Halesowen Boardgamers July 2010
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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http://www.halesowenboardgamers.blogspot.com/ We meet every Wednesday evening at 19:30 in Halesowen. If you fancy joining us please contact either DaveD or myself.

This is a geeklist of the games we played in July 2010.
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1. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:51]
Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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07 July 2010

Steve H bought this after playing this at our Rosliston weekend away.

It is largely based on Sid Meier's Civilization, the PC game.

This was a just a learning game for Steve H and Dave F, the full game being just that little bit too long for a club night.

edit: corrected date
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2. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:81]
Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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07 July

This went through a period of heavy rotation a while back at the club, and for a time was the club's most played game.

But it's not everyone's cup of tea and your game experience IMHO can vary widely from game to game depending on role selection, events and group dynamic. One game could be superb, offering tense decisions and tightly wound intrigue at every turn. Another game you might spend the game with few meaningful choices, rolling a d8 to perform the same task every turn.

For a while it has taken a back seat, but came out again tonight for another showing. Five played tonight (a sweetspot for the no. of players). I believe they were playing with the Pegasus expansion, but without the Cylon leader or New Caprica (although I stand to be corrected).

Mike was a cylon throughout, and was joined halfway through by Paul. It was a tight game by all accounts, resulting in a narrow victory for the humans - DaveD, AndyS, & Steve Perkins.

edit: corrected date

 
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3. Board Game: Steam Barons [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
Board Game: Steam Barons
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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14 July 2010

Steam Barons is classed as an expansion for Steam, however it is very different game, removing some key elements such as role selection, city growth and urbanisation and replacing them with a stock-market of sorts - no-one plays a particular railroad, they just buy shares in it.

However the stock market is a bit weird in that it gives a leg-up to lower value shares and constrains high values ones, which has an averaging effect. In our game this prevented a couple of companies from going bankrupt, if they had then their track would've become usable by any railroad, which would've opened up the board a bit more.

As wtih many auction games, what to pay is very difficult to determine on the first playing, and we all bid quite conservatively. However I don't think we were too far off the mark.

Mike profited quite handsomely by picking up loads of shares in a couple of companies, then selling them a turn later for a decent profit.

Mike 102
Andy E 88
Andy S 83
Colin 60

(150 minutes)

As a game it was quite enjoyable but I can't help comparing it to games such as Chicago Express, Coast-to-Coast Rails, and German Railways, all of which are arguably better games playable in a shorter timeframe. However it certainly warrants a few more plays before disregarding it in preference to the alternatives.
 
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4. Board Game: Workshop of the World [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:8409]
Board Game: Workshop of the World
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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14 July 2010

This is the Ragnar Brothers' UK Expo 2010 release. I've not had chance to play it yet - hopefully someone more enlightened than me will be able to offer some more info. hint hint

Dave C 111
Dave D 110
Donald 109
Ben 97
 
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5. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:728]
Board Game: Forbidden Island
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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14 July 2010

This is what I know about Forbidden Island. It's:

* a Co-operative;
* similar to Pandemic (same designer);
* packaged in a nice tin box; and
* reasonably priced.

Not convinced by the first two points, but the latter two grab my interest. Not had chance to play it yet.

Donald, Dave D, Dave C and Ben all played and lost.
 
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6. Board Game: The Speicherstadt [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:796]
Board Game: The Speicherstadt
David Fildes
United Kingdom
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21st July 2010

Final scores:

Andy S 32
Dave F 25
Mike 23
Steve H 14

This post has turned out to be a bit longer than I intended but I hope it gives a flavour of how the game plays.

This was the first time Speicherstadt has been played at the club and Andy's second victory of the night, although this time the victory was quite emphatic.

Speicherstadt is set in the warehouse district of Hamburg where each player is a merchant. The aim of the game is to earn victory points (principally by completing contracts which can be won throughout the game).

This is a relatively simple (at least in terms of the rules) "auction" game. Each round 1 more card than there are players is "auctioned". The auction is carried out by players placing a marker next to a card in sequence (each player has 3 markers to place) until all the markers are placed.

The auctions are resolved from left to right on the game board. The card is offered to the player who placed the first marker next to the card, with the card costing the number of markers next to it. If the first player doesn't want (or can't afford) to buy the card, they remove their marker and the next player has the choice, but the card now costs 1 cash less. This continues until all the cards have been bought (any card not bought is discarded).

There are several types of cards: ships, giving resources; contracts, which require different types and numbers of resources to complete and provide victory points when finished; merchants, who can convert resources into cash; firemen (which I'll come to later); and special cards giving a variety of benefits, from increased income to bonus victory points.

The game is broken down into four seasons. Each season, after the first, there is a fire (there is also a fire at the end of the fourth season, making a total of four fires). In the fire, the player with the fewest firemen looses victory points equal to the fire number (i.e. the second fire, which happens in the third season, costs 2 victory points) and the player with the most firemen gains victory points equal to the same number. These fires mean that it is not sufficient just to chase victory points, as if you have the fewest firemen for all of the fires you would lose 10 victory points. This is a sizeable disadvantage, as Steve found out in this game.

Throughout the game, cash is in short supply. Each turn, every player earns 1 cash (2 if they didn't buy anything the previous turn). The other main way to obtain cash is to sell resources, but the number of resources available to be sold is not great, which limits the amount of money available this way.

The shortage of cash, together with the bidding system means that getting the card you want is rarely easy (or cheap), and makes the game quite cutthroat, and fantastic fun.

I really like the balance between trying to get the best card you can while not paying over the odds for it, and preventing other players gaining too much of an advantage.
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7. Board Game: Gheos [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2346]
Board Game: Gheos
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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21 July 2010

This was my first play of Gheos, a tile playing game with a small investment aspect. Play a tile to start a civilisation, add to one, start a war or cause a migration.

Scoring occurs when either an Epoch tile is drawn, a temple added or one of your scoring tiles are cashed in.

It was on this latter aspect that me and Dave D fell down on. Once 8 Epoch tiles are drawn the game is over - and these came out thick and fast leaving me and Dave D with two unused scoring disks a piece:

Dave C 34
Ben 33
Andy E 29
Dave D 22
 
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8. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:305]
Board Game: Saint Petersburg
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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21 July 2010

This week we were joined by 4 new members. Andy H and Pete joined me and Dave D for a game of St. Petersburg.

The game is essentially a low-interaction economic snowball game. Spend money to buy cards, which grant you a steady income of rubles and/or VPs. Although the game does have quite a lot riding on luck and turn order, good and bad decisions have a strong cumulative effect throughout the game, rewarding experience and careful planning.

Andy H had a pretty much perfect game - picking up the Mistress of Ceremonies card in the first round, an incredibly powerful card granting both a decent income of cash and VPs.

Whereas I, playing lackadaisically forgot that cards in your hand are worth minus VPs at the end of the game. This meant I spent the last two turns getting rid of them.

Andy H 116
Dave D 87
Andy E 62
Pete 54

Although it's not a game I'd enthuse about, there is very little downtime, and it plays in a fast time, with enough meaningful decisions to make it interesting. Plus the box art is so bad it's good!
 
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9. Board Game: Caylus Magna Carta [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:926]
Board Game: Caylus Magna Carta
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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21 July 2010

The second playing of of Caylus light(er) in a month. The tables have turned since last time around with Steve and Andy S swapping first and last places, with Mike still 1 point off first place in 2nd.

Andy S 47
Mike 46
Dave F 44
Steve H 42
 
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10. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:261] [Average Rating:7.26 Unranked]
Board Game: Small World
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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21 July 2010

Dave C and Ben played a vanilla game of Small World with two of the new guys (sorry guys, I've forgotten your names. I would make an excuse but truth is I'm just lazy and have a low attention span - look outside, a squirrel! shake )

Mike and DaveD like to wax lyrical about how Small World is okay but Vinci is better. However as far as I'm concerned it swings and roundabouts, and there's a place for both.

Afraid I left before the game was finished so I'll have to update the scores later (unless someone else does it, hint hint).

BTW I've recently purchased Small World: Tales and Legends - we'll have to give it a whirl sometime.

 
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11. Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:550]
Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Second Edition)
Second in a one horse race
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28 July 2010

It looks like this was the only game played.

Absentees:

Almost everyone.

Attendees:

1= Dave D
1= Colin
1= Steve H

Er... that's it.
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