Trickylight Relief

A place for me to post various musings about the games I play and anything else that comes to mind. My personal website, which has been running since 2001, is at http://www.trickylight.co.uk

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June 2018 roundup

Garry Lloyd
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Holmes Chapel
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If May was a slow month of gaming then June turned out to be glacial as the unusually pleasant weather and a two week holiday saw me tied up doing lots of other things. Consequently, I only managed to play 7 games of 7 different titles, with 2 of them being new to me. The new games were:

== NEW GAMES ==

Icarus - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2015


This was a really great surprise as I wasn't expecting too much from it but it definitely worked fantastically well for me. I'd describe it as Knizia's take on Liar's Dice / Bluff, although with cards rather than dice. Revealing a card gives everyone more information but you have flexibility in upping your bid to any of the seven different suits / colours. Production quality is only so-so - the cards are fine but the box and board detract from the overall appearance. Not sure why this wasn't picked up by one of the usual German producers.

Sakura - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2018


Sakura is another push-your-luck game from Reiner Knizia where you use cards to move the player pawns and the emperor with a view to getting your pawn closest to the emperor when he reaches a scoring space without bumping into him beforehand. Fun and quick but not one of his top-rier games. Will definitely play from time to time but it's not likely to be a regular.

== OTHER GAMES PLAYED THIS MONTH ==

1x Voodoo Prince
1x The Fox in the Forest
1x Mystery Rummy: Al Capone and the Chicago Underworld
1x Too Many Cooks
1x Habe fertig

It was nice to get a bunch of card games that haven't been played for a while back to the table. Al Capone may be my favourite in the Mystery Rummy series but I probably should play all of them again to check. Also, Habe Fertig seems to have been overlooked by many but it is another brilliantly simple card game by Steffen Benndorf.

== STATE OF THE COLLECTION ==

I added 4 new titles to the collection: Mondrian: The Dice Game, Icarus, Sakura and Lost Cities: To Go. I also reacquired three games and parted company with four, which means my total collection now stands at 568.

My list of unplayed games is up from 2 to 3 and my Game of the Month was Icarus, which turned out to be a fantastic variant of Liar's Dice / Bluff.

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Sun Jul 1, 2018 9:03 am
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May 2018 roundup

Garry Lloyd
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May turned out to be a slow month of gaming and I only managed to play 23 games of 23 different titles, with 8 of them being new to me. The new games were:

== NEW GAMES ==

Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2017


This is a terrific solo/co-op game with some decent differential abilities for each character and constantly having to choose which of two cards is best to utilise. And Professor Evil moves unpredictably to mess things up (although in my game he was Professor Slow and didn't hamper me too much). Really enjoyed this.

On Tour - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2018


Now this is on kickstarter for a few more days but I printed out the map and played along with one of the run-through videos. Reminded me of Trans America but as a roll and write game and it was an excellent puzzler with lots of tough choices, which become more critical as the game gets closer to the end. Very good and may well back this. As it's a pre-release game, I ruled that it couldn't be considered for game of the month but it has a strong chance when it is finally available.

Welcome To... - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2018


Rather than roll and write, this is draw and write (as in card draw) and this again provides an excellent puzzle in trying to work out which of three of the available options moves you closer to your scoring objectives. Like Ganz Schon Clever, you're juggling how best to score and it works really well.

Toppo - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2006


This is an older Reiner Knizia game that is a bit different from his normal stuff, in that it is a speed pattern recognition game. Each turn, you try to either match the three cards you draw to three cards in the centre, in which case they cover the matching cards, or match fewer than three and place the remainder to the bottom of your deck. If you're unlucky, yo can do neither and just put all three to the bottom of your deck. Once a player has fewer than ten cards left, they call Toppo and end the game/round. I'm not a big fan of speed games, but this worked pretty well.

Star Wars: Destiny – Two-Player Game - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2017


Found a cheap copy of this and decided to give it a try. Although I'm sure the full game with deck construction is more satisfying in terms of game variability, this starter game works very well and we had a nice battle that turned out to be quite close. The dual objectives of dealing damage to an opponent while not burning through your deck too quickly means the strategy isn't immediately obvious.

Café Fatal - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2017


Great dice management game, where you're looking for area majorities to claim pieces of pizza, cake and cheese to score the most points. The placement restrictions are the thing that make the game interesting but you're still left to the roll of the dice to determine how successful you'll be. Surprisingly quick game with two players.

Go Nuts for Donuts - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2017


Is this Sushi Go for those with a sweet tooth? Yes, in terms of the set-collection, but this is a second-guessing simultaneous-reveal mechanism rather than card-drafting. You're still watching for what others are collecting but there's more groaning when you pair up with another player going for the same card so both come away empty handed. Good fun.

Amun-Re: The Card Game - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2017


This is a card game version of the terrific Amun Re board game, which maintains the main feel of the game and the changing epochs in particular but without the board positioning. It incorporates a different but nice constrained auction mechanism as you can only bid with a single card; you can’t add more cards, only replace with a higher card. Not sure it would work as well with two but three definitely works and four or five may well be better.

== OTHER GAMES PLAYED THIS MONTH ==

1x Verflucht!
1x Mmm!
1x Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama
1x Forbidden Desert
1x Würfel Bingo
1x The Hobbit
1x Mini Mölkky
1x NMBR 9
1x Kribbeln
1x Connections
1x City Square Off
1x Oceania
1x The Game
1x Top & Down
1x Callisto: The Game

I've enjoyed revisiting several short and simple games this month. Roll and write/score games have featured prominently with Kokoro, Wurfel Bingo and Kribbeln getting back to the table. Some of my reacquisitions proved to be good decisions with Oceania, Callisto and Forbidden Desert all justifying their place back in the collection, while Kreuz & Quer (Connections) continues to frustrate (in a good way) with my inability to score well.

== THE YEAR SO FAR ==

So far this year, I've played 141 games of 107 different titles. My most played are:
Verflucht 6
Onirim 5
Exxtra 4
The Game 4
The Mind 4

== STATE OF THE COLLECTION ==

I added 8 new titles to the collection: Amun Re: The Card Game, Welcome To... Go Nuts for Donuts, Toppo, Die Ritter von der Haselnuss, Cafe Fatal, Star Wars: Destiny and Forbidden City. I also reacquired several games and parted company with four, which means my total collection now stands at 565.

My list of unplayed games is up from 1 to 2 and my Game of the Month was Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time, although I very much enjoyed On Tour but that isn't officially released yet.

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Fri Jun 1, 2018 6:59 am
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April 2018 roundup

Garry Lloyd
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In April, I managed to play 42 games of 32 different titles, with 10 of them being new to me. The new games were:

== NEW GAMES ==

Menara - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2018


Excellent solo /co-op dexterity game where you build a temple over several levels, following the instructions on various order cards. You have to build up to a certain level, depending on how hard you set the game up to be, but you can't just stop there. The game ends only when all the temple platforms have been used, all the order cards had been attempted or you suffered a collapse. Really enjoyed this.

Déjà Vu - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2017


Very clever and fun game where you are trying to grab object tiles before anyone else once two of the same have appeared on the cards that get revealed. But there are 36 different objects to keep track of and many of them look similar. If you make a mistake, you score nothing for the round, otherwise you score a point for each correct tile you grabbed. After the first round, you'll find it difficult to remember if you saw the same object in the current round or a previous one.

Illusion - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2018


Wolfgang Warsch is on a roll this year. As well as The Mind, this is another great estimation game where rather than judging time, you're estimating how large an area a particular colour appears on a card compared with others previously played. Think Timeline where you have to slot the card into the right place in the line to keep the order in ascending sequence of area covered. Really simple and some tough choices at times.

Gaia Project - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2017


Billed as Terra Mystica in space, this is an apt description and it plays pretty similarly. The solo game is very well integrated and there appears to be lots of variety to keep the replayability up. Impressed with this.

Raptor - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2015


An asymmetric two player game from the two Brunos with a nice Jurassic Park feel. One person plays the scientists trying to capture the baby raptors; the other plays the raptors trying to get the babies to safety or munch on all the scientists. Some nice second-guessing each round with the lower value card playing first for their special ability while the higher card gets to do multiple standard actions based on the numerical difference between the two cards.

Gold Armada - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2017


Another light dice game from Reiner Knizia that is a yahtzee-like push your luck game to gain the most treasure. Works well as a family game and is very nicely produced.

After The Virus - 2 plays -  7 
First Published 2017


A solo or multi-player deck building game where you are fighting off the zombie hordes while trying to fulfil the objective of the particular mission you have selected for the game (and there are sixteen missions in the box so plenty to get your teeth stuck into). And the missions seem hard (apart from the first which is a gentle introduction). Not seen too much written about his, which is surprising as it's designed by that guy who produced the fairly popular terrafroming game set on Mars.

Gier - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2017


Alexander Pfister turns his hand to a push your luck game and it works very well. Try stealing cards from your opponent without drawing a duplicate. Stop at the right time to add the cards to your collection and win the game by being the first person to get six cards of the same value in their collection. Simple, some light take-that gameplay and good fun.

Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2014


This is a rethemed version of Pingu Party with Game of Thrones characters instead of the cute penguins. The characters don't matter at all; it is just their house (colour) that is important in determining whether the card cant be added to the pyramid of penguins (sorry, Westeros royalty). Solid game but I'm sad I don't still have the penguin version - even though I do like GoT.

Apocalypse Chaos - 1 play -  6 
First Published 2015


Solo / co-operative game of fighting off aliens in a series of mission scenarios. Seemed really hard but the dice allocation mechanism for various actions didn't really grab me. It works but it didn't get me invested in what I was doing. I'd much rather play Space Hulk: Death Angel.


== OTHER GAMES PLAYED THIS MONTH ==

3x The Game
3x Cinque Terre
3x The City
2x Onirim
2x Römisch Pokern
2x Cheeky Monkey
1x Kriss Kross
1x SOS Titanic
1x Herbaceous
1x Poison
1x Schollen Rollen
1x Marco Polo Expedition
1x Pig Pile
1x Love Letter
1x Verflucht!
1x Pairs
1x Al Cabohne
1x Balloon Pop!
1x Kreuz & Quer
1x Africa
1x At the Gates of Loyang
1x Matschig

Still enjoying playing lots of older, shortish games and experimenting with solo variants of Cinque Terre, Romisch Pokern and The City. It was also good to get Loyang back to the table, as well as a few more Knizia's - especially Africa, Marco Polo Expedition, Kreuz & Quer and Cheeky Monkey.

== STATE OF THE COLLECTION ==

I added 9 new titles to the collection: Gold Armada, Gier, Deja Vu, Menara, Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue, After the Virus, Raptor, Professor Evil & the Citadel of Time and Illusion. I also reacquired ( 3 ) 4 games (Through the Desert, Loot, Kreuz & Quer and Orongo), which means my total collection now stands at 551.

My list of unplayed games is down from 2 to 1 and my Game of the Month was a new entry in the Zoch wooden block building series, Menara..

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Tue May 1, 2018 7:02 am
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Connection Popping

Garry Lloyd
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Another couple of quick solo plays yesterday evening. Kreuz & Quer (Connections) is a great 'Take It Easy' like puzzle game from Reiner Knizia. I sold it during the great purge of 2015/16 but just reacquired it and played this evening. Now, last time, I played a multi-player game and scored a very respectable 6 points. This time, it was going so well halfway through and I thought it was going to be another good score. But then everything fell apart and I ended up with 19 points.



Then, I decided to try Balloon Pop which, coincidentally, I last played on 25th April 2017 - one day off being a complete year since the last outing. Pushed my luck a bit at the end and bust two columns. Scored 123 points which is a 3 star rating (out of 10). Need to try harder.

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Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:03 am
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Disaster in Menara

Garry Lloyd
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First solo try at Menara was going really well. After turn 16, my temple looked like this.



I had successfully completed 6 easy, 6 medium and 4 difficult order cards. I was only playing the easy level where you had to build up to level 3 but you can't just stop there. The game ends only when all the temple platforms have been used, all the order cards had been attempted or you suffered a collapse.

On turn 17, I took a medium order card, which required me to add two columns anywhere. The first forced me to add a second level four floor (to the left of the above picture) and then the second meant I had to add a level five floor. Steadily does it and...

.

.

.

.



...disaster in Menara! Oh well, better luck next time.

I enjoyed this quite a bit. The platform shapes and column spots are deviously positioned so you never feel you've got a solid enough structure to add to. I'm sure it will be fun with more players but it is a nice relaxing puzzle as a solo game too.
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Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:30 pm
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March 2018 roundup

Garry Lloyd
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Holmes Chapel
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In March, I managed to play 32 games of 24 different titles, with 3 of them being new to me. The new games were:

== NEW GAMES ==

Verflucht! - 4 plays -  8 
First Published 2018


Another nice quick card game where you are trying to match good (green) cards with the equivalent bad (red) cards. As a solo game, it plays very much like a typical game of patience (Solitaire) and has a large element of luck of the draw but, as it only takes 10 minutes, it has a bit of an addictive "let's try again" quality. I suspect multi-player will be even more challenging but I've not tried it this way so far.

Ganz schön clever - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2018


Another roll and write game but this is a bit meatier than most with a Feld-like multiplicity of scoring options. The dice selection/manipulation and choosing when to stop rolling are quite interesting and I very much enjoyed my first solo play. Very good.

The Grimm Forest - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2018


One of my rare kickstarter acquisitions. Nice family style game with a little bit of nastiness thrown in. As one of the three little pigs, you're racing to be the first to build three houses. The fable and friend cards add a bit of variability to keep things fresh.


== OTHER GAMES PLAYED THIS MONTH ==

3x Onirim
2x The Grizzled
2x The Mind
2x Thunderbirds
1x Exxtra
1x Piece o' Cake
1x Twenty One
1x Burgle Bros.
1x Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
1x Familienbande
1x Tante Tarantel
1x Ingenious
1x Sushizock im Gockelwok
1x Snowdonia
1x Terraforming Mars
1x Numeri
1x Pandemic: The Cure
1x Royal Turf
1x 7 Wonders Duel
1x Risk Express
1x Finca

Lots of games that I haven't played for ages returned to the table this month. Finca was one that Jan really enjoyed and is such an elegant game, it deserves the reprint it's getting later this year. A few more Knizias reappeared: Risk Express is ok but not one of my favourites, whereas Ingenious, Royal Turf and Sushizock im Gockelwock were all great fun. And I got back to solo Snowdonia again after a long absence. Train 4, Snowdon, this time and it reminded what a great design Mr Boydell's masterpiece really is.

== STATE OF THE COLLECTION ==

I added 5 new titles to the collection: Verflucht, Ganz Schon Clever, The Grimm Forest, Apocalypse Chaos and Gaia Project, which means my total collection now stands at 538. I think April will see me start to do another batch of collection trimming so watch out for a few geeklist auctions soon.

My list of unplayed games is up from zero to 2 because of two new arrivals at the end of the month and my Game of the Month was Ganz Schon Clever.

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Sun Apr 1, 2018 7:53 am
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The Grimm Forest has landed in the UK

Garry Lloyd
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Well, my Kickstarter copy of The Grimm Forest arrived today. It looks lovely with the box and inserts being very well laid out. The minis are gorgeous and deserve to be painted although I have neither the skill nor time to undertake such a task.

I'm in London the next two days so will be hoping to try this out sometime over the weekend.


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Wed Mar 7, 2018 9:38 pm
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February 2018 roundup

Garry Lloyd
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In February, I managed to play 24 games of 22 different titles, with 8 of them being new to me. The new games were:

== NEW GAMES ==

The Mind - 2 plays -  8 
First Published 2018


This is a really novel game where a shared sense of timing is the crucial mechanism. It can be very tense with lots of groan moments when you misjudge the next card to be played. I see this getting lots of play.

Powerships - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2018


Powerships is very similar to Powerboats and that's great because 'boats is one of my favourite race games. There is probably a bit more variability in Powerships with the greater number of board pieces to mix up.

Voodoo Prince - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2017


Another excellent small card game from Reiner Knizia. This is a trick-taking game where you try to delay taking tricks until the best time. The two player game works slightly differently but still plays very well. Another one I hope gets plenty of play.

Würfelland - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2018


The latest roll and write game which is a race to complete one coloured area and cross out 9 treasure fields. Works pretty well but not sure it is different enough from others to stand out. But I like these roll and write games a lot so it'll probably see more plays.

Die Eisernen Manner - 1 play -  7 
First Published 1993


This is an old 1993 game that came in a tube. It's a race game depicting a triathlon with different rules for the swimming, cycling and running stages. Not too much in the way of strategy but pleasant enough.

The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2017


This is CoB - the roll and write variant and feels like Castles of Burgundy, which means it's good. Only played solo so far but easy to get in a game in less than half an hour.

Carcassonne für 2 - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2017


This isn't any different from normal Carcassonne other than it's more compact with smaller and fewer tiles. If you want a more portable version for two players, it's worth getting but it doesn't add anything more to its bigger brother so not a must-buy if you have the original.

Bärenpark - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2017


Is this Patchwork with bears? Well, yes in some ways, in that it's about efficiently covering your boards but there's a bit more to it when you add in the achievement tiles. And thecreatures are not all bears. However, it's a solid, easy to pick up game with a nice theme..

== OTHER GAMES PLAYED THIS MONTH ==

2x Exxtra
1x Katzenjammer Blues
1x Forbidden Island
1x Rallyman
1x Potato Man
1x Loony Quest
1x Pizza Box Football
1x FITS
1x Lord of the Rings
1x Finito!
1x Nautilion
1x Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
1x Geister Geister Schatzsuchmeister
1x The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

== STATE OF THE COLLECTION ==

I added 7 new titles to the collection and discovered one in the garage that I hadn't previously logged, which means my total collection now stands at 533.

My list of unplayed games is still at zero (Woohoo!) and my Game of the Month, due to its very different gameplay concept, was The Mind.

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Fri Mar 2, 2018 6:08 pm
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Die Eisernen Manner

Garry Lloyd
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I was rooting around in the garage yesterday and came across Die Eisernen Männer, which is a very obscure racing game that came in a tube. It was designed by Paul Jeffries and Mike Clifford (names you'll recognise if you ever subscribed to Counter magazine) and was based on a triathlon with different movement rules for each of the swimming, cycling and running stages.

Checking BGG, I noticed I didn't have it recorded in my collection so I rectified that and this morning went through the rules to see if I could play it solo and tried it out.



It worked pretty well and gave a very tense finish. I ran a two-player race against a robot triathlete. The robot always moved the forced value but drew blind from the top of the deck and had no stamina or ability. I didn't use the rules for the boat or car obstacles but it still had enough light decision-making and card management to be fun. My racer played using the normal rules with a five-card hand, refilling to five once all had been played. With zero ability on the swimming and cycling stages, this looked pretty desperate for much of the race but with my 2 ability on the running stage, I overtook the robot on the penultimate turn and crossed the line ending up one space ahead for a close win.

The game isn't going to win any awards for production but it turned out to be a nice way to spend half an hour on a Sunday morning.
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Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:13 pm
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Superbowl LII Prediction: Philadelphia 30 New England 13

Garry Lloyd
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As usual, I did a runthrough of the Superbowl using Pizza Box Football to predict who would win. Not sure I stand by this outcome but here's what happened.



Philadelphia won the toss and chose to receive, starting their first drive on their 22 yard line. The Eagles’ ground game was working effectively, steadily gaining ground until successive 18 and 13 yard passing plays took them to the Patriots’ 4 yard line. A couple of plays later saw the first touchdown of Superbowl LII with half of the first quarter gone.

Philadelphia 7 New England 0

New England responded with a couple of first downs taking them to around midfield but they were forced to punt. The Eagles continued to make ground and, moving into the second quarter, kept to their effective running game, culminating in a 44 yard field goal to extend the lead.

Philadelphia 10 New England 0

New England couldn’t make any progress on their next drive and Philadelphia got the ball back half way through the second quarter in good position on their 33 yard line. A couple of third down pass completions followed by a 20 yarder took the Eagles into the red zone just as the two minute warning arrived. As the ground game had worked so well up to now, Philadelphia stuck to that and four plays later, another 7 points were notched up.

Philadelphia 17 New England 0

New England knew it was too early to panic but nothing seemed to be working and they had to punt away their next drive and the Eagles were happy to run out time in the first half.

HT: Philadelphia 17 New England 0


Brady knew the Patriots had to start well in the second half but no-one could have expected his first play to result in a tipped pass that was intercepted by the Eagles and returned to the Patriots’ 22 yard line. That shock was compounded when Foles sent a bullet of a pass into the end zone to take the Eagles 24 points ahead.

Philadelphia 24 New England 0

New England knew they had to get on the score board to have even the slimmest hopes of rescuing this game and they tried the patient approach mixing up running and passing games but the clock was against them. They succeeded in getting into the Eagles’ red zone but, on fourth down and one, they chose to go for it and the Eagles defence held strong, taking the ball back on their 9 yard line. Four plays later, the Patriots got the ball back at midfield and Brady connected for 33 and 14 yard completions. However, the Eagles’ defence again worked well and New England were left to end the third quarter on another fourth down just two yards shy of a touchdown. Thankfully for the neutrals, Dion Lewis took the ball into the end zone to finally get some points on the board.

Philadelphia 24 New England 7

Philadelphia were unable to get any traction on their next drive and the Patriots got the ball back on their own 43 yard line. Cue: Tom Brady. Straight off the bat, he threw a 46 yard completed pass and, three plays later, another touchdown for New England, slightly marred by a missed PAT attempt.

Philadelphia 24 New England 13

With more than half of the quarter still remaining, the Patriots didn’t go for the onside kick and the Eagles got the ball on their 22. Unfortunately for New England, the Eagles knew just how to work the clock and also move the ball. Closing in on the two minute warning, they had progressed to the 18 yard line of the Patriots and settled for a field goal on their next play.

Philadelphia 27 New England 13

New England knew they needed two touchdowns to keep the game alive but the Eagles’ defence continued to thwart Tom Brady. Four incomplete passes meant Philadelphia took over on their opponents’ 21 yard line. No heroics were needed and it seemed unnecessary but another field goal was enough to cement a fantastic win for the Eagles: Superbowl champions of 2018.

Final Philadelphia 30 New England 13
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Sun Feb 4, 2018 10:15 pm
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