Category Archives: Board Games

Weekly Gaming 18/02/2014

I’ve had a nice week and I’m glad to be sharing about what games I got into over it once again. Halesowen of course is in a separate post so check that out too if you’re interested!

Friday

Friday was the UoB tabletop society as usual. I got there a bit late as they’ve closed the car park by the guild where it’s held so I had to head home and walk instead (I don’t mind the walk, but arriving later sucks ^^). On arrival there was a seemingly quite intense game of power grid going on, with as many spectators as players, so the first half-hour/hour was spent socializing.

I suggested Euphoria initially, but there wasn’t much interest so we went to another great option – Ticket To Ride: Europe. In TTR you collect sets of cards in 7 colours to be able to place train routes across a map. In this version you also have 3 ‘stations’ which can be used to make use of a blocked train route at the end of the game, but you essentially lose 5 points each time you use one, making them best avoided if possible. As the game was coming to an end I had to make a decision on using a station or drawing cards, as there didn’t look to be enough turns left to complete my biggest route unless I drew a rainbow I went for the station. When we scored up, the top end of the scores were fairly close, with my being exactly as many points behind as I could have gained by taking the gamble and drawing those couple of turns later (Someone else drew and there was indeed a rainbow train!), bummer! My girlfriend Grace took home the victory that I was so close to matching ^^.

Following on from TTR, we played Among the Stars as we had a limited time remaining. We had a full complement of 6 players for this game, a first for that count (I think 5 may be the highest before, but maybe it was 6 then too). I didn’t include any expansion content or player abilities to keep things easier for new players and to stick to the time limit. Most players just managed things as they went along, as it’s pretty difficult to strategize for your first game, and even harder with 6 players as you never know what cards you’ll get passed to you. Greg focused on immediate abilities to rush for both the ‘first to 50’ objective and by extension, the ‘most immediate locations’ objective, along with good use of cards that’re unbalanced by higher player counts (Will have to watch for that in future games), everyone else was fairly spread out as I remember, and the 3rd objective went to waste as me & Grace tied for least power reactors.

It was a good day, followed by a bit of a rest on Saturday, where lots of video games got played and we didn’t really find time to get out and about. Sunday however we…well you’ll have to wait for the next section in 3…2…1…

Sunday

On Sunday I visited my girlfriends family in Leicester where we had something of a games day. Her Uncle really likes Dixit after I introduced it months ago and was interested in playing it more as well as trying some other games, and I was more than happy to oblige! I bought a variety of games along – Dixit, Qwirkle, Ticket To Ride, Forbidden Desert, Steam Noir: Revolution, Belfort & Euphoria along to play, with all but the latter 3 (The most complicated and so only there if people really wanted to) getting played.

First up was Dixit, a bluffing game played with absolutely gorgeous cards in a race to 30 points. Each round has one player as the ‘storyteller’ who picks one of their 6 cards in secret and says something about it. Everyone else picks a card and puts it in too, with them then being shuffled and placed out in front of everyone. Players then vote to try and guess the storytellers card. Players guessing correctly get 3 points, with the storyteller getting 3 if some, but not all, or none, of the players guess correctly. When a players card is voted for (aside from the storytellers) they also get a point. It’s hard to appreciate the charm without playing, but suffice to say it’s a very good party game. I won on this occasion, with some lucky guessing on peoples cards (More elimination than actually picking the right one ^^) and being a little underhanded with references the older generation were unlikely to know. We moved on after as Me & Grace have played this quite a lot and burn out fast on it.

Out next game was a new one to Grace’s family, and one I only picked up within a week thanks to a half-price offer (Presumably because people didn’t want to buy a German version of a game, even though it’s language independant). I put Zug um Zug out on the table and chatter immediately broke out about where people had visited/cycled over the years! In Ticket To Ride/Zug um Zug players build sets of train cards in 7 colours to place trains on the board between cities, with the aim being to complete routes unique to each player to gain victory points (Uncompleted routes are negatives!). We got to it with some players getting trains out quickly and me/Grace’s Dad mostly hoarding cards to try and get longer routes/more choices in placement. By the end, Rick (Grace’s uncle) had managed to shoot into the lead even having got extra routes that he mostly completed, taking him way ahead on points. I spent too long trying to get the right colour for a long route instead of wasting rainbows and didn’t get to use them all in the game. It went down well and I’m sure it’ll get played again some other time, very happy to have played it with them all.

We had a short break next for some food, before going back into games with Qwirkle. This game has players putting down tiles that come in 6 shapes that are in 6 colours, to try and make lines of either colour or shape to score points, tiles in a line have to have one matching attribute (such as ‘blue’) and no repeats (So no having 2 blue circles in one line), which actually makes things harder than people expect! I got a good number of 6-in-a-rows (Which are worth double points, so 12 instead of 6) which net me a victory with 75 points to the nearest next player on 74. This also went down quite well, which is good as I like this one a lot as a game to play with people that aren’t interested in going to more complex games ^^.

To finish up the evening, I decided to suggest the least complex of the games left over – Forbidden Desert. This definitely wins for the most unexpected game, with the idea of a cooperative game being totally new to near everyone present. Forbidden Desert has players has a bunch of explorers stranded in the desert after their helicopter crashed, time is short for the sun is ever beating down, with players vying to find the pieces of an ancient airship in the area to rebuild it and fly to safety. This is managed by players having 4 actions in a turn to move, clear and excavate tiles, tiles that are ever shifting, as at the end of a player turn storm cards are drawn to move things around and take things ever closer to a gloomy ending. In our game we managed to gather all 4 of the pieces to rebuild the ship, and even worked out which tile it was under, but ultimately found ourselves too late, running out of water in the final rush and losing out to our unquenched thirst. Just a few more turns would have clenched it! I think people had fun, and hope they might like to play either Forbidden Desert or a similar game like pandemic sometime to once again try their odds at playing with the table isntead of against them. Good Times!

As always, thanks for reading. Now I should get back to what I was doing and look forward to tomorrow evening for halesowen!

Halesowen Board Gamers #4 (02/15/2014)

Halesowen – Wednesday 12/02/2014

Games Played – Eldritch Horror, Ra: The Dice Game

This week I bought along Eldritch Horror, as Dave D/Ian have both commented at some point that they’d like to play it and I figured it was a good choice for the evening. The game is set in a Lovecraftian world where GOO’s – Great Old Ones (Ancient beings of great power) threaten to rise again unless the investigators (players) can discover the plot at hand and stop it before it’s too late! In our game the blind idiot god, Azathoth, threated to rise and destroy the world in his rage.

WP_20140212_002

(Not entirely sure why this looked so bland, must have a setting messed up on my phone ^^)

You can find an account of this game from Dave’s perspective here:

http://blog.halesowenboardgamers.org.uk/

The game is played in rounds, with each round consisting of 3 phases – action phase, encounter phase & mythos phase. The game ends when either the Mythos deck runs out, or the doom track reaches 0 (Actually it can continue in the latter, but for Azathoth that’s the end, some GOO’s can still be defeated after that). For the players to win, they must solve 3 mysteries before those conditions can occur, to have discovered enough to prevent the…bad things…from happening. The Mysteries are cards specific to each GOO that you can fight and are themed accordingly, but mostly consist of gaining clues and using them in some way to progress towards solving a given mystery.

The first phase in a round is the action phase. Here players have 2 actions to move around and prepare themselves for the encounter phase, and can travel (move 1 space + 1 per ticket), rest (regain some health/sanity), aquire assets (try to gain useful items), gain a ticket or trade with another investigator on their space. They may also perform ‘component actions’, which may be spells, investigator abilities or various other things denoted by their cards. Each action can only be used once in a round however, so movement and recovery tend to be slow!

The second phase is where things happen and the game (hopefully) moves forward! Each investigator in turn draws an encounter card for his space, and resolves effects based on that encounter. There’s a fair variety of possible encounters, including generic (city/wilderness/sea), named cities (such as London, Tokyo, etc), Gate (portals on the board leading to other dimensions, and lettering horrific fiends into our world, these encounters let you close them), Research (GOO specific encounters for gaining clues to solve mysteries) and expeditions (Variety of effects, I never really pay them much attention, and we did none in this particular game).

The third and final phase of a round is where the game fights back. A mythos card is drawn (The mythos deck, I should mention, is generic cards, but organized in a different way for each GOO) and a number of effects are resolved. The top of each Mythos card has 2-3 symbols, and these make things happen such as the omen track moving (Which can advance doom), monsters spawning (All gates matching the omen track spawn monsters), clues spawning and more. Following this there’s a section of flavour text, then a special effects section which can do many different things, good and bad – sometimes the effect is ongoing, and can give the players another thing to worry about as well as the mysteries!).

The game continue doing those three phases until the players take their victory or the GOO rises and destroys everything. There’s a lot of luck in the game as so much is based on card draws, but it can generally all be mitigated if players are careful and work together.

In our game, against Azathoth, we (Myself, Chris Handy, Dave D & Ian) most certainly worked well together, with a set of investigators that turned out to synergize very nicely. My character – Charlie Kane – is a ‘support’ type character who I chose as it was a Handy’s/Ians first game, to be able to help them out a little throughout. I spent a whole lot of actions in the game acquiring assets, even increasing my influence skill to make it an even stronger ability. My characters ability let my give things I gained through it directly to other players, so I didn’t need to meet up somewhere to trade with them. I also managed to close a couple of gates along the way.

Ians role in the game turned out to be that he was master of clues. His characters ability let him trade clues with anyone anywhere on the board, and he spent a lot of time gathering them to pass them on to people who were moving around the board more. He managed to gain a ton of them throughout (6 at one point) and this greatly helped our chances. Dave D had a bit more variety (I think) than us and moved around dealing with gates and clues as he went. Handy ended up with some very powerful combat items (Sword of Saint Jerome + Lighting Gun) so he put some time into destroying monsters, as well as helping with solving mysteries and closing gates as he went.

The game went by fairly smoothly, with our ease of gaining useful items and sharing clues giving us a huge advantage. We had a couple of times as we went where investigators almost died, but nifty flesh ward casting from Ian kept us on the brink and alive. We got one rule wrong (My bad, seeing as I should have known) that the doom track should have advanced when the green comet was reached not the omen track (Azathoths effect) but at most it would have made a 2-3 doom difference and we had loads to spare. Fun game, and glad to have defeated the bad guy for once ^^.

Following on from Eldritch Horror, we played a ‘filler’ game at Dave’s suggestion – Ra: The Dice Game. In this game, players roll 5 dice yahtzee style (Roll, then reroll anything you don’t like up to twice) to make sets of symbols that you can use to advance various tracks and place cubes to set up point scoring for later in the game. The symbols on the dice are Sun, Ra, Ships, Civilization, Monuments and a wildcard. The wildcard can be used for anything, but not for the colour of that wildcard (Monuments and Civilizations have colour limitations and each dice is in one of 5 colours, so you sometimes need a specific coloured dice to be the side you want).

The various ways to score from these things are as follows. Any sun dice are played on the turn track, and are what pushes the game towards an end. If 3 go there however, it does not advance and you score 3 points. If 4 go there, it also does not advance and you get to cause a ‘disaster’ – this lets you do some damage to all other players on one of the various tracks used in scoring. The Ra symbol lets you advance the ‘ra’ track, the person furthest up this gets 5 points in scoring (And is moved down at that time) and the person with the least gets -2 points in scoring, but gets moved up when that happens. The ships let you move the ship track forward, or if you get 3 ship symbols you can cause a ‘flood’ that stacks a second cube on your ship and means it will score in that phase (If you don’t do this, it just doesn’t score!). Civilization gives you -5 for having none, 0 for 1-2 and 5-15 for 3/4/5 used up, and you can only have one of each colour, you need 3 civilization symbols to place one cube in this area. Finally, monuments are placed on a table on the board to gain points based on number of cubes in rows/columns.

Apologies that it’s not a very good explanation, but the gist is that it’s a simple dice rolling game with the strategy being in where you choose to place cubes and what you reroll. In our game, we each had a slightly different focus. Dave D’s focus was on the monuments table, Handy’s was on screwing other players with disasters, mine was on ships, and Ians was more all-rounder, although we all went for everything as a general thing. We didn’t roll all that many suns in the game in terms of moving the track forward, which meant the game took 2-3 times longer than it was supposed to, but we all had fun and got to completey fill the monuments track on the board, which a few people commented on as it’s not generally something that can happen.

We finished up with some very high scores, with me in the lead somewhere around 85 points, and I think last around 60. Lots of fun and I’m glad to have been introduced to it, though I think I’d want the game to be a little quicker next time ^^ (Then again, I’m not surprised people opted against pushing the turn marker forwards when possible, as it’s essentially 1-2 wasted dice when it happens).

Great Evening, such a great group to meet up with for games! Someone suggested an interest in Viticulture next week and as that’s a game I really enjoy I’ll be more than happy to introduce people to it. If I can resist making people play Space Cadets that is (If I even have it by then, receiving through the UK Feb Math Trade). Looking forward to it!

Weekly Gaming 10/02/2014

I got lots of gaming in this week, it’s been a good week! =)

On Wednesday I attended Halesowen board gamers, where we managed to fill up the time with just the one game – Caverna. The game turns out to be a lot of fun and not nearly as miserable as the Secret Cabal led me to suspect ^^. Check out my previous blog post for a more in-depth account of that!

Friday

It was the University’s tabletop society on Friday, and I arrived with the remaining people there (It starts at 2 and I arrive 6ish) play-testing for an upcoming game designed by a friend of mine – Wizard Academy. Unfortunately Greg had to leave before too long, so I just chatted to the only other person that was free while they finished up and discussed the games current state. I hope I get into a test sometime, as it’s a long while since I first tried this particular game.

There were 4 of us left by this time, so we broke out my Anniversary Edition of Galaxy Trucker for a gloriously hectic game. We started on the 1A ships, where I pulled off a ridiculously perfect ship and made a huge amount of points on the other 3 players. For round 2 we went for the wraparound ship (2B?) where things were a little more confusing to build, and I didn’t quite manage to build perfectly. We all did fairly even here I believe. The last round we stuck with the wraparound theme and went for 3C which I’d not yet played – This ship wraps around on both pairs of edges, and has no built in gaps for lasers/engines so you have to leave spaces for them in your ship. It’s not as easy as leaving a big gap though, as you have to pay exorbitant amounts of money if you leave more than a couple of spaces in one block (So lots of little holes is ideal). I did a pretty good job of building my ship, with a biggest gap of 2 and only one mistake, then proceeded to be out on the first adventure card thanks to evil, horrible, nasty invaders eating all my crew ^^. Over that last round all but Ben got eliminated with varying levels of cost for their decimated ships – The last 6 cards were all planets and nice things, giving Ben a massive amount of points and leaping him ahead of me for the overall victory.

Seeing the time, we opted to not have a round 4 and instead changed game. We went for Belfort, which seemed the most reasonable to fit into the amount of time we had, and which had caught the attention of a couple of people there. 2 of us in the game launched into the lead fairly early on, but my income was steeped in 3 guilds which led to people just refusing to use them. My higher tax from scoring high early dragged me back down and I struggled through a lot of the game. <guy that’s not me, Ben or Liam> built up a crazy income through a pair of banks and ultimately managed to set himself up that he was going to win the game through actually being able to pay his taxes. I found it difficult to build much over the game as there was a couple of ‘steal things’ guilds out so stockpiling resources was hard. We got kicked out by security before the game actually finished as it was getting late, but I think the winner was clear anyway as mentioned above ^^.

Saturday

On Saturday I attended Bread + Games, a board games meetup in town that I’ve not been to in a while, as they had a period where it was held in a pub rather than its typical awesome place in an art studio. It’s a long one, and it runs from 2pm till ~10:30pm so there’s lots of gaming to be had. I arrived a little late and sat out for a while, but was approached by another person out of a game after a while to play something while waiting for the bigger groups to finish. Jaipur was one of the options going, and seeing as I’m looking at buying it sometime it seemed like a good option to fill in the gap. As it turns out, it’s a very fun 2P game of trading goods and camels and one I look forward to picking up sometime soonish, particularly as I managed to eek out a victory (Although we only played 1 round rather than 3).

My opponent chose the next game, and grabbed a copy of guild hall as he was interested in trying it with 2. Fate interfered, and an imposter Chris who had been playing games with his son/daughter left them to it and asked to join us. In this set-collection game players play 2 cards from their hand each turn to build up guild ‘chapters’, which are sets of 5 of one profession, in different colours. When a chapter is completed it gets locked, and can be exchanged for points and possibly extra abilities on a turn. I found it pretty lackluster, but did feel a little excited in the last 5 minutes or so from playing a nice chain of actions to jump from 3 to 17 points (20 wins). I lost 20-19-(Er…can’t remember, but it was close). I think I’d play again if asked, but I certainly wouldn’t buy this game.

Following on from Guild Hall I hung around a bit until a few people were free, and had a group join me for a game of Euphoria. It was a full complement of 6 players (Not sure if I’ve done 6 before, 5 might have been the max!) all but me of which were new to the game. Explanation took me a while, as while people were attentive I struggled to be sure I was getting the right bits across to so many people at once! The game was fun, as it always is, although downtime got quite painful on some turns as an unfortunate side effect of Tim (Event organiser) needing to do some maintainance at the venue. Everyone was between 1 & 4 stars left when Dave took the victory with a surprise play (It looked likely for Cath to win, who was on 1 star left with her turn coming soonish).

At this time people mixed around a bit, with ‘Masters of Commerce’ being one of the suggestions. I joined to get the group up to 5 players and sat down for a very unexpected game indeed. In this game players play either landlords or traders, and the game takes place in 2 minute rounds of realtime-bidding for the properties of those landlords. I think if I was in the right mood and with close friends that I was super-comfortable with I’d enjoy this, but my mindset was really not right for such a game at the time so I didn’t do overy great. The other players seemed to have fun though which is great, and I’d love to see an 11 player game of it sometime, although I don’t think I’d really want to be a participant ^^.

To finish up we played Belfort, which I suggested as I figured it should fit in the time we had left with the 3 players we now had. This plus a certain important rule I found out about the day before about majorities on resource spaces getting a bonus had me excited to play. In the game I aimed to try and get as much incoem as possible to make the tax step easier (After it screwed me on Friday ^^). I grabbed a guild as my first building (Gain 2 steel one) as I figured people would often want that over wasting workers by the other method. I also focused on master elf/dwarf upgrade properties to try and get a lot done with minimal workers early in the game to avoid hitting too high on tax brackets. In the end I came in second place, although I still got a good amount over 50 with a score I’m happy with. I really really want to pick up the expansion expansion for Belfort, as the extra options sound like they could make this a brilliant game from a good game for me.

Sunday

Not so much of games today, although I did seem to just do so much stuff in general (Swimming, Town, Board Games, Video Games, Painting, Watched a Film and I’m sure more I forget right now). While in town we went to Forbidden Planet where we discovered Ticket to Ride (Or Zug Um Zum in this case) sitting there reduced from £35 to just £20. It’s too good a game to turn down a good offer like that, and seeing as the game is language independant it’s no problem for the rules and such to be in German (Would love to learn to understand it anyway though). We had a game upon getting back, where I managed to hit well, a lot of points and take the victory (Mostly long journeys, completed 3 long routes and 1 short). Definitely worth picking up ^^.

Halesowen Board Gamers #3 (06/02/2014)

Another week, another gaming session In Halesowen. Wait, but it’s 2 weeks since I last posted about one…I’m afraid it was my Mum’s Birthday, so I was at my Grandma’s for the evening =)

I just want to apologize for my lack of names again. I really should know them by now, but will have to suffice with waiting for Dave D’s post again and editing my post accordingly ^^.

I only had time for one game this week, as it was a big one, with roughly a million components, which is to say it was Caverna: The Cave Farmers. When me & my friend Chris (Handy) arrived, there was already a group setting up to play, but as there was a few of us interested we set up a separate game with my copy. While the other group were going for the advanced game (Lots more furnishing tiles) we went with the beginner version with a few less for teaching purposes (I’m in no rush for over-stressing myself with extra things to teach until I’ve played a lot with the reduced options ^^).

So what’s the game about? Well, if you’ve played Agricola, then apparently it’s quite similar (I never have, but 2 people at the table have and had many ‘ah yeah that’s the same’ moments). In Caverna you’re using a small family of dwarves (workers) to manage a small farm, alongside a mining setup digging a starting cave into a mountain as their home. Throughout the game players can gather animals and crops on the farm side, and dig tunnels, furnish useful rooms and create mines in the cavern side of their personal board.

To play, each player puts down their workers in turn on a variety of action spaces that let them gather resources, clear land, dig tunnels or go adventuring. Each round new actions become available, drawn from a semi-randomized deck, making new possibilities come available for their dwarves. After 12 rounds, the game ends and players count up how many victory points they’ve accumulated to work out who the ultimate winner is of the game.

In our game, we all took fairly different paths throughout the game. Handy went for a fairly early focus on building up his farmland and getting a lot of crops, Gordon seemed to focus on building up everything as a whole and filling space (You get -ve points at the end of the game for not using all of the available space) and player-3 grabbed a couple of early resource-generating furnishings and spent a lot of the game trying to work out how to use his massive stockpile.

Through to the middle of the game, I felt convinced Handy’s strategy would come out best, as we could all see his huge amount of fields and stacks of grain & vegetables. Early-Middle I got a weapon for one of my dwarves and struggled to find much use for it, but stuck with it and got a weapon for my second dwarf too, partly to block Steve from getting his own (I wanted as few of the others having a good weapon as possible or it would have become a bad route to take). Gordon made good use of a furnishing (or 2?) he had that reduced the cost of things he built, so he got a lot of fields/furnishings placed to make best use of it. Steve had only caves at this point, having ignored his farm side, but started going for extra workers (Gordon did too) so went to work on getting it into a useful state.

The game progressed with Handy sticking to 2 workers to keep feeding cheap while keeping his farm going, while getting some cave tiles just to fill up the space, but having very few furnishings (Other than to make wheat/veg more effective and worth more points). Gordon & Steve put a lot of work into getting more workers, with Steve also getting a lot of rubies along the way. Steve was my strongest competition for adventures, but as a result of his having more workers, I could easily take the better adventure spots on the board and that became my primary route to getting things. Myself and Gordon built up very animal-heavy farms, with his having a lot of sheep and mine being quite varied. Gordon used a lot of time trying to get food for his huge work force (5 in the end).

I’m not sure how everyone compared in individual scoring points, but we somehow managed to finish with a 3 way tie for first place! Me, Gordon & Steve had 76 points to Handy’s respectable 61. I think Handy hurt his chances a bit by not getting an extra worker or two – He had the best setup to feed them for a long time and pretty much just stockpiled them rather than make use of them. My strategy managed to pay off in the end, as I netted the level 4 adventure space every round since it came out and managed to built pretty much everything up from them. Gordon finished with a very all-rounder farm with his 5 workers, and Steve ended up quite spread too, with perhaps a weaker farm than everyone else, but a complete cave and a nice number of straight gold points he’d gathered.

All in all the game was a huge amount of fun. I’m glad that I was able to take a route that didn’t require a ton of workers, while being equal to someone with a heavy cave focus and someone going all round. I think the tie really speaks to this games balance in that we did very different things to come out so similar on points. Absolutely brilliant, I’m happy I brought Caverna along with me and had 3 great people to play with for my first multiplayer game (Done a couple solo to learn the rules). Thanks guys!

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out my last post about some awesome kickstarter projects running at the moment, they’re all pretty damn cheap ($3 minimum on one of them!) and look great. Till next time! =)

Kickstarter Interesting Projects #2 (4th Feb ’14) – oddball Aeronauts, Tiny Epic Kingdoms & This Town Aint Big Enough for the 2-4 of us!

It’s been a while since I decided to post about kickstarter projects I’ve backed, but this month there seems to be lots of low-cost ones that are very interesting, and I just happen to feel like saying something about them!

Tiny Epic Kingdoms

This is the biggest of the 3, (amusingly, as they’re all ‘micro’ sized), and wraps up 4 days from now. Tiny Epic Kingdoms has you playing of one of a variety of races to prove your dominance in the smallest 4X game I’ve seen.

Players compete to try and be the best at a variety of key areas in order to ultimately prove themselves the best. They can try to expand their population across the map, discover powerful magic, build colossal towers or battle their way forward in the name of victory. These are tiny kingdoms nonetheless, and there’s simply not enough room which should make for some interesting interactions between players as they vie for resources.

The guys making this game have done an amazing job of advertising it and getting information on it out there, and managed to get my attention a good while before the project even started. The shipping isn’t great, and there’s a risk of customs charges, but the components look lovely and there’s a huge amount of factions gained from being a backer to provide lots of variety in a game that will be lovely to take anywhere. Take a look for yourself! ^^.
oddball Aeronauts: Pirates vs the Pendragon

Next along in size is a card game that if you don’t look close enough could be dismissed as a top-trumps derivative. That would be a mistake however, as this game looks to be remarkably deep and a very interesting game for 2 players to enjoy just about anywhere. I’ll try to explain a little, but I’d urge you to watch Richard Hams (rahdo) Runthrough of the game on youtube to really get a good idea of it. The campaign ends on the 3rd March so plenty time for you to decide ^^.

Each turn players go at each other by comparing 3 statistics on their cards (Sailing, Boarding and Cannons), the interesting bit being that you can use up to the top 3 cards of your deck for the comparison, and that number is  done simultaneously, with all the cards used being lost as ‘damage’. Cards also have abilities that can be manipulated to try and make your way to victory. There are also event cards in each players deck that can change things up, and introduce yet more strategy to the game in trying to set yourself up to win those events.

Looks great, and I’m looking forward to receiving it later this year. £15 shipped to anywhere is pretty nice too.
This Town Aint Big Enough for the 2-4 of us!

Finally, the latest micro-game from TMG, in their pay what you want with $3 minimum format, is this carcassonne-in-appearance tile placement game, Players put town tiles with various ‘brands’ on them which represent each player in the game, and when an area is completely fenced in, it gets scored. The cool bit is that each player in that area scores based on the next lowest number in that area, so if you have 4 brands and another player has 2, you get 2 points and they get 0 (As below them is no-one).

The game comes with 24 tiles, and maybe more when stretch goals are hit, which looks to provide a lot of fun in a small package. It’s also possible that multiple sets might work combined, as backers suggested, to which the games designer is play-testing now in response to peoples inquiries. I hope it works well as I’d happily pick up a few with them being so cheap for each copy ^^. The project has another 9 days in it, and is already nearly double it’s goal with only 1 day on the site so far, definitely worth a look as it costs barely more than lunch! ^^.

Thanks for your time and such, I hope you’ve found something interesting to back here! I think oddball Aeronauts looks the most interesting, as it should lead to some great 2-player gaming opportunities when I’m with my girlfriend Grace. The others look amazing too though, else they wouldn’t be nicking a cut of my budget for games this year, so I recommend you go for them all ^^>

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

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.

—-

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 =)

Weekly Update #3 – Halesowen Boardgamers, Dragoons Den & Other

What? This is 2 weeks after the last update? Heresy, you shall be slain for such accusations…Oh wait, yeah I missed a week, but noone’s reading this blog anyway =)

Sunday 15th – Dragoons Den

I first-timed another board game group since my last update, called ‘Dragoons Den’ which is set up in the Moseley all services venue in er..Moseley. I’ve not really been sure whether to go as I haven’t heard many people bringing it up and I also haven’t been able to reach it until I recently got a car. My girlfriend Grace went home to Brighton for a couple of weeks (I’m going to visit tomorrow!) on the 14th so I had nothing to do on Sundays which I usually reserve for spending time with her – This seemed like a fun alternative.

On arrival there was a group started on ‘Black Gold’ and a group who’d just finished a game and were happy to invite me over for something instead of whatever their other plan was (I think they had a game lined up which was 4p and I made it 5). We had a few games of Coup, which was my first time playing and which turned out to be very easy to pick up. I’ve come to realise recently that I don’t find myself overly fond of deduction games despite a frenzied interest a short while back, as I like to be able to sit back and well, have some privacy I guess (Despite being in a game,..it’s weird), but in these games people are eying you up and asking you questions and I don’t always respond as I should. Anyway Simon won the first and last game, with me getting a neat victory on the second pretty much by being my quiet self and noone paying me much attention ^^.

Afterwards we played Euphoria, with a full complement of 6 for the first time! It was a lot of fun and while I didn’t win, I’m super happy to have gotten another ‘player count’ in of the game, as it takes me closer to feeling I can give it a good review. I’ve done a session report here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1087717/chriss-sessions-game-with-6

Line Dice, Zombie Dice & Timeline Run Through + Shelves

On the 16th I was mostly occupied but found some time to do a run through video of some shorter games. I’d prefer to have done something bigger, but from experience with the Euphoria one I’ll need lots of time for trial runs before I get it done, and this seemed a nice option. I also did a ‘shelf porn’  walkthrough with short descriptions/comments on each of the games on my shelf.

Halesowen Board Gamers

I made a second visit to the Halesowen board gamers group on Wednesday evening, although this time my friends were already home for Christmas so I went along on my own. There were 6 others at the event and all were in games as I arrived. Thanks to a remarkably short game of Zombicide (Half an hour, they died :P) I was able to join 2 people and play a couple of games.

First up was Small World Underground, which I’ve not played in 6+ months I think. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad it was suggested, as I’ve shied away from this game for a while as noone really seemed to want to play, happy to see that view challenged. I lost, as I stuck to my Mummies the entire game and never used their power (They’re just cool!), with mike coming first & mark in second.

After that we looked for something a little shorter and after having a couple of other suggestions I noticed Carcassonne and had a sudden burst of desire to try it out. There was a good reaction to that though as apparently it’s a well liked game and the others were happy to play. I don’t really know how to say what my tactic in the game was, but I got a huge area with a farmer in and netted plenty of points from it to stop myself being too far behind the others. In the end Mike had 100-something, Mark 94 & me 89. Looking forward to playing again sometime in the future!

So this week hasn’t been quite so game-filled, and to be honest I don’t know where my times gone. Yesterday was a bit of a shambles which I shan’t bring up for now, but nevermind ^^. Christmas is less than a week away and tis’ time to get into the Christmas Spirit.

I probably won’t be posting again till afterwards…so
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Weekly Update #2 – Halesowen Board Gamers & Euphoria

So, in the first 8 days that I’ve owned Euphoria, I’ve played 7 times. I think that’s definitely the sign of a great game! In this post I plan to Summarize how they’ve gone, mention a few other games played and generally cheer that I found a new tabletop society to go to on Wednesdays!

Back on Wednesday last week I got my first couple of plays done in the evening. Some friends came over, so we have me, Chris, Chris & Adam. Or by initials CJS, CJH, CJH…Er..Me, Handy, Harrison & Adam, lets go with that. I got explanation out of the way pretty quickly and we got into our games and had a lot of fun. Adam found a great tactic quite early and managed to pull ahead with his Icarus allegiance and win the first game. In the second game things felt a bit tighter with us knowing rather than guessing what we were doing, Harrison managed to make good use of recruits and take the lead. I had ‘lose a worker’ recruits in at least one of the games and well, losing a worker hurts!

On Friday I went along to the UoB tabletop society for just the 1 game of Euphoria before I headed back home to join friends who wanted to play Battlestar Galactica. In the game of Euphoria I got asked a lot more questions this time, which I think was because my thematic explanation was a bit fractured and made people ask a lot of questions about it, which is a bit frustrating when it doesn’t actually affect the game. Anyway people had a lot of fun and Ian commented that he wants to play again sometime (Harrison won again, as he was about too and enjoys the game ^^). The game of battlestar galactica afterwards was quite fun, but to be honest I find the length of the game too much, when you consider how heavy the landslide is when the second round of loyalty cards goes out – I don’t enjoy going from ‘a chance’ to ‘haha you’ve lost’, but what can you do…:(

I had another game of Euphoria, this time with 2, on the 7th. I had a lot less fun this game but fortunately I managed to work out the reason afterwards which was an incorrect rule! We were doing the markets wrong so they weren’t really contestable, which meant the winner of the game was obvious a long time before the end and took out all the tension. No problems as correcting the rule makes it better. In the evening me, Grace, and my housemates Ken & Ruth had games of Dixit (Ken Won), Timeline (Ruth Won) and Love Letter (Ruth Won), there’s not much I can say about these as they’re pretty straightforward games, but we had a lot of fun!

On Sunday I played games of Legendary & Forbidden Desert with Ken in the day, and Euphoria 2 player with Grace in the evening. Forbidden Desert we absolutely kicked ass, winning with no worry of things going wrong at all (I didn’t even have to visit a water location, thanks to finding a canteen along the way). In Legendary we beat up Mephisto despite his valiant efforts to open Portals to the dark dimension, with Ken punching his face a few more times than me and taking the victory. With Euphoria in the evening I won the first game, as a result of Grace missing a rule that I didn’t pick up on (How the numbers on commodity locations work). The game after Grace took victory with me not too far behind, so at this point I’d pretty much lost 5/5 as I discounted the game before where only I knew how to play properly ^^.

On Monday/Tuesday I did something related to board games but not playing them! I recorded a ‘run through’ of the game in the hope that people can watch it and learn to play the game – Something I much prefer doing as opposed to reading rulebooks (Well, I read those too, but it’s hard to match rulebook to actually playing sometimes ^^). Monday was just a few failed attempts, and on Tuesday I got a whole video recorded (40 minutes!) with just a couple of breaks when people came into the room as I couldn’t bring myself to keep going when that happened ^^. I got the video posted overnight and some great feedback from the Euphoria forum on boardgamegeek yesterday, positive feedback in fact! I’m so happy that people liked the video as now I’m super-motivated to do more.

Halesowen Board Gamers

Well, this wasn’t any longer than any of the other sessions I had, but this is a new society I came across that I’m quite excited about! This group meet up every Wednesday evening in an upstairs room in a pub, which is really well lit and has lots of room, not to mention being remarkably quiet. I’m so glad to have found it and taken the chance as being a pub I was unsure ^^.

I took Grace & Harrison with me as I love playing games with them and partly because I wanted people I know there for confidence reasons ^^. I had Euphoria with me so I suggested that and after a short while found a couple of people to join me and Grace for a game while Harrison went off to play Power Grid (Which I believe he enjoyed). I got a bit focused on my own strategies in Euphoria to know what the other 3 were going for, but with a recruit that let me use any resource for construction sites I focused on construction of markets. As a result I made a lot of use of the Euphorian tunnel and had a beautiful stack of gold to work with. Thanks to limiting other players actions by the market negatives I was pushing out, and perhaps by finally having grasped the way the game works, I took the victory by a few points lead!

Afterwards me, Grace & the other 2 (James & Jamie I believe was their names) played a game of King of Tokyo as we needed something fairly quick to fill the time. While the others tried to balance going into Tokyo and getting other things, I just sat back and went for points with no idea if it was a good plan. Apparently it was, as after 20 minutes or so 2 of the other players had wiped themselves out, with the last being in Tokyo with 2 health. For the first time in the game I just went straight for damage and got the 2 I needed to take the win. Yay!

Fun Week! I hope things continue being this packed with gaming ^^.