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