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 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.

Realising that Chris had Eldritch Horror, I expressed an interest a few weeks ago in giving this a go at the club having already played it a few times with Dave C and co. The game is FFGs latest game focusing on the Cthulhu mythos of H.P Lovecraft and others, following Arkham Horror, Elder Sign and Mansions of Madness, 2 of which have already been played at HBG this year. This one follows a similar pattern to Arkham Horror and Elder Sign being fully cooperative with the goal being to prevent the awakening of a Great Old One (or defeat it if it should wake up), as opposed to Mansions of Madness which is a one vs. the rest affair.

In this game, the GOO was Azathoth, so 3 mysteries would have to be solved before the Doom track reached zero, I'd seen this one before in one of my earlier games and we just failed, not quite managing to solve the final mystery before time ran out. Things went much better on this occasion.

Every one picked an investigator, Chris S taking Charlie Kane the politician, I had Leo Anderson the Expedition leader, Ian had Jacqueline Fine the psychic and Chris H Norman Withers the Astronomer (all the characters have appeared before in expansions to Arkham Horror/Elder Sign but in this version new artwork has been used). This seemed to be a great team as Jacqueline collected clues and was able to hand them to to whoever needed them using her ability, Charlie was able to gather a whole load of assets and hand some of those out to those who needed them Norman and I (Leo) spent a fair amount of time closing gates and solving mysteries, along with Charlie.

Between the four of us we were able to solve the mysteries and win the game with Doom still standing at 9 (I think it was), I think the difference between this and my other games was that we spent time closing gates and the more gates that are open, the faster the doom track tends to move. In all three games, there was a rumour  that came up preventing gates from being closed while it was in play, in this game we able to shut that one down quickly, in the others not so much. I don't recall the exact details of those other games, maybe we were unlucky or maybe we just didn't handle it as well.

I really enjoyed this game and have done every time I've played, the only problem  is that there are a limited number of encounters so that some I have seen several times in the three games, some even within the same game. That said, the same is true of Arkham Horror with just the base game, the problem has been solved with expansions and the first expansion for  this has just been announce due in Q2 this year. In the meantime I think I may well get a copy of this myself.

After Eldritch Horror which wrapped up in 2 hours (I can't imagine playing Arkham in that time) we looked for a shortish game and I brought out Ra: The Dice Game. I explained the game and we then proceeded to play the equal longest game of this that we've had at the club. By the end the monument area was completely full and 3 out of 4 players were at the top of both the nile and Pharaoh tracks. The cause of this was that Ra moved very slowly in each epoch with a number of 3 point scores and disasters due to 3+ suns being rolled on a turn (although for some reason I never managed to roll 3+). Chris's winning score of 86 was the highest recorded here and Ian's fourth place 66 would have been a winning score in 27 of the 31 games we've played. The picture shows the board near the end of the game.

Also played this evening was  the original Ra and I notice  that Gordon's winning score is the highest recorded, although I don't have recorded scores in 8 of 26 games played from Sept. 03 (scratch that it looks like I misread the score-sheet as indicated by Gordon's comment). Caverna got another run out and I notice that this game was somewhat shorter than last week, while there was another long game of Tzolk'in. I also noticed  that Terra Mystica got a play after I'd noted in a comment on last week's post that the game seemed to have past us by.

All the games played as follows:

Eldritch Horror - 120 Mins.
1Dave D0
1Chris Hn0
1Chris S0
Ra: The Dice Game - 60 Mins.
1Chris S86
2Chris Hn76
3Dave D69
Ra - 60 Mins.
2Dave G40
3Steve H31
Caylus Magna Carta - 90 Mins.
1Dave G51
2Steve H47
Caverna: The Cave Farmers - 115 Mins.
Love Letter - 30 Mins.
King of Tokyo - 20 Mins.
Terra Mystica - 150 Mins.
1Mark R111
2Dave F98
3Steve Pe82
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar - 180 Mins.
1James S92
2Steve W59
4Mark W35


  1. Yeah I really enjoyed eldritch horror though the big words used in the game did make me look rather thick! Was a bonus that I didn't come last but we soon made up for that in ra the dice game!

    1. A game that I think is spoiled due to big words and stupidly hard to pronounce names is Tales of the Arabian Nights. Why do the designers do this? If text is to be read out loud make it simple to pronounce and understand.

    2. I think it has to do with the source material. The Cthulhu mythos stories contain many such words and they are added to the game to help bring out the theme. I've never played Arabian Nights or read the source material, but I gather it is also a very thematic game and I wonder if the same would apply in that case. If so I think not using the names would do the games a disservice.

  2. Dave, you have me doubting my score for Ra. I certainly won but there was no big monument score in the 3rd Epoch. Maybe my writing in the book is unclear, could it be 49 rather than 69? Now I think about it there was some tension at the end of the game because I thought there was a combination of sun totals that would have meant Dave overtook me.

    1. I've looked again at the scorebook and I think it is 49 so I've changed the score table and edited my post to note that 69 was not correct.

  3. Terra Mystica is a frustrating game, not the game's fault but the interval between my games is so long I've got to relearn it every time. As I am generally useless at these interlocking strategy-type games then mangling the rules (and forgetting to claim payments I am entitled to) doesn't help when what I should be doing is using special abilities and devising strategies. Still, I did enjoy it and that's what counts, though we did a TM in 2 hours at Beer & Pretzels 2013 so not sure why this was a lot slower.

    1. As a group we can only handle successfully integrating a couple of "big" games a year into regular long term circulation. First we need to get a good pool of us to go through the initial learning plays and then it needs to hit the table 2 or 3 more times in quick enough succession so we can all get the rules off pat. Finally we start to get the benefit of delving into the depths of a game with everyone playing well rather than just muddling through. TM is certainly a main event game, will it be one of the couple (Caverna is likely to get one of the slots) of games introduced recently that get played beyond 2014?

  4. My far less well written of the Eldritch Horror/Ra games:

  5. The game of Caverna was probably quicker because there were only 3 of us. At least form my point of view, it played substantially differently from the first outing - mainly because I had competition (in furnishings and expeditions) from Jaime. Due to this, we found ourselves pre-empting each other in order to derail the other player's strategy - for example, Jaime purchased the Ore Storage without benefiting from it himself, while later in the game I took a big pile of stones which would have brought him several VPs. I should point out that it is not possible to totally spoil a strategy, as there are various ways to implement one - for example, in the absence of the Ore Mine you can still generate VPs from Ore using an action space and, of course, Ore can also be used to forge weapons.