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, 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.

4 of the games played were of Race for the Galaxy, spread over 2 tables.
Each of the games used the new Alien artifacts expansion, although only 1 was played using the Alien Orb option, which I must try next time this game gets a run out, the others simply added in the new tableau building cards. Looking at the games, they all seemed to run a bit longer than usual, even without the Orb, I'm not sure that this was down to the new cards, more likely that a number of the players were new to the game or hadn't played much or hadn't played recently. The Orb game was longer still, which was expected, but I can't comment more, not having played that game. I do have a picture though (see right above).

The other repeated game was Caverna (or Agricola 2.0 as I have seen it described), which was also on 2 tables.
Agricola was one of the games that made me realise what a horrible objectionable mechanic worker placement really is (IMO) so as it lacks any sort of theme of interest that might offset that, I'm not going to be playing this. Perhaps someone without my biases might like to comment. There's a not particularly good picture to the left.

Also in play was Elder Sign, this being Mark's copy played without the expansion. The investigators were victorious, which is par for the course in this game, but it usually gives an enjoyable ride as I gather was the case here. I didn't get which GOO was in play so maybe someone will enlighten me. Following Elder Sign, that group played San Juan (80th recorded play here), 60 minutes seems a long game for this.

After a couple of games of RFTG, my table played Eight Minute Empire, I think only Andy T had played it before.
There is an auction for first player at the beginning, but I really don't know why anyone would ever want to bid (barring some special circumstance that I didn't see here) particularly as it seems that there is a pronounced last player advantage which manifests at the end of the game (that is how I won). Still it is a quick game and should play quicker than the 30 minutes we took, I'm not sure about 8 minutes though.

Details of games played follow.

Race for the Galaxy - 60 Mins.
2Dave F33
Race for the Galaxy - 90 Mins.
2Dave F46
Race for the Galaxy - 50 Mins.
1James S34
2Andy T33
3Dave D29
4Andy S26
Race for the Galaxy - 50 Mins.
1Dave D38
2James S29
3Andy S25
4Andy T25
Eight-Minute Empire - 30 Mins.
1Dave D12
2James S11
3Andy T10
4Andy S10
Caverna: The Cave Farmers - 150 Mins.
1Steve H76
1Chris S76
4Chris Hn61
Caverna: The Cave Farmers - 180 Mins.
Elder Sign - 90 Mins.
1Mark W0
1Dave G0
1Steve W0
San Juan - 60 Mins.
1Mark W42
2Steve W31
3Dave G30


  1. I'll take up the challenge about commenting on Caverna. I like Agricola very much - I just nudged it up to third place on my Top 21 - so I was very keen to try out this "reboot". Unsurprisingly, much about Caverna was familiar. But there are enough differences from its predecessor to make it feel like quite a different game. I was very pleased to see that the cards had been replaced by furnishing tiles that are all laid out during set up - this might seem overwhelming at first but then so do the cards when first playing Agricola. There are also a couple of significant additions to the game - the Mountain half of the Home board, and expeditions - and a few minor ones such as dogs, donkeys, ore, rubies and gold.

    The game play itself diverges more from Agricola then you might expect. Most noticeable is that it is much easier both to feed your family and to gain building materials. So the game focuses more on generating as many VPs as possible. Being overwhelmed by the number of available furnishings and seeing the other players beginning to clear forests to create fields and meadows and fence them in form pastures, I decided to be true to the dwarven theme and focus on mining and weapons. I spotted a furnishing tile that gave VPs at the end for ore gems and built my strategy on that. Ore can be used to build weapons, which I did, and weapons are used on expeditions. I didn't understand the rules for expeditions at first, but the other players were generous and let me undo a couple of early mistakes. As the game progressed, I found myself building an ever more impressive hoard of ore, constructing mines (complete with pit donkeys), siring a couple of young dwarves, equipping everyone with weapons (including the wife, of course), and going on a lot of increasingly lucrative expeditions. It turned out that food and building resources were plentiful and, almost without making an effort, I had virtually covered my Home board with tiles by the end of the game, as well as owning more than 20 animals. My single biggest scoring item was my Ore Storage tile with 23 VPs. I also gained 12 VPs for my Weapon Storage and 8 VPs for Supply Storage, as all 4 of my Dwarves had weapons. A couple of Ore Mines and two Ruby Mines gave me a total of 14 VPs, and I collected 6 VPs from Pastures and 6 VPs from Dwellings. The remainder of my score came from the sizeable collection of animals, as well as a fair few vegetables and grain.

    I was very pleased with my score of 104 and fully expect my results to go downhill from now on. But I'm sure I'll be playing Caverna many more times!

  2. Is there no editing function here? I work partly as a proofreader, so I hate to leave typos lying around for eyes to trip up over.

    Ah, I see, you can edit before you publish.

    1. I hadn't noticed that, but it looks like you can't edit comments only the original posts. Incidentally if you should want to make relevant posts of your own, let me know and I'll send you an invite. I invited a number of people when this blog was started, but haven't much changed the list since despite people coming and going. I do seem to be the only regular poster, but there are exceptions to that if you look back through the posts.

    2. Yes, I may be interested to make posts of my own once in a while.

  3. I agree with Scott´s opinion about Caverna.

    However, I miss cards. I think that cards can be unbalanced (maybe) but with they, you can take very different way in the game.
    I would like to see how is Caverna with more player,because 2 or 4 is similar
    (I thought in a four players game I´d had problems in my executions, but it was not so difficult)
    It´s easy to feed your family and to gain building materials.(Or more easy than Agricola).

  4. I posted about our game of Caverna here:

    I hope I got names the right way around...I might take a picture of everyone I play with next time as a way of remembering who was who ^^.

  5. Caverna and Agricola share a designer and a central worker placement mechanism, but other than that they feel very different to play. Agricola has hidden information and asymmetrical player powers; whereas Caverna is a perfect information game with the only differences in set up being the start player with the remaining players being compensated in food. That is really very different. Players who like one sort of game may not like the other.

    Curiously Dave, you are likely to like Caverna more than other worker placement games because of those design decisions. There are enough options that blocking is less tactical and you can follow a strategic path that others may interfere with but not totally derail. Not that I am suggesting you play it, you understand, only that should you ever you to you might find it less disagreeable than you think.

    I think it's a case of horses for courses. Agricola's family version is much more suited if you want to play a eurogame with muggles; Caverna's basic game is a pretty steep curve in comparison. If I am playing against someone who knows the contents of the Agricola decks then it's not going to be that much fun (equally, I know them better than some people and those games are no fun either, games where 'knowing the deck' gives you an advantage are annoying in that respect) and I would rather play Caverna where the information is there for all to see.

    Caverna isn't a bad game at all, but lets face it: it's not Terra Mystica....:)

    1. I agree Caverna is a fantastic game, I was glad to see the cards removed (Agricola style) and replaced with building tiles, albeit we played the 'advanced play' so there are plenty of building tiles to buy!!!!

      Scott had his strategy lined up early on and maybe we should have done more to 'block' it - especially after building the ore storage tile, but by the time we had really noticed it was too late to affect the end result - well played Scott, a much deserved victory

      Despite me coming last I really enjoyed the game and am really looking forward to playing again

    2. Yes, since playing I've read that any player who is left free to pursue a mining/expedition strategy is likely to win. Similarly if all players but one focus on gaining weapons and going on expeditions, then the one player who pursues a different strategy is likely to win.

    3. Hi Matt, nice to hear from you and interesting to see your (and others') thoughts about Caverna, it does seem to have gone down well with those who have played it. Perhaps you're right about it more to my taste if blocking is not so powerful, but I still can't say that the theme appeals and I'm one of those people who attached value to theme. For that reason a worker placement game that I have played and would again in Snowdonia.

      As to whether it is Terra Mystica, I'm not in a position to comment, that game seems to have almost passed the club by, with just one recorded play back in December 2012.

    4. After, I read the same about if one player don´t forge weapons, and the other do, the first one have more posibilites to win.
      I loved to play to Caverna last Wednesday and I´m looking forward to rematch!