Halesowen Boardgamers February 2011
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 February 2011.
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Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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Follow the link to last months list.
 
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2. 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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02 February

Not really my cup of tea but a decent enough game that pops up on a regular basis at the club.

1 Dave D 98
2 Dave F 89
3 Gordon 89
 
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3. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:296]
Board Game: San Juan
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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02 February

Apparently this has now received 49 plays at the club:

1 Dave F 27
2 Dave D 23
3 Gordon 20
 
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4. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:179]
Board Game: Ra
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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02 February

I'd bought this for my iPhone but I never it play it as it lacks a key part of the experience of the board game - the player interaction of the auction*.

Anyway 2 games of this were played tonight by 2 sets of players:

1 Gordon 45
2 Dave D 32
3 Dave F 30

1 Donald S 65
2 Donald 63
3 Dave C 46




 
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5. Board Game: Jamaica [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:500]
Board Game: Jamaica
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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02 February

I've never played this game, but if it involves ginger cake and/or spiced rum count me in next time.

1 Donald 46
2 Donald S 27
3 Dave C 16
 
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6. Board Game: Louis XIV [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:726]
Board Game: Louis XIV
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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02 February

A game that achieved some popularity at the club last year popping up again:

1 Steve H 50
2 Andrew S 46
3 Mike 42
 
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7. Board Game: Pickomino [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1251]
Board Game: Pickomino
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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02 February

A simple push your luck dice game to finish off with:

1 Andrew S 9
2 Mike 8
3 Steve H 7
 
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8. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:147]
Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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09 February

6 of us this evening, so me and Steve H split off for a couple of games of this light fast-paced wargame.

I've got a soft spot for this game despite having zero interest in the historical era it represents. It's quick to learn, quick to play and with plenty of variety from scenario to scenario.

We played the first scenario from the 2nd expansion: Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansion Pack #2 – Rome vs the Barbarians (Clusium 225BC) twice - each player taking a turn to play each side.

Steve H had some decent cards but completely outplayed me, linking turns together as opposed to my opportunistic one-off plays. The second game was closer than the first, even though my tactics were a mess. If it were not for Steve having a Move-Fire-Move card and blocking off my cavalry it might have went right down to the wire.

1. Steve H (Romans) 6
2. Andy E (Gauls) 3

1. Steve H (Gauls) 6
2. Andy E (Romans)4

 
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9. Board Game: London [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:396]
Board Game: London
Andy Evans
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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09 February

Dave F 48
Dave D 42
Mike 35
Donald 28
 
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10. Board Game: World Without End [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:602]
Board Game: World Without End
Second in a one horse race
Scotland
Bloxham
Oxon
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Picking up the mantle from Andy Evans, who shall be absent for the foreseeable future:

February 15th

World Without End

Ah, the marvellous World Without End!

Okay, I'm going to stop being facetious about this one. It is obviously a very good game or it wouldn't keep returning to the table at the club. And I will admit that it is not, as I tend to allege, a game of pure luck. Rather, the maxim for this game might be: "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Fair enough. I don't much care for lemonade myself, and this game isn't to my taste either. But it's extremely popular with these guys:

Two three-player games were played between Dave D, Dave F and Steve H.

Steve H won both games. The second one, he just pipped Dave D with Dave F in third; perhaps someone can fill me in on the action and result for the other game.
 
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11. Board Game: Peloponnes [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:966]
Board Game: Peloponnes
Second in a one horse race
Scotland
Bloxham
Oxon
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15th February

After a lot of hemming and hawing, the remainder of us we decided on Steve Pe's copy of this light civ-building game.

Five players: Steve Pe, Mike, a welcome return for Nigel who was on one of his occasional visits to the club, plus first-timer Miguel who's Spanish but working in the UK currently. And me.

This game owes quite a lot to Knizia - the basic mechanism is a tile auction, where players bid on land and buildings that bring benefits and resources to your civilisation. As in Ra, it's a once-around auction; as in Amun-Re, players get bumped by a higher bid, meaning players must plan to be bumped sometimes and, if you've underbid, you may end up with nothing.

There are disasters to be managed and mitigated, plus there are multiple VP routes, the least of which is, in another nod to Knizia, your final score. Turn order is decided by how much the players bid for their tiles.

As light civ games go, this one's a lot of fun. I prefer it to 7 Wonders simply because the auction is more interesting than the take-a-card-pass-your-hand style of play.

Donald 26
Miguel 23+
Mike 23
Nigel 21
Steve Pe 15
 
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12. Board Game: Pickomino [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1251]
Board Game: Pickomino
Second in a one horse race
Scotland
Bloxham
Oxon
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15TH February

Miguel had to leave after Peloponnes, so the rest of us sat down for a quick game of Pickomino in its small box Heck Meck version. A silly game of chickens barbecuing worms(!?) The componentry consists of a bunch of dice with values one through five, where the sixth face depicts a worm, also of value five, plus there are tiles which range in value from, I think, 21 through 35.

Chuck the dice. Reserve all dice of a single value and re-roll the rest. Repeat until you either pass or can no longer reserve without repeat. By the end of your turn, at least one die in your reserve must be a worm. If you have no worm, or can't reserve without repeat, you're bust. Otherwise, if you have value enough, you can claim a tile. Make a pile of tiles. The top one protects the lower ones from theft by other players. A bust turns over the highest value tile so it can no longer be claimed. That's pretty much it.

Steve Pe romped away with this one, Mike in second. Neither Nigel nor I shall be troubling the crap tables in Nevada any time soon.
 
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13. Board Game: Animal Olympics [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:14724]
Board Game: Animal Olympics
Second in a one horse race
Scotland
Bloxham
Oxon
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15th February

Steve Pe (winner)
Mike
Nigel
Donald
 
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14. Board Game: 20th Century [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1705]
Board Game: 20th Century
David Fildes
United Kingdom
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Another play for this little gem. 3 player this time.
Scores as follows:
Dave F: 139
Mike : 106
Claire: 82

As we had all played before the game took only 90 minutes.

Mike took an early lead, and managed to hold onto it for virtually the entire game. Happiness seemed to be his downfall, losing ground to me in the final scoring due to a difference of several places on the track. Claire managed to accumulate 19 VPs from her city on the final turn, but unfortunately, the end game scoring saw her drop back a fair way.
 
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15. Board Game: Puzzle Strike [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1953]
Board Game: Puzzle Strike
David Fildes
United Kingdom
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First play for this Dominion-alike.
1st - Dave F
2nd - Mike
3rd - Claire

This was a first play for all, and following a rules explanation took about 45 minutes.

This is an elimination game that involves card (or chip in this case) drafting, and hand management. The theme is not one I have come across before, but being a computer gaming refugee, it appealed. Essentially, you are fighting against the players either side of you (with the player to your left being your direct opponent). The aim of the game is to knock others players out by overloading them with gems, accomplished by way of attack chips.

I think it would be fair to say that this game divided opinion somewhat. Personally, I enjoyed it. I like the fact that it is more aggressive than Dominion, and puts you in direct confrontation with another player(s), and the bright colours reminded me of various computer games I have spent more hours than I care to remember playing.

I have to take some of the "credit" for the problems. My rules explanations are not always (read, ever) the best, and frequently leave something to be desired (I am always on awe of those who can deliver concise, clear rules explanations for games).

Having said that, there did seem to be some flaws in the game. The iconography is not necessarily immediately understandable. We are not talking Race for the Galaxy here, but it could potentially confuse. Also, following a first play, all of the characters did not seem to be equally useful. Mike, in particular never seemed to have the correct combination of tiles to make his character work for him. This may be due to inexperience on our part, hopefully we will get the chance to test this hypothesis with some future plays (although I suspect it will not be to everyone at the club's taste).

Elimination games can create result in people being sat around watching games rather than playing them, not great when time is at a premium. In this case, once the first player was eliminated, the game drew to a close fairly quickly meaning there wasn't too much downtime.
 
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16. Board Game: London [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:396]
Board Game: London
Second in a one horse race
Scotland
Bloxham
Oxon
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26th February

Another game of London. Have I said before that I really like this game?

I don't know if it's a sign of our growing familiarity with the game, but the loans came out pretty quickly and the high point value boroughs were snapped up after just a few turns. I'd bought two before playing any cards at all.

I was lucky enough to get Lords before my first play of cards which, for a card with no cost to place, gives quite a good return with one VP plus the loss of one poverty every time you run the city.

I don't remember much of the detail other than that, by the end, Dave D was getting double omnibus on seven boroughs every time he ran the city, which meant he had more cash by the end than I've seen in previous games for all the players in combination. His final cash total netted him 21VP. Very nice.

Donald 78
Dave D 74
Steve H 56

 
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17. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:296]
Board Game: San Juan
Second in a one horse race
Scotland
Bloxham
Oxon
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26th February

I love San Juan but this game went badly for me.

I was partly screwed by the fact that I had limited options early on with just production buildings in hand, but I can't entirely blame the cards as I made some bad choices in plumping for a production strategy in a 3-player game where both my opponents went the civic route. With their combinations of Prefecture/Archive/Carpenter/Chapel, both were drawing cards hand over fist and discarding to the Chapel whilst I wasted turns producing and trading.

Dave built a City Hall and Steve two monuments plus a Triumphal Arch. I had to pray for a Guild Hall which never came. I suspected Steve had put one under his Chapel in order to minimise my chances, but it was Dave who had done so, thus I never got to bolster my six production buildings. I never even drew Aqueduct, so had no chance even to up production. Embarrassing.

Dave D 45
Steve H 35
Donald 19
 
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