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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 9th October 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 7, which was enough for two tables, so after a quick Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star with the early arrivals, we split into two tables, with me playing Time's Up! Title Recall! downstairs with Marion, against Sami and Ellie while upstairs played Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, the short game. Ellie was at a slight disadvantage, being younger and not knowing all the phrases, and Starstruck was definitely their nemesis card in round one, but they picked up a bit in later rounds, although were hampered by not having guessed them themselves in the early rounds.

After that Ellie left, and we carried on with Vegas Showdown. I went for a high income strategy, Marion started green (then changed mid-game!), and Sami was going for an early points strategy, but the game went on for about as long as possible, and this gave me the chance to take advantage of my high income to overtake him, thanks to high VP tile purchases, collecting triangles, and the bonus card for restaurants coming up. Then we merged and resplit, with upstairs playing Terra Mystica followed by LEgendary Villains, while downstairs we started with Takenoko. I tried to rush to an end, playing lots of cards all on one turn, then realised I was one short of the number required for a 3 player game end, and couldn't play one for turns and turns afterwards and was worried that Simon, who'd put out some high VP cards early on, would trigger game end instead, but he got stuck too!

Then we introduced Simon to London. He asked what kind of game it was, and we struggled to explain, and at the end he said he could see why we were struggling - it is kind of different in style to most other games. He tried an early loan strategy, buying lots of areas in the city, and this got him off to a good start. Meanwhile I was amassing VPs by running my city repeatedly, but had a slight poverty problem, and close to end game was on 19 poverty with the others on 5 each! However then they both ran their city on the final turn, gaining a few, and being left with cards on hand, while my final run of the city dropped me by a few, and it reduced the swing to just 6 poverty, which wasn't nearly as many VPs!

We then played a quick Qwixx, in which I had a terrible score, although no-one scored particularly highly. We then finished with Augustus.
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Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:05 pm
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Friday 2nd October 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This Friday was very quiet, with just 5 people. That meant we were looking for a 5 player game, and Marion suggested Agricola. We rolled the I deck, which was new to Simon, having only played with the E deck before. I had two minor improvements that got me lots of wood, as long as I had 3 occupations out, so I hurriedly played 3 - luckily I had three goods ones - one of which was a bonus for most improvements, so suddenly everyone was rather keener to play theirs. Simon helped me not need a second reed for my first room by passing me a wooden hut extension, so we were both able to family growth early, before Sami just built two rooms at once normally, and stuck the card in his hand so it went no further. Meanwhile Ellie was plowing, sowing and baking bread, making it hard for anyone else to get a look in. Simon was taking all the clay, making it hard for anyone else to get enough to renovate. Food seemed in short supply, and various people were struggling to family growth because they couldn't feed their people - I spent one whole turn (and three actions) in the mid-game in a mad food scramble before a harvest, which is very unlike me. At end game Marion managed the bonus for most improvements - I had been competing and thought I was winning, but hadn't realised that the major improvements on the opposite side of her board, next to Ellie's improvements, were hers and not Ellie's until very near the end, when it was too late for me to do anything about it - oops! Simon didn't realise the competition for renovation on the last round and didn't take it as his first action, not realising that both Sami and Marion were going to do it before it came back round to him. Sami deliberately took it with fences just to make Marion waste an extra action taking fences. This didn't stop Marion winning though, with me second a few points behind, and Sami recording his lowest score in 30 games to get third place! Ellie just beat Simon by one point.

Ellie then went home, and Marion chose Kingsburg as the next game. We had the usual whinging about dice rolling - from everyone but Marion, who was getting amazing rolls throughout. I had a terrible start, but then had a succession of average rolls. Sami had an amazing first round, but then ended up with the lowest roll on almost every turn for the next three rounds. Simon, like me, was getting mostly average rolls (usually the same number as me but playing before me as it happened!), but then had a disaster in the last round, and rolled terribly - even his re-roll for less than 7 not helping him much. Sami was very glad for that re-roll building when he rolled a 4!!! It was very close at the end, with Marion just a few points ahead, and Sami and I tied in second place.

Next Marion chose Goa, which Simon had played once quite a while ago, so needed a rules refresher. It was a very high money game, with me getting the 4 cash bonus tile on turn 1, and both Simon and Sami taking the money track reasonably often. Bidding was particularly high for colonists, as we were all struggling to acquire them! I did my usual colonist/ship track pairing; Marion similarly went colonists, and Sami did the usual expedition card strategy, coupled with the goods track, which won, as usual. Simon tried the balanced strategy, moving them all down together.

It was getting towards of the end of the evening now so we needed a shorter game, and Sami picked Splendor. By chance my first few purchases were red/black, and there was a bonus for 4 of each, so I decided to play heavily for that - not a strategy I normally use, usually going for more of a balanced selection and going for the 3/3/3 bonus tiles. It worked really well for me this game, despite Marion taking one tile I'd been expecting to take cheap. I collected my bonus tile, and then just needed 4 more points, and there was a card on the top row that I only needed 2 things for, so I took it and a gold, deciding it was safer to risk the extra turn than for it to vanish, only for it to be replaced with a 5 pointer that I was now only one short of, so I took that next turn and triggered game end, one turn ahead of Sami, and with no-one else on more than 12 - in fact, two of the other players weren't even in double figures!

We finished with a quick Take It Easy, with me just pipping Marion - we even had a recount as even I couldn't believe I'd beaten her with her 8 8s and 7 4s and solid numbers in everything else - but she had missed 9s, whereas I hadn't missed any high value numbers, and did have 7 6s.
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Sat Oct 3, 2015 9:50 am
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Friday 25th September 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We were 8 this week, so split neatly into two tables of four. Terra Mystica was fairly inevitably suggested as one of the two tables, while Vegas Showdown was tabled by the other four. I was in the Terra Mystica game, drawing Swarmlings, which I don't tend to play well. Simon was Cultists, one of the strongest races according to our stats, Emily drew Alchemists and Sami was Giants, on the other end of the spectrum. Sami started by taking the +1 boat tile, and placing houses on any red square he could reach. I upgraded to my Stronghold, to get points from my trading posts in the first two turns and upgraded my terraforming track twice, as it looked like I might need to do a lot of terraforming. Then Simon unexpectedly mega terraformed a square next to me that I thought was safely mine and built on it before I had a chance to react. This meant that I needed a bridge and a treble terraform to turn my Stronghold area into a town - which was very costly. Meanwhile Simon couldn't connect his areas, as Emily was in his way, and Sami was using bridges to connect the regions across the water into towns. Tracks-wise there was huge competition from everyone but Emily on the last turn after she passed out, although I did say with hindsight I should have left them to it and upgraded my ship track instead. Sami was the only person with an even vaguely large region, and I was comfortably second, as the other two didn't connect their two areas. Simon just snuck ahead of me from second, but Sami had a relatively comfortable win.

Both tables finished at the same time, so we split and re-merged, with Colin re-suggesting Suburbia, while they took Stone Age downstairs. It was new to Emily, so we gave her a quick rules explanation and then started. The bonuses were for greens and greys, so these were heavily contested, while the blues and yellows were largely being left. There were also bonuses for highest income and highest cash, and Colin won both of these comfortably in the end, thanks to a rather scary combination of blue buildings and two grey buildings that gave him bonuses for blue buildings! This gave him the win, with me second, thanks to some good income scores.

We then played the game top of my list, Breaking Away, which was new to both Simon and Emily. It started well for Emily, with her picking up some good numbers to put her through the first sprint, and then she stalled while everyone went past and picked up a whole collection of 10s and 12s for later. Meanwhile my bikes kept picking up 7s, which just weren't as effective. Colin didn't do well at all off the first two sprints, just getting one card each time, admittedly a highish number, but then at the final sprint his lead bike just took off into the distance, and used its large breakaway bonus to go straight past the finish line, and then his other bikes picked up a huge number of points too, while the rest of us limped over the line slowly behind him, Emily rather faster than Simon or I, so picking up second place!

Stone Age had just finished scoring as we finished, so we again merged and split, this time Richard suggesting Flash Point: Fire Rescue, so Simon hurriedly went for a Macao option as the other table, and I joined Richard with Lisa and Emily, wanting a lighter game myself. Richard wanted to play one of the boards he wasn't familiar with, so we pulled out a 2nd Story board. As we had two new players I didn't play on Heroic this time, and it felt very tame by comparison - the walls stopped the fire spreading too much, and Lisa removed most of the hazmats before they could explode. Richard helped me, as Generalist, to pull people out of windows and down ladders, while Emily as CAFS firefighter cleaned up all the fire very effectively. We pulled out 7, and carried on to try and get the full 10 - and I pulled the 10th person out of the building and was just walking them round the building to the ambulance, just as we had a double roll next to and on a fire piece, which created an explosion, which hit a hazmat, which created another explosion, which put so many cubes on the house collapsed on top of the other three firefighters! Ah well, we won anyway, even if the end wasn't quite ideal.

We then decided to move onto party games, and started with Telepathy. None of us were particularly telepathic early on, with scores mostly being 1s and 2s if we were lucky, but we gradually improved, and Richard and I did manage a couple of higher scores that pushed us ahead. We then finished with a round of Knowing Me Knowing You, with Lisa having to decide who had the best bottom! None of us knew each other very well so scores were generally low, but Lisa and Emily had a natural advantage, and Lisa and I got quite a few points with each other, so Lisa was a clear winner, with me just squeaking ahead of Emily by one point for second.
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Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:37 pm
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Friday 18th September 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We started with a game of Spyfall while waiting for people to arrive, which ended very quickly as it became rapidly obvious that Sami was not Crusading, but thought he was in a more modern location!

We then needed three games, as we were ten. Richard suggested Letters from Whitechapel, which Ellie was keen to join in with. John and James also showed interest, but John didn't know it, so James played as he knew the game. Meanwhile Vinci and Lords of Waterdeep had been suggested as the other two games, and with Vinci being better with 4 rather than 3 I took John, along with Simon and Sami downstairs to play that. It was new to John (although it turned out later he had played Small World), so we did a quick rules explanation then set up. He was start player, and picked up a nice Currency/Livestock Breeding civ that got him off to an excellent start, while Simon was Mining and Sami had Agriculture/Mountaineering, so all of them were scoring 15 a turn very rapidly. As fourth player I had a terrible selection, so went for a Rebirth civ, and hurriedly declined, but the selection wasn't any better for my second civ, so I was struggling to keep up, although taking over John's civ when I came back did help me catch him. Simon declined with Mining, only to start with another Mining civ, this time with Astronomy, and just took off out of sight score-wise. We managed to hold him off winning for one turn, but he still scored 11, and there was no way of stopping him getting 6 the final turn. All three of us did manage to get just over the 100, but miles behind Simon!

Letters from Whitechapel had only just started the second night, but Lords finished at the same time, so we merged and resplit, with the inevitable Terra Mystica on one table, with expansion, while I took Caylus downstairs with John and Marion. It was new to John, and Marion hadn't played for a couple of years, so we had a rules refresher before getting started. It was a low income game - the brown building square was the last in the line, so there weren't many bought early on, and I was consciously building non-income buildings, and putting most of my cubes in the castle, and getting lots of favours. John however was building lots of income buildings, as well as the ones that put green and blue buildings on the board. Marion was competing with me in the castle, and going aggressively for VP favours. She was doing ok at first, but then the brandy started to take effect, and the game effectively turned into a two player game. John blocked me out of building a blue building by moving the provost back three spaces, and the next turn went in there with his first move, and Marion triggered game end by moving the provost forward. My collection of gold moved me forward an impressive number of VPs at game end - 15 from gold alone! - but that wasn't enough to quite overtake John with his two blue buildings.

Our game had taken quite a while, and had meanwhile merged with the Letters from Whitechapel table, after they abandoned their game after the third night as Ellie needed to go home, and they had no idea where James was. The table upstairs were halfway through an Ave Caesar, so we waited for the lap to finish then merged and split into two tables, three of us taking Fauna downstairs while the others played Alhambra upstairs. By contrast with the slow Caylus game, this was one of the quickest games of Fauna ever, with James getting almost exactly the location of an Aardcat, which either John or I had heard of, and getting a huge number of points on the first turn. He then messed up just as he reached the finish line a couple of turns later, ending up 6 points short of it, but the next turn only getting 5 points, while John and I made up some of the gap - but still a good 20 points behind him when he finally finished the next turn. We finished with a quick game of Timeline: Historical Events.
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Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:22 am
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Friday 11th September 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 8, so split neatly into two tables of 4. Marion said that after last week she'd like to play Through the Ages again, so that was one table, and I suggested Endeavor for the other one. Sami and Gill joined me, and Lisa ended up joining us too, while Hannah went downstairs for Through the Ages. It was new to both Lisa and Gill, so I ran through the rules, but said it was a good game to learn while playing, as it kind of exploded as it went, and it proved to be so. Gill stayed in the home area, colonised and then abolished slavery, so Lisa and I lost our slaves. Meanwhile Sami and I in particular were sending out ships heavily, exploring, and Lisa joined in with that. Sami however was more successful at getting governors, getting a total of three! Gill got to the stage she'd finished with beating everyone up in Europe, so also decided to join us further aseas, and her board position at end game was very impressive - unfortunately at the expense of mine! I however had good position on my charts, and this was enough to just keep me in third, with Gill second, and Sami comfortably ahead with his three governors, and plenty of colonies overseas.

Sami chose Himalaya next, a programming game about collecting gems and converting them into other things, with some very obtuse winning conditions on your first play. They rapidly got the idea that stupas were good, and Gill quickly netted two, and was fairly safe to not get knocked out in the first phase. I was lucky enough to get one that put me ahead of both Lisa and Sami, which meant that unless they both got really lucky I couldn't be knocked out, but I had a slight problem, in that I had almost no people on the board, and those I had were totally overwhelemed by the huge numbers that Sami and Gill had. Lisa was knocked out from lack of stupas, not able to quite get the last one she needed to go ahead of Sami, and I went second, with no fields. Sami had amassed a huge number of yaks, with a fair number obtained just from collecting two early gold, and this was enough to put him ahead of Gill on yaks.

There was no sign of Through the Ages finishing anytime soon, despite the fact they were playing the short game, and it had been over two and a half hours now, so we decided to go for Gill's favourite, Time's Up! Title Recall!, with me choosing the Title Recall version, which was new to Lisa, she having only played with the people before. There were definitely a few cursed cards - Sami had one in particular that he kept drawing and just couldn't get Lisa to say in the first round, while I kept drawing a seven word one late in my turn - by the time we'd done it several times Gill had about four of the words, but even though it wasn't particularly hard it wasn't well known, so I just couldn't get her to say it! Then the second round hit, and I did my usual of forgetting I had words! Lisa started to struggle a bit more with this round, being less familiar with the game, and Gill and I were able to pull ahead a little. The last round, and here my use of actions rather than words in the previous round helped me have an amazing first turn, getting no less than 6 cards!! Gill and I were able to romp away with the final round as a result, especially as we managed to clean up the small pile on the last turn - Gill had seen them all, Lisa only took one out, and then it was just a case of getting her to say them in the right order!

We had nearly finished when the Through the Ages game finally completed, and so they spectated for the last bit, and then we merged and split for the last hour. Fauna was suggested for one table, which instantly won me for that table. It was a very close game between Marion and I, with me finishing the penultimate turn on 99 points, Marion just behind in the low 90s, and then her having a better last turn than me - but a lucky placement of a seal in Britain (everyone else had only gone for seas, not land areas) was enough to keep me one point ahead of her in the final round. We had enough time for a quick Timeline: Historical Events to finish with, where Lisa showed she was rather better with animals than historical dates! I managed to win for once, which is rare for me with this game, despite me usually doing really well at Chronology.
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Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:40 pm
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Friday 4th September 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This Friday there were 6 of us. Hannah arrived slightly late, so while we were waiting we played a couple of hands of Spyfall - and for once Sami wasn't always the spy!

Then we wanted to split into two tables. Terra Mystica was suggested for one table, while Power Grid was suggested for the other one. We used a dice roll to see which of Colin and Sami joined Simon and I for Terra Mystica, and Colin got it. Colin drew one of the expansion races, Yetis, and we all were amazed at how overpowered they sounded from the description. By comparison Simon and I drew very weak races, Nomads for me (which are fairly average, but I have played them a lot recently so was quite familiar with how to play them), and Simon drew Giants, which on our stats are coming out as the worst race right now. Simon didn't do anything to improve their stats in this game either - he ignored the Stronghold, and instead went right, and had an impressive holding on the tracks at end-game, with him and Colin splitting the points between the two of them. However he wasn't able to connect his two areas, so had the smallest land mass. I was comfortably able to take first place for the largest land area, but had to accept third on almost every track. My in-game points were good though, especially on the last turn, when I picked up the only VP scoring tile, for ships, and fully upgraded my ship track, as well as picking up lots of points from my two discs. Colin meanwhile was able to do all sorts of stuff with all the power he was getting from his income, but had trouble connecting (needing to upgrade to a 5 ship effectively - so having to upgrade to 3, and build a house in between!), and also both Simon and I built round him VERY aggressively at the start, so he had to dig himself out a hole a bit there, and then didn't get much power of either of us for the rest of the game. He was able to win fairly comfortably though.

We finished before the Power Grid game, so picked a shortish game to play while we were waiting - Chronology. I got off to an excellent start, with lots of easy cards and no problems with gaps, but then stalled completely on 14, and couldn't get the 15th card!! By the time I managed it Colin had managed to catch me up on 14, and had two chances himself to win the game, but I did manage it in the end!

Then we merged and resplit, with Sami taking the guys downstairs to play Macao, while the "girls" table upstairs played Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, the shorter version. It was new to Hannah, so the first half of the game we were rather pushing her through, but then she got a nice Knights/Genghis Khan combination and was off, although she was a very non-aggressive military player, never picking up any sensible green cards or aggressions (take one colony from the losing player - but no-one has any!!). Meanwhile, as two of the bonuses at end game were for science, I took science cards and went for Libraries and Universities, and then used my science to build techs for extra points. Marion, who had all three Works of Art, was not impressed as I gradually overtook her, with my points per turn just being slightly ahead of hers at all times. She was playing a Michangelo strategy, but didn't know quite how to maximise points for it, then got herself in a hole trying to store up enough stone to build the Eiffel Tower.

We finished with a quick game of King's Breakfast, a little filler I quite enjoy from time to time, and which was new to both the other two. I lost the rules, but hopefully I remembered them all correctly!
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Mon Sep 7, 2015 6:25 pm
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Friday 28th August 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 7. We started with the what to play first game, when someone made the mistake of suggesting Terra Mystica. At that point we had a problem, as no-one would suggest anything else, in case they ended up not on the Terra Mystica table. The problem was solved in the end by Simon making the 5 minute drive home to collect his copy, and we started a game on both tables. I was with Simon and Sami, and Sami won comfortably with his Dwarves, while I messed up on the final turn and didn't manage to build my third town as a result - I don't seem to have a good track record with Swarmlings. Simon managed to tie me with his Darklings, thanks to have some cash left at the end for the final two points.

We finished first of the two tables, so played a couple of short games - Splendor and Trans Europa- while waiting for the other table to finish.

One player then had to drop out for a bit, as he needed to provide phone support to a friend with an IT problem. The remainder of us played a couple of games while waiting - firstly Ave Caesar, with a crash and burn in the entrance to the pit lane by the lead car in the first lap of the first race - that stopped that race quite effectively! When it finished we played Jungle Speed and then were back to 7 players, and split into two tables, with Sami, Colin and I introducing Lisa to Notre Dame, before we finished with a 7 player 7 Wonders.
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Tue Sep 1, 2015 3:32 pm
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Friday 21st August 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 9. We started with 8 of us for just under an hour, so one table played Vegas Showdown, before Sami had to leave to collect our 9th from the local station, while upstairs we played Terra Mystica. Colin was dealt Cultists, and so we were fairly sure the rest of us were just playing for second from the start, and it proved to be so, as he dominated the tracks, and the power he was getting was getting him all sorts of bonuses. I was Swarmlings, and just managed to hold onto second ahead of Simon's Nomads, but I didn't really "Swarm", and had Simon managed to get his third town, which he just missed out on, then I would have been in third place.

We then played a couple of hands of Spyfall while waiting for Matt and Sami to return, as the other table had finished at the same time as us.

Then we were looking for two games, and as we had both Matt and Gill, both keen party gamers, I suggested Time's Up! for one table, and they both joined me along with Sami, while upstairs wanted a rather heavier game, and settled on Power Grid, at Sami's suggestion. Gill and I were a bit unlucky with cards on the first round, and me describing to Gill did not go well in the first round - Jessica Simpson being particularly frustrating! They beat us 23 to 17. The second and third rounds were much closer, with us winning 21-19 in the second round, and it reversing in the third. There were some amusing parts - such as Matt's Elephant Man confusing Sami for almost the whole of the timer one turn (Rhino was the word of choice, and the action was for man), whereas Gill, drawing the card next, just waved her arm like an elephant's trunk and I got it in two seconds! And we got a whole performance of an Indiana Jones film from Sami on his very last turn of the game, trying desperately to get Matt to guess Shia LaBoeuf, and failing miserably!

We then pulled out Pictomania, which apparently is totally new to Matt, despite us having owned it for a few years, and him being our main party game opponent - no idea how that happened! And he liked it so much we played it twice in a row! Gill wasn't quite quick enough at drawing to get much guessing time in the first game, but in the second one abandoned her drawing attempts to guess more, and did a bit better. I had a disaster in the first game with twice people completely mis-guessing what I'd drawn, but won the second game fairly comfortably, as it was everyone else's turn to have the same problem!

We then merged and split with the other table, and I found myself playing one more party game, this time Articulate!, one of my favourites from university days, while the table upstairs played Ave Caesar. On the first lap Matt and Colin got off to a quicker start thanks to winning an early spade round, but Gill and I caught them and it was neck and neck all the way round the board, but then we switched to the expansion pack for the second lap, and Colin and Matt seemed to get stuck rather on World and Person categories, while we steamed on round the board for the win.
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Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:25 pm
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Friday 7th August 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We started slightly early with our new social deduction filler, Spyfall. We ended up playing five times (it does only take a few minutes per play) while waiting for the last person to arrive, as everyone was enjoying it.

Then we split into two tables, one table introducing Ellie to Terra Mystica, while downstairs Marion and I introduced James to Deus. James rapidly got the idea of the game, but being his first play he wasn't so sure how to maximise points so his final score was well behind. Marion spent quite a lot of the sifting for cards, and discarding for resources, and there was one amusing moment where she drew lots of cards, spent ages reading them working out her plan, then looked up to see that in my turn my troops had marched across the board to her area, ransacked the barbarian village next to her and taken up camp just where she was planning on building! She was not impressed! In general there was a lot of blocking going both ways between the two of us actually, as Marion started as close to me as she could! At end game I beat her by just 2 points, and thinking back, on Marion's last turn she probably could have done something different to tie - she had to take back what she planned, and what she did instead may not have been her biggest gain of VPs relative to me (taking majorities off me would have been better).

We then played the third new game in my games order, Waggle Dance. This was also new to James, but this didn't stop him. He went for a very aggressive dice strategy, hatching two eggs a turn early on while Marion and I just did one, and this eventually got him so many dice ahead that he was getting more pollen a turn than either of us, and was just able to get the 7th honey on the turn that Marion and I could only get to 6, thanks to use of a Queen Bee card. The next turn I suspect we would have all been on 8 honey, and then the fewer dice players would have won the tie-break - it was definitely close!

The others had finished at this point, so we re-merged and split differently, with one table playing Suburbia, while I played Vegas Showdown with Sami and James. I went for a heavy income strategy, but late game this didn't help me, as my board became so full (from buying quite a few large buildings) that I could no longer fit in the buildings I wanted to buy, and anyway Sami and James both had high incomes themselves anyway so I didn't gain a huge advantage. They both went for triangle strategies, Sami with slightly more success than James, which won him the game.

We then decided we had time for an Agricola still. We rolled the G deck, which meant some slightly weird cards, and less points available from the improvements. Sami played a card early that gave a bonus for most grain, which he was well set up for, but this did mean that the sow/bake bread space suddenly became heavily competed for, and he was having to spend more actions than he wanted feeding, as he was often blocked out of baking bread in his clay oven. I had a cooking improvement from the deck that gave a good rate for vegetables, so rapidly started eating them (and then became vegetarian, which made feeding even easier!). James played a card that meant he took stone on the returning home phase if he went for day laborer - this meant stone stockpiles didn't appear, which made going for stone harder, so I was the only one to renovate to stone. James even got blocked out of renovating to clay, as early on I took most of it and renovated and built a clay room early on, then Sami went aggressively for the clay remaining, as he was feeding on clay! At end game I was just able to win, thanks to sneaking the grain bonus off Sami to win by just those 2 points!

The other table had just finished too, so we all joined together to finish with a 6 player 7 Wonders. I was Temple B, which needs all three sciences to build its top level, so pursued a science strategy. I had another science player, James, to my right though, and Sami two steps to my left, so was worried that I'd lose lots of cards to them. This didn't seem to hurt in the second phase, from how the cards fell, so I was able to build quite a few third phase cards cheaply, which was just as well as I didn't have a high enough production for blue buildings. Luckily for me Sami mainly took blue buildings in this round, as they were more points for him. Richard, to my left, pursued a very heavy military strategy with his Colossus, so there were no cheap military points to be got there, but I did just manage to stay ahead of James. On the other side of the table Marion got a huge military score as neither person either side of her built military. James was blocked out of building the second stage of his lighthouse by not taking any first round ore buildings, then realising that neither of his neighbours had a second ore, and then I hid the only card coming his way that would get him ore in my wonder, having noticed his predicament. This hurt his production rather, as that middle stage would have got him resources to build other stuff. At end game I was surprised to find that despite Richard's military and blue set up he was only third with 48, and Sami's huge blue/purple/green score only got him second with a score of 49, while I, who didn't seem to have done much of anything, ended up first. My science score of 21 didn't seem particularly impressive, but I was also on double figures in a couple of other categories, and no-one had a really high score, so a score in the 50s was enough to win.
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Sun Aug 9, 2015 8:36 am
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Friday 31st July 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Games, games and more games!
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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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