy.

Game 7: Amun-Re (110 mins)
1: Matt 45 (550 pts)
2=: Steve 41 (206)
2=: Gordon 41 (206)
4: Mike 39 (69)
5: Simon 36 (0)

The Knizia classic, one of the best five-player games ever. Simon's first try and I think he liked it. Matt's hot streak continued.

Game 8: Poker (110 mins)
1: Simon (550 pts)
2=: Matt (206)
2=: Mike (206)
4: Gordon (69)
5: Steve (0)

Back to my usual poker form, Matt took me out with a straight flush. So I went to bed.

Game 9: Zooleretto (90 mins)
1: Gordon 27+ (450 pts)
2: Mike 27 (225)
3: Simon 24 (113)
4: Matt 21 (56)
5: Steve 17 (0)

After this I had a strong desire to kill every zoo animal in the whole world with my bare hands. And then strangle myself.

Game 10: Power Grid (105 mins)
1: Steve 15+ (525 pts)
2: Matt 15 (263)
3: Simon 14+ (131)
4: Mike 14 (66)
5: Gordon 11 (0)

Eastern Europe board. Gordon would have won but I did that fiendish brown-out thing to him that leaves you all bitter and twisted if it happens to you. Gordon, being a brilliant sport, took it in his stride.

Game 11: Ra (60 mins)
1: Mike 48 (300 pts)
2: Steve 47 (150)
3: Gordon 28 (75)
4: Simon 26 (38)
5: Matt 25 (0)

You can't beat a game of Ra. Even if you get a drubbing it's only an hour.

Game 12: Caylus (140 mins)
1: Mike 70 (700 pts)
2: Matt 66 (350)
3: Steve 62 (175)
4: Simon 58 (88)
5: Gordon 44 (0)

Ditto, you can't beat a game of Caylus. It's always different which is why it's so playable. This time we filled every space in the castle which I've never seen happen before. Mike won by nicking all "my" gold. Gordon, normally the Caylus king, was oddly sluggish - maybe it was a stamina thing...

Game 13: 6 Nimmt (40 mins)
1: Gordon (200 pts)
2: Steve (100)
3: Matt (50)
4: Mike (25)
5: Simon (0)

This game was a blast - I'm going to get it when I can. Just when everyone thought Gordon was out for the count, he minimised his bull count to great effect. What do you mean, "huh"?

Game 14: Il Principe (60 mins)
1: Gordon 68+ (300 pts)
2: Mike 68 (150)
3: Simon 49 (75)
4: Steve 48 (38)
5: Matt 45 (0)

This game is an acquired taste that most don't acquire. Gordon claimed not to know what he was doing but we weren't buying it. Simon went.

Game 15: Taj Mahal (100 mins)
1=: Matt 61 (300 pts)
1=: Steve 61 (300)
3: Gordon 45 (100)
4: Mike 38 (0)

Great end to the weekend. This was Matt's best performance among many good ones. His connection strategy was perfect. I only drew on the old sneaky card collection count.

Well I've just enough energy to compile the final table:

Rosliston 08
1: Steve 3403 pts
2: Mike 2790 pts
3: Matt 2772 pts
4: Gordon 2453 pts
5: Simon 2360 pts

Champion again! Interestingly, if you average this out by number of games played, Matt beats Mike and Simon beats Gordon. So argue amongst yourself chaps. Until next year.


  1. Thanks for the report Steve.

    Settlers - I am very comfortable playing Settlers and my arrogant stance seems justified when I reflect on my win rate. Ok now I am going to get the robber camp on my turf for the foreseeable.

    El Grande - I was looking forward to playing El Grande and was not disappointed. I have no desire to play it at any other time, but at Rosliston it fits well.

    Poker - I have rather tired of boardgames over the last year or so. Just part of the natural fluctuations we get in all areas of our lives. Poker has filled my gaming gap. I play most weeks at a local pub and on holidays with the family it is often our game of choice.

    Age of Empires III - A fantastic win by Steve. This was one of a run of lacklustre performances by me. I have probably played this game more than the total of all the other players’ previous plays added together yet I could not get my strategy into gear. I believe the key to victory is going for one strategy in a single minded way something “All guns a blazing” Steve did excellently.

    Koalition - I was not keen on this game.

    Container - This is a game I want to get better at. I am hoping to play again on Friday when I am over at Steve Paget’s. There is a real problem with a certain group think killing the flow of the game. I understand this now. I have spoken to Steve Paget about this. Steve has explained the game to different groups and he now makes a point of almost insisting players do not take out loans during the first few turns. One possible friendly start to curb a destructive recession gripping the game might be to insist that the first shipment can only be for a single good with the second shipment auction being limited to 2 goods the third shipment 3 goods the 4th 4 goods and from the 5th shipment on there is no limit. I killed off my little business by buying the first shipment which was for 5 goods, I think I paid 8 for it which would be a great deal towards the end of the game but it took me into debt at a crucial point when I had no shipments lined up which could have generated me the money back.

    Amun-Re - Yes this is a top 5 player game. I scored fewest points in the first epoch and most points in the second however not enough to beat Matt.

    Zooleretto - I rather like this game, probably not enough to buy it myself.

    Power Grid - Though I came dead last this game gets my vote for the game of the weekend.

    Caylus - I took the building track for my favours and I just didn’t get enough favours to get it working right. I was stitched up early in the game with an unhelpful provost movement by Simon.

    6 Nimmt - This was my favourite new game of the weekend.

    Il Principe - This game is one I want to play more of or not at all. Playing only once every year or 2 is not often enough for me to remember rules or strategies. I would happily play again if it is put in front of me during the next 6 months.

    General comments
    I had another great time at Rosliston, thanks everyone for your company. It is a unique weekend retreat which does wonders recharging the batteries.

    I had got a bit jaded towards board games but this weekend has fired my interest back up. I am planning to go to Essen in October as a consequence.

    I was disappointed by my performance in the games I view as my favourite gamers’ games (Ra, Power Grid, Amen Re, Taj Mahal, Caylus). I enjoyed myself but my play felt rusty. I can’t totally blame myself. These are games that you guys have just got better at.

    It was lovely to have Simon join us and I hope he will come in future years.

  2. Massive thanks to Gordon for organising this and tidying up and the end of it all. I had an excellent time and enjoyed pretty much everythig with the possible exception of Container, wher eI felt that I sucked the fun out of it a bit. I really didn't like it, sorry.

    Caylus was fantastic and Mike played a blinding game to win. Age of Empires was solid fun too, although I got soundly spanked at it this year. Both games were genuinely excellent ways to spend a couple of hours.

    Gordon seemed to get a bit caught out with PowerGrid, having seen the brown-out shenanigans at the club I have a bit of an eye on fuel diversity more than I did. He was looking pretty powerful up to the final turns though.

    I managed to put a finger on what bothered me about Il Principe: you have to buy your way out of bad luck if you don't draw the right coloured cards. That puts you at a disadvantage versus players who do draw colours useful to them. Withteh punishment for lack of sets at the end you seem to be railroaded into consolidating your draws by buying weak lots to even it out. Put more succinctly: I got stiffed.

    Anyway, hopefully I can get there next year. Cheers for putting up the report Steve.

  3. Another brilliant Rosliston, great games played with great company. None of the 'big' games failed to deliver - EL Grande was a blast, but I made the classic mistake of pulling off a clever coup in the mid-game, not the end, and deservedly fell foul of 'stuff the leader'. Age of Empires III is, I think, just a little too long but is by far the best of the Caylus-clones I've played and this was nail-biting stuff which I was very unlucky not to win. Caylus itself was superb, and I was truly elated to not only win against such experienced players but also to do it on the money favour track which I've only tried once before.
    Of the others, Il Principe continued to intrigue me, there is some extremely subtle stuff going on in there and I agree with Gordon that playing it once a year will never bring the best out of the game, whilst my 2nd playing of Container just re-inforced my view after the first playing - dull, at times horribly slow, and prone to cartels which can completely freeze out the other players.