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.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Games Played December 2014

New Year's Eve and just catching up on the events of December. It was a quiet month with only 3 meetings as there was nothing on Xmas Eve and won't be tonight so I'll just note that 12 games were played during the month including first plays for City of Remnants, New Dawn and Shipwrights of the North Sea. We also played the European side of Power Grid:Deluxe for the first time on 17 December meaning that we finished playing all the maps.

Tables of results follow and the review of 2014 will hopefully follow soon.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Xmas & New Year - No Meetings

This is just a quick post to wish everyone a Merry Xmas & Happy New Year. Also to note that there will be no meetings on 24  & 31 December.

The next meeting will be on 7 January 2015.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Games Played 26 November 2014 featuring Power Grid deluxe

Arriving at the Stag this evening I discovered we had been moved to the downstairs function room because of unexpected head office training, many thanks are due to them for not charging us for the room, although Bob & Jonathan had left before I discovered that so I must remember not to charge them next time. I will also note that we have now been meeting at the Stag for a full year, the first time being 20 November 2013.

There were 13 of us this evening split over 4 tables playing Power Grid, Imperial Settlers, Castles of Burgundy, Russian Railroads, Biblios and a first time play for One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Actually Power Grid was a first play for the new deluxe version, but the play counts with Power Grid in the stats.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Games Played 19 November 2014

15 this week in 4 groups, playing Greed, Istanbul, Star Realms Carcassonne, Among the Stars, Murano & Panamax, the latter two for the first time here.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Games Played 12 November 2014

12 people split into 3 groups of 4. Games played were Power Grid, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Coal Baron, Greed, Santiago de Cuba, San Juan & Star Realms. Read on for more details.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Advanced Civilisation 8 November 2014

On 8 November 6 of us gathered at the Stag for a day of Advanced Civilisation (well actually an afternoon and evening).

Games Played 5 November 2014

Just a brief catch up post. We had 12 people this week and played Terra Mystica and World Without End together with first plays for Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Machi Koro and Tiny Epic Kingdoms. Sadly this was a last visit for Jaime and Isabel who are moving (maybe have moved by now) down to Dorset. Possibly we will still see them on future Saturday sessions. Read on for a little more detail.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Games Played 29 October 2014

Just 10 this week and we welcomed Korn, who found us through Twitter. We split into 3 groups playing World Without End, Fury of Dracula, Voluspa, Biblios, Coup and (for the first time) Steam Park. Read on for more information.

Saturday, 25 October 2014


After steadfastly resisting social media all this time, I have created an account on Twitter in the name of the club, only 3 tweets so far, although I notice there is a follower. I've also added a widget on the website homepage, although I'll have to tidy that up a bit as it's starting to become a bit cluttered.

Games Played 22 October 2014

13 people playing 4 games in 3 groups. The games being Power Grid, Antike II, Imperial Settlers and Star Realms. The latter 3 each being first plays here, I believe all straight from the previous week's Essen Spiel. Power Grid was played on the France board, leaving just Japan of the official boards still to be played this year.

Read on for further info.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Games Played 15 October 2014

Only 11 this week, I know that Gordon at least was off the Essen the next day and Steve was also flying early, but to Spain (I seem to recall), we initially split 3 ways and the games played were Coup, Power Grid, Traders of Genoa, Love Letter, This Town Ain't Big Enough for the 2-4 Of Us (first played at the last Games Day) and Last Will (a first time play). Read on for more info.

Games Played 1,8 October 2014

Just a quick catch up. On 1 October 15 people played 4 games being Concordia, Magnum Sal, Arctic Scavengers and a first play for Xia: Legends of a Drift System.

On  8 October 13 people played 7 games being The Palaces of Carrara, Saint Petersburg, Caverna, Coup, San Juan, Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar and a first play for Biblios.

Read on for more details.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Games Played 24 September 2014

14 this week, split over 4 tables playing Power Grid, Lords of Waterdeep, Macao, San Juan, Suburbia and Coal Baron (for the first time). Also in that list was a game listed as Santiago, which I have listed as Santiago de Cuba, which has been played a few times recently, but it has occurred to me that it might actually be Santiago which is a game in its own right, perhaps someone could confirm for me which is correct. A little more info on games played follows.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Games Day 2 - 20 September 2014

On Saturday, we held our second Games Day, following the first held back in April. 18 people attended for some or the whole day and a total of 22 games were played. The total number of people is down on the previous figure but the number of games played is actually up, I think due to the number of short fillers played in between the longer games. Dave C took a few photographs throughout the day and has said he'll pass them on, so I hope to add them to this post if they fit in with what I've written. For more details of events read on.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Games Played 17 September 2014

Just 11 this week, games played being Suburbia, St. Petersburg, Hanabi & Relic (for the first time).

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Games Played 3,10 September 2014

OK, time for a quick update on the last couple of weeks. On 3 September, we had 13 in attendance and played 3 games these being, Concordia, Power Grid and Dead of Winter. The following week also 13, this time with 7 games played, Power Grid, San Juan, El Grande, Trajan, Carcassonne, Love Letter and Hanabi (for the first time). Read on for a few more details and the results.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Games Played 27 August 2014

The end of another month and 14 in attendance, split 4,4,3,3. A total of 5 games were played, Concordia, Caverna, Suburbia, Fresco & Dead of Winter (the last 2 being new to the club).

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Games Played 20 August 2014

We were in a different room this week as the one we usually used was being used  for a meeting. Many thanks to the Stag who didn't charge us, so everyone in attendance had a free week. There were 10 of us split into 3 groups playing Acquire, Factory Manager, Tzolk'in, Guillotine, Legendary: Villains and Greed, the latter two being new games.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Games Played 13 August 2014

12 people this week, games played were Santiago de Cuba, Power Grid, Carcassonne, Terra Mystica and Industrial Waste. With this meeting the recorded player hours for the year reached 1174.75 passing the figure for 2013 which was itself the previous record for a year.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Games Played 6 August 2014

16 this week including newcomer Peter, split initially 4 x 4, games played were Suburbia, Saint Petersburg, Carcassonne, Caylus Magna Carta, Taluva, San Juan, Guillotine, Nations and Province. The latter played for the first time.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Power Grid 100

As noted in my post for 30 July, we have just played the 100th. game of Power Grid, which is the most played game at the club. I thought I'd look back and come up with a few statistics.

Games Played 30 July 2014

19 people this week and the initial split was to 4 tables, 6,5,4,4. Games played were Power Grid, ...Und Tchuss, El Grande, Guillotine, Among the Stars, Nations, Havana and Lost Legacy: The Starship, the last 2 being played for the first time.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Games Played 23 July 2014

After a couple of weeks where attendances have not been as high and knowing that 3 of our regulars would be missing, I wondered if attendance might be low this week. As it turns out we had 16 people with Lee & Rachael back with the School holidays. We also had Dave C and Simon here for the first time in a few years (although I gather it's likely a one off in Simon's case). We also had a first time visit from Máté, who hails from Hungary and has just moved into the Birmingham area.

We split into 4 groups of 4, with the games played being Milestones, Stone Age, London, Power Grid, Guillotine, Ticket to Ride, Space Hulk: Death Angel and Ra. Milestones & Space Hulk were new to the club. Some further info follows.

Games Played 16 July 2014

Another quick report just for completeness. I am currently not really finding much to say about the games I've been playing, I find there is only so much to say about a euro such as Power Grid (great game as it is) when I've played it 3 weeks in a row, in comparison to something like Battlestar Galactica or Fury of Dracula, which tells a story. That said, I seem to have ended up writing a fair bit regards Power Grid in this article, in relation to big deck theory, so scratch that bit about a quick report.

There were 11 of us and the group initially split 4,4 & 3. Games played were Tzolk'in, Viticulture, Power Grid, Carcassonne and Steam Noir: Revolution, the latter being new to the group. For some further information and results click below.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Games Played 9 July 2014

Just 8 this week and 4 games played - Power Grid, Lords of Waterdeep, San Juan, & 7 Wonders. Not much to say but click for a bit more info.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Games Played 2 July 2014

13 in attendance and 4 games played. A small milestone, the number of recorded games in the spreadsheet tracking play since September 2003 has now passed 2000. The games played in this session were Power Grid, Among the Stars, Lewis & Clark and Arctic Scavengers. The latter 2 being first plays at the club.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Games Played 25 June 2014

12 people in attendance, split over 3 tables of 4, the games played were Battlestar Galactica, Power Grid and Caverna. Further details follow.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Games Played 18 June 2014


13 this week and games played were Steam over Holland, Animal Olympics x2, Tzolk'in, Dominion (with Intrigue and Alchemy), Cosmic Encounter and Among the Stars. No new games this week.

Games Played 11 June 2014

13 this week, games played The Palaces of Carrara, Strasbourg, Gloom, Boss Monster, Power Grid and ...und tschuss! The first 3 of those all being new to the club and it has to be said that there was some truly bizarre dialogue emanating from the table playing Gloom. Power Grid was played on the Indian subcontinent board.

Results follow below

Games Played 4 June 2014

I've been busy with some other projects recently including getting the Games Expo tournament results online, so I've just two quick updates and then some more detail regarding 18 June (that's 3 separate posts)

14 players this week and the games played were Canal Mania, Legendary, Boss Monster x2, Tzolk'in, Hive and San Juan. Of those Boss Monster is a new game to the club and 2 sets saw games played on 2 separate tables.

Results follow below, Chris has made some comments on the games he played here.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

UK Games Expo 2014

This is the second year that Halesowen Boardgamers has run many of the board game tournaments at the UK Games Expo. Besides Steve H, Gordon and myself - who participated as unpaid, unfed, overworked and sleep-deprived volunteers - I saw a few other club members at the Expo over the weekend. I would be interested to get your perspective on the event as "normal punters". In the meantime, here is my view.

The Games Expo certainly seemed a lot busier this year and the official numbers confirm this. The number of unique visitors was up from 3,500 to 6,000, while total attendance increased from 5,700 to 10,000. Friday is devoted to open gaming, with the trade halls not yet open, but when I arrived at around 4.30 pm there were already a lot of people around. By the time we finished running the tournaments, it was getting late. So late, that everything close to the NEC was closed. Gordon and I finally sat down to a meal in Solihull town centre at around 11 pm. Meanwhile, Steve had his own adventures in the open gaming hall. More space was available this year, yet it seemed far too little on the Saturday when the big crowds arrived. I didn't manage to patronise the bring-and-buy in 2013, but from what I remember it was relatively calm. Queues were long for breakfast and lunch, but just about manageable for those of us with little spare time. This year, I brought a couple of games to sell but when I finally wandered over to the bring-and-buy I found an hour long queue just to drop off games! Needless-to-say, this was more than enough to deter me. None of the three of us even bothered trying to get lunch due to lack of time and reports coming in about the impossibility of getting food within a reasonable time. We considered ourselves fortunate to find Subway open for our evening meal of a tuna sandwich each. Sunday was considerably less crowded. A friend kindly volunteered to do the bring-and-buy drop off and pick up on my behalf, resulting in two sold games! And, due to an unscheduled trip home on Saturday evening, we had the luxury of lunch: mango-flavoured fizzy drinks, cheese and parma ham sandwiches, and biscuits.

The Board game tournaments themselves went well. Of course, there were enough problems to keep our stress levels in the danger zone and we were so busy that trips to the toilets had to be carefully rationed. But we expected that. Whereas in 2013 we ran 7 tournaments over two days with a total of just over 100 participants, this year we ran 11 tournaments over two-and-a-half days with over 200 gamers taking part. I noticed more international players - Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Chinese, Malaysian - though I can't confirm that anyone actually travelled from abroad just to participate! But we will be sending four of the players out of the UK to take part in the world championships for Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride.    

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Games Played 28 May 2014

End of the month and 15 people in attendance, 7 games were played and I notice that the total number of games recorded since April 2003 passes 2000, including the Saturday Games Day. Games played were Istanbul, Dominion, Caylus Magna Carta, Carcassonne, Power Grid, Guillotine and Vinhos.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Games Played 21 May 2014

14 people in attendance this week, a new attendee being Kevin, who I understand was invited along by Steve W. 7 games were played across 4 tables.

Games Played 14 May 2014

Just a quick catch up. 15 in attendance this week. The less said about my performance at Fury of Dracula the better, a number of mistakes resulting in a premature ending in Italy. Full results follow.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Games Played 7 May 2014

17 in attendance this week, so a good start to May. A new face was another Andy (G) who I believe came along with Dave G. 9 games were played these being World Without End, San Juan, Suburbia, Carcassonne (2 games inc. 1 with Winter Edition), Kingsburg, Alien Frontiers, Love Letter (x2).

Friday, 2 May 2014

Games Played 30 April 2014

The end of another month with 17 people in attendance playing a total of 6 games. Newcomers were Jonathan and Bob, who are old timers in gaming having been attending conventions for many years. I gather that Jonathan knows Mike from a zine that he (Mike) used to run back in the 1980s. Looking at the stats I see that April sets another record for total player time and equals the record for games played in a month, although it said that the records were previously set in a 4 week month (February) as opposed to this month which had 5 weekly sessions.

The games played this week were Power Grid, Nations, Tzolk'in, Paperback, Euphoria and Völuspá. Further details follow.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Games Played 23 April 2014

I seemed to have missed posting this so just a brief update. 16 people in attendance and 8 games played. I won't make any comments other than that Chris has posted on Völuspá and Euphoria here. For games details click for more.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Games Played 16 April 2014

We're into the holiday season and a few of the regulars are missing, but by the same token Lee & Rachael were around making up 12, which we split into 3 groups of four. The games played this week Power Grid (India), Glen More, San Juan and two new to the club games Kings of Air & Steam and Paperback. I actually wrote most of this last Friday, but seem to have got distracted and I've just remembered.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Nations Revisited

Okay, I admit, I have played nothing but Nations at the Halesowen club since I got my copy of the game. But it does seem to be popular and there have even been some repeat visitors besides myself. The last game on Wednesday 9th was long and difficult, proving that Nations continues to be something of a brain-burner even after a few plays. Here are my thoughts on the game, and a few tips on how to play, based on 4 plays, half of them 4-player and the other half 5-player.

A game of Nations is never going to be short - all of our games have fallen between 2.5 and 3 hours in length. There seems to be no significant difference between 4- and 5-player games. The rules themselves are fairly straightforward and seem to be easy for new players to grasp. I continue to recommend that new players use the 'A' (generic) side of the player boards, as the 'B' (nation-specific) sides increase the difficulty of play due to players starting with fewer resources and having only 4 spaces for Buildings and Military rather than 5.  I cannot yet judge how balanced the 'B' sides are, but I'd be surprised if any of them gives more than a small advantage over any other - however, in any given game it is possible that a particular nation will benefit more than others due to which Progress cards become available. The impression has arisen that China is more difficult to play than the others, but I note that the only time it featured in a game, the player (Dave F) had the most convincing win we've seen so far: 45 points versus 35 for the second player. We have been using the handicapping system by allowing newbies to play as Chieftains (4 resources per Growth phase) and more experienced players as Princes (3 resources). I don't know how much difference this makes, but as I've won my last couple of games as a Prince, I should probably try King next time.

In terms of tips, it is difficult to generalise both because each game is different and because this is more of a tactical than a strategic game (at least compared to Through the Ages). A key area of play is in adapting both to the available Progress Cards and to the tactics of other players. All of the resources are important and there is no clear winning strategy. However, I can make the following comments:
- Military is possibly more influential than other factors. In any case, it impacts on many different aspects of the game. Having a high Military places you favourably in turn order, makes you less vulnerable to Wars, and enables you to collect Colonies. It is also significant in terms of Events (see below).  Furthermore, having at least one worker on a Military card enables you to purchase Battles. The disadvantage of a focus on Military is that is costly - it will probably generate negative resources, and every worker on a Military card is one less worker on a Building generating resources. It is very difficult, and probably not advisable, to be the player with the highest Military throughout the game - you should be prepared to focus on other factors when necessary. On the other hand, being the player with the lowest Military is risky. At the very least, if you have low Military then you should probably compensate by having a high Stability as this mitigates the effects of lost Wars and potentially enables you to pick up benefits from Events.
- Stability brings fewer benefits than Military, but it does have its uses. The two most significant are in Events, and in enabling a player to take workers off the Population Track. It shouldn't be forgotten that it acts as a tie-breaker in determining player order.
- Food and Stone are both vital. However, an excess of either will not necessarily provide any benefit. These resources are important throughout the game. The requirement for Food increases as famines become ever more severe. Food also plays a role in events: some events reward the player with the most Food, while many events impose their cost in Food. Finally, generating plenty of Food enables you to take workers off the Population track. The requirement for Stone also increases during the game as deploying workers becomes more costly with Buildings/Military from later ages. Of course, Stone becomes more important if you want to focus on constructing Wonders.  
- Money is perhaps not as vital as Food and Stone, but a lack of money significantly restricts your options for taking Progress Cards. As the cost of Progress Cards does not increase through the game, players tend to have more money in later ages than at the beginning. It is particularly important to have spare cash in the Industrial Age in order to pick up cards that will give you Victory Points.
- Personally I regard Books as the most important of all the resources. At least, my focus on Books has stood me well in all the games I have played. Books do nothing besides give you Victory Points, but they do provide a lot - up to 12 VPs in a 4-player game and 16 VPs in a 5-player game, plus a few VPs at the end when they are summed with all of the other resources. Players should certainly keep track of how many Books other players are generating each turn, and be aware that some Wonders and Events can generate a one-off increase in Books.
- It is, without a doubt, not easy to get new workers into play. Besides the cost in Food or Stability, there is the penalty of not being able to take resources. However, the benefits are commensurate - don't forget that each deployed worker provides 1 or 2 VPs at the end of the game.
- Events. As Steve H. learned to his cost - you simply cannot afford to be the last player in both Military and Stability! Almost three-quarters of events concern Military or Stability. Roughly a third of events penalise the player who is lowest in one of these two factors - this rises to just over half of events in the Industrial Age. Food is also quite important for events - about a quarter of events concern Food, either rewarding the player with the most, penalising the player with the least, or imposing a cost in Food.

Looking back on the results of our games, I see that scores vary from 28 to 48. Breakdowns for the individual categories (min. and max. scored) are as follows:
Game VP (markers): 4-21
Colonies: 0-5
Wonders: 0-10
Buildings and Military (workers): 6-16
Resources: 7-14
The winning players have always had a good mix of VPs from the various categories. The following are the minimum scores obtained by any of the game winners in each of the categories:
Game VP: 13
Colonies: 2
Wonders: 1
Buildings and Military (workers): 12
Resources: 8
I suppose the message from this is that you should be aiming to have at least 13 Game VPs by game end (bearing in mind that you begin with 3-7 VPs): ie. gaining from Books, Events, and Golden Ages, and avoiding losing from Wars, Events, and lack of resources. Though I should note that in our last game Mark R almost won with only 7 Game VPs!

Future Games Days

A week ago, we held our first Saturday Games Day and it went down well, so there has been some discussion about when we do another one.

My thoughts are that 2-3 a year is probably about right and it's probably a good idea to stay away from the Summer months to reduce the chance of clashing with people's holiday arrangements. On this basis, I think that September or October would be a good time for Games Day 2 and perhaps in future years we could look at something like March/April & September/October or if 3 per year then January/February, May/June, September/October.

Those are my thoughts and the purpose of this post is to provide a forum for discussion, so please everybody chime in if you have thoughts either agreeing or disagreeing.

Games Played 9 April 2014

13 in attendance this week and 7 games were played across 4 tables. A new attendee was Gary. The games played were Power Grid, San Juan, Russian Railroads, Carcassonne, The Manhattan Project, King of Tokyo and Nations.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Games Day 1 - 5 April 2014

On 5 April, which was coincidentally International Tabletop Day, the club held its first Games Day at the Stag. This was an event which we could not have held at the Townsend, due to lack of space and also due to getting access during the game. I believe that the event was a great success, despite a slight hiccup at the start when we couldn't get in due to a last minute meeting in the room we use, so people were standing outside at the 11:30 start time. We were in by 12:00 though and I think the Stag also did all right due to the number of accumulated glasses I saw and the amount of food that was brought up to the room at various times.

According to the results sheet a total of 28 people were in attendance at various points during the day including regulars and a few who have not been around for a long time. Also a few new faces. In total 20 games were played, assuming none were missed off the list.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Games Played 2 April 2014

15 in attendance this week and 7 games played. First time attendee was Ed.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Games Played 26 March 2014

12 people this week and only 3 games played, all of the longer variety.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Games Played 19 March 2014

OK short post this week to get it in before the next meeting. We had 14 in attendance and 6 games were played. I found out at the end of the session that it would be the last for Andy T who is moving up to Scotland, I hope he enjoys it up there. Looking back at the stats I see that Andy first came to the club in June 2011 and has been to 58 of our sessions and played 116 games.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Games Played 12 March 2014

16 in attendance this week and only 5 games played. mostly at the longer end of the evening spectrum.

Nations: Shorter Name, Shorter Play Time, a 'Through the Ages' that comfortably fits into a Wednesday session

A few weeks back I decided to start buying Eurogames again after a break of around three years. A quick bit of research on Boardgamegeek gave me a long list of possible contenders for my first purchase. The criteria for the game(s) were: published within the last couple of years; not owned by other club members or, at least, not regularly brought to the club; mid-to-heavy weight; either by a designer I like or with a theme that attracts me. Of course, I also wanted a game that I could play at the club, so it had to appeal to other members. A quick consultation with Gordon helped me to narrow down the list and I chose Nations and Bruges. The latter is not currently available in the English-language edition from Games Lore or, indeed, from other board games shops in the UK. I've long become accustomed to playing games in various languages, but I deduced that a German-language edition of a game with a significant amount of card text might prove a barrier to others being willing to give the game a try. That left Nations to become my first new non-wargame boardgame since I repatriated myself to this sceptred isle, this precious stone set in the silver sea, this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

Last Wednesday, no sooner had Steve P handed over my copy of Nations, I received an enthusiastic request for a game from Steve himself. It only remained to convince Dave F and Steve H to postpone the conclusion of their Twilight Struggle, a task no harder than snatching candy from a sleeping babe, and we had a suitable complement of four players. No wait, Andy has spotted the game and asks to join us. Four becomes five and, standing like greyhounds in slips, straining upon the start, the game's afoot!

If you are familiar with Through the Ages, then you'll recognise much about Nations. For those who are inexplicably ignorant of that Czech masterpiece, I'll attempt to describe its Finnish younger sibling. Nations belongs to that time-honoured genre: the civilization game, which has its origins in the board game of the same name by Francis Tresham (the computer game of the same name postdates the board game by more than 10 years, though its author, Sid Meier, claims that he his game wasn't inspired by Tresham's earlier magnum opus). However, unlike games such as Civilization, Antike and Sid Meier's Civilization (the board game of the computer game), Nations does not feature a map. Instead the focus is on a set of cards which are available for purchase by the players and which represent advances in technology and military might, advisors, colonies, wonders to construct, wars to wage, and the one-off bonuses of battles and golden ages. Thus the game is, in a way, like an advanced version of Saint Petersburg or London. Nations lasts 8 rounds, representing 4 ages - there is a different set of cards for each age. Each player has workers, some of which begin in the resource pool available to be deployed (NOT placed - this is NOT a worker placement game!), while others are on the population track, yet to be born. Each player also begins with some Resources: gold, food, stone and a few VPs (they can be lost!). A score board is used to mark not scores, but the game round, player order and the level of each player's Stability, Military Strength, and Books. 

At the beginning of each round, cards from the current age are made available to be purchased (some cards from the previous round may also remain available). Then each player may either gain resources or move a single worker from the population track to the resource pool - the disadvantage of the latter is that each new worker born either decreases the player's Stability or requires Food each round. During his or her turn, a player may either purchase a card and place it on their Player Board, deploy a worker onto a Building or Military card on their Player Board, or hire an architect, which is used to build part of a wonder on their Player Board. At any time workers can be undeployed so that they can be deployed elsewhere. Each Building and Military card provides an increase, or possibly a decrease, in two things - which may either be instant (in the case of Military Strength and Stability) or accrue at the end of every round (Gold, Food, Stone, Books). These increases/decreases are multiplied by the number of workers on the card. Advisors, Colonies and Wonders may also provide such increases/decreases, while Battles and Golden Ages provide one-off gains in Resources or Books. Players continue taking turns until all have passed. Then comes a Resolution Phase in which new resources are produced, wars are waged (using a very abstract mechanism), an event is resolved and VPs are gained or lost (based on how many Books each player has).

The game ends after 8 rounds. Final scoring is calculated for each player by summing his or her VP tokens (accumulated during the game), VPs from workers on Buildings and Military, VPs from Wonders and Colonies, and 1 VP from every 10 Resources/Books/Stability/Military Strength.  

So how was our game? Well, the scores were fairly close, but Andy won thanks to an efficient production mechanism that saw his nation generating plenty of stone and gold. Despite having to explain (indeed, partly read) the rules, we finished a little after 11pm, making the duration a little under the "40 minutes per player" quoted in the rule book. All in all, Nations is a less complicated game than Through the Ages, much easier to explain, and also much shorter. Yet it retains the thematic richness (relatively-speaking: compared to the wargames I play, any eurogame is light on theme) and, quite possibly, the replayability, of its bigger brother. It is not necessarily a lighter game either, so it delivers a similar amount of heavyweight 'civ' goodness, but in a more steamlined package - a concentrated dose like a cup of espresso brewed from Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Games Played 5 March 2014

A little late this week, but I haven't really got a lot to say. There were 13 in attendance and 5 games were played.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Games Played 26 February 2014

I arrived early this evening and was first one there (actually I think Steve W possibly beat me because I met him down in the bar when I went down). As time reached 7:30 I wondered if we might be in for a lower attendance, but people trickled in and we ended up with 16 again. I seem these days to be constantly reporting new records for the club and this post is no exception as 33 games in February beats the monthly record of 30 from June 2005 and 174.42 player hours beats the 166.58 set just last month, this is especially good going considering this was a 4 week month. Only 6 games were played as compared to 9 in each of the month's previous sessions.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Games Played 19 February 2014

16 this week including newcomers Arturas & Lina and an occasional visit from John H. A total of 9 games were played spread over 5 tables.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Games Played 12 February 2014

18 this week and spread over 5 tables. Some new games and some old favourites were played.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Labels & Search

Just a note to say that I've deleted all the game specific labels that were attached to posts and just kept to labels describing particular kinds of post. I've added an index of these to the blog in the top right corner of the page. The game labels had got out of hand and I'd stopped adding new ones anyway.

If you want to find posts referring to specific games, they can be found using the search box which is above the subject index and will search both the blog and also the main website, although blog posts can be isolated by clicking on Blog at the top of the search results.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Games Played 5 February 2014

Into February and still going strong with 19 in attendance, another new record and (perhaps not too surprising) also a record number of player hours recorded in a single session. 9 games were played over 5 different titles.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Games Played 29 January 2014

Last week in January and 14 in attendance, the total player hours for the month amounting to 166.58, which is a new record beating the figure of 142.92 set last October. The group split across three tables 5,5 & 4.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Games Played 22 January 2014

13 this week and 8 games played, although this is upped somewhat by some short fillers played on one of the tables.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Games Played 15 January 2014

16 in attendance this week according to the results book, I confess that I was not really aware of several people being there as I spent the evening with my back to the room as my evil eye roamed over the lands of Middle Earth. Obviously a number of people arrived after I sat down and left before I got up, so if anyone spots that I've recorded them wrongly, for example by using the wrong initial, please let me know.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Games Played 8 January 2014

15 this week, I suppose as people return to something like normality after Xmas. We had two first time attendees in Ian and Richard.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Games Played 1 January 2014

A little late with this, but Happy New Year to all. On New Year's Day we had just 6 split 3 and 3. Games played as follows.