04-Feb-2002All month
 
Lost Cities

Scores: Paul 126, Tel 65
Ratings: Paul 8, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul

Lost Cities

Scores: Paul 103, Tel 45
Ratings: Paul 8, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul


05-Feb-2002All month
 
Perudo

Scores: Tel , Andy , Steve
Ratings: Tel 7, Andy 7, Steve 7
Winner(s): Tel

Perudo

Scores: Paul , Tel , Andy , Steve
Ratings: Paul 7, Tel 7, Andy 8, Steve 7
Winner(s): Andy

Princes of Florence

Another new game to the group as we try another of last years Essen buys. Paul had gone to the effort of printing out translation slips for the cards and the phase summary on the board and this really did helped the game flow.

Each player starts the game with a choice of 3 from 4 artists, 3500 florins and an empty estate. By the end of the 7 turns of the game they will have built buildings and landscapes, employed architects and entertainers and allowed artistic freedom so that their artists have got the ideal conditions to produce pieces of work. Each turn is split into two phases and auctions phase and a building phase. In the auction phase there are 7 items that can be bid upon but only one of each is allowed to be sold each turn. Also each player is only allowed to buy 1 item each turn. In the second phase each player then gets two actions to perform which can include building buildings, hiring more artists, buying bonus cards ( which increase the value of works) or producing a piece of work. The work is worth points depending on whether the players estate matches the artists preferred environment. These points can then be converyted into cash, VPs or a combination of the two.

As you would expect with a new game the start was a little slow with nobody being really sure of what was worth buying or doing. The first round passed uneventfully with nobody producing any works at all. Into the second round and we got our first works out from 3 of the players. Into the third round and we were all wondering what Paul was up to, he hadnt built anything, only had a couple of entertainers on the board but had a handful of cards and was still on no score with everybody else having built and scored. Steve was going into building frenzy filling his estate up with buildings and landscapes. Kev had been caught out a couple of times trying to push the price up at auction and had bought 2 very early prestige cards which wouldnt score until the end game. As the game entered the late phase Paul was starting to catch up with some big works thanks to his entertainers, Tel and Andy were pushing for the lead having both produced 5 works during the game. However neither of them had got any Prestige cards and this was to lose them the game. Both Paul and Kev scored for 2 completed prestige cards with Steve completing one. This gave Paul the game by quite a margin. Tel, Andy and Kev were all quite closely bunched in 2nd,3rd and 4th with Steve bringing up the rear.

A great game thoroughly enjoyed by all and resulting in Andy giving it an extremely rare rating of 10. As with most good games you just havent got enough time to do everything you want so have to make some fairly difficult decision. The game came in at just under 2 hours but didnt seem anywhere as long as this. Everyone wants to play this one again soon.

Final Scores
Paul 54, Tel 47, Andy 44, Kev 42, Steve 34

Ratings / 10
Paul 9, Tel 8, Andy 10, Kev 9, Steve 8
 
Scores: Paul 54, Tel 47, Andy 44, Kev 42, Steve 34
Ratings: Paul 9, Tel 8, Andy 10, Kev 9, Steve 8
Winner(s): Paul


12-Feb-2002All month
 
Carcassonne

From the old favourite to the new with Carcassone. We decided to use the river expansion which replaces the original starting tile with a collection of tiles that build up a river.

Tel and Andy had had a few battles on BSW recently and so it continiued with both trying to fight there way into each others cities. Steve seemed content on drawing cloister after cloister at the start of the game. The river provides an extra barrier to fields and hence tends to produce more fields for the farmers to populate. Both Tel and Steve used there meeple early and neither could get any back for the last 6 or 7 rounds. Andy however had a couple of meeple left and managed to convert these into farmers in the end game.

Andys late farmers gave him the game quite comfortably. As always an enjoyable game.

Scores
Andy 89, Steve 74, Tel 66

Ratings / 10
8s all round
 
Scores: Andy 89, Steve 74, Tel 66
Ratings: Andy 8, Steve 8, Tel 8
Winner(s): Andy

Pompeji

Only three of us tonight so we decided on a few shorter games. Pompeii hit the Table first. As with previous games of this the game had a running commentary of curses as we realised great scoring moves were illegal due to the rule of not playing same colours or symbols orthogonally. Next to each other.

Tel got off to a flyer largely due to both Andy and Steve both being unable to score with an early placement. However some good scoring brought everyone close again with a one point three quarters of the way through everyone was on the same total. However some big scores in the end game and Tel took the win.

Pompeii is a tremendous little game, playing in just under 1/2 hour.

Final Scores
Tel 288, Steve 231, Andy 222

Ratings / 10
Tel 8, Steve 7, Andy 7
 
Scores: Tel 288, Steve 231, Andy 222
Ratings: Tel 8, Steve 7, Andy 7
Winner(s): Tel

Ricochet Robot

To end the night we thought wed give the brain aching puzzle game Richocet Robot a go. 4 robots start randomly distributed around the board. The aim is to be the quickest to find the least number of moves to get a robot to a position on the board, determined by a random tile. However robots can only move in a straight line and will keep moving until somethings stops them. This game requires thought and concentration and lots of it.

Andy, who was trying to maintain his 100% record at Ricochet Robot, got off to a flyer taking 3 of the first 4 tiles. Tel and Steve shared the next few tiles. Probably due to it being the end of the evening things got a bit scrappy, with incorrect calls and people forgetting the moves however it remained close with Tel stumbling over the line by being first to collect 6 tiles.

As long as you donít mind thinking quickly this is a gem of a game. Some in the group hate this game but all there last night thoroughly enjoyed it.

Scores
Tel 6, Andy 5, Steve 4

Ratings / 10
Tel 8, Andy 9, Steve 8
 
Scores: Andy 9, Steve 8, Tel 6
Ratings: Andy 5, Steve 4, Tel 8
Winner(s): Tel

Settlers of Catan

Its rare for there to be less then 5 of us, so with only 3 it was a rare opportunity to bring out Settlers. In a change from recent games the starting layouts did not have obvious strong start positions and made for a very close game.

The game got off to a very slow start with Andy not picking up brick, Tel not getting any wood and Steve only seeing brick and ore. An early road building card allowed Tel to beat Andy to a 3 for 1 port. Steve was still struggling hoping to roll 11/12s for a couple of resources but they were not coming up, in fact neither was rolled in the whole game, and on numerous occasions was forced to build a road with 5 brick. The middle game saw Tel and Andy buying Cards like theyd gone out of fashion, with Andy getting the Largest Army in the process, Steve had managed to craft the longest road out of his bricks. Andy then connected all his towns taking the longest road, giving him 8 visible points and a card he seemed reluctant to play. Tel had 6 visible points with 3 cards to one side. Steve had 5 points on display. After a couple of turns of both Andy and Tel buying cards and both increasing the size of their armies, Steve managed to extend his road to take the longest road back. Then Tel with 10 resources in his hand managed to trade in a couple of fields worth of wheat to build a town, revealed his 3 victory points and won the game.

The was one of the closest games of this weve played in a long time. The winner was not clear at any point with Steve catching fast at the end even though half his numbers never came up.

Scores
Tel 10, Andy 8, Steve 8

Ratings / 10
Tel 8, Andy 9, Steve 8
 
Scores: Tel 10, Andy 8, Steve 8
Ratings: Tel 8, Andy 9, Steve 8
Winner(s): Tel


13-Feb-2002All month
 
Lost Cities

Scores: Tel 96, Paul 72
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 7
Winner(s): Tel

Lost Cities

Scores: Tel 116, Paul 46
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 6
Winner(s): Tel


14-Feb-2002All month
 
Lost Cities

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

Lost Cities

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


19-Feb-2002All month
 
Babel

Long game at 2hrs. Cards didnt come out very nice. Played through deck.
 
Scores: Paul 13, Tel 12
Ratings: Paul 5, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul

Lost Cities

Scores: Paul 91, Tel 34
Ratings: Paul 8, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul

Lost Cities

Scores: Paul 128, Tel 50
Ratings: Paul 8, Tel 6
Winner(s): Paul


21-Feb-2002All month
 
Don

Scores: Boog 21, Paul 17, Tel 11
Ratings: Boog 8, Paul 8, Tel 8
Winner(s): Boog

Don

With about 1/2 hour left we decided on a couple of rounds of Don. This was the game that Paul was so impressed with at Essen he bought two copies. Players as gangsters are trying to buy control of the various areas of Chicago. Each player starts with 12 carrots ( well they are orange and look like sliced carrots). The districts of Chicagos are shown by the colour of the card, each card also has a number ( 0 - 9). The cards are auctioned off, first 1 then 2,3,1,2,3... etc. The highest bid wins the cards paying the relevant number of carrots split between each player who shares a majority in the number matching the bid. Eg a bid of 12 would go to whoover had the most 2, 15 to 5s, 18 to 8s etc. Players are not allowed to make a bid that ends in a number they own.

Despite playing this quite a lot no-one has determined a winning strategy yet. Everyone seems to win their fair share of games. Yet the game certainly has strategy to it.

Tel won the first game by having enough carrots to ensure getting the last 5 cards. The second was moire interesting as Paul quickly got 1-5 and Boog collecting 6-0, things tended to very expensive ealry. Boog eventually won through with Paul grabbing 2nd place

Great filler for the end of the night ( or down the pub) playing a round in about 15 mins.

Final Scores
Tel 21, Boog 18, Paul 13
Tel 11, Boog 21, Paul 17

Ratings / 10
all scored it 8
 
Scores: Tel 21, Boog 18, Paul 13
Ratings: Tel 8, Boog 8, Paul 8
Winner(s): Tel

Lost Cities

Scores: Tel 102, Paul 60
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 7
Winner(s): Tel

Lost Cities

Scores: Tel 129, Paul 77
Ratings: Tel 7, Paul 7
Winner(s): Tel

San Marco

A temporary change of night meant a low turn out this week of only three. This gave us chance however to pull out another 3-4 player game this time being San Marco. Both Paul and Boog had played it once before but Tel hadnt so a quick run through of the rules was needed. The board shows the 6 districts of Venice divided by the canals. The aim of the game is to have the most influence (wooden cubes) in a district when the Doge comes to visit. There are cards which allow players to put cubes into an area, build bridges over the canal, swap a cube in any district for one of their own, remove a number determined by a dice roll of cubes from a district or to move the Doge and hence trigger a scoring of one district. To determine what cards each player gets one player draws a combination of the action cards described above and number cards. He then splits them into three piles, with the other two players getting first choice of these piles. The number cards detremine the length of the game. There are three passages to a game, each passage ends when someone collects cards worth 10 points.

As is becoming traditional within the group, about 3/4 of the way through the game we discovered that we were playing it wrong. On the initial read through of the rules the concept of rounds and passages became confused and we played the game with one player splitting the cards for all rounds of a passage, in reality this should change every round.

Tel got to split the piles for the first passage and as he hadnt played the game before immediately shot himself in the foot by bad splitting of the cards. By the time hed worked out what was going on Paul and Boog had gained control of the board between them. Not many Doges came visiting in the first passage so at the end of the first passage Paul had only had a small lead from Boog with Tel trailing but he had bettrer board position after a good roll on a banishment.

Into the second passage and Paul had the task of splitting the cards. Boog was unlucky rolling a 1 on a banishmnet roll after taking a big hit to get it. Tel managed to gain complete control of 1 area and managed to score quite heavily on it for a couple of rounds. Paul having last choice managed to maintain control over much of the board but was not scoring as big. By the end of the second passage Paul still had a small lead but now from Tel with Boog languishing in third.

Onto the third passage and Boog splitting the cards. Paul was getting first pick each turn and it was at this point we realised we were playing it wrong. With Paul guaranteed to get first pick he could comfortably ensure that nobody could do too much to disrupt his control. With the proper rules this would not have been the case and made for a more exciting finish. As it was the Boog managed to wrest contol of a couple of areas away from Paul but it was not enough and Paul took a comfortable win, with Tel bringing up the rear.

A nice game that causes much gnashing of teeth as players try to firsat split the cards well, and then try and decide which pile to take. The game played at just under two hours but that was with references to the rules. We are all keen to play this again with the proper rules.

Final Scores
Paul 80, Boog 72, Tel 65

Rating / 10
Paul 8, Boog 7, Tel 7
 
Scores: Paul 80, Boog 72, Tel 65
Ratings: Paul 8, Boog 7, Tel 7
Winner(s): Paul


26-Feb-2002All month
 
Carcassonne

This game is a great game to play but a pig to write up. Tel spent most of the game building two big cities, one got finished but not before everyone except Paul had found a way in, the second one was never going to finish. Paul scored a few small towns and roads and 1 clositer that scored him 9 points as soon as it was played. Steve and Boog seem to grab most of the cloisters between them, with Boog also going early and heavily for the Farmer strategy. Despite playing the River expansion which splits the fields up, it was his farmers that eventually won the game.

Final Scores
Boog 80, Steve 75, Paul 69, Tel 57

Ratings / 10
8s all round
 
Scores: Boog 80, Steve 75, Paul 69, Tel 57
Ratings: Boog 8, Steve 8, Paul 8, Tel 8
Winner(s): Boog

David and Goliath

Finished the evening with the, low wins highest card, highest card wins the rest, trick taking game. Because you only score face value for cards where you have only won one or two cards in that colour, it is often very difficult to determine who is likely to win, as a bad last hand can ruin a score.

Possibly because this was the last game of four in a busy session, this was not as vicious as previous games. In previous games everyone seemed intent on ruining everyone elses score often at the expense of their own score. The game didnt play this way with only a couple of hands getting nasty ( Boog has threatened to spend the whole of the next game in a vendetta against Steve - which should be fun). Tel managed to quietly accumulate a reasonable score in the first round. Everyone complained of a bad hand in the 2nd round. Paul looked favourite for the round going into the last hand, however the fates transpired against him as he won the last round spoiling his score, Steve also won with the lowest card taking a high card he didnt want. This gave Boog the round but Tel won the game by a large margin from Steve, Paul and Boog all close together.

Paul scored the game down due to the lack of nastiness, but it didnt seem to detract from the game for everyone else.
Scores
Tel 57 + 38 = 95
Steve 37 + 26 = 63
Paul 35 + 27 = 62
Boog 19 + 40 = 59

Final Ratings
Tel 8, Steve 8, Paul 6, Boog 8
 
Scores: Tel 95, Steve 63, Paul 62, Boog 59
Ratings: Tel 8, Steve 8, Paul 6, Boog 8
Winner(s): Tel

Mississippi Queen

The night was started with Mississippi Queen, the race game where players are allowed gentle acceleration, braking and turns for free but need to decide when to use the limited amount of coal to make those more aggressive moves.

It immediately became clear that Steve had never driven one of these steamboats before when his first move was a sideways one. Everyone else steamed into the distance leaving Steve gently cruising round the first few bends. Tel who was trail blazing was having problems navigating the river with 6 right turns on the trot. This gave Paul and Boog the chance to catch up as they had more time to plan ahead for these tight turns.

As the three leaders slowed down to pickup their passengers a speeding Steve, who already had his full compliment of passengers, shot past them full pelt. It was now just a case of whether the bends of the river could defeat him. Tel piled the coal on in vain to try and catch, with Paul trying to slingshot his way round one of the larger islands. Steve came home by the proverbial country mile, with Tel comfortably in second from Paul. Boog decided to end it all by causing carnage at the last pickup point by ramming the passengers.

This played much quicker than our first attempt coming in around the 40 minutes mark. Although the Boog is still not convinced about this game the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed it.

Positions
Steve , Tel, Paul, Boog

Ratings / 10

Steve 8, Tel 8, Paul 8, Boog 7
 
Scores: Tel , Steve , Boog , Paul
Ratings: Tel 8, Steve 8, Boog 7, Paul 8
Winner(s): Steve

Web of Power

After discovering that we had been playing this wrong so far we decided to try it with the correct rules. We had been playing that a player had to declare all the cards he was re-stocking his cards with before actually taking the cards, however this is not in the rules. The correct ruling allows for more tactical selection of cards producing more wild cards.

Franken and Bayern were the first two countries to be opened up. Bayern eventually falling under the influence of Tel with Franken being claimed by Boog with a little help from an open wildcard most turns. As the first round drew to a close the first scoring phase saw a very close contest with the four of us having consecutive scores. The second round opened with a scramble for Frankriech. Steve managed to grab the last cloister and advisor, which cost Paul 15 points and ultimately the game. Boog continued to specialise in the northeast of the board, with everyone alse spread across the whole board, and it the advisors in this area that won him the game. Despite trailing after the clositer scoring he came through strong on with his advisors, plus a 4 point chain and the victory was his. Steve and Paul tied for second with Tel languishing in last having scored no advisors.

The game was quicker using the correct rules as you get through the deck quicker but it did produce a much lower scores. Everyone still enjoys this game which is the groups 2nd most played game bought at Essen 2000 after Carcassone.

Final Scores
Boog 49, Paul 42, Steve 42, Tel 39

Ratings / 10
8s all round
 
Scores: Boog 49, Steve 42, Paul 42, Tel 39
Ratings: Boog 8, Steve 8, Paul 8, Tel 8
Winner(s): Boog