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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 31st July 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday there were 8 of us in the end, although numbers expected varied rather, with a few people having a last minute change of heart!

We started by splitting into two tables, and I finally managed to get Tigris & Euphrates to the table, which I've been trying to play for a few weeks now. It was new to Simon and Lisa, so we explained the rules to them, but as it was their first game they were very much exploring the strategies. Lisa in particular was a chaos-causer - deliberately setting off conflicts she wasn't involved in, just to see what would happen! The result of various conflicts left me with most of the right hand side of the board, with all 4 of my leaders in it, and 3 monuments. I had been hoping to show them how catastrophe tiles could be used to get back into a region, but after that never really needed to use one, and in fact the game finished without anyone ever using one - after a series of large conflicts ran the bag out quite quickly in the end, whereas for most of the game it looked like it would be a treasure end, as we went down to four treasures very quickly, and it looked like two more were going to be claimed soon, but never were. I won, with James second, as you would expect given we were the most experienced players.

After that I suggested Ascension: Deckbuilding Game, which is one of my favourite deckbuilders and one I know James likes too (we both play the app version regularly). Simon and Lisa were familiar with Dominion, but this was new to Lisa at least - although once she'd got to grips with how to use the double currency this didn't stop her, and she romped home with a comfortable win, ten points ahead of James and I. We did discover one slight problem with this game though - not particularly easy for a one-armed man (Simon had his arm in a sling due to a cricket injury) - this was resolved by us remembering that when Colin had a similar injury to his elbow we used Ingenious tile racks as card holders, so at that point although I still shuffled for Simon, he could play his turns much more easily! An Ingenious tile rack will now be being taken on holiday with Simon I gather!

The other table had timed their end with ours by playing Forbidden Island, so then we merged and split, with James moving downstairs to play Agricola, while upstairs Colin joined us for some lighter fare - starting with Knowing Me Knowing You, where it appeared that Simon and Lisa didn't have too much of an advantage from being married, as although Simon did really well from knowing Lisa, it didn't work quite so well the other way around, with Colin and I doing rather better off Simon's first card, while Lisa got almost all the answers wrong! Simon was a clear winner at the end, and Lisa a clear loser, with me just pipping Colin in the middle.

We then moved on to Ra, after some discussion as to whether to play that or Tikal. Lisa went for monument collecting, and had one of the most impressive monument collections I've ever seen at the end of the game, worth 40 points! Sadly, they were the only points she gathered in the entire game, losing 2 points overall from all other scoring putting her on a final score of 48. Colin was the other person who looked like he was doing well all game, with a long river that he was able to score repeatedly, and a small collection of monuments. He'd pushed his luck with the bag in two of the three rounds, but it had worked for him, netting relatively large racks of tiles for low sun totals - and this put him one point ahead of Lisa. However, the surprise winner of the game, to everyone, me included, was me!!! I hadn't done anything particularly spectacular - I had no large collection of anything in front of me, and hadn't looked like I'd done particularly well at all, but I'd consistently scored each round - usually for a collection of civs, one round for Pharoahs, often for a God tile, occasionally for a smallish river - and I also acquired the largest sun total at the end, and all this combined to put me one point ahead of Colin!! Very surprising!!

After this we pulled out Scattergories, and played three rounds of it while the others were finishing off and scoring their Agricola. My first round was completely taken out by James coming upstairs to tell us about something that had happened at the end of his Agricola game. While the others frantically scribbled and ignored him, I lost a minute of my time initially listening and then telling him to go away! I did still do better than Colin in that round, but had a lot of blanks on my board, and Simon and Lisa both scored high for that round. I redeemed myself on later rounds, but couldn't catch the lead they had, while Colin kept clashing with either Simon or I on topics and ended up last. Lisa, who seemed to escape clashes surprisingly well, won.

Then we merged together for the last part of the evening, playing a 7 player 7 Wonders game. Sami went heavy into science, but had very little points from elsewhere (and was beaten up by Simon), so his 50 was only joint 4th with me, who was playing a blue/purple strategy with quite a lot of military cards, but losing out on points from them by sitting next to Colossus Colin. Hannah did her standard Guilds/Blue combination and just beat the pair of us to get 3rd place. James, sitting next to Sami, managed to pick up an impressive blue holding, as well as various points elsewhere for second, while Simon, on Sami's other side had a maximum military score from just 3 red cards, and a similarly huge blue score for the win. All five of us scored over 50 though.

We then finished with a Take it Easy!, a fairly low scoring game with my 165 being a winning score, and two players scoring under 100. Not a single person scored for 1s or 4s, and very few for 3s or 8s, and 9s were the only number to be scored by every single player (there were so many of them that a couple of players managed to score 7 of them!).
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Mon Aug 3, 2015 8:17 am
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Friday 24th July 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday I was expecting 12 people, but due to a combination of illness, and heavy rain and traffic, we ended up down to 8 people. Four of us were ready to start early, so we played a game of Flash Point: Fire Rescue before the others arrived. We were playing on the Lab board, and no-one went upstairs early on, and the fire took hold, and then the explosive object exploded, and we just couldn't get control of it after that and the building rapidly exploded. As we'd hardly played we restarted and the second time were doing really well, with the fire almost put out, and several people saved, but then people started arriving and we tried to rush the end to finish quickly, and concentrated on getting people out rather than putting fire out, and just before the last person was saved the house fell down on us!

We then started the games evening proper and split into two tables - one table playing Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game, while the other one played Istanbul, which was new to Gill. I managed to find a rather impressive route on the left-hand side of the board and to my great surprise managed to only return to the fountain once in the entire game! I collected goods from various locations, sold them at the small market, then used money to buy gems, and rapidly got to the 5 gems necessary. Meanwhile John on the other side of the board had upgraded his board fully, and was collecting rather larger collections of goods and turning them into gems at a great rate, but was a couple of turns behind me. The other two were less familiar with the game, and so it took them a while to find a good route round the board, so were a couple of gems behind.

The other table said they were about to lose the game horribly downstairs, and we expected two people to be arriving shortly, so we played a quick game of Timeline: Inventions, which was amusing for the fact that John was the first to get down to just one card, but the last to get rid of that final card!!! We then played a couple of hands of Love Letter and then the Dead of Winter table said that they had managed to miraculously save themselves, and the two we were expecting to arrive said they'd been delayed by the weather, so we gave up waiting, and pulled out a longer game - Sheriff of Nottingham, which John brought last week, Simon had enjoyed, Gill had played a bit of once before, and was new to me! It was very similar to Contraband, which I played many times as a child, but rethemed, and shortened slightly because of the rotating Sheriff. John got off to a terrible start, getting hit for huge fines on his first turn, in which none of us had lied, and although he made up for this by getting a large amount of Contraband through shortly after, he wasn't able to recover that. I meanwhile was checked almost every time, but still managed to sneak through the odd bit of Contraband, and just gave in fines for the odd ones I got caught with. I didn't do as well as Gill though, and she won.

We then played Acquire, which was new to Gill, but didn't seem to stop her! Gill and I were involved in almost all the early mergers, while Simon and John just didn't get involved in any, so had no money, and could never buy new shares as a result. Simon in particular ended up third in mergers an impressive number of times, which was not ideal! Unsurprisingly it was Gill and I in first two positions, with Gill just 800 cash ahead of me.

The other table were just finished up Galaxy Trucker at this point, and Ellie had gone home, so we were now 7. Vikings and McMulti were suggested, and I chose to play Vikings. It was a strange game - early on all of were really struggling to place our islands, as they were all ends, and also there were lots of boats, but none of us could get our black men on the board to defend against them! Later we caught up, and I managed a nice green strategy, Richard had quite a lot of reds, and Gill had a good mixed strategy. Richard went flying past us at end-game scoring, until it came to feeding, which he had neglected rather, and he moved back past both of us, while Gill and I ended up tying for first place. We finished with a game of Ticket to Ride: Europe, where Richard and Gill managed to compete for one area of the board, while I went off on my own in the south-east. This might have helped, but I kept picking up tickets I couldn't do anything with, and ended up with one negative one as I couldn't possibly get through the other two to do any of the three! It ended up with me just beating Gill by one point!!
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Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:12 am
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Friday 17th July 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This week we were 10. Five of us were ready to play half an hour early, so started with a game of King of Tokyo. The first two rounds were marked by an impressive number of threes, so that Gill was on 9 points by the end of her second turn, and Colin wasn't far behind. I chose to go into Tokyo on my second turn to get the fighting started, and then ducked out quickly with 3 damage. Gill and James went in instead, and both stayed in for the full round doing us all quite a bit of damage. Then I ended up in Tokyo when Gill ducked out the second time, but when Gill did us both damage, James, sitting to her left, decided to stay in despite being only on 3 health, so I thought I would too, rather than take immediate damage from him - but then he failed to roll any claws, and Sami to his left rolled something like 5 of them, enough to take the pair of us out in one go! That left the other three to finish off, and Sami's Pyschic Probe having stopped most people from getting points from 3 of a kind (Gill persistently rolled 4 of a kind so kept scoring), so it was down to damage - and then the "It has a Child" card came up, along with the one that copied any other card! At this point it was hard for anyone to take enough damage to die, but Gill managed to get enough points for the win.

By now we had 10 players, so split into two tables. One table wanted a heavy game (Power Grid), while the other went for a lighter one - me choosing Schrille Stille for that table, as it was near the top of my list and I know Gill likes it. Gill and I got off to an early lead, with Lisa and Richard a little way behind, while Marion was having a disaster. Then the hit the leader aspect kicked in, and the first three places changed hands a few times. Marion however was having a complete disaster - her bands occasionally got into the lower ranks at the top, but she almost always lost one at the bottom too, and whatever group she put her highest riser on went down!! I managed to guess No 1 three times in a row, which was a band belonging to Gill and Richard, while Lisa was consistently placing in the Top 6 with at least three bands. In the final round it was Gill to win the game, with a tie for second between Richard and Lisa, just ahead of me as I stepped back 2 points from losing a band - grr! Marion hadn't even reached 20 points!!

Gill chose Around the World in 80 Days as the next game, which was new to Lisa. Lisa got out to an early lead and the rest of us were slowed by the detective, but she was quite a few days behind - and every event card we drew seemed to be a storm. As we got to London I finished on 75 days, and it looked like that might actually be a winning score, as Marion had no cards in hand, Lisa had no way of finishing in less than 80, and the detective and me having finished was putting enough pressure on the other two that they didn't have much time to collect good cards. Richard however got a very lucky top-deck from buying cards with his cash, and this enabled him to beat me by just two days.

We then played Modern Art, where I had a complete disaster. Prices were very high, with Lisa buying almost everything, but Gill getting in on the action, and Richard and I finding ourselves constantly getting overbid. We were in the last two places, not getting enough from just selling, while all three of the others managed to get one round where one of their speculative buys paid off for them - Gill paying 25 for the last Lite Metal, which managed to place, Marion picking up a fixed price card for half its actual value, just before she could finish the round. These two were way out in front, Marion with over 500 cash, and Gill in the 480s, while Lisa was only just over 300, and Richard and I didn't even make that!

We then merged and split, with Simon asking to play ...und tschüss! on one table. The other table chose Rage, so both tables ended up with a card game! Our game went rather better for Simon than last time!! I got off to a good start, but then a -10 card turned up in the central row, and I had no high cards, and that pushed me down in the placings rather. Sami consistently went out early each round, but never picked up a negative card or missed out, and this tactic was enough to win him the game, with Lisa just a few points behind.

We then discussed options, and ended up with Medici, which was quite amusing after having just played Modern Art. Sami had an absolute gift of a game - playing the deck and not really bidding for anything, but the deck being really generous to him! The first round he got second highest boat total for the grand cost of 1 from just holding out and drawing randomly and then getting given two high cards to fill his boat, and the second round he did similarly, getting to 100 points at that point! He also had reasonable presence on the pyramids - not getting as high as the rest of us in one pyramid, but placing on most pyramids instead, which seemed to net him just as many points. After the second round it was clear Simon was going to be in second too, as he was at least 20 points clear of the rest of us, even if he couldn't come close to catching Sami! I just managed to pull myself up into third in the last round, having been in last from my disastrous first round!

We then merged and split again, this time splitting into a 6 for Ave Caesar, and a 4 for Pictomania. It was new to Lisa, and although she got the idea after the first round, she seemed to not be very good at guessing other people's drawings correctly, ending on the grand score of 0 - going up 2 points in the first two rounds, but then losing them in later ones!! I was a clear leader, but Marion gave me good competition in the early rounds, but had a bad round later on so I was able to pull ahead.

We finished with Fauna, which we finished at midnight rather than playing to the total of 100, as playing on the black side we were all so terrible at getting points it was taking us a while! Richard got a laugh when he was the only person not to score a location for the Ibis in 31 regions - he managed to pick the one region in Africa that it didn't live in! I lost lots of cubes from mis-guessing dimensions of a bushy-tailed mouse, but that didn't hurt me too much, as everyone else was only scoring three cubes most turns anyway! Marion and I managed to tie for the win!
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Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:05 am
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Friday 10th July 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 9 initially. We started with a 4 player Love Letter while people were arriving, and then split into two tables, of 5 and 4. McMulti was suggested for downstairs, and Waggle Dance for upstairs, but then we realised that Waggle Dance was only a 4 player game! Instead we switched to The Princes of Florence, which was new to everyone except Hannah, and she'd only played it twice before. I handicapped myself by limiting myself to 4 works exactly. John rapidly got a number of works, and all of value 16/17, and had a very solid strategy. Combined with a lucky prestige card draw on the last turn, and a bonus card worth an impressive number of points, and he won by about 6 points, just ahead of the rest of us who were all in a pack together, despite playing different strategies. I was trying to get the bonus points in as many rounds as possible, and managed it in three rounds, and achieved two prestige cards, but was missing my usual 5th work (I normally always go for 5 or 6 works!).

After that Ellie left, and we split and re-merged with Waggle Dance now hitting the table. I was really impressed with this game of bees making hives. It is a mix of standard worker placement, and area majorities - you can only place your dice on squares where they have the right number of pips, and there are various options - grow your hive, lay eggs to get more bees (dice), and use these bees to get pollen (this is where the area majority comes in), which then needs turning to honey. Lisa very early had a very small hive, but huge numbers of eggs and dice, but struggled because she had to place mixed pollen on squares, which then needing moving around, which used her extra dice. The other two then followed her strategy and also went for huge numbers of dice. I however went for a slightly larger hive, but less bees in it, which gave me the six squares for the six different colours of pollen, and I collected huge amounts of pollen early on with just one dice at a time, while the others were making more bees, and then later on the others got into mass competition for pollen, while I quietly just made sets of 4 and converted it to honey for the win. Lisa looked likely to be challenging for second place, and was only slightly behind - it nearly went to a tie-break on number of dice (which I was obviously have won!).

After that one table was wanting heavier games, while the other opted for lighter fare - Simon suggesting Scattergories, which was on my list of games I wanted to play before the end of the year as I hadn't played in a while. We didn't do quite a good enough rules explanation for Hannah at the start, so her first round she was playing something more like Outburst than Scattergories, but we played six rounds and we gave her an average score for that round so she wasn't too far behind. It ended as a three way tie for everyone but Hannah though!!! We then played Outburst Junior, which I find actually has really good topics, never mind the more adult ones. Simon and Sami had some really easy topics which they nearly managed full marks on - mainly it has to be said, very girly topics such as contents of a women's handbag and makeup types!! Hannah and I struggled rather more with some of our topics and were way behind at the end. We finished at midnight, but the other table were still playing Macao, so Hannah left but the other three of us played a few hands of Boggle while waiting for them to finish.
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Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:09 am
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Friday 3rd July 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 6. We started with a couple of fillers while waiting for Hannah to arrive - The Bucket King (during which my son wandered in, and then demanded to play again the next time, so he got to play!), and ...und tschüss!, in which Simon managed the amazing feat of getting top spot for the first card, and then never getting another card!!! Given there were 5 players, and 4 cards available each turn, this was quite impressive!

Then we split into two tables of 3. Marion was keen to play Brass, so Sami and I joined her for that, while the other table played Vikings, followed by Splendor, Ra and Abluxxen. It took us a while to get started downstairs, as none of us had played for two years, so needed to refresh our memories on how to play. Sami spent his first two turns burning various buildings, and then built iron mines to replenish the iron. Marion inadvertantly blocked me out of what I was going to do no less than three times in the canal era, which was slightly frustrating, but I did get to sell my cotton, and finished the canal era on the same points as Marion but rather ahead on income, while Sami was quite a few points ahead. Marion then went shipyard building in the train era, and this netted her a huge number of points, which I couldn't quite keep up with, although it was close. Sami was miles ahead of both of us though!

After that we merged and split differently, with me playing Tikal with Simon and Hannah while the other table played Peloponnes. I had played rather more than Simon and Hannah, and this became obvious partway through, as I managed to block off my own little area of temples round my camp, making it inaccessible to the others, and built them all up nicely, for a good haul of points. The other two only realised I'd done it too late to jump in and stop me, and this netted me a huge number of end-game points for remarkably little men, while the others were fighting with huge numbers of men for control of other temples on the board. The others were just finishing Burn Rate as we packed away, so we all joined together for a 7 Wonders to finish with. Just as the game was ending we realised Hannah had been buying brick from me accidentally, which led to her junking a few cards for cash instead of their planned use, and put her in last place. I was in first, thanks to a nice blue collection and solid points in other categories, with Simon just behind me in second, with an impressive 22 points from Guilds and nearly maximum military score (the strategy worked for once!), and Sami came in 3rd with a solid science strategy.
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Tue Jul 7, 2015 12:33 pm
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Friday 26th June 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We were 10 in total this Friday, although only 9 at any one time! We started with a filler while waiting for the last few to arrive - Timeline: Inventions. Simon got off to a great start, although he had problems getting rid of his last card (Camembert strikes again!), and I managed to finish just after him. Colin then announced that he'd be finishing the next turn (with just invention of the tank left), but James got rid of his last card just ahead of him. Lisa was struggling rather, with several cards left.

We then split into two groups. Simon had suggested Terra Mystica, and Marion chose Agricola for the other table. Colin drew Chaos Magicians, I was Halflings, Simon was Alchemists and Richard Dwarves. We had to a quick rules refresher for Richard, as it had been a while since he played. I started on the right-hand island, next to the obvious Dwarf starting place as Dwarves were on the opposite side of the wheel to me, only for Simon to start right next to me, which meant Richard put his first two places elsewhere - one up the top, and the other near the bottom. I needed to place next to Richard for trading posts, so picked the area at the top, as better colours for me. Colin then started right next to Simon and I on the right hand area! Simon built aggressively round him, to block me out, but this gave Colin a huge power burst early on, which gave him a great start. I meanwhile ignored that area completely, and built a town near Richard, then hopped to the middle island, along with Colin, to build my second town. Colin and I were neck and neck for points during the game, but he had great positions on the power tracks, whereas I'd only just moved off the bottom of them! We also tied for largest region on the board, with Simon just behind - so Colin's end-game points were huge and he lapped Richard and nearly caught Simon!

Agricola still had some way to go, so we pulled out Energie Poker, a much older game we haven't played in a while. It was new to Simon (99th new game since July last year) and Richard, so we explained the rules, saying that it could go on a maximum number of turns, or more usually finish early due to bankrupcy. Colin then proceeded to demonstrate, on turn 2, just how easy it is to go bankrupt in this game - with both Richard and I bidding 1 cash for our energy types in the two types of energy he'd gone for in large amounts, neither of which he then got much of, he ended up 6 energy short (needing 8 energy!!!), and hadn't got that much cash! We restarted, and this time Colin survived turn 2, but Richard was struggling for cash after the second turn, and then ended up short of resources on the third turn as well, and went bankrupt from a fairly small energy shortage as a result.

At this point Agricola had finished, Ellie had headed home, and Sami had returned from the children's music concert, so we were 9 still, but a different 9. Sami wanted a heavy game, while some players were up for something lighter, so the upstairs table played Power Grid, while downstairs played Machi Koro, which Marion has been enjoying again now that she's discovered the expansion. Power Grid was the Benelux map, so we were guaranteed a short game of it, and indeed were just starting the last turn as they finished Machi Koro. I picked up an early 4 renewable energy plant, followed it up with a one oil for 5 oil plant, and also bought a 3 renewable energy plant - so was powering 12 for just 3! Sami meanwhile was powering just as many, but for 5 coal and 3 oil at an amazing cost!! Hannah, like me, had a renewable energy plant, but her other costs weren't as cheap, needing three mixed resources. Sami and Hannah ended up building on top of each other at the top of the map, Sami blocking Hannah quite effectively early on. Meanwhile James and Simon took the east and west respectively, while I started in Brussels and build around the area. I built to 12 houses the turn I could power them, and then it was clear that the next turn might be the last one. Phase 3 hit, so I picked up a uranium power plant that enabled me to power 15, which looked likely to be enough, as no-one else could power 15 yet either, and I also had more houses than everyone else. Sami didn't like any of the options so put up the 6 coal plant hoping that he would be outbid - but he wasn't. James tried to push up my costs by buying two turns of resources, but with two towns that had still not had even built the phase 1 houses at the bottom accessible to me, and with nearly 80 cash at my disposal, there wasn't really any way to stop me getting my final three houses. Hannah was safely second, while it came to a cash tie-break between Sami and James, which Sami won because of the extra resources James had bought.

We then decided to play something lighter to finish with. I suggested Identik, and as two players headed to bed at that point, we were 7, so we all played. I started describing, with loud yelps of "Slow down", "What did you say?", "I missed that, say it again" from the others, which I ignored, and just managed to finish my high-speed description before the timer ran out - it was quite a busy picture of four dogs!! Everyone else then took their turn - James did really well off his, as although he described everything, his was also a very busy picture, and no-one got close to drawing everything he'd said, and a couple of the marks he got by luck, as people had added things he hadn't mentioned. Lisa described a picture with 4 houses - but ran out of time before doing anything about the fourth house, while Marion described her card perfectly - but so perfectly that almost everyone got full marks, which meant 12 for us, and only 10 for her, to her great disgust! When final scores were tallied it was very close. I was a little way out in front, having more experience at the game, while Richard was at the back - although as the person marking his pictures I have to say they were the best works of art, but he added little extra details that didn't score him points, and missed out some essential ones that did! Everyone else was in a big clump in the middle with only 3 points separating them all, with Lisa just sneaking second place and James third.
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Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:40 am
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Friday 19th June 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 8. Four of us were ready to start slightly ahead of time, so played a quick hand of Linko! to kill time, with Samii getting a monster score, while the rest of us added together didn't do as well as he did, but we were at least all positive.

Then we had the discussion of what games to start the evening with. One table wanted a heavy game, while the other game suggested was Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game, which Ellie was keen to play, and we thought Richard might like. Sami volunteered to teach it, and Lisa joined him, while the other four of us started Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, just the advanced game. It was a very close game throughout, with various people taking it in turns to be military leader, and various people ahead on points. I started to edge ahead in points per turn, and dominated the military, finally, but the game finished before I could take real advantage of it, and victory actually went to James by one point; he having concentrated on end of game points almost exclusively, and steamed past the rest of us at end-game, his in-game scoring having been pretty poor.

We then needed a game to play while the others played Rococo, so we thought we would show Simon Flash Point: Fire Rescue, using one of the 2nd Story boards. We won, but it was a close thing, and the house collapsed after we saved 8 victims. I think our mistake was sending all three firefighters upstairs to quell the inferno there - while they were distracted the fire restarted downstairs. I meanwhile, just ran up and down ladders and in windows saving people, with my medic role.

The other table STILL hadn't finished, so we played two more fillers - Timeline: Inventions and 6 nimmt! while waiting for them.

At this point we were 7, and it was suggested that this was the perfect number, and time, for a 7 Wonders, so we played that. Marion was victorious with Lighthouse B and a solid mixed strategy. My similar strategy put me just behind for second, while Richard, building just the Pyramids and blue buildings, was in third.

We then finished with an Apples to Apples, which Simon won very comfortably, while Marion lost in style!
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Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:05 pm
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Friday 12th June 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday there were just 4 of us. We started with a game of Egizia, new to John. Colin went for a very heavy stone strategy, building the pyramids, which ended up with me getting very short of stone from round 3 onwards. I meanwhile was going for a sphinx card strategy, and was collecting permanent cards for my first sphinx card, which gave me a bonus for each one. It was very close at the end, with Sami just winning over Colin, and John and I catching up well from our sphinx cards at end-game, but him just ahead of me.

Sami then chose Power Grid next, and we drew the base USA map, losing the south west and north easterly regions. Using the mixed power plant deck we ended up with a huge number of coal plants, and then mid game lots of garbage plants, which meant heavy competition for some resources. However, the power plant market was very slow early on, Sami being the only one to get a decent plant that powered more than 3 (John managed to buy one that powered 5 using garbage, but the costs were so high he didn't power it until much later). Also, building was so cramped in the south east area that no-one could reach 7 houses for ages, and the two of us who could reach the north west and buy to 7 houses weren't powering them, so didn't bother for a while. Eventually I triggered phase 2 - only for the power plant market to still stick! I didn't buy a plant, or any houses, for two rounds, by which point I was in last place and it was phase 3, and there was the possibility of Sami ending it that turn. I raised costs as much as I could by buying out resources and buying his cheapest houses, and he looked at the board and decided with the resource costs so high and buying last he probably couldn't finish, so bought resources for the next turn (as coal was looking short, it was a wise precaution!), only to find that neither John or Colin bought houses in his cheapest area, so he was just short of finishing as a result. Next round I bought the only 7 power plant, quite cheaply as no-one else needed more than a 6. However, it then became obvious that there were only two 6 plants, and three of them who wanted it. The first one went quite cheaply as John dropped out, so Sami assumed he'd get the other one for that price - only for John to then bid heavily for the next one, and Sami couldn't guarantee getting the resources for it, so had to drop out and take a 5 plant. This meant Colin was the only one to power 18, and I won the cash tie-break for the powering 17 houses.

After that Colin wanted a short one before he headed off, so we pulled out Gnadenlos!, which was also new to John. Sami went for a casino strategy, me for cash, while John got a bit over-keen buying people, and then realised to his cost why this was bad when the bank called in their debts! There weren't many cash cards early so I slipped behind, losing all my decent cards to duels (most duels involved three or four people not just two which didn't help!), and then having no cash to buy any more. Sami won, with his casino strategy and buying lots of spaces, with Colin second (not doing so well at the casino!), while John had a treble raven, so he was at the back.

John had mentioned trying out Alchemists, which he'd missed trying out before. I went for a poison strategy - poisoning the student over and over again, which didn't help those behind me as they kept having to pay him to test their students - and making good money selling poisonous potions to visitors. Buying artifacts and publishing information about poisonous ingredients got me good reputation and it was enough for the win at the end. Sami learnt how to mix one potion, and after that decided to publish information about ingredients - this gained him a large amount of reputation early - but then it was proved that some of his theories were wrong.... John meanwhile had the usual problem of a new player to the game, of spending too much time trying to deduce information, and not enough actually doing things that would score him points at the end of the game. Despite that, he wasn't too far behind at end-game.

We finished with an Linko!, which John had got slightly confused with Escalation initially, having only played once before, some months ago. I had a good first round, and this was enough for me to win, with everyone scoring very similar points in the second round.
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Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:01 am
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Friday 5th June 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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There were 8 of us this week. We started by splitting into two tables, with Chronology being suggested for one table, which guaranteed I sat there, while the other table tried one of Nigel's games - XCOM: The Board Game. Chronology was very close, and at the end Nigel and I were both on 14, but he was unable to answer the 15th card, and it passed to me, and I had an easy gap for it for the win.

After that we tried one of Nigel's new games - Elysium - which I'd been wanting to try. I was slightly disappointed by it. There was a lot of read in the game - and I don't really like games where you have a ton of cards all spread out on the table and have to squint to read what they do. The gameplay itself was ok - draft a card, then do any actions that the cards in front of you may have, and then at the end of turn move a number of your cards down to the bottom, where they score. There was an element of keeping the right pillars to not get shafted in later turns, but also an element of hurt your opponents which I was less fond of (my card that just took out one card from each opponent on the last round of the game seemed particularly harsh). Overall it felt an ok game, and one I'd play again if asked, but not one I'd seek out, as it was just a bit too busy for me, without enough in it to interest me particularly.

After that we needed a shortish game, as we were aware the other table was losing two of its players in about half an hour, so we played Show Manager, a favourite of mine and Nigel's, and new to John. I had a bit of a dream game, ending up top of three of the places, so it was fairly clear I'd won. It was very close between the other three though.

At this point we were 6, and Nigel suggested Ave Caesar as it works well with 6. The first race everyone finished, but the next two races weren't so good, with Martin and Sami finishing both times, but me being the only other person to complete either race. At this point it was clear Martin had won with two first places and a second, and I was able to go past Sami on the last race by winning it, while he was in last place. The other three were some way behind!

After that we decided to stay with 6 players, and started with Telestrations, a new acquisition of mine, that is fun to play, but doesn't really "score" - you just play for the fun of it - and it was fun.

We then finished with a 6 player GiftTRAP, thanks to a comment earlier in the day that had reminded me about it. Martin was first to the finish line - briefly - as he then stepped back off it by giving some No Way gifts - in fact he went back no less than 11 spaces in total from giving bad gifts! He was able to recover though, and reached the final space again two rounds later, along with both me and Simon, while John was the only other person to get one of his pieces there.
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Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:55 am
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Friday 29th May 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This week there were 7 of us, so we started by splitting into two tables - one playing Crude: The Oil Game, while the other played Tzolkin. The McMulti was rather a bizarre game, as three of the first four dice rolls were doubles! One of the actions this brought in meant everyone had to pay for the oil they had, which took out a petrol station for James and I. However, with three doubles raising the prices up into the 60, and followed rapidly by a few more bringing it right up to 80, petrol prices were so high it didn't matter. James held off buying more petrol stations because prices were so high, but I decided that the price I was selling at justified it, and bought even at top price, which gave me a slight edge, so that when prices dropped I was also able to buy refineries, and some drilling rigs, two of which rapidly turned into nodding donkeys. Meanwhile Colin sold off all his drilling rigs, turning just two into nodding donkeys, as the oil player, and oil prices never really got high enough for his game to take off, although he took third place and wasn't far off the billion at end-game. It was Ellie's first game, and she was refining, which just didn't work in this petrol heavy game, and also she was taken out by an event that caused her to pay for every gasoline she had - after she'd stockpiled quite a large amount from refining, and caused her to sell a petrol station she'd just built. I declared on a billion and a few cash, and James was able to match that, but then my final turn gained me enough cash that I was able to keep ahead for the win.

The other table wasn't finished yet, so I suggested Chronology, in which I had the curse of Anne Frank - my first three cards were all within a few years of publication of her diary, and I got all three wrong, so that I was on just one card for an embarrassingly long time, especially as James wasn't passing me any cards on through him either! Ellie got a few early on, but then her youth, and resulting lack of history knowledge, started to kick in, and although she made some good guesses, and managed to win some cards, she definitely didn't have the knowledge to compete on an equal footing with adults in this game, and James to her left was getting some easy cards passed her way. He won, with Colin ahead of me, thanks to my terrible start! We then played a few hands of Love Letter while the others finished their last turn and scoring, and then merged and resplit.

This time Ra was suggested for one table, and Stone Age the other. Having already played Stone Age that day with my children, I went for Ra, and we dice-rolled to see whether Hannah or Sami would join us, and Hannah did. We gave Hannah a quick rules refresher. First round and I was definitely collecting the Nile, while Hannah just didn't buy much at all, and Colin was going for pharoahs in large numbers. End of round scores were fairly even though, although some people had obviously better potential than others. Second round, and I lengthened my Nile and flooded it, then dropped out. Colin collected some more Pharoahs and also dropped out, leaving the other two in - and they just didn't draw Ra tiles, collecting huge amounts. Eventually Simon ran out of bids, and Hannah was left with the bag, and collected a huge collection of monuments - six different types, and one three of a kind as well as another couple of pairs!! End of round scores were relatively even, with Hannah a few points behind, but her end of game scoring potential was huge! Last round, and no floods came up for my long Nile, so I bid on some civ tiles and gold instead and dropped out, but I couldn't compete with the others, and Hannah's huge monument collection grew further to win her the game, Colin keeping the largest gold total to get second place ahead of Simon. The others were nearing completion, so we played two hands of Linko!.

At that point Ellie and Colin headed off, leaving us with 5 players, so we pulled out Outpost. Hannah was a bit hazy on the rules, but had a gift research game, with a water factory and man start, then buying three data libraries, saving cash for a turn, and then research cards coming out at one per turn, so she bought in turn an Orbital Lab, Scientists, Scientist, Laboratory, Scientists, Laboratory - all at 30 discount, so even Sami (the only one who could keep up with her income) had less cash stored at the point we went into Phase 3. She also bought the first large building, with Sami and I saving cash to pick up the biggest two buildings the next turn. James hit titanium hand size issues at this point, so I was able to sneak past him for third place, despite him being over ten points ahead of me at the start of Phase 3.

We finished with a 7 Wonders, in which time time Hannah was the one to start an arms race, with Simon almost keeping up with her, and Sami beating me up. James however was a pacifist, concentrating on science and buying almost no military, so I was able to pick up some cheap military points, and Simon was able to get some from that side. At the end these military points, plus some nice blue and green scores, were enough for me to have the win, but with an amazingly low winning score of only 52, with Sami just behind me, thanks to an impressive 15 points from Guilds (he was Statue). The two military players came last two places again!
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Sat May 30, 2015 4:11 pm
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