Monthly Archives: January 2014

Halesowen Board Gamers #2 (22/01/14)

I bought 4 games this week – Euphoria, Viticulture, Archon: Glory & Machination and Professor Pugnacious. I arrived a little later than usual, and numbers meant we ended up doing 2-Player runs at the first pair of the games I bought along.

First up was Euphoria. The guy I was playing with, Stan, has recently bought the game and was interested in trying it out to see how it plays and get a feel for the game. I was more than happy to oblige, seeing as this is one of my absolute favourite games ^^.

I kickstarted Euphoria back in June ’13 after watching the project for a while and being interested because it had cool looking dice. I really like steampunk, well, stuff in general, and the dice looked great so I was hoping to be able to pick a set up without worrying about the game! Sitting on a project by Jamey makes it extremely difficult to resist, as he’s hugely enthusiastic and communicative, so I took a longer look at the game, I changed my pledge to be for the supreme edition (Extra dice!) and went in. (I also obtained my viticulture kick-starter edition through a charity auction by Jamey, which I found out about through the Euphoria project.

Euphoria plays out in a dystopian Universe where the majority of the worlds population has been wiped out. The remaining people live in and around the city of Euphoria, being kept in the dark by the upper echelons to maintain their lifestyle and keep things as they are. These people are split into 4 factions, that each control particular resources necessary to live in this post-apocalyptic world.

The Euphorians are those that live in the golden city and manage it’s generators to provide energy. The Subterrans live beneath the city in the sewers and pipeworks, where they have control over the water supply. The Wastelanders live outside the city, with control over the farmlands. Finally, the Icarans are the denizens of the sky, who harvest a resource called ‘bliss’, i.e. a drug to keep workers happy!

As you play the game, you send your workers out to the various places to gather commodities, resources and artifacts which can ultimately be used to exert your influence/authority over the city. The first to place 10 authority tokens claims control over the city and wins the game.

Earlier in the game I focused in large part on pushing the allegiance tracks up for my active (Wastelander) and hidden (Subterran) recruit, the former to obtain more commodities/resources for various actions, and the latter to try and unlock an extra ability and potentially star later in the game. I worked out reasonably quickly that Stan was also trying to slowly push up the waste-lander track, so I surmised that was his hidden recruits faction and left it to go slow and focus on the Subterran track.

The first market of the game was a joint effort, as I saw Stan stockpiling gold and quickly went for a piece myself so I couldn’t get locked out of the market he went for. The second went to me, as I gathered some stone with the water I was getting from pushing the subterran allegiance track, then made use of a double to take a market in one turn. (The negative made Scott lose a commodity or resource when he rolled a 1). The 3rd went solely to Stan and meant I couldn’t join a market he’s started, 4th to me (I think) which made 5’s negatively impact Stan  too, and 5th to Stan was another construction site limit, which didn’t affect me too much. Stan got hit a lot harder from the negatives from me, although he did have at least 1 opportunity to have locked me out from a market which he missed out on, likely as it was his first game ^^.

By the end of the game, we actually finished very close on scores, with Stan having 1 star left as I used up my last (he was ahead of me for a little while, but I managed to get 2 pairs of artifacts for a leap in progress). Good game!

No-one else looked likely to finish another game soon, so I offered up Viticulture as Stan had mentioned he was interested in it sometime, and I wanted to play it ^^. I talked about the game in my last Halesowen post, so I’ll go straight into how the game went.

I got an early windmill which worked well through the game, with Stan getting Irrigation/trellis fairly early to open up planting options. My first plant got me a 3red/3white field, which turned out to be extremely useful over the game.

My first wine order was for a 5 value red, nice and easy, which I got by letting a 3 age for a couple of years, the 2nd that I picked up was a 2red/2white and got completed first in the end. I feel lucky to have gotten 2 easy orders. Stans first order filled was a 3red/4red. After that I’m a little hazy, but Stan managed to keep close to me on the residual money track each game.

For buildings, I mostly had the lead, likely because it was Stans first game so he couldn’t see what was useful until he saw me get the benefits. I went Windmill > Irrigation > Med. Cellar > Trellis > Yoke > Large Cellar > Tasting Room (Only got the last as I had some money in the last year and it was a way to nab an extra VP). Stans I think was Irrigation > Trellis > Med Cellar > Yoke > Windmill > Large Cellar > Tasting Room. Stan got his tasting room straight after me on the last year so he didn’t get to reap the benefits unfortunately.

Early game I went ahead on points, mostly thanks to my windmill, but as we neared the end Stan managed to catch up putting us head to head ~15. At that point however I had a half full crush pad while he’d used up every single grape/wine token he had. In the 2nd to last year I grabbed some wine orders as well as blocking the harvest action to maintain my advantage, and in the last got an order filled, as well as 2VP from a visitor and 1 from the tasting room I’d built. The game ended 23-17 with my victory.

All in all it was a very fun evening of games – It’s interesting how much more you remember/pay attention to in a 2 player for playing strategically, even when a game scales well up to 6 ^^. Looking forward to next week as a couple people sounded interested in Archon, and hopefully on the 5th Eldritch Horror (I know both Ian/Dave-D are interseted in that).

Thanks for reading

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Halesowen Board Gamers #1

I’ve decided to start doing a separate update for ‘general things’ and Halesowen games, as I think those of you that go there each week are likely more interested in just reading about what I did at the night ^^, so this seemed a convenient idea.

So anyway, on Wednesday I came along with Viticulture, Euphoria & Machine of death, and the first of that set got played (Yay!). Viticulture is a game I picked up totally on a whim through a charity auction from Stonemaier Games – I wasn’t particularly into worker-placements at the time, and I don’t like wine, I just felt the company seemed really interesting and wanted to try out their earlier game (I was supporting Euphoria on kick-starter at the time).

As it turns out, the game is absolutely great, and dragged me way more into worker-placement games than I was! The game plays out in years, with each year having 4 unique seasons to achieve tasks. Between years players grapes/wines ‘age’, increasing in value, making even low quality product become useful in time. You also get income each year based on wine-orders that you’ve set up your vineyard to fulfill.

In Spring, players choose a play-order, with larger bonus’s the later you go. In Summer players can build up their vineyard, gaining money, building useful structures and planting vines. In Autumn players just gain a Summer or Winter themed ‘Visitor card’ which can be played in their respective times of the year (By placement) for useful effects. In Winter players capitalize on their vineyard, harvesting grapes, crushing them and filling orders, as well as gaining workers for the next year.

The game is great, and I’m happy to have it and to have been able to introduce some of you at Halesowen to it. The players in our game were Me, Dave F, James & Andy (Sorry I don’t know last initials, should be on Dave D’s blog though!).

My focus in the game was to try and get a tasting room as a consistent victory points source, with a couple of low-quality setup fields that I could use to get grapes and leave them to age. I managed to get these things setup fairly early through a pair of visitor cards letting me sacrifice points for money & building (So I was on -4 ^^). Getting the tasting room so early let me capitalize on it through the years and undo the negatives I took to get it, and as it triggers from getting money it helped me get other buildings too.

I don’t remember what the other players went for exactly, but:James: Took an extra worker a lot, got a windmill but didn’t manage to use it as much as he wanted.
Dave:  Vines/Order Focused (i think), didn’t notice any special buildings on his.
Andy: Got a lot of money over the game, not sure where he spent it though!

In the end I took victory, with Dave/Andy close behind and James in last place, although I don’t think he was too far back. Apologies I don’t remember how things went properly, I’ll try harder next time ^^.

Afterwards, we had time for a quick game while waiting for others to finish and sync for heading home after. We went with Carcassonne as it’s a lovely game and easy to fit into 20-30 minute gaps of time. I very early went for a field as it was looking to get a lot of small cities in it, and focused on keeping it throughout the game. Dave also put a lot into trying to steal the field from me (We ended up drawing 4-4 to take it), while the others focused on cities/roads.

For a lot of the game people seemed to worry my field would get me the victory, but in the end it just wasn’t enough, and the amount of workers Dave made me use to keep control of it meant I never got many other points. Scores should be on Dave-D’s blog, but spoilers, I didn’t win.

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Thanks for a great night again to all halesowen board game attendee’s! =)

Weekly Update #4 – Edale, Halesowen & Games with Friends

I had a lot of fun this last week, with a rather short holiday up to the start of the Pennine Way and a few games here and there.

Edale

Last week my girlfriend went up to Edale for some volunteering work in a hostel. She suggested I could come down at the end of the week and well, that sounded like a great idea! I booked Friday off work so I could get there earlier and went for the longest drive I’ve managed since getting my car a few months ago. While uneventful, it’s certainly quite an experience and had me appreciated service stations that little bit more ^^.

On the Friday evening we played a few games of various things, including Qwirkle and Eldritch Horror that I got fairly recently. I got my ass kicked in Qwirkle, and we got our asses kicked in Eldritch Horror! It was a lot of fun playing games somewhere with pretty much noone else around, certainly makes for an awesome atmosphere with EH ^^. The next day we walked a few hours along the Pennine way, including up Jacobs Ladder before deciding to head back before it got too dark for dinner and to have time to head home. All in all I had a great time and I’m glad I decided to go, even if it was for just one day =)

Halesowen Board Gamers

On Wednesday was board games in Halesowen, a regular meetup that I intend to try to go to every week. I took along a few games, and we played Legacy: Gears of Time & Among the Stars out of them. I’m eager to play Legacy many more times, as the time travel theme is just awesome and I like how the scoring works (Primitive technologies score points when more complex ones make use of them!). Among the Stars is great, although I wasn’t really careful enough in setting up so there was some cards in the set which didn’t work (Expansion references for cards we weren’t using), oops! I’ll be more careful in future, as it’s a great game and hiccups like that for  new players is a shame.

Games with Friends

Last night I headed over to a friends house for a couple of games. I wanted to try Machine of Death as the kickstarter had just arrived, and while I enjoyed playing a round the others didn’t, but it at least gave me an idea of the kind of group I need to get together for it ^^. After that we had a game of Among the Stars, where I managed to net a narrow victory with a nice array of Ambassadors, followed by Galaxy Trucker with various expansion things from their anniversary edition. It was a lot of fun playing with Rough Roads included as while I have the Anniversary Edition too, I rarely play with experienced players who are willing to put up with its’ evil ^^.

Shelves Run Through #2

As I got a decent number of games from kickstarter/christmas/birthday since I did a video of my shelves, I decided to redo it. There’s a few random skips where I got distracted and paused recording for a moment, but it should be ok. Check that out here:

Thanks for reading, happy gaming all =)

Christmas! and Birthday! and New Year! and Stuff!

Been a little while since I updated, partly as I’ve not been going to any board-gaming events to particularly talk about! Which is odd, because I have lots of games received over Christmas/Birthday to talk about ^^.

Christmas

Just before Christmas I visited my girlfriend in Brighton to see her and her family over the holidays. I had a great time while there, getting to know her brother better (I’ve only briefly met him before) and generally enjoying some free time spent with Grace. A particular highlight was the laughing horse comedy event in town which had some good things on offer, ending in an awesome show by a particularly loud chap who well..didn’t need a microphone to say the least ^^.

On the 24th I got the train back at 7:10AM. No..no wait that’s not what happened, I planned to do that…but a huge quantity of trains were cancelled and it took me most of the day to get even as far as Gatwick! In the end I was fortunate enough to be given a lift most of the way back to Birmingham, with my Dad picking me up somewhere around the halfway point. I got back after 10pm, :(

Fortunately though, I did manage to get home so I was able to spend Christmas with my family, which is more than worth it to see my Mum happy at having all her kids back home! I had a good day with great food and many gifts. Among them were Eldritch Horror (Thanks Mum & Dad), Belfort (Thanks Grandma & Grandad) and Steam Noir: Revolution (Thanks Tori, aka Sister!). I also got the usual assortment of socks, sweets and my big gift of the year, a Tom Tom! Very useful as I’ve been borrowing my Grandad’s temporarily and it’s lovely to have my own and be able to return his ^^.

As a conveniently timed present to myself, a few kickstarters I backed arrived (I paid ages ago…it feels like getting extra gifts ^^). Among the Stars: The Ambassadors, Archon: Glory & Machination, Shadows over the Empire and DrunkQuest: The 90 Proof Seas wormed their way into my collection!

Birthday

The very last day of each year also happens to be my day of birth. When I was at school I used to get frustrated as many of my friends stayed at home with family, but as I’ve gotten older and people have stopped accepting their parents demands, I’ve had friends over more often for the day and importantly, for new years with close friends!

In the Morning my parents came over to where I live to bring the wonders of cake and a couple of gifts in the form of yet more socks and…Legacy: Gears of Time! This was a great start to the day as I’ve been looking forward to getting Legacy as I love all things Time Travel!

In the Afternoon, my friends Chris, Chris, Ken, Grant & my girlfriend Grace (Who’d come back from Brighton for my Birthday <3)  went to Laser Quest (Because we’re grown up like that) and had a great time repeatedly shooting the younger generation with lasers. I did poorly one game, ok in another and came 1st on my team (I.e. The winning team) in the last, yay!

After coming home we had copious amounts of food and played a game of paranoia for the adventure stealth train. It was a lot of fun (Though Grace didn’t enjoy it so much, unfortunately) and I got to finally complete a secret mission in the game (Don’t really play often mind)…right before being blown up – Someone else also completed their mission! We proceeded to play DrunkQuest into the evening, which turns out to be an awesome drinking game, that has similar mechanics to Munchkin, but with the advantage that drinking makes the hate go away! Hugely fun and I’m looking forward to a situation where we play again!

We hadn’t finished the game when we took a hiatus to celebrate the New Year & watch the fireworks. My friend Emma even got involved (She couldn’t back it) by means of phone call, to the clamour of hearing us yell the countdown to the New Year, it was nice for her to be involved even if not in person ^^. I also shouldn’t miss out that in the evening I got to try out the super awesome cake that Grace made for me – Iron Man in cake form, so cool! This as well as some steampunk fairy cakes from my Mum – I Still haven’t worked my way through all the cake!

New Year

So that brings us to 2014, Happy New Year to all! Had a reasonably relaxed time so far with a good bit of gaming on Sunday at Afternoon Play and at a friends house after. I’ve gotten to play all the games I got over the festive period (Sort of) and look forward to talking about them more next update (I was going to in this one…but getting long at over 800 words!)

Thanks for reading, and if you skipped to the end, a Happy New Year to you too!