03-Jan-2002All month
 
Babel

First playing of this. Paul and Tel took it for a spin checking if itís a train game (its not - needs too much space). Players are trying to build temples in 5 regions drafting workers from these 5 regions. Each race has its own abilities. Not suprisingly for a first play we got it wrong but only because the rules were wrong. The Red peoples ability only allows you to pinch the top set of matching people not all matching people in the column. Good game, just a shame its not a train game so wont see much play. Paul took the game by trashing Tel to below 10 then building to 15.
 
Scores: Paul 16, Tel 7
Ratings: Paul 7, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul

Piddinghoe

Pauls first attempt at designing a train game. 3 colours with cards 1-17. 7 dealt to each player with 5 placed face up in a row and 2 replacements also face up. Players fight for middle card in usual trick taking way. Winner plants the card played and takes won card to hand. Loser puts one replacement in hand and one to replace the won card. Winner then moves position 1 card either way. If player gets beyond the fifth card its reset to middle but they steal one of opponents planted cards. Play until all cards drawn. Winner is pleyer with biggest planted run + position on 5 cards. Great concept should see plenty of train game play. Terry took this game after winning all bar 4 of the tricks. Now changed.

And changed again.

With a few blank lines ddd fff qqq ff
 
Scores: Tel 6, Paul 5
Ratings: Tel 7, Paul 7
Winner(s): Tel

Pompeji

First try as a 2 player and it played great. Still one of the favourites from Essen 01. Tel pulled out a couple of big scores in the mid game to take the win.
 
Scores: Tel 539, Paul 474
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 8
Winner(s): Tel


11-Jan-2002All month
 
Lost Cities

The infamous missing 7 white
 
Scores: Paul , Tel
Ratings: Paul 7, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul


12-Jan-2002All month
 
Hattrick

We were down the pub, wed managed to get a table and Kev mentioned games - what more excuse do we need then to introduce him to Hattrick. After explaining that it was a trick taking game, with each hand playing up to two of the three colours and your score being the number of cards won in one colour minus the number of cards won in the other two we were off.

Beers were drunk and 5 hands were played before we got kicked out of the pub. Kevs good start tailed off with him finishing last scoring just 1 point over the last three hands. A decent last hand by the Boog only just saved him from the wooden spoon. Andys consistent scoring gave him third. Paul managed a couple of big hands in the middle of the game to take second. But Tel won the game thanks to two big scores at the start.

As the scores show a corking game thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Scores by round

Boog 1 1 8 -2 10 = 18
Andy 3 6 8 7 7 = 31
Kev 7 6 1 1 -1 = 14
Paul 6 11 11 3 4 = 35
Tel 14 12 9 7 6 = 48

Tel 9, Paul 8, Andy 8, Boog 9, Kev 9
 
Scores: Tel 48, Paul 35, Andy 31, Boog 18, Kev 14
Ratings: Tel 9, Paul 8, Andy 8, Boog 9, Kev 9
Winner(s): Tel


14-Jan-2002All month
 
Lost Cities

First round of three hands on the train home. Tel won all three hand.

Paul 58, Tel 192
 
Scores: Tel 192, Paul 58
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 7
Winner(s): Tel

Lost Cities

second round of three hands just finished before we hit Brighton. This one was a lot closer then the first.Three fairly titgh hands with Tel pinching it by 10

Scores Paul 57, Tel 67
 
Scores: Tel 67, Paul 57
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 7
Winner(s): Tel


15-Jan-2002All month
 
David and Goliath

And so with six of us we decided to try another new trick taking game for the group. David and Goliath provides a few twists to the usual rules. Firstly although you must follow suit if possible, there is no penalty if you cant. Favour is given to the last card played to resolve ties. The highest card played wins the trick and claims everyone elses card, however the lowest card played claims the winning card. And finally into scoring, for each colour where you have won more then 2 cards you score for the number of cards won. However for the colours where you have on won 1 or 2 cards you score their value.

Into the game, Boog got off to a flier, helped by a handful of low cards and being able to play last for many hands. It was only due to winning the last hand that he didnt score a huge total having to make do with 90. A lot of the fun of this game is seeing people expressions as they realise their 2 cards worth 30+ points is now 3 cards worth 3 points. Oggie seemed to struggle with this during the middle of each hand but a special mention has to go out to Kev by managing to perfect the art of ruining his score by winning the last hand on a few occasions.

As the game progressed 3 battles emerged. Tel trying to claw back the Boog, Paul and Oggie battling for mid table supremacy, and Kev and Steve fighting to avoid the wooden spoon. The final scores came through and Steve won his battle with Kev, Oggie overtook Paul on the last hand to claim third and after a re-count Boog held on to the lead hed held throughout the game by a single point.

Given that the group are fans of Hattrick it was no real surprise that this one was also a hit. However since we played the suggested 6 rounds (1 round per player), the game did take just under 2 hours to play. In future well probably restrict it to a couple of rounds.

Final Scores
Boog 345, Tel 344, Oggie 261, Paul 220, Steve 198, Kev 168

Ratings
Boog 9, Tel 9, Oggie 8, Paul 7, Steve 8, Kev 7
 
Scores: Boog 345, Tel 344, Oggie 261, Paul 220, Steve 198, Kev 168
Ratings: Boog 9, Tel 9, Oggie 8, Paul 7, Steve 8, Kev 7
Winner(s): Boog

Pompeji

While we we waiting for Paul and Kev to turn up we decided to have a four player game of Pompeii. Since we had all played the game before we knew that we were trying to build a network of roads, scoring for matching monuments and colour in the road, but being unable to place identical colours or monuments orthogonally next to each other.

The game produced the usual mutterings as players realised that great scores were missed due to someone else pinching their spot or an orthogonal colour prevented them playing where they wanted. The score remained close throughout the game with the lead changing hands during every round. At one point about half way through the game there was only an 11 point difference between 1st and last. However the Boog started to drop back and by the end of the game was 51 points behind (but having had 1 less scoring round then everyone else). Tel clinched the game but only because he drew the last volcano.

This is a great little game that does require some amount of thought. Luckily our group usually plays it quite quickly preventing too much downtime. Pompeii goes down as one of my better buys from Essen 01.

Scores
Tel 219, Steve 201, Oggie 184, Boog 168

Ratings / 10
Tel 8, Steve 8, Oggie 7, Boog 7
 
Scores: Tel 219, Steve 201, Oggie 184, Boog 168
Ratings: Tel 8, Steve 8, Oggie 7, Boog 7
Winner(s): Tel


17-Jan-2002All month
 
Bohnanza

And to end the night a game of Bohnanza. The game where players are Bean farmers trying to trade, plant and harvest beans in their two fields. This one hasnt hit the table for a while. With three we thought there may be a lot less trading. While there was a reduction in trading since less players wanting the cards on offer, there was still enough to make the game work.

After Diversifying in the previous game of the session, Tel had a change of tactics by Specialising in Cowboy Beans. He had Cowboys in one field for most of the game and they provided him with over half his score. Of course they take so long to score that while he was collecting these both Paul and Boog were steadily harvesting the more profitable beans. Both Paul and Boog managed to harvest 3 of the lucrative Angry beans for 3 coins. Interestingly despite there being only three of us nobody bought a 3rd field showing that there was enough trading going on to avoid too many unwanted harvests.

In the final tally Boog claimed the game from Paul with Tel getting the wooden spoon. We all enjoyed bohnanza but it was no match for the other two games of the night.

Final Scores
Boog 24, Paul 21, Tel 19

Ratings
Only 7s for everyone.
 
Scores: Boog 24, Paul 21, Tel 19
Ratings: Boog 7, Paul 7, Tel 7
Winner(s): Boog

Medici

Second game to hit the table was Medici one of the Knizia auction games. There are 5 types of commodities and on each of the 3 turns you are trying to buy 5 items. At the end of each turn there are points for the two people who have bought the most of each commodity so far and possible bonuses for collecting large amounts of a commodity. Each card has a value
and points are also available for the highest total value each turn. Wed never played it with three so gave it a try.

During the first turn items were bought fairly evenly with Boog only getting one card for free to complete the round. He had gone for a majority on Furs, Paul had picked up 3 cloth while Tel had bought most of the 5s as they came out giving him 4 of the 5 commodites along the way. At the end of turn one Tel had a bit of a lead over the Boog with Paul trailing.

Onto the second turn and the Boog picked up the Gold quite early to take the highest value. Tel bought his 5 cards quickly closely followed by Boog filling his ship leaving Paul to take the top 5 cards for free. And what a draw, 5 high cards so that he almost caught the Boogs total and in the commodities he was collecting. This brought everyone back together with Tel still just leading from Paul and Boog.

The third day and Paul picked up the Gold early this time. Boog then bought out quickly, followed by Paul, leaving Tel with 5 freebies. These turned out to be 5 different commodities with a total value lower then Paul or Boog. In the final reckoning Paul and Boog had both managed to max out on one commodity scoring the 20 bonus points but had low to middling amounts on everything else, Tel had middling values for all commodites. Paul took the game by 5 from Tel with Boog a further 12 behind.

After playing the game Im not sure what the winning strategy is for this with 3. With more players you need to try and specialise, however with three players my unintentional tactic of diversifying almost won me the game. Another enjoyable game.

Final Scores
Paul 147, Tel 142, Boog 130

Ratings
Another round of 8s.
 
Scores: Paul 147, Tel 142, Boog 130
Ratings: Paul 8, Tel 8, Boog 8
Winner(s): Paul

Web of Power

Just three of us at this impromptu games session so we decided to hit some of the old favourites and Web of Power hit the table first. We needed a quick recap of the rules for the Boog.

The game is about placing monastries and advisors on a map of medieval Europe to capture influence. Cards representing each of the European countries are used to place influence pieces.You can play up to 3 cards to play up to 2 pieces into 1 country. You can play two types of piece - cloisters which go on the printed spaces or advisors where there can only be as many advisors in a country as the number of the most common cloister. Scoring occurs for cloisters, advisors and for chains of clositers.

Into the game and all of us were trying to playing advisors but Paul was struggling with the cards hed got. (though he did gain sole control of Aragon). Tel and the Boog were able to play more advisors. In a departure from the norm Paul opened France up very early and at the end of a mad scramble Tel had got contol of the advisors and joint most cloisters for France with Paul. At the first scoring phase Tel and Paul were on the same score some way ahead of the Boog however Tel
and the Boog were both in a good position with advisors.

Into the second round and Tel was trying to gain advisors near France, Boog was looking to tie up advisors around Bayern and Paul trying to get advisors adjacent to Shwaben and that Aragon. Once again Tel seemed to be close to running out of
pieces towards the end, having played quite a few wild cards. On the last play of the game Boog managed to get both a cloister and an advisor into Italy gaining sole control of the country and depriving Paul of points. And it proved important as he pipped Paul to 2nd place by a single point. Tel won the game 12 points clear.

As always a tremendous game of Web Of Power. I really wish this one could hit the table more often.

Final Scores
Tel 74, Boog 62, Paul 61

Ratings 8s all round
 
Scores: Tel 74, Boog 62, Paul 61
Ratings: Tel 8, Boog 8, Paul 8
Winner(s): Tel


18-Jan-2002All month
 
Lost Cities

A hand full of middling cards in the last hand ruined this game for Paul
 
Scores: Tel , Paul
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 6
Winner(s): Tel


21-Jan-2002All month
 
Lost Cities

Scores: Paul 110, Tel 59
Ratings: Paul 7, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul

Lost Cities

Scores: Tel 135, Paul 59
Ratings: Tel 7, Paul 7
Winner(s): Tel


22-Jan-2002All month
 
David and Goliath

And to end the evening a quick hand of David and Goliath - the low takes high, high takes rest trick taking game. 20 mins of fun later and Paul by keeping a low profile during the game had stormed it. A very close battle for 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Boog grabbing 2nd by a point from Kev who in turn beat Andy by a point. Tel emphatically won the wooden spoon.

Scores
Paul 52, Boog 41, Kev 40, Andy 39, Tel 16

Ratings / 10
Paul 7, Boog 8, Kev 8, Andy 5, Tel 7
 
Scores: Paul 52, Boog 41, Kev 40, Andy 39, Tel 16
Ratings: Paul 7, Boog 8, Kev 8, Andy 5, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul

En Garde

Scores: Tel , Paul
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 8
Winner(s): Paul

En Garde

Scores: Tel , Paul
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 8
Winner(s): Tel

Mississippi Queen

We started the evening off with a first play of another game picked up at Essen last year. In Mississippi Queen each player takes the role of a Steamboat Captain racing down the meandering Mississippi River. Players have a limited amount of coal to try and fight the effects of momentum to avoid islands and riverbanks while charging down the river as fast as possible. The aim is to be the first to come to a controlled stop at the docks at the end of the river having picked up 2 passengers en route.

And we were off, Kev immediately chucked some coal into the boiler to try and get an early lead. However as he was heading left the river suddenly took a turn to the right and he had to pile on more coal to get round the turn. He did make it to the approach of the first pick up point first but was twice rammed out of the way before eventually getting the first of his two passengers but by this time was trailing the pack. Boog ignored the first two pick up points to pull open a lead. He was swiftly overtaken by Andy who decided to charge down river to gain clear water after missing out in the battle at the first pick-up point. Paul and Tel had a slight collision as they both picked up their 2nd passengers, but then put the boats acceleration to the test.

Andy had pulled out a big lead but not having any passengers was forced wide and into a long braking move to pick up at the last two pick up points. However Paul, Boog and Tel were steaming towards the finishing line. An island just in front of the dock provided some high spped tension. Tel made it into the mouth of the channel first but was barged out of the way by an aggressive Boog. Paul pulled in just behind playing for river position. Boog sped to the brink of victory, getting to within spitting distance of the dock. Tel was cranking along at high velocity and narrowed the gap to pull alongside him

Paul then pulled the master stroke by charging straight at Boog and viciously bumping him aside. He was now alonside Tel but moving faster and steaming towards the dock like a man posessed. By dumping half of the annual coal production of Yorkshire onto his brakes he managed to slow down enough to pull into the docks however the tidal wave must have swamped those on the docks.

Tel and Boog were just behind with Andy last seen ploughing full steam towards the river bank and Kevs passengers obviously insisted on a relaxing trip down the river as he was last seen taking the scenic route at a leisurely pace.

A thoroughly enjoyable game playing at about an hour. Enough thought needed to make it interesting but not too much to cause any noticeable downtime

Ratings / 10
Paul 7, Tel 8, Boog 7, Andy 6, Kev 7
 
Scores: Paul , Tel , Kev , Boog , Andy
Ratings: Paul 7, Tel 8, Kev 7, Boog 7, Andy 6
Winner(s): Paul

Web of Power

Launched into my game favourite of the moment next - Web of Power. None of us had played this with 5 before so werent sure how to approach the game. It played totally different to any game weve played so far and not in the way expected. Usually the game is very tight with countries only being opened as a last resort. Not tonight. Countries were being opened up all round
the board. The only real scramble to close out a country occurred for France.

In the final reckoning Tel had only pieces in 4 countries but had cornered the market it Italy having 4 cloisters and 3 of the 4 advisors. Having enough advisors in a couple of neighbouring countries to make these Italian advisors score plus scoring for a couple of cloister chains he acquired enough points to take the game. Andy and Boog both played less targetted strategies and picked up points for cloisters in most countries and a couple of advisors to tie for second. Paul was some way behind these two in foruth, with Kev one his first playing bringing up the rear.

Another great game of this.

Final Scores
Tel 50, Boog 43, Andy 43, Paul 32, Kev 23

Ratings / 10
Tel 8, Boog 8, Andy 7, Paul 8, Kev 7
 
Scores: Tel 50, Andy 43, Boog 43, Paul 32, Kev 23
Ratings: Tel 8, Andy 7, Boog 8, Paul 8, Kev 7
Winner(s): Tel


23-Jan-2002All month
 
Lost Cities

Scores: Tel 162, Paul 70
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 8
Winner(s): Tel

Lost Cities

Scores: Paul 82, Tel 49
Ratings: Paul 8, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul


24-Jan-2002All month
 
Battle Line

Scores: Paul , Tel
Ratings: Paul 6, Tel 7
Winner(s): Tel

Caesar & Cleopatra

Scores: Paul , Tel
Ratings: Paul 7, Tel 7
Winner(s): Tel

Dvonn

Scores: Paul , Tel
Ratings: Paul 7, Tel 7
Winner(s): Tel

Dvonn

Scores: Paul , Tel
Ratings: Paul 7, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul

Lost Cities

Scores: Tel 142, Paul 129
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 8
Winner(s): Tel

Lost Cities

Scores: Paul 108, Tel 54
Ratings: Paul 8, Tel 8
Winner(s): Paul


25-Jan-2002All month
 
Lost Cities

Scores: Tel 195, Paul 139
Ratings: Tel 7, Paul 8
Winner(s): Tel

Lost Cities

Scores: Paul 90, Tel 45
Ratings: Paul 8, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul


29-Jan-2002All month
 
Lost Cities

Scores: Paul 127, Tel 62
Ratings: Paul 8, Tel 8
Winner(s): Paul

Lost Cities

Scores: Tel 153, Paul 70
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 8
Winner(s): Tel

Starfarers of Catan

Andy bought the 5-6 player expansion for Starfarers from Essen 18 months ago but we had never got round to playing it. Tonight was the night. Neither Kev nor Steve had played the original and the rest of us had only played it a couple of times. The aim of the game is to explore the Galaxy colonising profitable planets and creating trading partners of the alien races you meet.

Into the game. We all started to slowly explore the local planets looking for some where to colonise except Kev who almost immediately draws one of the better event cards and suddenly found himself alone at the far side of the galaxy. Due to the proliferation of 6s and 9s being rolled Andy quickly beefed up the speed of his mother ship and got a trade ship out to befreind one of the alien races. Tel, also drawing more than his fair share of resources, was pumping out colony ships and colonising the local planets, regardless of their value. Paul and Steve were struggling for resources, Paul being able to do little more then make his ship a mean fighting machine, with Steve pumping all his resources into a trade ship, only to immediately capture another one from Pirates. Kev was wandering round the outer reaches of space desperatly trying to find an habitable planet. As the game progressed Tel and Andy pulled away from the crowd with Paul and Kev battling away for last place. The intergalactic hooter sounded at 11pm with no-one having hit the required 15 points. Andy picked up 3 VPs in his last turn to take the win by gaining the most VPs, with Tel one point behind. A late surge from Kev drew him level with Steve tying for 3rd. Paul won the intergalactic carbon based wooden spoon.

The major complaint of this game was the speed of the game, we hit the 2.5 hour time limit before anyone had hit the 15 point winning condition although Andy wasnt too far away. This may have been due in part to 2 players new to the game but there was a definite feeling of downtime between turns despite having a building phase in each turn. The game was very unkind to Paul and to a lesser degree Steve. Throughout the whole game the 8 only came up twice while the equally likely 6 came up on numerous occasions. This is a criticism that our group has had on occasions with sister game Settlers. From a personal perspective Im not keen on the random event cards, they slow the game down and increase the luck element.

It is however not all doom and gloom. The majority of the group did enjoy the game, and all of us would play it again preferably at a quicker pace. Tel and Andy who finished first and second adopted very different strategies showing that there is not just one winning formula.

Final Scores
Andy 11, Tel 10, Steve 8, Kev 8, Paul 6

Ratings / 10
Andy 7, Tel 6, Steve 7, Kev 7, Paul 4
 
Scores: Andy 11, Tel 10, Kev 8, Steve 8, Paul 6
Ratings: Andy 7, Tel 6, Kev 7, Steve 7, Paul 4
Winner(s): Andy