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 1 August 2015

July 2015 Recap

I have got out of the habit of writing a post every week, although I still might get back to that at some time. Until then I'll give this a try and write a review of the month of July 2015.

There were 5 sessions in the month and the average attendance was 11.2 with 19 different people over the month including new visitor Duncan who came to a couple of sessions and Scott's daughter Emma who he brought to the last session of the month. 30 games were played of 24 different titles (I suppose that should really be 25 counting the 2 different Love Letter versions) and I include the list of these at the end of this post.

I think I'll structure this by running down the list of games in order of player time, so starting with the top game of the month which was The Voyages of Marco Polo

Voyages of Marco Polo
which was one of the new games this month and saw 2 playings. I can't say much about it as I haven't played it and am unlikely to as it seems to be one of those highly regarded euros that are much beloved by many but generally leave me cold due to (in my opinion) uninteresting theme and mechanics (if the game was about the search for the missing Doctor Who story I might put mechanical concerns aside, but alas it isn't). Anyway the game seemed to go down well with others who like this sort of game.

Deus - End game board position
Next up we have Deus, which was first played in June and was played twice this one. This is a game that I first noticed prior to last year's Essen and appealed due to it being a tableau building card game which I usually like (with the odd exception), in this case with an area control element on a board built out of strange vaguely hexagonal tiles at the start of the game. So you build your empire on the board, while playing cards in front of you which are activated to give you special effects when you add another building to the stack. The game seems to have gone down quite well, although I know Mike is not so keen and I hope to play some more in the future.

My winning castle
Third comes Castles of Mad King Ludwig which was also played twice in the month and I played for the first time last Wednesday. The game is not a bad game, certainly more interesting than the same designer's earlier Suburbia, with which this shares a number of similarities. I found that earlier game quite dull and too complicated for what it delivered. Castles seems to have been simplified somewhat although how much I wouldn't like to say because it's been sometime since I played Suburbia. The one thing in the game that I'm not sure of is the ordering of rooms at the start of the round by the first player as I'm not sure about how much this adds to the game in comparison to the time it takes.

Power Grid in Norway & Sweden
Next up is Caverna, which seems to have largely replaced Agricola at HBG. I see that the latter has been played just once in the time since Caverna was first played and the former has been played 9 times in that time. Next is Imperial Settles followed by the Naruto Shippuden Deck Building game which I have no idea whatsoever what it's about although the cover screams Anime. Dungeon Lords is next, followed by Power Grid played on the Northern Europe board in Norway & Sweden using the wooden bits from the deluxe edition.

A new game is next up, Stockpile which is a stock market game and I know nothing else, I did take a picture of the game but it seemed to turn out too blurry to be useful, so I'm not going to post it here. Next is Taj Mahal which seems to keep coming back every so often (although this its second play this year) followed by Suburbia mentioned above, this game hasn't been replaced by Castles of Mad King Ludwig. Next is Nottingham which crops up every now and then when Mike brings it out, it's a fun game which I certainly prefer to Rosenberg's current paradigm. Next is Ophir, another new one that I don't know anything about, in fact I had not even heard of it until it appeared at the club. Following Ophir is Strozzi.

Next is Love Letter which got 2 plays although you could also say that it got no plays at all in the month, since the games played were actually Love Letter: The Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies and Love Letter: Batman, the first of which was brought along by Dave F and I picked up the second at Barage earlier in the month. Both are badged as Love Letter and the mechanics are essentially the same as the original game so I've been counting them to the totals for that while recording as separate items. Each has a slight tweak to the rules, in the case of The Hobbit there is an extra card with a value of zero (The One Ring), although I'm not quite sure how it plays. In the case of Batman the number 1 card (the guard in the original) is Batman and if you successfully eliminate an opponent with the card by naming a villain (any of the other cards except #4 Robin) you score a point. I don't know about the Hobbit but I think the Batman theme fits the mechanics better than the original.

Ra: The Dice Game end
Next is Dead of Winter, which Mark W now has a copy of, followed by Santiago de Cuba and Through the Desert, the pastel camels making a return for the first time since 2009. Then comes Palazzo followed by Torres for the third time this year. A new game is next, Nefertiti is an interesting filler although I don't really remember enough now to make much in the way of comments. Council of Verona is next followed by the last of the new games, Blueprints, which is a very clever idea involving building buildings made of Dice, unfortunately on top of the clever mechanics is a scoring system that I really do not like. The final game in the July list is Ra: The Dice Game, this being a low scoring game certainly compared with the last play it got where the winning score was 86 compared with 34 for this one. In that game Ra seemed to sleep for long periods, in this one he tended to race across the board.

In all during the month there were 6 new games played (8 if you consider the 2 different Love Letter versions, 9 if you count Palazzo which is new to Wednesday), there's a geeklist here and all the results are on the Stats page for July. The table of games played is below.

Games Summary
GameGamesTime (Mins.)Player Time
The Voyages of Marco Polo227018.00
Castles of Mad King Ludwig219011.17
Caverna: The Cave Farmers11507.50
Imperial Settlers11507.50
Naruto Shippuden Deck Building Game11107.33
Dungeon Lords11006.67
Power Grid11306.50
Taj Mahal1755.00
Love Letter2603.67
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game11003.33
Santiago de Cuba1603.00
Through the Desert1453.00
Council of Verona3301.50
Ra: The Dice Game1251.25


  1. A month containing 5 Wednesdays pushes the play count up but even taking this into account the membership still seems buoyant.

    Lots of new games going on which I know little about.

    Of the old games it is good to see Knizia titles getting played. I'd have liked to get in on Taj Mahal, Strozzi, Ra and the rarely seen Through the Desert.

    I have myself a game to evangelise. The Voyages of Marco Polo is Euro bliss with lots of re-play in it. All at the club are warned that I am on a mission to get everyone to give this game a go at least once and hopefully before Scott gets too dominant. It's for your own good!

  2. I would have loved to play Taj Mahal and Through the Desert, but it is hard to resist new games like Voyages of Marco Polo.

  3. Count me in for a game of Marco Polo for sure - the dice mechanics look fantastic

  4. We were discussing Marco Polo in car on way home last night would love to give it a try one week too. Rachael & Lee