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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 12th December 2014

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We were 10 this week. At the start we had 8 players, so four players decided to play Eclipse, which Martin had asked Simon to bring, while we took 7 Wonders downstairs. It's just as well we took an expandable game as it happened, as by the time we sat down to play we were up to 6 players anyway! It was a slightly odd game of 7 Wonders in that no-on at all went into science, with me with my 10 points being the most anyone got from science at all! Also, everyone was very "friendly", with most players buying the same amount of military each round, so that mostly they were just in military stand-off, so military scores weren't particularly high for most people. The winner was Howard, with an absolutely huge score in blue buildings - 31!

After that we split into two tables, with me being on the RoboRally table, introducing it to Lisa. I had an amazing first turn - Twonky using the fast conveyor belt to get me most of the way to the first checkpoint. This got me off to a good start, and Marion and Lisa both touched it shortly after, while I was heading to the second, and touching it with my other robot. Lisa's other robot meanwhile seemed to have a fondness for stepping off the edge of the board, doing it almost every other turn, while her first robot quite happily meandered around safely touching checkpoints. I eventually powered down Twonky, next to a pit in the middle of the board, as he was being useless at getting to the second checkpoint. Marion spent ages planning her turn to push me into the pit, only for my other robot to rotate and Move 3, pushing my robot safely away from the pit before she got there! That robot then continued to checkpoint 2, and touched checkpoint 3 two turns later to end the game.

After that we played Dominion, using the Prosperity expansion which was new to Lisa - not that this seemed to stop her! While I was merrily using Monuments to gain huge amounts of VPs (usually playing them three times), she just built up a nice consistent cash deck, and started buying Colonies almost every turn! I picked up a few, but not enough to catch her on points. At that point the other table had finished, and Eclipse was on its last turn, so we joined together for an Incan Gold while we were waiting - and the game seemed determined to help me win, with disasters happening just after I left, or large gem piles turning up next when I was the only person left in!

At this point we merged and split again, and I ended up on a table playing Vegas Showdown, trying to complete my 10x10 challenge. Sami won, just, and then suggested Phoenicia to finish the evening, a game I hadn't played in a while, and which was unfamiliar to Howard. I managed to get a huge income, mostly from Mining, which enabled me to buy two of the end game buildings, and also use the men I gained from one of them to buy some more mines. Sami got stuck mid-game from lack of income generators, but was able to recover enough to get to second place, thanks to ClothMaking FINALLY appearing (it did seem to be hiding!).
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Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:27 pm
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Friday 5th December 2014

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We started with a quick game of Chronology while waiting for people to arrive, with Howard joining in a turn or so in. I did manage to be victorious in the end, although I was worried by Martin in the mid-game, as he seemed to get quite a lot of cards early on.

Next we split into two tables, with Show Manager on my table. It was Simon's first game but he did well despite that, with high placements on two of the most valuable towns, and good placements everywhere else too, but this wasn't enough to beat Nigel, with top place in the highest scoring two towns.

Hannah had arrived by the time we'd finished, so we merged and split in a different way, with me teaching Carcassonne to Ellie and Howard, and having to explain the differences in rules to Hannah, as she has a later edition which has the different farmer scoring. This didn't seem to stop her getting the highest farmer scoring though. However, this didn't help her overall, thanks to her big city being stolen, first by Ellie, and then with me joining in on the other side, so that after all the work she'd put in on it, both Ellie and I scored nearly 50 points from it, while she got nothing! This was easily enough to make Ellie and I top two spots, and Ellie won.

We then played a couple of quick games while waiting for Sami to return - firstly Jungle Speed, which was new to Howard, and he struggled a bit at first seeing the differences in the cards. Ellie won that too! At that point I had to make a quick phone call, so the others played Love Letter, and I joined in after my phone call finished. When Sami returned we started a five player Cutthroat Caverns - a game I don't usually play with 5, and it did make for a slightly different experience. It was also different because so many players were knocked out, with just two of us left by the final encounter. This meant I ended up in seocnd place, despite hardly winning any encounters!!

At that point Ellie and Marion went home, and Nigel took his Omega Centauri downstairs to teach Howard and Simon, while the rest of us tried my new game, and Most Played Game on BGG last month, Machi Koro. Sami bought lots of the 4 buildings, and a few 4 rolls on his turns later on, gave him the win. He then chose Istanbul, and won that too - using his usual strategy of getting lots of early money, and getting a few gems from that, then buying the last one with gems. We finished with 15 minutes of Concept.
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Mon Dec 8, 2014 12:20 pm
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Friday 28th November 2014

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This Friday we were 12, briefly, in the middle of the evening! We started with 9, and so split into two. One table played Libertalia, while the other, with me on, played Vegas Showdown. Colin tried for his usual green strategy, and picked up the Theatre, but I got the Nightclub from the way the timings worked out. Marion started with a green strategy, apparently, but soon got distracted! It was surprising how balanced everyone's income was though - no-one really got an income ramp going.

After that we needed a short game while the others finished, as a late arrival had meant they had to restart. Marion chose Niagara, and then promptly lost both her boats at the bottom of Niagara Falls. In fact, when it rained heavily, we almost all lost a boat! It was very close, with various players looking in a good position to win at various points (before losing boats!), but in the end no-one was able to do the 5 different gems, and it was a 7 gem end.

We then had 10 people, and 15 minutes before two more players arrived from the train station, and someone suggested we choose a game we could all play. Well, it had to be The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow really, as no other game handles 10 so easily. It was new to almost everybody. I was the fortune teller, and found a werewolf - James - on my first turn. However, despite me trying to suggest him as a werewolf, on both the first and second days, all that happened was that James managed to turn the villagers against me and get me lynched!!! Win to the werewolves. For the second game I was the storyteller, and the werewolves were victorious again. Then Sami and Matt arrived, and we ran a third game, with Sami being storyteller. I drew a werewolf this time, but then got lynched on the very first day, and it turned out to be an easy win for the villagers.

At that point Ellie departed, and the rest of us split into three tables - one table playing Terra Mystica, and the others trying two new games - Nauticus and Castles of Mad King Ludwig, which is the table I played on. It is definitely very derivative of Suburbia, but the major difference, and unfortunately the part of the game I strongly disliked, was the "Master Builder" mechanic, where one player rearranges the tiles in the market, setting the prices for the other players. There are two options - do it quickly and give someone a gift, or spend ages trying to work out the exact value of all 7 tiles to all three other players, and going into brainmelt. Neither option really appealed to me. I did like the way the strange-shaped and sized rooms tesselated though, and the goals and bonuses for completing rooms.

After that we needed another game to take us to midnight, and Igel Ärgern was suggested - a light game of hedgehog racing (with doping rules, but no other variants). It's always fairly short, and reasonably fun, but not exactly deep strategy!! Then Terra Mystica was still dragging on, so those who could leave did, while those who had to wait for other people in that game played a hand of Linko!, by which time Terra Mystica had finally finished and we were able to go to bed - rather later than usual though!
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Mon Dec 1, 2014 7:13 pm
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Friday 21st November 2014

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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I missed the first part of the session this week, as I was watching my children in their school's music concert. When I returned the other five players were just finishing up a game of Outpost, with Sami well ahead - apparently he'd had some surprising cost-price purchases earlier in the game that had helped him to victory. It was very close between the rest - all in the 60s, with one on 61, and two on 62!

We then split into two groups of 3. I read off the games at the top of my list, and James chose Ascension: Deckbuilding Game from it, and Simon joined us. It was new to him, but he was familiar with Dominion, so was up and running fairly quickly. He went for a mixed, but military slant deck; James was lucky enough to have a six card hand all game, from his first purchase and no monsters to take them out. I went for a fairly standard cash-high deck, with lots of deck thinning taking out all my original cards, but wasn't able to catch James with his extra card a turn - especially on the turn when both the large monsters turned up, and James used one to beat up the other!

After that Simon and I had a chat about Panamax while James went to pick a game, so it was quite amusing when he came down and asked if we wanted to try it again! I'd played it twice before, but it was only the second time for the other two, and it seemed my extra experience helped. We all started fairly well, getting our dice out of the warehouse and down the river, but when we checked the cash tiebreak for the best company after the first round I had 20 cash, and the other two were on about ten - a good indication that I was going to find the second round easier, and indeed this was the case - my costs were slightly lower anyway, but I think it was the extra cash buffer than enabled me to pay dividends while they both failed. On the third round I was able to buy my large ship and push it through the river - just - with some help from the fact that it was the only ship at one end of the river (which is why I bought it!), and all the contracts were from that place, so the others had to help me load it! This gave me an extra card for VPs at the end of the game, as well as being the only company to pay out dividends again, and gave me a comfortable win, with a score of 101!

We then played a quick game of The Bucket King to finish - although we ended up running over midnight, as the other game finished shortly after us, so we waited for Marion to join us. Simon was out very quickly, with Marion targeting his pyramid and rapidly finding his weak suit! I then had a sudden pyramid collapse when they tried the same trick on me. The others then had a duel, but it was clear that James had the advantage, as his hand was nearly twice the size of Marion's - she'd had to play multiple cards a few times to protect her pyramid from collapse, plus we suspect that she may have forgotten to draw cards a few times after I went out and stopped reminding her!
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Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:36 am
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Friday 14th November 2014

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We started the evening with 3 hands of Boggle, adding one extra person in each round. Next time we must make sure that the players know the rules before they start - although Simon did get an impressive number of words that were allowed before his first illegal one, given that he didn't actually know how the rules!! Playing with the proper rules definitely helped him!

After that, and serving the sticky toffee pudding, everyone had arrived, and we were 8, so looking for two tables. Simon mentioned that he'd recently tried Race for the Galaxy and would like to try it multiplayer, so that went on one table, while John suggested Power Grid for the other table. We played the UK map. It was a very odd game of Power Grid powerplant wise (I seem to say that a lot recently!) - I think we must have had every garbage plant in the game practically, and most of the coal ones (certainly the inefficient ones!), while in the whole game we only saw one uranium plant, right near the end, and very few recycling ones. This did mean that towards the end game very few people were powering to their maximum - especially as in Phase 3 the amount of goods coming in is incredibly low, and didn't even come close to providing the number of goods we were using - especially as we were all using really inefficient "3 X for 5" type plants. Marion's powering costs the last couple of turns were 1 - to power 15!! Two recycling plants (both costing her over 100 to buy!), and one uranium plant - the rest of us were having to spend something over 30 a turn to power - and often then not powering anyway (I didn't power for my max on any of the last few turns). Sami was clearly in the lead from the mid-game, thanks to having the most money at the point the nice oil plant came out, which got him out of the garbage/coal hole the rest of us were in. He rapidly ended up a couple of houses ahead, and when he was on 13, I assumed it would be the final turn - he'd bought goods a turn in advance, and had powered for over 100 cash, and the cheapest 4 houses available to him if I didn't buy (in second place) were about 90 cash - the only odd thing was that he'd bought 3 oil as if he thought it would go another turn. This made it awkward for me though - as if he did end it, I'd be last if I didn't buy houses, but if I bought houses I'd be in second place, and couldn't power any of plants this turn, or I wouldn't be able to power the following one! I went for buying the houses, which meant the Sami, who hadn't realised he was even close to being able to finish the game, was exactly 2 cash short of ending it. This pushed me into third the next round, as Marion was able to buy and power the same number of houses as me (and John), and with her ridiculously cheap powering costs easily had more cash than either of us!

After that we played Seasons, a game we haven't pulled out in a while. It was new to John, which meant he wasn't quite sure how various things played out, but he still managed a respectable score at the end. I annoyed Marion in particular with my "Must pay a crystal to get out a power card" familiar, as she didn't have any crystals to pay me. I was really struggling with my summoning gauge all game, not helped by Marion reducing it by one, but the card she gave me while doing it was a nice one, and turned out to win me the game! My grand plan of paying 4 energy to buy cards off the deck didn't quite pan out, as I was forced to sacrifice it, but it seemed the rest of the gameplan worked ok!

The other table had just finished Outpost as we finished, so we switched tables around, and Marion went home, leaving us with a 3 and a 4. The 4 took Lords of Waterdeep downstairs, while Colin and I introduced John to RoboRally. The infinite lives for a first-time player turned out to useful on the first turn, as he played a rotate left instead of a rotate right and stepped off the board, but his other robot did much better, touching the first checkpoint only shortly after Colin and I. Colin's second robot was determined to step over the first checkpoint - first time thanks to an invisible pusher, the second time as he was too eager to kill John's robot to stop on the checkpoint on the way past! My two robots then headed for checkpoint 2 simultaneously, and then when Colin came to intercept me on my way to checkpoint 3, I was able to push his robot out of the way with one robot, while leaving the path clear for my other robot to touch the third checkpoint for the win.

With just a short time left before the end of the evening I suggested Escape: Illusions to finish with, as I hadn't played my new purchase yet. It was another game new to John, so we explained the rules and then got going. We successfully explored one area and returned back to the central room in time for the first gong, then carried on exploring, eventually finding the treasure, but then all getting locked up with black dice. We used the "emergency gem" rule to get us out of trouble, and then tried to find the exit - which turned out to be the bottom tile of the deck! Colin picked up the treasure and ran for the exit, leaving John and I both nearly locked behind him. With my one dice I was eventually able to unlock us both, and we got to the final room just as the gong sounded and rocks began to fall - John rolling frantically to get his third key just as the rockfall noise happened. We counted it as a win, but it was certainly rather close!!!
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Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:07 pm
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Friday 7th November 2014

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This Friday we were 9, and I also had a games delivery arrive in the afternoon, so was keen to try out my new Essen game - Panamax. Marion, Simon and James decided to join me, while the others tried my other new acquisition - the Escape Illusions expansion. Wow, the rules for Panamax are AWFUL. We got it out, finally worked through set up, then I started reading the rules. Normally I'm fairly good at working out a rulebook cold, but this one was impossible. I eventually abandoned a couple of paragraphs that were totally incomprehensible, and we worked through the rest of the rulebook, and things gradually made sense. We then started, after over an hour of rules reading, but had forgotten some of the setup in the rules mess, so had to stop and restart two turns in. There were still rules that various players hadn't remembered, and various "Oh, I understand now" moments, as we saw the point of doing various actions, and working out some plays. However, in general it was a game of wading through trying to work out what was going on. Everyone but Marion managed to load lots of goods in the first round, which meant some high warehouse fees for her (she'd forgotten about them!), but some of us weren't much better with our goods stuck in boats in expensive locks! Then the second round, and by now Marion had a backlog of goods, and couldn't load and ship them quick enough. In fact, with the smaller contracts coming up, we were all struggling this way, and I suddenly realised that a cruise ships we had loaded earlier had somehow sailed the full Panama Canal and exited, but not given us a passenger token - and no-one could remember who exactly had been loaded on that boat - oops! That would certainly have helped me, as I would have got at least one of the passenger tokens, and could have used the bonus it gave me! On the second round I took advantage of only having to pay half fees, but still couldn't pay dividends, and Marion's fees were so huge that even paying half-rate couldn't save her from needing a loan! Simon was the only one to pay dividends, and his company was now way higher than anyone else on the share value track! Last round, and Marion ended up with a second loan. By now we'd manage to spot, and use, the rule about moving dice for free if you had one of each token and realised how helpful this would have been earlier - maybe something to focus on earlier in future! Then we revealed our end-game scoring cards - Marion and I both had ones that were worth zero - hers as no company paid out, mine as my company had no money left in it to become mine! Simon however had a card worth money for each disk he had, and he had tons, and both James and I had ones for particular types of contract. Simon won, unsurprisingly, between his bonuses for best company, scoring cards, and general cash, but James was surprisingly close to him, with two scoring cards and a good amount of cash on hand. I was at least in profit, but a long way behind; Marion was on a grand total of -3! At least I can explain it more easily now, although I still have to look up a rules query that came to mind while telling Sami about the game this morning!

After that we were in the mood for something rather more familiar and chose Catan, which everyone knew. It was a very close game with everyone in contention; James, Simon and I on the same number of points throughout most of the game, with Marion just one point behind us, but challenging Simon strongly for his longest road. It was a game very low in both brick and stone, with both only having something like a 2,3,6 production number distribution for both. It meant ports in the other resources, or 3/1 ports, were very useful, and Simon's discovery of the 4/1 trading rule came in useful to him a couple of times (not knowing that rule, his 5 brick for a grain trade sounded very amusing!). James went soldier heavy, taking largest army early on, while Simon had longest road, but my points came from the board, which meant my production was higher. Marion was just one road short of joining her two settlements and taking longest road from Simon (and he had no way of lengthening his further), but couldn't quite get the resources. James rolled me the three stone I needed for one of my final two cities - only to play monopoly on it straight after - grrr!! Simon meanwhile was lagging on points in view, but hoarding two cards that looked suspiciously like they were going to be VP cards. After a good round of income, and sitting on 9 points I had about 16 cards in hand, easily enough to buy a city - but then on my turn rolled a robber, and was one resource short after discarding - I moved the robber hoping to steal something useful, but it wasn't to be! When it got round to Simon he produced the last city he needed, and flipped both cards to show his 10 points for the win.

Meanwhile the other table had played quite a selection of games - Power Grid, Taj Mahal, Incan Gold (we heard the shouts of DEEEPER downstairs!) and Alchemist (the old version, not the new Essen release). We finished with an amusing Apples to Apples, both tables playing together.
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Sat Nov 8, 2014 2:25 pm
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Friday 31st October 2014

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Halloween gaming, and lots of Halloween goodies to eat, and 6 people to eat them.

We started off with a quick game of Love Letter while waiting for people to arrive, then split into two tables for the first proper game of the evening. I played Suburbia first, with John and Simon, who were both new to the game. John got a very good green strategy going, gaining lots of points during the game, but towards the end suffered slightly by having such a low income. I meanwhile went the other way, gaining a huge income, which in the late game I was able so convert successfuly to a high reputation to overtake John. Simon played a more balanced strategy, with an impressive number of buildings that got him cash when other buildings were bought!

I then suggested Tikal, which I'd suggested a couple of weeks ago, but then the other table had played!! That was John's first play, and this was his second, and he completely trounced both Simon and I with a huge collection of treasures, and also some good temple presence. Simon had a similar collection of treasures, but had amazingly bad luck with tile draws, never drawing anything but blank grass tiles or volcanoes!! I only had three treasures at end game, and just temples wasn't enough to keep up with John!

After that we merged and split again, with James and I introducing John to Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization. James started with a high military, but didn't seem able to take advantage of it. He then proposed a pact of supremacy with me, taking one of my ore production every turn. I accepted his supremacy for a couple of turns, then built up my military and cancelled the pact. John was struggling a bit initially doing everything he wanted as his production was too low, so decided to ramp it up. Unfortunately it's a finely balanced game, and he went a bit TOO far the other way - so that instead he was having to spend all his actions using up his production!! The Wonders came out really badly, so that all of us were struggling to turn our resources into VPs anyway - and even things like Operas were right near the bottom of the deck! I won, not surprisingly as the most experienced player, but scores were relatively close.
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Mon Nov 3, 2014 11:59 am
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Friday 24th October 2014

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday there was a record 12 of us for gaming. We started with just enough for two tables, and one table took Ra downstairs, while we played a few hands of Linko! while waiting for the last few to arrive. Two more arrived, so we split into two tables, with me taking Stone Age downstairs to play with Hannah and Barry. Just as we started Tony walked in, and with Nations in his hand there was no question what the upstairs table were playing next!! Stone Age was close. For once no-one played the people strategy, and the two regions taken in the town were always the farm and tools squares. Hannah was going heavily for green cards, while I was picking up mostly yellow ones, and Barry was going more for board points. Then there was the mad rush for huts, and I ended up with a ridiculous amount of resources left over, being blocked out of a hut one round, and gathering resources instead, then never quite finding a good use for them! Hannah just passed me at final scoring, with a full collection of greens!

We finished at the same time as the Ra table, so at that point we shuffled around, and I next played Outpost with Simon, Lisa and James (although Lisa thought it was Power Grid she was playing from the description!). Lisa got off to an amazing start and early second round, while James had real luck with his titanium strategy, getting a double Outpost, and I was pushed into research (very rare for me!). Simon unfortunately had a man problem - he was the player to miss out on the Nodule, but then no Robots or early Scientists turned up in Phase 2, he was outbid from the Microbiotics, and even with a warehouse and saving all his cash between turns, his income being so low meant that he just couldn't save enough to compete with our incomes, which rapidly became more than double his. There was then a turn when everyone else passed leaving two Ecoplants on the table, and I picked one up at cost price! Then the next turn an Outpost and a Laboratory joined it - in first place I put up the Ecoplants, and everyone was so keen to get the bigger biddings in the tense bidding war, that I picked that up for cost price too! That gave me a good points burst going into Phase 3. Lisa got behind on points in the late second phase, and James made a mistake and bought titanium factories going into Phase 3 rather than saving income for Phase 3 buildings, which meant that I was able to pick up the best selection of bulidings in Phase 3 for the win.

After that the Nations game finished, and we were looking to switch tables around again. Tony suggested Samurai, and Colin and I joined him. We ended up playing twice - the first game Tony and I joint winning, while the second time Colin did, with me well behind! We finished the evening with a quick For Sale.
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Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:11 pm
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Friday 17th October 2014

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This week there were 7 of us, to my surprise, as I only knew of four definitely coming earlier in the day! I started by introducing Colin to Star Realms, my new favourite game, and it was so addictive that we played five games, although everyone but James arrived in the fifth game, so we had to rush to finish it!

Then we were looking for two 3 player games, and I read out my list of games that I was interested in playing soon, and the two that seemed most popular were RoboRally and Tikal, so they were the two chosen. I ended up on the RoboRally table with Marion and Ellie, playing one of the boards with lots of oil slicks - Marion enjoyed herself going for long slides down a couple of them! I started out reaching checkpoint 1 much earlier than everyone else, and dashed out of danger - the checkpoint was right on the edge of the board with any push likely to cause certain death. My second robot got there a couple of turns later, along with both of Marion's robots. I was in the lead, so Marion following me gave me that fatal push off the edge of the board, and crowed loudly. Unfortunately two phases later she looked rather sheepish, as her second robot did to her first robot exactly what it had just done to my robot.... Oops! James arrived just as I reached checkpoint 2, so we dealt him in - all he had time to do was delay the game by shooting me, as two turns got me two squares from checkpoint 3, then I quickly powered down to guarantee getting to it, and won. Marion was the only person to reach the first checkpoint so came second. We then played a quick game of Dobble while the others did their final scoring.

After that we switched tables around. I was keen to play Fauna, and Marion and James joined me, along with John, who it was new to, while Ellie voted for Evo on the other table. We went for the green side and got all familiar animals - Springbok (luckily this time I didn't have to embarrass myself by not knowing its location as I was last round the table!), Great White Shark, Flamingo, and a Mara. As they were so familiar in most rounds no-one was able to gain more than a few points on anyone else, and scores were very close for most of the game. John had an unlucky round with the Flamingo and lost a few cubes, and this was enough to keep him behind for the rest of the game, while the other three of us simultaneously went past the finish line with very close scores. We then played a quick game of Qwixx while Marion drove Ellie home.

Now we were down to 6, and needed two games again, and we suggested we should play some of our new games. Marion, John and I took Istanbul downstairs and played a pair of games of it. It was new to John, and in the first game he was too busy working out the mechanics to actually buy gems (when I finished Marion had only a couple, and John none at all!), so we went for a second one - and this time John very nearly won - he could have finished on his very next turn. The more I play this the more I think this was a good choice for Kennerspiel - it's quite short (our two games only took about an hour), and when played with a random map it's fun trying to work out the best path to victory, but on every turn you have only a few simple choices to make, so it's not too overwhelming.

We then played Vegas Showdown, another favourite of mine which was new to John. He did a great job getting his income up, getting 5 and 3 points from most income at end-game, but struggled with VP buildings (especially not knowing the tech tree), and was unlucky in that the Fancy Restaurant he needed to complete his blue side of the board (and in fact his whole board) was determinedly not coming out of the deck!! Marion tried to do the green strategy again, but it turned into more of a green/yellow strategy in the end, as she bought so many slots and Fancy Slots!

We finished with Ubongo. I have played this a LOT with the kids, so have become quite familiar with it and quite quick at the tricks needed to finish my board quickly, but John was very impressive at it, especially considering it was his first game - from his second board he was finishing only a second behind me almost every round! Marion however, in the first few boards, was getting so frustrated that she was ready to quit, but then she started to get the hang of it, and a couple of times did manage to beat me, and even finished first once. It was fun playing this with just adults for a change - I think it must be three years since I've played this without the kids!
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Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:35 pm
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Friday 10th October 2014

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday there were just 5 of us. We started with a filler, Linko!, while waiting for someone who then didn't show up. It was very close between everyone except Sami, who just didn't manage to keep much in his pile. James however was the victor, so got to choose the first proper game, which was Power Grid, and the map chosen was Central Europe. It was a particularly odd game - mainly because with the mixed power plant deck we drew all the coal ones, most of the oil ones, only one recycling plant all game, and none of the early uranium ones. Simon had been burnt by a sudden coal shortage last game, so was making very sure he never ran out of goods, by hoarding huge numbers at all times - which meant powering costs were high for everyone early game. In addition we had an expensive plant drop on turn 2, and Sami ended up spending all his cash on it, skipping a turn of powering, the next turn just buying goods to power it, and effectively missing two turns of doing anything else! The next turn the one and only recycling plant appeared, three bins powering 6, and James and I had a similar bidding war - only I had goods left to power my remaining plant and he didn't, so he decided not to copy Sami but ducked out. As the game played out this might have been a bad plan, as although at the time it looked like I was going to have to pay 15 to power my 6, by the time I actually needed the plant it was costing just 9, and gradually dropping in price, as bins were coming out quicker than I could use them! James instead picked up both a wind plant and the only uranium plant, so for a long while was powering for just 1 cash, with a plant that used just one coal as his final plant. Lisa meanwhile had gone heavily into coal and oil so her powering costs were huge, but she'd not skipped any house buying turns in the process, so had a good infrastructure. I then went on a house buying spree to put us into Phase 2, and James followed me once Phase 2 with his saved up cash (most people were unable to buy any more houses in Phase 1, thanks to the way everyone had been blocked in the centre of the board except Simon and I! This rapidly produced more power plants for everyone to buy, so Phase 3 hit shortly after. Then it became obvious that either James or I, or both, would be buying to 15 that turn - both of us on 13 houses, and powering 14 and 13 respectively, with lots of good plants available. James bought the 50 plant, which didn't use resources, leaving me with the options on coal ones, or mixed use ones - I put up the mixed use one to be safe, aware that a lot of coal was being used! Then Sami bought a coal power plant, and proceeded to buy up the rest of the coal in the market from his 5th position!! Simon was left the couple he couldn't afford, but neither James or Lisa got any coal, which left James powering just 10, and Lisa powering only 5. Sami did this thinking it would leapfrog him into third position, but had miscounted, and James was still ahead of him, so it didn't have quite the effect he planned, but certainly caused chaos on the last turn! I won, powering 15, with Simon in second as the only other player to power properly.

Next I chose Outpost, with a warning that it involved lots of counting. Lisa said afterwards that she'd bring a calculator next time; Simon meanwhile found a piece of paper and started adding up on that! It was another odd game, partly because it's 5 player and I'm used to playing with 4, and partly because of the order things came up in - no early data libraries, and James buying a really early Heavy Equipment. Sami managed the double Orbital Lab, although had I bid my max I would have got the second one - we both had identical cash amounts I realised when he paid! This, plus a pair of Ecoplants at cost price, gave him such an advantage that it was fairly clear he was going to win. Meanwhile Simon was having a complete disaster, having been shut out of the three Heavy Equipment, then having problems holding enough cash to be competitive as our incomes ramped quicker than he could compete. Phase 3 hit fairly early, thanks to Sami's double Ecoplants, although Lisa was only just behind him with a solid income too. Sami then got the early Moon Base, while Lisa just missed, and the rest of us were nowhere near, and this made him uncatchable. It was close for second place, with only 3 points separating Lisa, James and I, but Lisa just managing it. The quote of the game was definitely "Is there a discount for that?"!

We then went for 7 Wonders, which was new to both Simon and Lisa. Lisa and Sami went very military, and Lisa had a huge pile of resources. I was the science player, but only really going for one type of science, and in fact no-one round the table had access to all three sciences. Sami won, by quite a large margin, with again a close run for second place, just won by James this time.

We finished with a quick game of Escape: The Curse of the Temple, which we lost horribly, not even finding the exit, and getting nowhere near removing enough gems to escape even if we had!
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Sat Oct 11, 2014 7:37 am
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