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Shefford Friday night games

This is a short description of the games we play at our Friday night game group.

Archive for Sharon Khan

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Friday 20th May 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This Friday we were just 6. It started with just Simon and I for the first ten minutes, so we played a quick, and incredibly close, game of Star Realms while waiting for the rest to arrive. Simon was just victorious, with me leaving him on 2 and him just able to do enough to finish me off the next turn.

We then split into two tables, with the current inevitable choice of Grand Austria Hotel or Orléans. I explained Grand Austria Hotel to Simon and James, who hadn't played it yet. I went for a high rooms strategy, given that two of the bonuses were for all of one colour, and 4/3 of yellow/red, and also made sure I pushed up the emperor track for the bonus for that. Simon had a similar strategy, but was just a step behind me, getting the bonuses second. James however went off in a completely different direction, ignoring the card bonuses, ignoring the emperor track and just taking punishment, instead hiring a huge number of staff, and taking a few valuable customers rather than lots of smaller ones - it worked surprisingly well for him, especially as he had lots of bonuses for taking 3s, including 5 points every time, and good end-game points. Final scores were very spread with me lapping Simon, and James ending up somewhere in between.

The other game finished at exactly the same time, so we merged and split again. After some discussion I ended up upstairs playing Shipyard with the other girls, while the guys took Tikal downstairs. Hannah had only played once before, so needed a few reminders, and nearly got herself in a mess trying to do too much with her contracts. However it was Marion who did get herself in a mess, misunderstanding what one of her contracts meant, until halfway through the game when I realised she had it wrong. This lost her a few points, as she had being doing stuff for no gain, whereas Hannah was gaily producing 3-sized whips with propellers for her contract, and I produced one big ship with rigging/engineer bonuses, and took huge numbers of bonus tiles. It was close at end-game scoring, my points from my bonus tiles just putting me ahead of Hannah, with Marion a little behind that.

We then played Industrial Waste, which was new to Marion and Hannah had only played once. Hannah went for a fairly typical producing strategy, upgrading her pollution track, to stop pollution being a problem. I went the other route, upgrading my tracks heavily, selling lots of goods, firing most of my staff, and running my factory only rarely. It turned out these strategies were just as good as each other, with Hannah beating me by just half a point at final scoring!

It was now twenty minutes to midnight, so we needed some shorter games. Marion suggested Pass the Pigs first, as she knew it was on my list to play, and she turned out to be a complete star at rolling pigs, while Hannah and I kept going bust before we even got a chance to score! I just managed to beat Hannah on the final turn, with a couple of lucky rolls, but we were both about 60 points behind Marion! We then played Dobble, which Marion and Hannah tied, with me just two behind. We were then going to stop, but were chatting about other games, and the fact that Hannah hadn't played Qwixx came up, and as the others still hadn't finished we thought we'd have a quick game - only sadly, it was about the longest game of Qwixx ever - with both Marion and I getting to the stage that we could only take 2s or 12s (and no-one ever rolling lock numbers!), while Hannah finished three of her tracks, but had space on her green, but kept mis-rolling! Eventually she took her fourth misroll (luckily for me, just before I took any!), and I won with an impressive score of 100, while the others were in the 70s.
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Sat May 21, 2016 8:54 am
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Friday 13th May 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We started with 5 of us, expecting two more imminently, so needed a filler and Liar's Dice was the one nearest the top of my list. It was new to Hannah, and Marion hadn't played in a while so we did a quick rules explanation then started up. Sami rapidly found himself in trouble, thanks to Hannah's freak dice rolling - there were a number of times he challenged her on unlikely bids, only for her to produce four of whatever number from behind her cup, in addition to whatever the rest of us had! After he was eliminated everyone else lost a couple of dice, and then Marion, followed by Colin, both palificoed and went out shortly after. That left Hannah, with just one dice by now, and me, with three. I then rolled three 6s, which naturally Hannah challenged, not having any herself despite having started with one 6, while I smugly produced them!

The other two had arrived while we were playing, so we then split into two tables. Grand Austria Hotel was rapidly suggested, with Orleans not long after, and we decided to put two new players into the Grand Austria game with Colin to teach them, while the remaining four of us played Orleans. I decided to try a board strategy this time, going for an early red, then upgrading my stars, and building lots of houses on the board. This meant my bag stayed small, and I was taking 7 or 8 out of only about 11 tiles out of the bag each turn, which meant my game was fairly consistent - until the turn when I drew no reds and no greys, which messed me up, followed by a turn with no whites!! However, I bought two buildings, one getting me a good, and the other getting me cash for each of my houses from double grey (which was my only use for greys!), and was getting me 8 a turn for several turns near the end. At final scoring I had the highest score in every category, so it was fairly close I was winning!! James was close to me in cash and end game points, but hadn't picked up any goods during the game, while Sami scored well in goods and end-game points, but was lagging in cash, but just managed to beat James. Marion had a bit of a disaster and didn't even break 100 points, going up all the tracks well, but not really getting many points for it.

I chose Princes of Florence as next game. This was a slightly odd game for me, as I ended up in a builder strategy, without having really planned to do so. I had six works to do, all needing different buildings, but only had enough actions left to play five of them, if I built the buildings for them. James was bidding very aggressively for jesters, put his first three works out on the first three turns, then bought two more from the deck to play later. Marion had a fairly standard mixed strategy going, while Sami was going for a 7 work strategy, with prestige card for most works, and that prestige card just put him ahead of me at end game, but I was safely second.

The others were about to start their last round, so Marion suggested Splendor as a suitable length game. This was incredibly close, with no-one dominating the bonus tiles, three of us getting one each, and everyone collecting points at similar rates. Sami took a tile that would allow Marion to get to 15 points in two turns, only to groan as a card that was even better, and would allow her to do it with just the one wild turned up. James and I scrambled to get as many points as possible in the remaining two turns, and it ended 15-14-13-13, with Marion first and Sami second.

Marion then suggested Telestrations, as she was now sufficiently under the influence of alcohol to want to move to party games. We played this 7 player. The first round Marion was blaming James for some strange drawings and guesses, but then when the cards were revealed it became clear that it was Colin, sitting to James's left, who had actually been causing the problems, several cards breaking down at that point! Seb was the only person to successfully get his word, nail polish, round the table. The second round we went the other way, and a few more succeeded, or nearly so, but we still had a few amusing guesses, as usual.

At that point my table continued with party games, while the other took a more serious game downstairs. We started at the top of my party game list with Taboo, with Marion and Hannah taking Seb and I on. I forgot it was a minute timer usually for this, so we played with 30 seconds, which made some of the rounds a bit quick. Hannah however was a star at getting Marion to guess quickly and often managed two or three in her round, while Marion was doing less well the other way round. Seb and I were just increasing our score in ones mainly! And we had several laughs - such as Hannah "The sound a goose makes", to which Marion replied "Honk", at which point Hannah just dissolved into giggles for the rest of her time (she'd been going for Quack but couldn't say duck obviously!). And the time when Marion was trying to guess Quick, and managed to work her way through almost every "quick" word on the card, but missed Quick!!

After that we returned to my party game list, and they asked to try You Robot, which was new to them all - Marion amazed to find a game in our collection she hadn't played! We rolled the same pairs. The first attempt was a bit unbalanced, as I got Seb into position, while Marion after a few failed attempts, sat in the corner in hysterics instead! We managed to reach five cards first, Hannah having some luck getting Marion into position, so her and Seb were fairly even, but every time it was me against Marion our team finished first.

We finished with Pictomania, which is a general favourite. Seb looked like he was going to beat me (unheard of!) after he was ahead for the first three rounds, but then he had a complete disaster in the fourth round - he drew a lovely frying pan, with some other stuff (apparently a beret and a French flag), but with Pancake, Crepe and Omelette to choose from, none of us dared hazard a guess and I pulled ahead and kept ahead on the last round, with my birthday party being easy to guess, even if I got very few points from guessing anyone else's. And the last round put Hannah into negative score!
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Sat May 14, 2016 9:23 am
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Friday 6th May 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 9. We took a while to decide how to split, before eventually splitting 4-5, with the four playing Orleans, while the 5, which I was in, playing Terra Mystica. It was a disastrous game for me. I was Halflings, with Sami playing Nomads next to me on one side of the wheel, and Simon, as Dragonlords, choosing black to put his initial settlements on, the other side of the wheel. And then to add insult to injury Ray was Giants, so could also equally easily terraform any colour. I couldn't see any good space to place my initial settlements, and my first one was immediately joined by one of Simon's. My other one I placed on the top, and Sami placed two squares away. I had the immediate area around that second settlement, about 5 squares, but Simon with his Dragonlords took all the good squares for me around the other one and I abandoned it completely, instead upgrading my shipping track to get out, but Sami made it hard for me one side, and Colin squeezed me the other, and I was unable to get a second town, although I was able to increase my area somewhat. The game was incredibly close for the other four, with only a handful of points between them, and me about ten points behind.

The others still had a way to go, so we played a few hands of Mü & More while waiting. Simon happened to be on the right team the first two times, with a large bonus the first time thanks to Ray, and a bonus for Ray failing the second time. Sami and Colin managed to team up successfully the third time to take them out of last two places, but neither was close to catching Simon's score!

We then split into three tables, 3-3-3, with one table taking our new Grand Austria Hotel, another tabling Vikings, and Sami, Ray and I settling on Puerto Rico. It was a high shipping game, with me deciding earlier on that I was blocked out of the trading house, so there was no point competing, and I should just ship, so bought a harbour instead of my coffee roaster which I had planned on, and with some help from Ray, who had a good cash flow, and eventually picked up Factory, Harbour and Wharf, I was shipping madly. I also blocked Ray out of building a second large building by ending a turn earlier than he really wanted, and this was enough to keep me just two points ahead of him, while Sami had been struggling to keep up with the shipping all game.

Neither of the other tables were anywhere near finishing, so we taught Ray Orléans next. After a bit of confusion initially he got going, although as it was his first play he naturally wasn't as effective as Sami and I. I managed to win in the end, ahead of Sami's building/cog strategy, which looked quite interesting.

We finished just as Vikings was scoring up, and Ray decided to head off at that point, so the remaining five of us joined together for an Ave Caesar, a full four race game - which Simon and I managed to jointly win.
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Mon May 9, 2016 5:56 pm
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Friday 29th April 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we started with 6, expecting a few more imminently, so we pulled out 6 nimmt! as a quick filler. We played two hands, dealing James in as 7th player for the second hand. Scores were relatively close, with Simon pulling off the win.

Next we split into two tables - I forget what they played downstairs, but upstairs we played Breaking Away 5 player. Sami won by absolutely miles, getting some big numbers for almost all of his bikes early on, and then two of them romping home for first and second at the end of the race. James was about 10 points behind him, and the remaining three of us were ten points behind that!

We then merged and split again, with Seb wanting to play his Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, so he explained how to play and acted as gamesmaster for the first game. Sadly for everyone else, but luckily for me, his poison clue threw them completely off the scent for my alcohol method of killing, which meant although I was clearly the suspicious one all game, they weren't able to find the correct pair before the end of the game, although Simon did get close at one point. I then took over gamesmaster for the second one, but Colin's Stone proved rather too easy to give clues for with the objects the others had, so he was guessed very quickly.

We then moved on to Powerboats. It was the usual chaos. I played safe, and came first in the first two races as a result, but then was baulked by Sami and sent off on a diversion as a result in the third, but luckily still finished high enough to retain first place overall. Everyone else went on multiple diversions - either because they were trying to go the wrong way round the buoy (at least two people made this mistake!), or because they were terrible at rolling dice, or because they were just a bit too keen to go fast and it went horribly wrong! Martin in particular had to abandon one race and finish at speed 1, as his attempt to catch up after his first diversion just went even worse! He managed fourth place overall though - the results definitely went with experience - I think maybe the hard board, which we played on completely at random, is a little too tricky for newer players to navigate.

We merged and split again at this point, with this time one table heading downstairs for Codenames, while upstairs we played 7 Wonders. Simon went uber military as usual, but Marion attempted to compete, but lost - which wasn't good for her final score, which was pretty much just the score from her wonder and cash. I was on his other side, and gave up after building some token military and just accepted 0 points, getting a few points from beating up my right hand neighbour. I instead went mega-blue, getting 32 points in total for blue buildings, and 16 for Guilds on top, but this wasn't enough to beat Colin, who scored well in every category except Guilds, and managed 18 military points with relative ease, and pipped me just one point for a winning score of 59.

We then finished with one of the closest games of The Bucket King ever. Marion, having experimented with a random pyramid, learnt why that wasn't a good idea as her pyramid fell down in just a couple of hits, but after she went everyone else got down to a pair of buckets almost simultaneously, and it really could have been anyone's game from the players remaining. James was finally victorious with me second, which I was quite relieved by, as both Martin and I had been attacked so much early on that we'd been playing double cards quite often, and our hands were quite tiny compared to the other players!
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Wed May 4, 2016 10:33 am
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Friday 22nd April 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We were 7 this Friday. We started with just 4 of us waiting for two more to arrive, so played a quick handle of Spot it!, which I thought Marion had won, but turned out to have beaten her by just one card!!

We were then 6, and after some discussion of games decided to play a 6 player Fauna for half an hour, until Sami had to leave to pick up our daughter from her school disco, hoping that our final gamer would arrive in that half hour. We started with a Koala, which was easy enough and most people had fairly similar scores (although we were surprised by the lack of tail), and then moved onto an Auckland sealion - but Sami and Marion didn't know where Auckland was (Sami placed in Canada, while Marion had it confused with the Orkney Islands!). There was also some difference of opinion on the size of sealions. James pulled ahead after this round a bit. Then we had a Alpensalamander, and this was where James did very well, knowing the dimensions of a Salamander much better than everyone else - the "Alpen" clue meant that everyone could get similar scores for location! Then finally we had a sperm whale, which I didn't bother translating to German, and there was a word in their that meant Pygmy Sperm Whale, so although we assumed James would pass the finish line, he didn't - and in fact Sami and I nearly caught him up, as all the dimensions were off for everyone (and I'd ignored dimensions and gone for just locations as safer points, just placing my final cube as the smallest weight cube placed, which was just enough for 3 points). However, we called it a day there anyway.

At that point we were 6 and looking for two games, one of which needed to be about an hour long, so my husband could join them when he got back. John had brought Caverna: The Cave Farmers for one table, which most people were happy to play. I suggested Thunderstone for the other table as top of my list and about the right length, and Seb and Colin joined me for that. I had to explain it to Seb, and made it sound far more confusing than it actually was! I got off to the best start with my fighters and weapons and beat up quite a few monsters, while Colin kept going to the dungeon with his card draw deck and ending up just short, usually as he didn't have enough light. However, then my deck went into meltdown, as it had two many monsters in, and I was really struggling to beat up any more. Meanwhile Seb was spending turns thinning his, and Colin was buying lots of Magic Attack - ok until a few creatures turned up immune to it. In the end Colin was able to beat up the last monster and take the thunderstone, and this proved decisive for the win, just ending up a couple of points ahead of me.

Sami had returned just as we drew the Thunderstone from the top of the deck, so we were then a four player, and Colin brought down a pile, from which Seb picked Amun-Re, as the only one he'd heard of! Again it was new to him. First round was fairly typical - Colin went for largest region on one side, and poisoned two regions; the rest of us got our sets, and none of us got many points from bonus cards. Sami had the most money going into the second round, with me not far behind, and Colin rather short, but ahead on points. By now I had two bonus cards that needed cards and side of the river, so when Abydos appeared that was a good first buy for me. I then picked up Baharya, so really needed Kharga to finish the collection - although it was one of Colin's poisoned regions, or if I just wanted one card I could go for Damanhur, which had a double pyramid in. However, Sami bid 21 for that straight off, and I didn't have 28 cash so that wasn't an option; Colin bid on the other region with two pyramids on the other side of the river, and I bid on Kharga, but then Seb outbid me, and Colin took my region rather than overbid him (he'd clearly had an overbid card for a while from the way he'd been bidding!)! I had to move over the river, losing 6 points of bonus cards, but gaining a double pyramid. I assumed I'd get three sets, but Sami then forced me to choose between the last set and keeping the majority on one side, and it was one more point to keep the majority. Sami was miles ahead of the rest of us at end-game, and I just managed to keep ahead of the other two at final scoring.

Next we pulled Peloponnes from Colin's pile, and introduced Seb to that. It was a fairly tame game, with the resupplies nicely spread, and the disasters all appearing in the last three rounds as expected, and by then well-prepared for. I had a real problem with people all game, which gave me a problem with money, which gave me a problem bidding on more tiles that gave me people... Anyway, Seb and and I ended on a tiebreak on 15, which I lost, while Colin was streaks ahead on 24!!

Colin then had just half an hour before he had to leave, so chose Der dreizehnte Holzwurm, ANOTHER game new to Seb! This time I was definitely getting the luck of the cards. The first hand I had mostly positive, or small numbers. Colin and Sami took all the early bonus cards ahead of me, but I then realised that a quick end would still leave me positive, so I took the remaining negative bonus cards and a few rows with small positive cards in them, and then was planning on empty my hand of negatives, then take a row and the -13 and catch them on the hop. Just as I got rid of my last negatives, Seb got squeezed and had to take the -13, and I finished with an amazing 52. Seb was obviously negative, and Colin was only just positive. Then the second round I was dealt all but one of the +10s, along with lots of other large positives, and just ended the game quickly at that point, for +40, while both Sami and Colin were still negative! My final score was 92, while Sami was the only other player with a positive score, with a score of 8.

The other table were just scoring up Caverna, so we moved upstairs to heckle (and upset John's maths!), and then help pack-up, and then played a 6 player Ave Caesar to finish with. Despite Marion not liking this game, she proved yet again that she is really good at it and should play it more often to improve her stats - winning two of the four races, and finishing all four for the win. John was second, with two seconds and a third, and I managed to just get third place, despite only finishing three races, as when I did finish I was always well up in the first three places!
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Sun Apr 24, 2016 8:41 am
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Friday 15th April 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 9. We started with me suggesting Orléans for one table, which easily found 4 players, while the others played El Grande upstairs. It was a very close game of Orleans, with me just under 10 points ahead of Marion, and everyone else within about ten points of her. I went for the bottom track, and a houses to match, and also gained a high number of points early on from an early farmer more than everyone else. I also seemed to get far more in-game points than anyone else, ending the game with 20 more cash than anyone else. Marion meanwhile went heavily for the board, but neglected the bottom track, while Lisa got blocked on the board, but went flying up the bottom track late game thanks to two buildings she had bought. When she remembered that she had three people tokens to multiply this by, this netted her quite a large amount of points!

We then merged and split differently - I suggested a lighter party game for one table, and this ended up being Pictomania. Meanwhile the non-party game table played Age of Steam. I got off to an amazing start in Pictomania and was rapidly ahead after the first two rounds, with only Marion close. Seb had a disaster in the second round, and one later round, with almost no-one guessing his drawing. There were a couple of amusing moments - such as the time Hannah and I both finished drawing quickly and guessed each other's first - but she somehow thought my triangle was a rectangle - oops, picked the wrong number out of her hand!! We also had one round where whether you got Gill's card right depended on whether you'd looked at mine first - as hers could have been one of two, but mine was clearly one of the two numbers!! Seb was definitely last, unlike his last game where he did well, and then everyone else was in a bit of a clump in the early 20s, with Marion in second place on 28 points and me out in front with over 40 points.

Hannah was talking about leaving them, but I convinced her to play with a game of Duplik, which I know she enjoys and has a similar drawing theme. It was new to Seb and this certainly hampered him in the first round, but after that he was doing fine. Again it's a game I always score highly at and I won comfortably, but the scores were impressively close for everyone else - 47-46-45-44-43 in fact, with Hannah top and Seb just behind. As usual there was mass confusion several times. Marion caused general hilarity with her interchangeable use of left and right - the man and dog she was describing seemed to teleport several times, and one of the five dogs never got mentioned - her picture was particularly full and busy!! And Seb's four propellers confused a few people - I realised he meant a propeller with four arms, but several people drew four propellers and then struggled with his later instructions as a result. And then Seb confused me totally by describing the whole thing very thoroughly twice - so I drew it twice! My pictures were both actually pretty accurate as his description was very good, but the fact there were two of them did lose me a few points on things like "numbers of palm trees" in the picture!!

The others were just finishing up, so we played a quick Timeline: Diversity. Seb was really unlucky here, being first to get to one card, but taking forever to get rid of his last card, and both Gill (to her surprise!) and I finished before him. When he finished Marion and Lisa resigned, as the other table was waiting for us and they both had a couple of cards left!

At this point we merged and split again, and with Terra Mystica being suggested I headed that way pretty quickly, with the other usual Terra Mystica fans (Sami, Simon and Colin) joining me. We played on the expansion board but drew all normal races. Simon drew Engineers, and proceeded to struggle with them in the same way as Colin had the previous week! Sami was Alchemists, and seemed to have a fairly typical game with them. Colin was Giants, and confused me totally by starting next to me - it was the only place he could start where he could get a cheap trading post for his first settlement, from the way the others had placed. This however completely threw me off and I made a stupid blunder on the first turn, building my Swarmlings Stronghold where I had planned to build my Sanctuary, and then building my Sanctuary in my other area where I had planned to build my Stronghold. As the region with my Stronghold in had only three easy to terraform spaces, it couldn't form a town without a bridge and a double terraform (which is why I'd initially earmarked it as my Sanctuary area) - no mean feat for Swarmlings, especially when I'd burned down to just 5 power in my power bowl. I did manage it, and it did connect my two regions, which I hadn't initially planned to do, but it hampered my late game swarm, meant I couldn't found a third town, and just generally lost me points in other areas too, which meant I ended up behind Sami, and to his great surprise Colin flew past both of us at end-game scoring!!
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Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:05 pm
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Friday 8th April 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This Friday we were 7, so split into two tables. I suggested both Terra Mystica and Orleans, and these rapidly ended up being the two games tabled, with me on the Terra Mystica table. I drew Halflings, Sami Engineers, James Chaos Magicians and Simon Dragonlords. I got off to the usual Halfling great start, getting halfway round the board while the others had barely scored, but as usual with Halflings, the second half of the game then struggled to maintain that level of scoring, and was caught by first Sami, and then at final scoring by James, who used his Chaos Magicians to top every track - it helped that none of the rest of us were even vaguely going for tracks - Sami topped the brown track, but no-one got further than about three steps up any of the others!! Dragonlords terraform easily, so Simon spread rapidly, building all round James, but using his power for terraforms did mean he didn't have much to use to spend for stuff - he got largest area, but didn't get as many in-game points as Sami and I. Sami got his Engineers working very well, with little competition for space, getting two bridges by turn 4, and the third on turn 5, for lots of points.

Sami then asked for suggestions, and chose Power Grid from the list of games suggested, with the Spain map being drawn. We ended up with a C shaped board, with Simon and Sami on the ends of the Cs. I picked up an early garbage power plant, which cost me a house relative to everyone else, but meant I didn't have to get into the huge fight for coal that everyone else was in. I then picked up a size 4 recycling plant, and my costs plummeted. Phase 3 hit, and 3 recycling plants were put on top of the deck. I bought the other garbage plant from the plants available, but the only other reasonable plant was a coal one, and then the power plant row stalled for a couple of turns. This helped me, already powering for 13, but I was still behind on house buying. Phase 3 hit, and by now the coal situation was critical, with one of James and Simon guaranteeing not to power each turn - and the only new plants off the top of the deck were coal ones!! James bought goods first, so was able to risk buying any of the three coal power plants that turned up from the top of the deck (most of the others in the deck were uranium which was down at 1, so Sami and Simon were rather unlucky there!), and as he was also buying houses first, and with no-one having bought in Simon's area yet, was able to buy to 17 houses, powering 14 and end the game. Sami and I could also have built to 17 houses, but I could only powered 13 and Sami 12, and Simon was unable to power one of his coal plants.

We then played a quick Race for the Galaxy while the others finished up Orleans, which ended very close for the top 3 positions, James just one point ahead of Sami and I, with Sami beating me on the tie-break for second!

We then merged and split again, with the suggestion of Outpost not being popular at that time of night, but Vikings and Splendor proving rather more popular. I went for the Vikings table, with Marion and Simon. Marion somehow got herself into a very odd situation by the end of round 2, with six men sitting on her board waiting to be shipped! Then we had a succession of weird rounds, with all ends, no ships, 5 ships, all starts, and then in the final round, a round with only one end - which left Marion unable to finish her really long island. We all scored one end-game bonus, but I'd scored more in-game points which put me ahead. Marion moved back past Simon at final scoring due to her failure to feed, leaving him in second by just one point!!

I then suggested The Downfall of Pompeii. Simon needed a quick rules refresher and we started. I did very well off relatives, twice we had a sequence in a 4 building where Simon placed for one relative, Marion for two, and then me for 3! However, this didn't mean there were all in good positions, and I had far too many to be able to escape them all - almost all my pieces ended up on the board! I also drew almost all the omen cards, so alternated throwing the other two in the volcano. When AD79 hit for the second time we rapidly escaped, and it was a very close finish - Marion and I managing to get just one more person out than Simon, and Marion then winning out on the tie-break - as I had far more people in the volcano than she did!

Marion then suggested Rage, which I brought down and dealt out, only for us to then realise she had actually meant Burn Rate! We continued with Rage then though. First round went well for all of us - Simon going wrong, but picking up 5 tricks and +10 so his score wasn't any worse. Then we all went wrong in round 2, and then it started going rather better for Simon than Marion and I. He alternated rounds where he was right with ones where he went wrong, whereas I had five rounds in a row that went wrong, and Marion wasn't much better! Then at the end of the game he just kept getting it right every round, while Marion slumped down to my score. Then in the last round, with Marion and I within a couple of points of each other and Simon more than 40 points ahead, I was forced to say 0 with a 15 trump in hand!!! Needless to say I did not get that right!
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Sat Apr 9, 2016 12:38 pm
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Friday 1st April 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We were 7 this Friday, so started by splitting into two tables. Marion suggested The Castles of Burgundy for one table, while Seb suggested Pillars of the Earth for the other. Having played Pillars recently I plumped for Castles, and Colin joined us. I picked up the early quarry, then Colin went heavily for quarries for the next few rounds. I had a board with lots of little regions, so completed as many as possible early on for big points. Meanwhile Marion had the one with the 8 brown region so was working to fill that, and Colin had two 6 brown regions, so as well as his usual shipping strategy was aiming for them. I pulled ahead heavily early on as a result, but once their big regions started scoring they caught up, and going into the end-game scoring there was almost nothing separating the three of us. Colin just pulled ahead, thanks to picking up the yellow building that gave him 1 for every good he'd sold, plus a huge amount of cash from said buildings. I was just a couple of points behind, and Marion a few behind that. Very close!

Then Colin suggested London, which Marion was a little hazy on some of the rules for. This meant her black cubes got out of control in the mid-game, as she forgot to subtract her regions from her black cube total, until I calculated it for her one turn and we noticed. This may have contributed to her money shortage too, as she was focussing so heavily on cube reduction. Meanwhile Colin went for a mad loan strategy, ending the game on 6 loans, and taking all the buildings that cost lots of money and were worth VPs. I was just going for a standard strategy, but did end up with a rather large city, as I took so many non-flip cards that were getting me income - I had a huge pile of money most of the way through the game though! At end game we were surprised to see that although Colin had been buying high cost cards, and me normal ones, his cards were only worth a few points more than mine, and his negatives from loans out-weighed any other positives, so I was a few points ahead for the win.

The other game had finished at the same time, so Ellie went home, and we merged and split, with Sami (who had won Pillars comfortably as the only person who had played it before) suggesting Royal Palace, which was near the top of my play list. I gave up my option of picking as I wanted to play that, and Seb suggested one of his games, with Marion joining us to make our third. I'm sure Marion has played this before, when we first got it, but she'd forgotten it if she had, so we needed a full rules explanation and it took her a while to work out some of the intricacies. Because of the location of the card square Sami didn't go for this at all this game, and I still say that was why he won, beating me by just a few points as I got 6 points less than him and Marion at end-game scoring, and our in-game scoring points were almost identical.

He chose Agricola next, and we rolled the G deck, and this definitely led to very low scores all round - Marion not even breaking 30, and me only on 32! Even Sami, doing slightly better with cards that scored points only got 7 points from cards and improvements. Both the other two were struggling with feeding rather - Sami being a Vegetarian, and Marion forgetting that her special oven that she'd bought did cook animals as well as vegetables!! I was pretty much scamper feeding anyway, with lots of bonuses for taking the fishing and day labourer spaces, but did eat the animals that the other two were largely ignoring (although Sami did want sheep for his "trade sheep for vegetables" card.

We finished with a quick Love Letter, where I had a complete disaster in the early rounds, nothing going right for me (Baron with Princess - find Countess; Baron with Countess - find Princess; Start the hand with Countess/King or Countess/Prince in hand - yes it did happen twice!; 50/50 draw from the deck to win the round - draw the losing card etc etc). However, despite this I did manage to claw my way back to an all-in final round, which Marion won.
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Sat Apr 2, 2016 8:23 am
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Friday 18th March 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
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Last Friday there were 7 of us, one arriving an hour into the session. We started with a quick hand of Linko! while people were arriving, and then it was time to decide the first proper game. I suggested Orléans, as I'd missed out the previous week and was keen to try it, and John revealed that he'd bought a copy since last week and it was in the car. After a bit of a discussion we ended up with it just tabling on both tables!! I was with Seb and Simon, and Simon did a quick rules explanation and we started. Oddly all the positive event tiles came out early on - Simon was surprised how many there were in fact - having told us they were mostly negative, they just weren't!!! But then later, the more negative ones hit! I went for a good strategy, getting board presence from picking them up from the board, a building that got me a brocade if I activated it, and also going up the farm track to get the goods from that. We all played heavily for the bottom track, but the other two slightly more than me, although at end game we were all pretty much at the same point on it. I was the only person to take two cogs, and I think next time I might concentrate on them rather earlier, as they did allow me to take extra actions, and gave me more flexibility. I won with 145 points, pretty much split equally as 50 points from each of the three types of scoring, with the other two both around 90.

The other table were slightly behind us, so I suggested a quick game of Terra with James, who had arrived by then, while the others were finishing off. It was fairly close for most of the game - Simon's bad round being followed by an exceedingly good round that caught him up. Then somehow in the last two rounds I got lucky, and while playing for adjacency on a couple of things turned out to get the right answer, which pulled me ahead.

We then merged with the other group, Terra Mystica was suggested, and that was rapidly one table sorted, with us sending the other players upstairs to sort themselves out with a different game (I think they played Vikings but I don't know what after that!). We opened our expansion and managed to pull out two expansion races from the bag, as well as using the expansion board. I was the Acolytes, and had great fun playing with the tracks - up a bit, down a bit - terraforming enough squares to build two towns, and prevent Sami from connecting (a team effort with Simon when Sami wasn't expecting it!), before motoring up the tracks, and topping all of them in the end (two tied!). Simon had Shapeshifters, and these proved to be very powerful, although at least once he did change to a colour only to find that by his next turn the squares he was planning on terraforming had mysteriously vanished!). Colin meanwhile had a bit of a disaster with Engineers, and Sami played a very odd game with Darklings where he hardly terraformed with a priest all game, instead using them to go up the tracks, to get free terraforms there!!!

Simon then suggested Vinci for our next game. Sami got off to a great first turn, with a Weapons/Mining combination that took off very quick, but then both Colin and I attacked him (as he'd spread so much it was easy!), and he ended up declining on turn 2, and coming on with another mining civ on the other side of the board! I meanwhile took over a large area with a Militia civ, then declined for a Field General/Currency civ. This scored me a ridiculous amount of points for a turn or two, especially with a large declined empire, and everyone made it a mission to take me out at that point, Colin in particular, and I rapidly found myself with no pieces to expand with! After a couple of turns I was forced to decline as I had just one man left, just as Sami came on with his next civ, right on the empty area of board where my declined empire had been. The speed of growth he got from this, plus his declined minig civ scoring him 7 points a turn, meant he motored past the finishing post in three turns, with no-one really able to stop him. Colin was safely second, with me just going past Simon - but we were all nearly 20 points behind Sami!!

We had enough time for a quick game of Codenames, which was very close but eventually just won by Simon and I.
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Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:25 am
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Friday 11th March 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
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We started with a quick hand of Escalation! - Sami picked up a huge first trick, but then John seemed to have a mega-hand, so Simon, sitting to his left, wasn't doing well and his pile grew rather. I thought I was getting off rather lightly, as especially as when John had finished with his mega-hand he couldn't play bigger than a 6 ever, but then at the end it all went wrong, and my pile was almost as big as Sami's!

Then we were 6, waiting for one more, and ready to split into two tables to play Simon's two new games. We rolled for which people would play Orleans, as that was the more popular choice, and the rest of us played his other purchase, Quadropolis. I was about halfway through the rules explanation when first my youngest had a mega-tantrum and had to be put to bed, and our seventh arrived and joined in. I finished the rules, in particular the scoring, then we played a game of The City while waiting for my husband to finish putting my youngest to bed, which was new to Hannah, but she managed to come second with a solid fountain strategy - my fountain strategy just did a little better. We then played Quadropolis. It's quite a simple game to play in terms of what you do each turn, but can be awkward at times to see what your best options are with your four numbers. My main concern at the end of the game was that it was rather over-balanced, with all four players within three points of each other, despite having pursued rather different strategies.

The other table were only a quarter of the way through Orleans at this point, so I suggested Shipyard as the next game. Again it was new to Hannah, but she soon got the idea and built her first ship, and was working towards her contracts. She went for several ships, while everyone else seemed to be playing towards a couple of larger ships, from the contracts they had taken. Sami won, with a solid military strategy and lots of the upgrade tiles.

Orleans finished at exactly the same time, so we split into two tables again. John asked to play Prêt-à-Porter, as he had missed it when we played it a week or two ago, and Marion was keen to play that again. Sami suggested Terra Mystica for the other table, which everyone else was happy with. I explained the rules and we got going. John got off to a great start, getting the highest number of stars from every show, and putting on large collections, while Marion messed up in the first show, thinking she had an extra turn of preparation so only able to do a one-size collection. I found myself in trouble it the autumn season, having used up all my designs, and getting blocked out of getting any more in the first turn of the round. Some scampering and I did manage to put a three size collection on, but it was a close thing. The same then happened to Marion in the last round, while John had more designs than he knew what to do with! I had an impressive number of cards in front of me at the end - no less than 5 buildings, and 4 or 5 employees, not to mention several contractors, but was managing to keep my costs under control. We totalled up at end-game, and John had beaten me by just 8 cash! Very close finish.
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Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:44 am
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