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.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

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.

I played Power Grid with Mike and Steve Pe, using the Australia board, which neither of the others had played before, the areas used were the West and Central sections and the middle of the 3 Eastern sections. The only links between Central and East were to the southern most regions so this meant that the 3 areas were isolated from each other, actually we had 4 isolated areas because the west area is split into a group of 5 cities and a group of two.

At the start of the game, Steve occupied three spots in the east, including the 2 in Sydney, while Mike went into the west, I went into the west with Steve, but with only 1 city knowing that I would then build after him in the following turn

A lot of high value plants made it into the current market early on and before step 2, I had plant 31, Steve had 30 and Mike had 32, all these powering 6 cities using coal, trash and oil respectively. I probably did better out of this as 31 came up when I was the only one left to bid so I got it at face value, I was then able to build up to its 6 capacity while paying very little for fuel, coal being the resource with the highest refresh and I had no competition for it so I was only paying about 3 per turn.

Steve was also able to pick up the 26 plant before step 2, giving him 13 capacity while I had only 9 and it was at this stage that all the low value plants made their inevitable appearance. I became worried at that stage as everyone was raking in cash and if this had gone on then it was quite possible that with the advent of step 2 or 3 would allow Steve to build out to finish the game when he had the capacity advantage. I was tempted to start step 2 myself, despite running most efficiently, to flush the plant market and hopefully allow me to catch up on capacity before Steve could end it.

As it turned out, Mike started step 3 by building to 9 cities, which took plants 7, 8, 9 and (I think) 12 due to the step change out of the market. This brought plant 25 into the market and I was able to get that for somewhat over list price, this was good because it allowed me to keep my coal monopoly and it was the only end game plant to come into the market that round (there was a Uranium mine). Steve and I both now had 13 capacity.

Next turn step 3 came up in the Auction phase and the game came to an end 2 turns later. On any other board it would have been quicker, but here the materials price rise in step 3 delayed it. I paid 80 for plant 46 giving me 18 capacity, but Mike ended up with plant 36, which broke my coal monopoly and meant I paid more for all the coal I needed.

At the end I built to 18 for the win, Steve couldn't make it to 17 and Mike caught him and got second on the money tie break.

After that Steve had to leave and Mike and I played a 2 player game of San Juan, I couldn't remember playing with 2 at the club before, but looking back, this was the fifth such game, although the last one was in 2007 (also Mike & me). Mike went for production with the Guild Hall and also picked up point with a harbour. I concentrated on violet buildings with the Goldsmith, Quarry and Carpenter before picking up the Residence and playing to get sets of three buildings.

In the end the result was a tie, which could not be broken, I notice that one of the previous 2 player games was also tied.

Also in play was Nations again (I see Scott is writing something about this) and I noticed that the handicap system was in effect with 2 players on an easier level than the others. That sounds like an interesting aspect, although I do wonder if you might end up with an argument as to how to different players were handicapped. I'm not sure how I feel about such a mechanism personally, I expect that if I go into a new game, then I would probably not do as well, if others players had played before. If I was on an easier level and did well, I think I'd probably feel that my performance was somewhat devalued by the handicapping mechanism.

The Manhattan Project also made an appearance, I think Gary brought it along, the game has been played at the club once before, back in May 2012.

Game play details follow.

Power Grid - 105 Mins.
1Dave D18
3Steve Pe16
San Juan - 30 Mins.
1Dave D36
Russian Railroads - 130 Mins.
1Dave G331
3Dave F262
Carcassonne - 35 Mins.
2Dave F52
3Dave G36
The Manhattan Project - 130 Mins.
1Steve W63
2Gary B53
3Mark W8
King of Tokyo - 30 Mins.
1Mark W0
2Steve W0
2Gary B0
Nations - 180 Mins.
2Mark R40
4Steve H30


  1. Regarding the Nations handicapping system - I cannot yet judge what effect this has on the game. I suspect the difference of one between 'Chieftain' and 'Prince', which we've used in the past couple of games with newbies on level 4 and me (plus Steve H in the last game) on level 3, has only a minor difference. However, with a table of "experienced" players only it will interesting to put everyone on a more difficult level. I suspect it will change game play somewhat - with only 1 or 2 resources available in the Growth phase, there will be more of an incentive to grow population and more competition for certain Progress Cards that provide resources ie. Battles, Advisors, Colonies.

  2. Enjoyed the Aussie map, the Uranium variant was intriguing without being too outlandish. I got sucked into a really awkward position at the end of Stage 1, the highest power plant with the highest fuel cost is a toxic combo, so I was forced to launch Step 2, thinking that all I was doing was making my last place less embarrassing, but Steve Pe miscalculated on some bidding and I caught him. Dave had a lucky break with 31 dropping into his lap but 9 times out of 10 he'll not throw that chance away, which is the mark of a canny Power Grid player.