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 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.

I had mentioned to Steve and Mark before Xmas, that I had the idea of digging out Middle Earth Quest, which we had played once before back in December 2009 but not since. There were a couple of reasons for this, being game length and table space. It was going to be very difficult to play the game to a finish and the game needs to occupy 2 tables due to the size of the board. If we had a situation where we wanted to run three games at a time, which was not unheard of even in those days, then the game could not be played. Now we have more time and more space so playing this is a possibility and I'm sure that there are a few other games that are probably viable now that weren't before.

The game is a one vs. the rest game where one player represents Sauron while the others are heroes of Middle Earth, not characters from any of the literature although I gather from Steve that at least some of them appear in others of FFG's Middle Earth related games. For those who are interested in such things the setting of the game is in the 17 year period between the birthday party at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings and the point where Frodo leaves the Shire with Sam, Merry & Pippin. During this period Sauron has become aware that the one ring has been found and is building his forces, while the heroes attempt to hamper his schemes.

The rules are laid out in phases in such a way that it seemed that a good way to proceed would be simply work through them, explaining as we went, and this is what we did, considering that the game would be a learing game which we anticipated may not be finished on a first run through, so that was what we did after a brief discussion about how the game was ended. I played Sauron and worked through my turn explaining each step, although many are not applicable on the first turn. Following on was Steve as Beravor the Ranger and Mark as Eometh the Rohirrim. We managed to go through combat on his turn as he completed his starting quest by figthing some Crebain.

The game actually went very smoothly with just a few hiccups along the way, mainly concerened with rules that had been skipped over, and we actually got to the finish of it. Neither side was able to accomplish their mission, so the game came down to a final battle where Beravor was unable to defeat the Ring Wraiths. Both Steve & Mark expressed the opinion that the game was somewhat balanced against them and I was inclined to agree, the problem seeming to be that they were swamped with corruption and spending too much favour to get rid of it. Looking back on the rules afterwards,  neither Steve or I spotted anything obviously wrong by the end, but it did occur that 2 things that we discovered during the game may have made some difference if we'd picked them up from the start. I also wondered if playing with 3 heroes instead of 2 might help the heroes (although I've seen some comments that this actually in Sauron's favour). We plan another game next Wednesday.

Looking at what else was played, I see a couple of last year's usual suspects. That seemed to be a very long game of Tzolk'in, seeing as the average time was 121 minutes last year. First plays were for Legacy: Gears of Time and Among the Stars, which I think Chris S brought along, I see he also had Eldritch Horror with him, which I'd be interested in playing. I played it last weekend and judging by that play, it should fit OK into a Wednesday evening session.

All the games played are listed below.

Middle Earth Quest - 190 Mins.
1Dave D0
2Steve H0
2Mark W0
Suburbia - 105 Mins.
1Dave F97
Dominion - 30 Mins.
2Dave F27
Dominion - 30 Mins.
1Dave F31
Legacy: Gears of Time - 120 Mins.
1Chris H106
3Chris S88
3James S88
Among the Stars - 40 Mins.
1James S0
2Chris S0
4Chris H0
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar - 170 Mins.
1Dave G62
4Richard T32


  1. With some very rusty Tzolkin players having a first crack at the Tribes and Prophecies Expansion, this was always going to take a bit longer than usual. I enjoyed the extra challenge but it got to be a serious brain-burner at times which added to down-time. I do wonder if the only way to address this is to stick to 3 players for T & P and 4 for the base game perhaps? A 5 player seems quite masochistic though I realise there would be fewer workers per player.

    Anyway, the general consensus that the Temple track is the way to win seemed to hold up in this game as David became Mr Pious, I seemed to flounder around for half the game but once I got to the situation where I needed no Corn to feed the workers I could plan my placement costs precisely and motored on for 2nd, helped by doing a double-turn at the end when the others weren't set up for it. I suspect Gordon would have caught me otherwise.

    1. That was a grinder of a game. Based on this one playing I would say the expansion is best saved for when we just have 3 players but I can base my opinion on 2 games and feedback from another 2 games that I didn't participate in. The expansion is getting the all-round thumbs up. I'll treat this playing as an anomaly.

      Richard seemed rather fed up with the experience which did put a bit of a damper on things. As the game’s host I felt responsible for his lack of enjoyment especially as it was his first visit to the club. I might be being overly sensitive but I suspect the issue was the pace we were playing at that was boring him. The game did run almost twice as long as a Tzolkin + Expansion game played before Christmas. I felt it was this playing’s intensity that caused us to think a little longer. There was no AP holdups just good honest pondering.

      I agree with you about approaching a 5 player game with caution. There is actually another complication introduced called “quick actions” when playing with 5. I think a 5 player game would likely run for 4 hours. I’m still up for it but it would likely be a onetime only event.

  2. Dave, you can count on me if you need another player for lotr quest next week. I love Tolkien background and I can read manual before playing.

  3. Legacy: Gears of Time - I got this for my Birthday a couple of weeks ago. The game has you travelling back in time through a time machine artifact that has been discovered to claim credit for inventing various key technologies and ensure yourself a great Legacy to be remembered by.

    In our game we had 2 of us (Me & Chris H) go for high-complexity technologies (Genetics and Space Flight) while James got a lot of fundamental technologies early and mid-level ones later, and Jaime went fairly all-rounder (I think). James had a lead for a good while, but the last couple of rounds had Space-Flight netting Chris H a huge amount of points and catch up for a tie from last place, while Me & Jaime competed in the middle and eventually for a tie at 3rd place too. (The table above is wrong, it was Chris H with 106 and me on 88).

    Among the Stars - This is a drafting game where you select and pass cards in a similar way to 7 Wonders. What makes this more interesting to me is that you built them up as a space-station as you go, with each card having it's own ability that interacts with the way you've built it up. This is one of my absolute favourite games.

    Out game of it was a little messy, as I didn't include races (Variable player powers) and wasn't careful enough with setting up to avoid cards referencing the ambassadors expansion, plus we only played 3 of 4 years so the balance was a little out. I still had fun though, and got to introduce people to the game. I came 3rd, but can't remember otherwise how things went (Aside from an evil evil ambassadorial shuttle on my station which limited my building options, damn-it Chris H! ^^).


    I'll be sure to bring Eldritch Horror again in that case Dave =) I'm always happy to bring games people are interested in, so if anyone has particular itches let me know on boardgamegeek (smoothsmith), where you can see my collection too ^^.

    1. Hi Chris, nice comments but I think you have mixed our names (I´m the spanish guy).

    2. I just went by the listed scores for Legacy for who I referred to as what, I guess they were switched more than I noticed! ^^.

    3. Can you confirm what the actual scores were? The table shown currently is as was recorded in the book.

    4. The 88's & 106's are just switched I think. So Jaime/Chris-H 106 with victory, and me/James on 88.