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, 17 January 2013

Brine is fine ! Magnum Sal : Muria - 16 Jan 2013

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Dave F, Scott, Steve H and I (Mike) gave the Magnum Sal expansion Muria a first outing at the Club - sadly only available direct from Poland for the foreseeable future.  I really like the base game, lots of strategy, a bit of luck, and a worker placement that actually feels a bit like you're using workers - they even get tired!  The new expansion now makes the water you're busy shifting out of the mine valuable as brine, as it can be used to make the normal salt varieties (2 for brown, 4 for green, 6 for white) and can be itself a component in some new Royal Order tiles.  It also has a totally different mine layout method - no longer fixed, but players themselves explore where they want and dig down to lower levels with six new shaft tiles.  A couple of new tools support these mechanisms, but you stick with 7 types available so two types will be removed at random, which offers even more variety.  Each player also gets a Foreman super-meeple, worth double when working in the mine, again offering some additional strategies.

So, Muria gives you more to think about, and therefore probably adds a little to the game length - our first attempt took nearly 3 hours, but the time didn't drag for me, because you're constantly having to watch what the others are doing while you - it's as interactive as the base game.  It also gave a pretty close result, I think we all made mistakes (easy to do in this!) but Scott played the steadiest and deserved his win despite a little bit of luck right at the end. 

You also get components for a 5th player, I'd like to try with this number but am doubtful it would be as good, certainly if any less-experienced players were included I think I'd try a 2-Phase 'tweaked' game rather than 3-Phase game to guarantee to keep it within an evening.  On the whole it adds more to an already engaging game so I'd stick with keeping it in for the future.

On the other table, Gordon, Simon and Dave D were playing Galaxy Trucker.  I played it once when it first came out and my thoughts are a bit like I think I heard Dave D say - a lot of fun for 30-45 minutes but the fun wears thin because the game goes on for at least as long again as repetition rather than development.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Stats Review 2012

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This is the 2012 review of games played at the club; corresponding articles for 2008 - 2011 are linked from the years. As last year I include a comparison with the previous year. I have also updated the Stats Pages on the website.  For a rundown beyond the top 5, there is a geeklist of all the games played here. Note this won’t appear on the geek front page of the Geek.

Games Played

We played a total of 183 games this year (which is 4 less than the 187 in 2011) spread over 87 different ones (compared with 98), when play was a lot more spread. 39 games were played for the first time.

The total player time for the year was 806 player hours up 4% on last year.

The most played games (in terms of player time) were as follows:

1. Power Grid (11 plays, 74.5 player hours)

Power Grid is top again and this year there were “new” boards to play with. Most used board this year was Baden W├╝rttemberg, although this is not actually new, having appeared in a special edition for a German power company, it was new to us. At Essen a UK board finally appeared and I expect that this will see a bit of play in the coming year.

2. Lords of Waterdeep (7 plays, 38.83 player hours)

One of the new games of the year, this is apparently a light worker placement game set in a D&D world. It saw a lot of play between April and July.

3. Eclipse (3 plays, 35.17 player hours)

All the play for this one was in January. It was a game I was keen to give a try, but I was deeply disappointed in it. All this “if you like Master of Orion, you’ll love Eclipse” proved to be false advertising.

4. San Juan (13 plays, 32.58 player hours)

This was played more in 2012 than in any previous year, now having an expansion from the Alea treasure chest that adds new buildings, some of which are quite powerful, causing a reappraisal of strategies to be necessary.  The expansion also adds events, but I have stopped including those, since I discovered we were playing wrong in early play making them one offs. They are supposed to be recycled and can therefore appear more than once, which I don’t enjoy the idea of.

5. A Brief History of the World (2 plays, 21.83 player hours)

Steve continues to champion this game and it got a couple of plays. The game is to be me not different enough to the earlier version to allow me to enjoy it, preferring to play Britannia when the time is available, for my fix of “sweep of history” game.

The most played game in terms of times played was San Juan.  Interesting that there is no (what I would consider) true filler game getting the bulk of the play for that type of game this year.

What happened to last year’s top 5?

Only Power Grid is repeated from last year’s top 5, although all the other games there saw at least one play Caylus Magna Carta was down from 2 to 15, King of Tokyo from 3 to 23, London from 4 to 46 and Battlestar Galactica from 5 to 22.

Games that have stood the test of time

There are still 2 games, played every year since 2003 with both Vinci and Industrial Waste being played again this year although, again, with only 1 play each.

3 other games had been played every year since 2004, all three of these saw play this year, with both Power Grid and San Juan in the top 5. Perhaps unsurprisingly all the games that have been played for 9 or 10 years are in the “all time” top 10.

The number of games played 8 out of 10 years is only 2 compared last year’s 7 of 9 being 4. Kremlin, Ra and Citadels are missing. I’d like to get Kremlin played again in the coming year.

Games played in 10 of 10 years

Vinci
Industrial Waste

Games played in 9 of 10 years

Power Grid
Amun-Re
San Juan

Games played in 8 of 10 years

Acquire
Guillotine

Looking forward to 2013.