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.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Birimingham Playtesters

The next meeting of Birmingham Playtesters is 7pm next Thursday 13th at the Woodman pub on New Canal St. The games we'll be playtesting are Kingdom of Kiralysag and Master of Olympus. If you're interested in coming along then please let me know or join the Facebook Group. The designer of Master of Olympus wants to do a blind playtest, so if someone is prepared to read the rules, then he or she would be especially welcome.
"Master of Olympus is a strategy game in which players assume the roles of gods and goddesses from Greek mythology and use armies, heroes and creatures to gain supremacy over the other gods. Players collect victory points by conquering territory, claiming artefacts and assigning powerful companions to their heroes. In the process the well-known myths are re-written; it is possible, for example, for Theseus to kill the Gorgon, claim the Golden Fleece and return home with Helen of Troy in tow.
The game uses a stacking mechanic - currently simulated with Lego pieces - to track the strength of various pieces. Opposing armies and fleets stack up before embarking on dice-based battles, with features like fatigue, combat stats and god powers to reduce the randomness of the outcomes. The catch is the levelling up of heroes and creatures: the Centaur could become Petrifying at a moment’s notice, making it stronger and giving it unique abilities it’s owner will try to make the most of."

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Games Played - 21 September 2016

3 tables tonight, one featured Roll For the Galaxy and Isle of Skye both of which to be honest I'm not particularly keen on, one featured World Without End and Guillotine which I'd be more than happy to fill an evening with, but I didn't feel I'd missed out as on my table 5 of us got stuck into 2 classics : Amun Re and China. 

Amun Re first up, the 1st Epoch seemed to rush through quite quickly, probably as there never seemed to be a lot of money in the game to indulge in big auctions but Camels paid well.  I had 2 bits of luck, firstly getting Pharoah for just 2 gold with which I built an extra pyramid, then in the 3rd turn pulling a 3VP card which I accidentally satsified (although I feel the latter was cancelled out by the fact that it was the only 3VP card I pulled all night), so a healthy 17 VP (4 pyramids + 1 set + 3VP + 1 largest pyramid + 2 VP for Temples) saw me ahead going into Epoch 2 but a bit stuck for cash.  2nd Epoch was much tougher and slower including a protracted auction featuring the only provinice with no existing pyramid (Gordon's fault so perhaps apt that he ended up with it again) but I was going steadily and as long as nobody else did spectacularly well I felt that I might be able to hang on as cash flow was reasonable and I got the 2 Temple province, but when Rob spent 45 on blocks but built sets rather than attack Steve H on one of the river banks for largest pyramid (he was pretty guaranteed one of them), and the others let Steve get 2 Temples (I picked up Damanhur on the 2nd auction so could do nothing else myself) he stormed to victory and I had to settle for 2nd place.  Great fun though.

5-player China is a tricky proposition, and this one started off with all 5 players opening up a new province in thier 1st turn which I don't think I've ever seen before.  This certainly wiped out the perceived 1st player disadvantage for James (who I recall eventually won, perhaps proving my point).  I got caught in the classic 'no mates' trap with emissaries, unable to participate in the top right of the board at key moments and so having to get predominantly solo allainces at bottom right.  Everyone else except Rob got into healthy shared alliances and I think I ended up 4th.  This is another great game, loads of decisions and interractions crammed into just 35-40 minutes.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Birmingham Playtesters Facebook Group

Birmingham Playtesters, the local affiliate of Playtest UK, now has a Facebook Group.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 13th October.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

This War Without an Enemy now on bgg

I'm now officially, according to boardgamegeek, a Game Designer. The entry for my first game - This War Without an Enemy - has gone live. If you are a subscriber of bgg then please visit the page and become a fan (click on the heart symbol). Feel free to make a comment if you are interested in the game, but no false ratings please (ie don't rate it unless you have played it). The game is currently being considered by a number of publishers and an active bgg page demonstrating interest in the game from boardgamers may just make enough of a difference to encourage one of them to give me a contract - and then I'd be a professional board game designer!
This War Without an Enemy

Friday, 22 July 2016

Games Played - 20 July 2016

11 in attendance this week, we broke off into 4-4-3, initial games played on the other tables were Castles Of Mad King Ludwig and World Without End, on my table was James, Rob, Mike and myself, Mike suggested Chicago Express

Chicago Express

This was the second time in recent weeks this has made it to the table, a really clever stock/route building game with a fantastic looking board (I love those dials!!!)

Early on both red (Rob and Me) and blue (James and Mike) were making a fast start towards Chicago but as the final share in red was auctioned off, red then began to slow pace (as I had majority and therefore Rob was not inclined to assist - quite a clever part of the game)

Rob was the sole investor in yellow and as a result was picking up some nice early pay-outs, whilst green (Mike and James) were picking up some nice pay-outs too despite the track not being extended at all

Blue (Mike, James and now Rob) continued to steam roll ahead making it to Chicago first, this opened up Wabash for auction which I was able to secure, I then proceeded to make it reach Chicago at the expense of red (which would have paid off for Rob too)

Yellow (Mike and Rob) now started to pick up pace as both were investing in track and infrastructure which also began to pay off

At the end it was Rob who was able to pull off a narrow victory

CE really is a clever game but one which takes a few plays to get your head around, a very enjoyable game all round


Next up was China, another excellent fast playing area control game where you are trying to get majorities in the different provinces of China by placing your houses or emissaries

Rob stormed into a lead after picking up some early points for having majority (in most cases) in the provinces, Mike soon caught up after picking up majority scores in the larger provinces, but from nowhere BOOM!!!! James pulls it out the bag with a huge score due to end of game emissary majorities

A great little game which was enjoyed by all

A good night all round

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Next Playtest UK Birmingham Meeting

The next (and 3rd) Playtest UK Birmingham Meeting will be on Thursday 11th August from 7pm in the Wellington pub on Bennett's Hill. We'll be trying out a couple of shorter games. More details here:

Friday, 15 July 2016

Games Played - 13 July 2016

A total of 10 in attendance this week, we split into 4-3-3, 4 for Power Grid, 3 for Kingdom of Kiralysag (I must try out by the way Scott!!) and Mark W, Steve W and myself opted for the following


First time played at the club, the theme is about helping to build up Egypt by sailing off your building blocks to various structures on the mainland

Steve's strategy was the Building Chamber where a contiguous chain of blocks can score heavily at the end game, Mark was able to pick up points pretty much every round by contributing towards the Pyramid and the Temple Wall, I opted for the tallest Obelisk for big points at the end of the game

Steve was able to pick up the majority of the Market cards along the way (at the disgust of Mark!!!!) which helped towards an end game victory

A relatively fast playing fun game (so I thought anyway), would like to bring again due to the simplicity but lots of strategy


Next up was Stockpile, another fast playing, fun stock trading game where each round you have some insider info, some publicly known info and some unknown info, it all adds to a really cool and fun game which all players thoroughly enjoyed

Mark came away with the victory, stock splits held until the end and majority shares in most companies for end game scoring meant a resounding victory

Next time we can try the advanced game with varying player abilities - good stuff


Last up was a fun little card game about trying to recycle goods but being terrible at it as leaving waste each time a delivery is made, some really neat ideas in this game, lots to think about but fun at the same time

I came away with the victory at the end

Another excellent night of gaming, already looking forward to next week!!!

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Games Played - 29 June 2016

A lot of very regular attenders, even Dave D, just happened to all be missing tonight, leaving the survivvors to wonder if we'd be down to just one table, for the first time for a very long time.  We managed 7 though, including Moray who was a first- and possibly last-time attender as he was on a brief training course a long way from his home.

The two Marks and Steve W settled down for a long game of 51st State, and 150 minutes later Mark W had  won, followed by Steve W then Mark R, though the scores look close (44/41/37).

On our table we started with a 4-player Amun-Re, it plays well with 4 but after many games with 5 I'd forgotten that you're more likely to get camel money in the 4-player, studiously avoided the camel areas and so was virtually permanently poor after a predominance of low sacrifices (only the last one reached 3 I think) .  Moray got a good 1st Epoch start picking up both largest pyramid bonuses (were we regulars guilty of concentrating on each other ignoring the newby?), then trounced us in 2nd Epoch, finishing off with most cash and scoring 3 of the end 3Vp bonuses - very rarely seen at the Club, I think I did it once a long time ago and maybe a couple of others?  Scrupulous honesty, which always rules at the Club, robbed me of 2nd place, Steve H initially missed one of his farmers for game end income, it was pointed out, and the extra cash was a swing of 4 Vp against me, so it ended  : Moray 49/Steve H 39/Rob 38/Mike 36

We finsihed off with the excellent 45-minute filler Santiago de Cuba, owning the frequently-visited VP building and a very lucrative shipment mid-game meant I thought I was pretty sure of the win coming into the last shipment phase, but SteveH pulled a last 2VP cargo that I hadn't expected, to make it very close : Mike 29/Steve H 28/Rob 27/Moray 21

Anpther great night of gaming!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Playtest UK Birmingham Meeting

I know this is short notice (I only found out about it myself yesterday). Playtest UK are having their inaugural Birmingham event tomorrow Wed 29th June at 7pm in the Wellington pub, Birmingham city centre. This first meeting will be mainly to decide on the venue etc. for future events. Obviously I don't expect any of you will want to sacrifice a Halesowen Boardgamers evening for this - it'll take one for the team and attend (though the superior beer at the Wellington will make it more palatable for me). But if you are interested in attending future events, then you get a vote in absentia on what day of the week they will be held - please let me know about day(s) you prefer or cannot make. I expect that, initially at least, the events will be once a month.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Day of the Flood - 8 June 2016

I haven't written anything for some time, but I thought I'd post this about last night, I'm also writing something about our campaign of Pandemic Legacy which we finished last week, hopefully I won't take too long about that.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Wolverhampton Games Day - On Behalf Of Lee & Rach

Following on from Lee's email, Lee has asked me to post the below for those you may not have been included on the email distribution list and who may be interested

Lee has set up an additional games day in Wolverhampton for those interested, the first being Sunday 10th July, 10am-4pm at the below address

1st Tettenhall Wood Scout Hut
Compton Road

There will be a £1 charge towards hiring of the hut, tea and coffee making facilities are available

Entrance is down drive on the left before Tiger Wok restaurant with parking available on Oddfellows car park or limited space on the driveway outside

Initially there will 4 sessions a year so will be great if you could make it, contact Lee directly or post on here if interested


Lee & Rach

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Games Played - 01 Jun 2016

A really good turn out this week with 13 in attendance, we broke into 3 groups of 5-4-4

Lee, Rach, Rob, James and myself broke out Aquileia, this was new to the club and had been played only once before

After a recheck of the rules (and after enjoying that new cardboard smell) we were good to go, Rob raced into an early lead and his 'build then income placement' strategy worked really well, early signs looked like he couldn't be caught.........but.............BOOM!!!! Out of nowhere, and skillfully played, Rach was able to benefit from a huge end of game score due to holding multiple scoring cards and buildings of matching colour, Rach was able to pip Rob at the death with a huge final score

On the last round James was able to build some additional buildings and pull off a high scoring last move, Lee went all out for 'slave' cards which paid off towards the end and as for me - well as little said the better - damn you dice rolls!!!!!!!!

We ended the night with the classic Love Letter, Rach stormed into a 2 point lead but James pulled it out the bag with some good card play just pipping her to post with 3 points

Good fun!!! (apart from my dice rolls!!!!!!)

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Games Played - 25 May 2016

There were 10 in attendance this week, splitting into 3 tables of 4-3-3

On one of the tables, Dave D, Rob and myself opted for a game of Deus, which turned out to be a surprisingly fast playing unusual game of Deus

We all started in positions away from each other and was able to opt for a strategy fairly quickly and unopposed

Rob opted for a coin strategy, so much so he was able to buy any resources he pleased and quickly surrounded 2 barbarian villages unchallenged and looted all the VP's located there

It appeared Dave went for a resource strategy as at one point had a huge pile of resources to hand and again was able to build anything and similarly surrounded a nearby village

I opted for a bit of everything, at one point I was worried I would be blocked but fortunately my one and only 'ship' card came out which I was able to build and subsequently on my next turn a 'military' building which allowed me to move 0-4 spaces and spread out from my location

What was surprising is that not one temple was built the entire game, I think at some point we all had the opportunity to build one but opted for something different - I have not played a game where this has happened before!!

All in all a very close game with Rob and myself sharing the win as there was no mention of a tie breaker

Next up was Priests Of Ra, this was new to me and I enjoyed it very much, I was very fortunate to pick up double Ankh's on the first 2 Epochs which saw me get the win - definitely beginners luck though I feel

Happy gaming

Monday, 30 May 2016

Quartermaster General Tournament at Strategy GameCon

You may or may not be aware that a large new gaming convention is going to be held in Telford from August 25-28th. Details are still sketchy, but the first boardgaming tournament has been announced: Quartermaster General on Saturday 27th.

Spare place for Agricola tournament at UK Games Expo

Someone has dropped out of the Agricola tournament taking place this Saturday from 9.30am at the UK Games Expo. This means a ticket is likely to be available. If you are interested then please contact me at:


Friday, 29 April 2016

Games Played - 27 April 2016

After a really enjoyable, and encouragingly well-attended, Saturday all-dayer at the Club, perhaps we should have expected a bit of a quieter next session, but still we got 8 for the next Wednesday session.  One table of 4 settled for our perennial Club favourite Power Grid, though it was a first time for Michael and finished the night off with Love Letter (Batman version), while I joined Stan, Steve W and Mark W for a game of Scoville, a new game to 3 of us themed around pepper farming. The explanation was reasonably straightforward with a few very familiar mechanics like blind auction for turn selection, moving around a board grid picking up goods and blocking others, fulfilling open contracts, etc., and I guess with the cute graphics and pretty little pepper pieces it looked a fairly light game.


There are two action phases involving the grid of peppers, but if you go first on the planting order, to set up a nice combination of peppers on the board to move around and collect the other peppers that they produce, you go last on the movement phase and could find the nice combos you have set up are blocked off.  This unfortunately induced analysis paralysis in me in particular, trying to work out how successful I wanted to try to be in the auction for turn selection, then trying to choose my position if I had a choice, then trying to get my head around a 'these two colours of peppers produce that one colour' reference grid which was only partly logical in terms of the colour palette, whilst trying to decide which contracts I wanted to fulfil and whether others could claim them before me.  I spent the longest time thinking and came last, perhaps not my type of game but I would give it a second try, whilst Stan gained a good victory.

We finished off with Nottingham, a clever little card game of 'give and take' from Uwe Rosenberg, I messed this one up, made lots of triplets but didn't pick up a single bonus card, which is always a bad sign, and misjudged the game end with a further 17 points in my hand I couldn't claim.  Last place again!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Volunteers sought for UK Games Expo board game tournaments

We're looking for people to volunteer for at least a full day (morning + afternoon) to help run the board game tournaments at UK Games Expo. No previous experience is required, though we are particularly looking for one or two people who can use Excel to be responsible for scoring the tournaments. Accommodation at the Hilton is provided for anyone who volunteers for 2 or 3 days and prefers to stay overnight.

If you are interested please let me know at the club or send an email to:

Thursday, 3 March 2016

UK Games Expo Agricola tournament: tickets are live!

I can now confirm that the UK Agricola tournament will be taking place at UK Games Expo on Saturday 4th June. The top prize this year will be entry into the World Championships in Vienna in November, with flights and accommodation paid for.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Games Played - 24 February 2016

Written 4 days after it happened, but if memory serves me we had 11 in attendance, which is about average lately, split 4-4-3 at the beginning.  One of the 4's was Scott's copy of Stefan Feld's Bruges, which I suspect has a bit of a learning curve to it as Scott proceeded to win his own game :

Scott = 69
Gordon = 63
Steve W = 58
Stan = 53

I know there are Feld-fanatics out there but I must admit I'm a bit wary, I lke Speicherstadt and In the Year Of The Dragon but back in 2013-2014 I played 4 newish Feld games in fairly rapid succession and my opinion was1 good, 2 indifferent and 1 bad so not a great record for me, but opinion on Wednesday seemed generally favourable.  After Stan left it was a 3-player base game San Juan, where Steve proceeded to make the most determined "Chapel Strategy" attempt I've ever seen - 13 cards!  Unfortunately I have to agree with Gordon that, although it would be nice if it did work, this strategy is very unlikely to deliver the win, the fact is that you'd have to be a far worse player than anybody at HBG, where I consider the standard of play to be high, not to turn those 13 cards into more than the 13VPs gained through it.  Valiant attempt though, as Gordon powered through to win.

The other 4 was a (new to HBG?) game called Xenoshyft, at least I'm pretty sure it was but on the Geek the playing time is given as up to 60 minutes and they hadn't finished when I left and it had been going for nearly 3 hours, but I understand there are a lot of expansions so perhaps those were in and added game length.  Not sure that type of Sci-Fi combat game is my cup of tea, but hopefully someone on that table will comment.

For the 3-player table, myself, Steve and Rob, it was an old favourite Caylus Magna Carta for starters, though Rob had only played it once and was very keen to get into it again.  The  Trading Post was excluded from the start cards, this usually means tight cash but an early Architect saw a rash of Residences so cashflow problems were only occasional.  A game where the super-Quarry and the Church never got built was always going to be a slow game, so much so that I found time to build 3 Prestige buildings (One strange thing was that I built a Gold Mine quite early but was the only player to use it, which definitely helped me a lot), but Steve really hit the Castle early on, and those 13 extra points and resultant Gold more than cancelled out my buildings tally :

Steve = 50
Mike = 44
Rob = 42

End of session filler for us was Splendor, I won my first game of this a while back but it was clearly "Beginner's Luck" as I've never come near to victory since, some indifferent play and sudden dearth of the gem cards I needed for my strategy saw me come last with Steve winning his second game of the night.

Monday, 15 February 2016

UK Games Expo Boardgame Tournaments

Tickets are now available online for most of the boardgame tournaments at the UK Games Expo. I draw your attention, in particular, to the Voyages of Marco Polo tournament on the Friday! Tickets for some additional tournaments - 7 Wonders, Agricola and Splendor - are not yet available as the details are still being worked out with the sponsors.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Games Played - 27 January 2016

Just a short one this week. 11 in attendance split over 3 tables 4,4,3. 6 games were played Power Grid Deluxe, Nations, Louis XIV, China, Guillotine and Love Letter.

Games Played - 20 January 2016 (WARNING - includes Pandemic Legacy spoilers January to August inclusive)

Catching up with this which I started writing slightly over a week ago. 10 this week with 6 games played being Castles of Burgundy, Tzolk'in, Splendor, Pandemic Legacy (2 games) and Family Business. Read on for more details including those Pandemic Legacy spoilers mentioned in the title.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Potential Quartermaster General tournament at UK Games Expo 2016

A volunteer (unaffiliated with Halesowen Boardgamers) is considering running a team-based Quartermaster General tournament at this year's Game Expo. Would anyone be interested in competing and, if so, do you have a preference for the day (Fri, Sat or Sun) and length of tournament (2 rounds over 4 hours, or 3 rounds over 6 hours)?

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Games Played - 13 January 2016

11 people in attendance and 4 games played split across 3 table. Games played were Amun-Re, a second run out for Kingdom of Kiralysag and the latest game of the Legacy Deck building system based on Alien.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Players wanted for Kingdom of Kiralysag and Mistfall

I'm looking for a 4th player to join Dave F, Gordon and myself tomorrow (Wednesday 13th) in the second playtest of Kingdom of Kiralysag.

I'll also be bringing Mistfall, a co-operative fantasy-themed game, to be played and voted on for the UK Games Expo awards. As I'll be playing Kingdom of Kiralysag, I won't have time to explain Mistfall, not that I've had time to read the rules yet myself. But anyone is welcome to play the game, ideally someone having read through the rules beforehand. It is possible that I'll be bringing the game the following Wednesday too.  

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Games Played - 6 January 2016

Into a new year and I'll see if I can make another go at writing a short weekly bit on the Wednesday sessions. We'll see how long that lasts. We had 13 in attendance for the first session of the year including Liam for the first time and John who's up from London on one of his occasional visits. We split 5,4,4.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Stats Review 2015

This is the 2015 review of games played at the club, corresponding articles for 2008 - 2014 are linked from the "Previously" box to the left, usually under January of the following year, but sometimes under December of the year in question. As last year I include a comparison with the previous year. Full details are on the Stats Pages on the website. There is also a geeklist of all the games played here.