Reef I still prefer this to azul. I think at first blush it appears a solely tactical experience. Its awkward to build a strategy certainly. There is a balance to be struck between drafting for end game scoring and drafting in order to have the pieces to maximise that end game scoring. And sometimes it is difficult to strike that balance with whats available. I like that. Although I think this means it makes insufficiently smooth for a family game.
Another feather in Gaia Project’s cap: I taught my girlfriend the game last night, and she had absolutely no prior knowledge of it (or even this type of game, for that matter). We were playing within 20 minutes…
…she was kicking my butt within 60. You know your design is tight when you can get rolling that fast with just a cursory introduction.
No I haven’t. I think they’re basically taking 19xx events and adding a game around them. One guy in my group said he had 1920.
Played Between Two Castles of the Mad King Ludwig, a slightly odd mashup of Between Two Cities which i had played before and Castles of Mad King Ludwig which I have not. Enjoyed it tho.
Also played Sakura, a nice neat silly game. Little planning but fun to see what happens
Played several hands of Gin Rummy with my wife since Quinns taught us the rules and spoke so highly of it. His version was definitely better than previous versions we’ve tried. I would say it lacks the strategy and big plays of manipulation rummy games (read rummy cube, with regular cards), but it’s a great, chill little game with just enough bite to be satisfying.
[steam billows and belches from the grimy, soot-covered locomotive; bursts of pressure explode from cylinders and form a cloud of steam around the drive wheels. Metal-on-metal screeching pierces the air as the locomotive lurches forward as the slipping wheels finally grab traction]
“All aboard!” shouts the conductor. He scans the area and spots you standing there holding a ticket in one hand and pulling your suitcase behind you with the other. “You there, tourist! Hop aboard!”
You hesitate and ask, “none of these trains are marked. Where is this one going?”
“Who knows!?” he shouts back, still motioning you aboard. “Better hop on, it could be months or years before another train comes through!”
You begin to regret your career decision as a professional Tourist. You certainly thought there’d be more trains coming and going through a city like London… But you’d be wrong.
This past Tuesday my weekly gaming group met. Well, I say “my weekly gaming group met” but perhaps I should say, “my neighbor came over”. Yes, sadly, since our other regular member, D, move away, it’s been just the two of us meeting at either his house or mine (depending on whether it’s my night to watch the baby monitor or not).
I just realized I never reported on last week. Last week we met at B’s house and were informed that we would not be allowed to play any Empire Builder crayon-rail games because B’s partner is in the middle of some schooly stuff and needs to spend all of her energy on studying… but she’s spent just a bit of her energy on envy and told B that he would not be allowed to bring Eurorails up from the basement since she would not be able to join us (due to, again, studying) and that she doesn’t want us enjoying crayon-rails without her.
Even without Eurorails, we had plenty of options to choose from. I had brought over a number of titles and B had brought up several games from his basement that did not include crayons (the key criteria, I believe). We discussed our options and settled on Coal Baron which I had brought along. It’s a Kramer & Kiesling title that gets little-to-no recognition which is really a shame. Also known by its original German title, “Glück Auf”, it’s a wonderful recipe-fulfillment game about mining the 4 distinct flavors of coal (you have the black coal, which is well known. But then there’s also the grey and the tan varieties. And, of course, the yellow coal which… Ahem, nevermind; some things are best left unsaid). I really enjoy the worker placement/displacement system and how it really solves the “multiplayer solitaire” problem that a lot of worker-placement games have with a clever use of a group of workers can get a job done, but they’ll just loiter about the area until a larger group of workers come along to chase them off to the pub. Which seems thematic in so many ways I can’t help but chuckle thinking about it still.
I also really enjoy the scoring mechanism where each of the three rounds you’ll score the same criteria you scored in the previous round(s), but also a new category of criteria. It creates a real sense of drama and tension as the game progresses. It also means that from round-to-round, there’s a good chance that the lead will change back and forth several times. I thought for sure B had locked in the win when he managed to re-take the lead on “train deliveries” after I had tied it up that same round. But, in the end, our scores were me with 132 and B with 124; the scores were tight the entire game and it was hard to tell even after the end of the last round who was going to win until we had counted everything out.
We followed Coal Baron with a quick game of Wingspan. B had not yet played it as a two-player experience and I think he found it the same as me: less interesting things happen each round, but the rounds go super quick and you really have to figure out how to best use the birds you have because the “bird market” doesn’t churn much (if at all) between your turns. I was really struggling at the start trying to get anything going at all. I went egg-row-heavy in the first round because that’s what I had in my hand; I had never gone egg-heavy early in the game and I really struggled to get enough card draw to do anything else. Due to some powers in my grasslands, I didn’t, however, struggle to keep a food supply and, as such, I was able to kinda neglect my woodland row. In the end, I think we both found enough cogs that meshed together to assemble a decent point-machine. Final scores were B’s 78 to my 74; almost all of B’s points were from birds, but I had I think 22 points from eggs (due to the early game egginess).
After Wingspan, we still had a bit of time so I cracked open Railroad Ink (the red edition). We played base-game only as it was sorta both of our first games of it. I had played a solo playthrough once before just to ensure I understood the rules and the flow of the game. It explains quick and plays quick. We blasted through a game in no time and at the end, we were both really surprised at how well we were able to do. I managed to connect 9 exits together and thought I was already pretty pro… but then B had also managed to accomplish the same feat and it deflated my ego (a bit). I had 10 for both longest road and longest rail which was significantly better than B and that was probably what gave me the edge to win 51 to 38.
So, then, now that we’re caught up from ancient history until this past Tuesday, let’s mention for a second how as I was leaving last week, we discussed the idea of getting Clans of Caledonia to the table next as it was a design that B and his wife really enjoyed and I had been aching for the chance to play. And so, when B arrived at my house (and after a bit of catching up), he pulls Clans of Caledonia out of his bag. “Ahh, yes, exactly as we discussed!” I mentioned. And then he looked at me and looked at my baby monitor that showed my still-crying 16-month old who refused to go to sleep. “You look like you may not be up for a game like this,” he suggested and then reached back into his bag to reveal Eurorails. “Ahh,” I said, “if you look behind you, you’ll see my copy of Eurorails.” He turned and saw that I had also brought down Eurorails (in addition, there was also regular Empire Builder (as oppposed to decaf EB) and Martian Rails which is certainly one I’m excited to try). “Eurorails it is, then,” we both agreed.
As B began to set up the game, I rushed off to console my daughter and try to coax her to sleep (we Furberize with the Furber Method). As I sit back down, I pick up my demand cards and immediately see some synergy with Luxembourg by connecting the south of France to Poland by way of Germany (a bit ambitious and definitely more expensive than I can afford with my initial 50 million Euro, but by delivering the first two, I can easily afford to make the third work). B, on the other hand, really struggled to find anything to work for him and we discussed the possibility of letting him discard and redraw one fewer (we were playing by a house rule where you started with 5 cards and discard down to 3, putting the discarded cards in a “public demand” pool for anybody to complete). He decided against it and made a go with what he had.
I started off, much like I said, connecting Wroclaw to Berlin to Ruhr (Eurorails is weird in that some of the “cities” aren’t cities but regions) and then heading south through Luxembourg to Marseille. B began in western France and plodded his way north, across a ferry, to England and then eventually Scotland and Ireland. Before long, we both had completed a few deliveries and had drawn cards that were drawing us to Iberia where we crossed paths for the first time (this is a very solitary game, especially with 2 players… even though we crossed paths, there’s never really any tension unless you’re in a tight part of the board; nothing at all like when we played Nippon Rails). I was tempted to connect to Seville to get Oranges while also solving any potential Cork-related demands but opted to go to Valencia instead; my very next demand card offered a huge demand for Cork and I immediately cursed myself. Around this point in the game, I was just barely keeping my cash flow going and B seemed to be doing great; he hadn’t ventured into eastern Europe yet but he was making lots of money running north and south through France and in and out of the UK. Eventually, I ended up with demand cards that convinced me to head into Scandanavia, something I’ve heard is rarely worth the effort in Eurorails. As I was trudging my way from Italy up through Germany, stopping along the way to grab Flowers for Oslo while delivering that Italian Tobacco to Stockholm, I really thought I was just throwing money away; technically, it was a profitable trip but it was taking a lot of time to get all the way up there. After dropping off Tobacco in Stockholm, I pulled my next demand card and, to my amazement, I saw “Stockholm wants Flowers” and they were paying better than Oslo! “Drat,” I grumbled to myself as I regretted I couldn’t deliver flowers to Oslo and Stockholm without going to get more Flowers… until, I looked down at my train. I had grabbed two loads of Flowers when I was in Holland (yes, Holland is a single Major city… Eurorails is weird). I quickly dumped my extra flowers on the platform of Stockholm before steaming off to do the same in Oslo, cackling with glee as I counted my money.
The double-Scandanavian-flower incident is likely what enabled me to cruise onto victory a few turns later when I dropped 84 million Euro worth of goods on the doorstep of Lisboa. And it was just in time, too; B was about 3 turns from being able to deliver his next load that would have taken him over the 250 million goal. Final scores were 263 to 231 with a victorious pillbox laughing his way to the bank (though, I suppose… 231 million Euro probably would be enough to live on for a while).
We cut the game night short after that as B was heading out to Chicago the next day and still needed to pack for his trip to Adepticon.
[the train stops abruptly, causing everybody to lurch in their seats]
“Everybody off!” yells the conductor, walking down the aisle, ensuring everybody appears to be grabbing their stuff.
“Where are we?” you ask, looking out the window while trying to collect your stuff.
“Warsaw,” replies the conductor dryly.
“What? I don’t want to go to Warsaw… and they don’t want me either!” you declare, somehow knowing that there are cities that pay big money to get tourists but… Warsaw isn’t one of them.
“Well, I’m sorry, but we need the room for all this ham.” he says, pointing out the window at the truck loads of ham that’s being loaded into the passenger cars that the conductor has already cleared of people.
“HAM? What? What do you need that much ham for?” you demand, now seriously doubting your decision to hop aboard a train run by, clearly, a mad man.
“They’re not sure yet… But while we’re in Warsaw… well, you might as well load up on ham, ya know. It’s the only city in the world that produces it,” the conductor says matter-of-factly as he walks behind you, ensuring you don’t interfere with the onboarding of ham, workers stacking ham upon ham, completely filling the passenger cars floor to ceiling with the uniquely Warsaw-ian pork product.
[the train puffs a blast of steam into the air as it chugs to life, crawling out of the station laden with ham and heading to… uh, well, who knows.]
(Also, of note, at least once during the game, I declared, “Europeans want stupid things” as I was glaring down at my selection of demand cards)
I looked this game up a bit more. Its a city building area control game which sounds like lords of vegas. How does it play?
Very different from Lords of Vegas. The main driver is the rondel made from 6 cards plus the main board. Because of how the romdel cards work the main action is to jockey for position and actions on the cards. Enough interaction for me and not enough spite to put my multiplayer solitaire game people off. Better actions on a card will mean you’ll pick later on the next one.
Scoring is largely through drafting of ‘municipal objectives’ or scoring cards of various types. Some reward set collection, some majorities and some for building specific patterns.
Plays in about 45 minutes and feels like there’s enough tough choices for a game of that length.
Game day today so lots of games played - Liar’s Dice which, as usual, my wife won. Carcassonne and Barenpark were also hits as was Roll Through the Ages.
I lost another game of The Fox in the Forest - apparently i’m destined to never win that game Also got in a game of Hive between the midday and evening guests
Diamonds got another play as did Kakerlakenpoker, both were enjoyed greatly - Kakerlakenpoker may well be the game of mine that prompts the most laughter.
Welcome Back to the Dungeon was a nice filler earlier in the day and unusually I won a game of Sheriff of Nottingham (though one of my little bag clasps broke looks like fixing it may take a bit of doing as well. ah well, worth it!)
We closed out the night with a play of No Thanks.
All in all a satisfying day - we tended toward lighter fare just because of the crowd that joined us, so I was sad to not get around to some of the more involved games I was hoping to get played but there’s always next time
You might try contacting Arcane Wonders for a replacement bag. For a while there I think they were replacing them for free, but they may not be doing that anymore since the game has been out so long.
Gloomhaven, back to it after a few weeks break. We played a scenario we had previously failed, but breezed thru it this time
Illusion, I like this but I’m very bad at it
Carpe Diem, went a bit better than the awful game I had of it last time. Played with 2 new players, who seemed to get the hang of it pretty well. Its really not a difficult game to teach. Really good game.
Labyrinth, a pretty old game this one. You are in a labyrinth of tiles, trying to find various symbols. On your turn, you get to push a row or column up with a new tile, and hopefully create a path to the symbol you’re after. Once you’ve collected everything, you have to make your way back to your starting position. Good light fun.
Wingspan, 2 new players. Seemed to go over pretty well.
Ganz Schon Clever
Finally got a game day in. First one in a couple of weeks.
Roll Player our first play, and I took the win 22 to 21. My son and I both enjoyed it, though I know I want the Monsters and Minions expansion, just for more options during the Market phase. I’m hoping the adventure game connected to this turns out.
Rum & Bones Second Tide once again my son stomped me. We only have the core box, and I’m starting to the think the one faction may not be for me. They focus a lot on gaining gold, and spending it for bonuses. Just never seems to click. I think he’s won everything game! Lol.
Clank! In! Space! My son was able to speed through the ship, and get an item before I had unlocked my codes. We did make a good that got him out sooner than her should have, which left me to die on the ship. He won be default, and I think heel would have had the win even without the goof.
Tiny Epic Zombies This went bad. Started out rough, and got worse. Still fun though.
More Gin Rummy because it’s so easy to squeeze in a few quick hands.
And my wife absolutely crushed me in Patchwork. I win more often than she does (we tally scores in the box lid because the debate over who won Lost Cities more never ended), so she got a kick out of beating me 18 to -6… She kept taking high time pieces when I was broke, so I wasted a lot of time just earning a few buttons, and I always seemed to run out of buttons just a space or two before the next button on the time track.
Well, we got Twilight Imperium 4th ed to the table today with a full six players and had arranged to have our kids away in therapy until 6. It is definitely quite the game. We got a bit of a late start, close to noon, and we unfortunately had a number of interruptions.
We got a call close to 1 that our elder son was not doing well, so my wife went to get him, having us play her turns as best as we could. Being only in round two, there wasn’t too much to consider, and figured we would allow her to score her secret objective if possible when she got back. She returned with the kiddo and pizza.
Bit of an interruption getting the kid settled in and eating, but we pressed on. Somewhere in round three we get another call that our younger son fell asleep and was hard to rouse. So out she went again and again we collectively played her turns, primarily producing units at her request.
After she left I got occupied caring for the older kid who had an upset stomach, affecting his rear end. After a couple of incidents, he seemed better. Wife got back for the end of that round when we finally got to have the Agenda phase.
Round four went relatively smoothly, with only one instance of a kid grabbing a cruiser and dropping it into a glass of Coke. Regular check ups on the kids kept us somewhat distracted and by the end of the action phase it was already after 5:00 and one of our players had to leave.
We called the game without playing the Agenda phase, leaving our Jol-Nar player the winner with 7 points (though my Sardakk N’orr were able to cut a swath through his controlled systems, taking three planets away from him before the end of the round). My wife ended up in second as Sol, with 4 points, and was also granted a bonus point for getting the kids both times. The rest of us came in with 1, 2 or 3 points.
It was a lot of fun and most of us hope to get it to the table again sometime in the not too distant future. Many thanks to my wonderful wife, @superjaz, for getting me this amazing game, helping to schedule a day we could play it with little interruption (despite that being foiled), and for being an amazing wife and mother in volunteering to get the kids to let me stay and play.
My brother-in-law bowed out leaving four of us. A bit burned out, we played Cardline: Animals for three rounds. This os basically Timeline, but with three different aspects of animals (size, weight, lifespan) to compare instead of dates. We did one round with weight, another with size, and finished with lifespan, which is the hardest because you can’t really make an educated guess based on the size of the animal. I managed to win the last two rounds, while our previous Jol-Nar player won the first.
After this we realized our younger son had thrown up right behind us, so that ended gaming for the day. Seriously, he was like a ninja: completely silent, didn’t fuss about it or anything.
hmm i’ll have to chase that one up. Cheers
Civilization (2010) it’s alright, doesn’t work at three players. I got massacred early on, and then became an easy target for the other two players. Boy does the game have lots of text all over the place and nowhere near enough info on the player aid!! We all kept missing abilities on our cards. I’d say it’s a 6/10. It’s alright, but I prefer Root for that kind of game (is it a 2X? 3X? I dunno!). None of the scoring areas are very interesting and it’s all quite straight forward tech trees and battles. I’d play again at 4 to see if it works better at that player count and now I know the flow, but I really hate games that incentivise beating on the bottom place and reduce the decision space in doing so. Also doesn’t seem right that some win conditions are hidden away on a players area and others are a big long (very obvious) track on the communal board. Winning by culture must be really difficult!
Quacks still love it. Someone was trailing behind so I blew my pot up to join them. Ended up coming last, but was quite surprised how much I caught up in the end considering I blew up twice! 2 behind 3rd place and 8 behind 1st.
Had another great game day.
Roll Player second game in two days, and it went great. Easily one of out more relaxing games, but still a fair amount to think about.
Mechs vs Minions Gave Mission 2 a go (on easy) and despite a really rough start (almost reset the board), we got the win! Living this game. I’ve heard that Mission 3 can be pretty brutal though.
Pandemic We ran out of cards and only cured one disease. The draws were bad, and we were never really able to trade. I think it’s a first.
Aristeia! Two games of Blitz and and my son won them both in the second round. I seem to have the same luck as I do in Rum and Bones! Lol. Maybe we’ll try switching teams.
All in all, another fun day.
A game of Seasons, after I manage to snag a copy of Enchanted Kingdom from the geek market - I already have the other. This game still surprises me when people play their combos.
Twilight Struggle - played as the US and won via Wargames event.
Res Arcana - I was eager to get this, had it the moment it was released. I have played it many times. Now Im writing a draft in my blog on how conflicted I am.
I’ve never played RftG, but have been wanting to check out Res Arcana. What about it has you conflicted?
Hardback with longest word cards and the extra restrictions on how words can be spelt (this adds challenge and is used as a catch up mechanic by giving the more difficult challenges to the leading player). Lost to my partner on the last go when she took the longest word from me with salamander and finished the game, turning a two point defeat into a 14 point victory. I was thinking of purchasing another deck builder (baseball highlights, probs) but I think it unlikely I’d enjoy it more than this. Interaction would need to be high and probably there would be a fair few other mechanics for me to consider it.