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.

Friday 9 September 2011

7th September, 2011

So tonight we had an embarrassment of riches with ten - yes, count 'em: 10 - people in attendance. It's been a while since I remember quite so many - in fact, it may go back to when Gordon used to come and bring Daniel and co to play one of Dave C's RPGs.

Anyhoo, after much to-ing and fro-ing about who would and would not be playing Andy's Quarriors - no-one, as it turned out - we split into a four for Caylus: Magna Carta; and a six for Power Grid.

Dave F, Anna, Mike and I settled in to one of my favourite games in Caylus: Magna Carta. Mike and Dave F both started strongly whilst Anna, on her first play, was learning the mechanisms as she went. I started in sleep-deprived dad mode, but woke up around half way through when Mike built the Cathedral for three stone and two gold, giving him 14VP.

I've had success before by picking up favours as fast as I could in an attempt to end the game quickly (in fact, the last game I played with Dave F and Steve H came in at under 45 mins because of this) but as I was last player for the first turn, that option wasn't really open if I wanted to stay in the game. Dave was actually first to use the lawyer, but missed out on first prestige build. He then built the statue for 6 and was quickly followed by Anna, who built the hotel for 6. This left me last in the prestige race because I'd been buying as many favours as I could early on; so, having taken my turn at the lawyer, I built the monument for 10, then waited as the others played for further prestige buildings, noting that no-one seemed that fussed about wood late in the game and I managed to get the town hall out. I'm not sure, but I think Dave and Mike were each concentrating on the other's game and forgot to watch me. The others built their second prestige buildings too; but I'm sure it was the early stocking of favours which gave me the win.

We then went on to play King of Tokyo for my first ever win... in fact, the first time I've actually survived until the end. I won by virtue of some lucky points-scoring dice rolls plus the card that allows you to combo rolls of 1-2-3 for points, but also use the dice in other combinations. A good night for me, then!!! Probably the last for some time as this kind of fortune never lasts.

Over on the other table, it was 6-player Power Grid. Unfortunately, I didn't get any low-down on this, so maybe Dave D can fill me in? I don't even know which map was used.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Session Report - 1st September 2011

In the absence of other stuff, here's my summary of some games I played this week, and some others I didn't.

First up, I didn't play Paris Connection, which was played by Dave F, Andy, Claire, Steve Pe and Mike; however, I have played it before and think it's a cracking, fast-paced economic game with tons of depth for its length. Six railway companies start from Paris(?) and build lines out to other towns and cities on a hex map of France. So far, so Chicago Express (apart from the France bit); but PC is a much simpler game. On a player's turn they may take one action only: lay up to 5 sections of track for any company; take a share; or trade a held share for two identical shares of a different company. Laying track to new destinations increases the share value of a company, and the aim is to hold the highest combined share value at the game's end.

Yes, really, that's it; and that is its genius. The game is further simplified by the facts that there is no cash money: shares double as track and comprise the game's only currency. The more track one lays (provided it connects to a town or city), the higher the share value climbs whilst the scarcity of shares (and, as a consequence, track) increases.

Anyone can play this game, and it's over in 45 mins, but in that time each player has had to make some tough decisions: do I sell my share in red, which looks spent, to buy two blue as the price climbs? or do I lay track in green to a random spot in the woods just to deplete resources because I don't hold any green shares? Simple, involving and very, very good. I liked it so much, I bought the game... but anyone who knows me knows that's not saying much.

Andy, Steve H, Dave D and I played Roborally. I don't have a heck of a lot to say about it other than I was narrowly beaten by Dave when I got a handful of turn cards when in his laser sights and he shot me to bits. We played Dave's Wizards of the Coast version which, component-wise, beats my Avalon Hill version hands down. I do prefer some of the later AH rules (for example, timer for other players once the first has programmed his registers) and the player boards with damage accrued. The only naff rule in WotC is the "virtual" robots, but it's not terrible, just not very consistent in my opinion.

Roborally is both simple and complex; both logical and chaotic. I love it to bits. We should play more.

Steve romped away with Ra: the Dice Game by virtue of his propensity to flood. He won by some margin.

On the other table, after Paris Connection, they played 7 Wonders with the Leaders expansion. I've yet to try Leaders, and am curious to see how it plays, but there are so many games that are just plain better than 7 Wonders that I haven't quite got around to it yet. It's not that 7 Wonders is a bad game - I just find it a bit ordinary. It ploughs a furrow of mediocrity that's all too common. Pick a card, pass; pick a card pass. Its tendency is toward being a game about managing the player following in a similar fashion to Puerto Rico - at least, that's the mechanism I'm most reminded of.

Scores anyone...?