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Shefford Friday night games

This is a short description of the games we play at our Friday night game group.

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Friday 22nd April 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We were 7 this Friday. We started with just 4 of us waiting for two more to arrive, so played a quick handle of Spot it!, which I thought Marion had won, but turned out to have beaten her by just one card!!

We were then 6, and after some discussion of games decided to play a 6 player Fauna for half an hour, until Sami had to leave to pick up our daughter from her school disco, hoping that our final gamer would arrive in that half hour. We started with a Koala, which was easy enough and most people had fairly similar scores (although we were surprised by the lack of tail), and then moved onto an Auckland sealion - but Sami and Marion didn't know where Auckland was (Sami placed in Canada, while Marion had it confused with the Orkney Islands!). There was also some difference of opinion on the size of sealions. James pulled ahead after this round a bit. Then we had a Alpensalamander, and this was where James did very well, knowing the dimensions of a Salamander much better than everyone else - the "Alpen" clue meant that everyone could get similar scores for location! Then finally we had a sperm whale, which I didn't bother translating to German, and there was a word in their that meant Pygmy Sperm Whale, so although we assumed James would pass the finish line, he didn't - and in fact Sami and I nearly caught him up, as all the dimensions were off for everyone (and I'd ignored dimensions and gone for just locations as safer points, just placing my final cube as the smallest weight cube placed, which was just enough for 3 points). However, we called it a day there anyway.

At that point we were 6 and looking for two games, one of which needed to be about an hour long, so my husband could join them when he got back. John had brought Caverna: The Cave Farmers for one table, which most people were happy to play. I suggested Thunderstone for the other table as top of my list and about the right length, and Seb and Colin joined me for that. I had to explain it to Seb, and made it sound far more confusing than it actually was! I got off to the best start with my fighters and weapons and beat up quite a few monsters, while Colin kept going to the dungeon with his card draw deck and ending up just short, usually as he didn't have enough light. However, then my deck went into meltdown, as it had two many monsters in, and I was really struggling to beat up any more. Meanwhile Seb was spending turns thinning his, and Colin was buying lots of Magic Attack - ok until a few creatures turned up immune to it. In the end Colin was able to beat up the last monster and take the thunderstone, and this proved decisive for the win, just ending up a couple of points ahead of me.

Sami had returned just as we drew the Thunderstone from the top of the deck, so we were then a four player, and Colin brought down a pile, from which Seb picked Amun-Re, as the only one he'd heard of! Again it was new to him. First round was fairly typical - Colin went for largest region on one side, and poisoned two regions; the rest of us got our sets, and none of us got many points from bonus cards. Sami had the most money going into the second round, with me not far behind, and Colin rather short, but ahead on points. By now I had two bonus cards that needed cards and side of the river, so when Abydos appeared that was a good first buy for me. I then picked up Baharya, so really needed Kharga to finish the collection - although it was one of Colin's poisoned regions, or if I just wanted one card I could go for Damanhur, which had a double pyramid in. However, Sami bid 21 for that straight off, and I didn't have 28 cash so that wasn't an option; Colin bid on the other region with two pyramids on the other side of the river, and I bid on Kharga, but then Seb outbid me, and Colin took my region rather than overbid him (he'd clearly had an overbid card for a while from the way he'd been bidding!)! I had to move over the river, losing 6 points of bonus cards, but gaining a double pyramid. I assumed I'd get three sets, but Sami then forced me to choose between the last set and keeping the majority on one side, and it was one more point to keep the majority. Sami was miles ahead of the rest of us at end-game, and I just managed to keep ahead of the other two at final scoring.

Next we pulled Peloponnes from Colin's pile, and introduced Seb to that. It was a fairly tame game, with the resupplies nicely spread, and the disasters all appearing in the last three rounds as expected, and by then well-prepared for. I had a real problem with people all game, which gave me a problem with money, which gave me a problem bidding on more tiles that gave me people... Anyway, Seb and and I ended on a tiebreak on 15, which I lost, while Colin was streaks ahead on 24!!

Colin then had just half an hour before he had to leave, so chose Der dreizehnte Holzwurm, ANOTHER game new to Seb! This time I was definitely getting the luck of the cards. The first hand I had mostly positive, or small numbers. Colin and Sami took all the early bonus cards ahead of me, but I then realised that a quick end would still leave me positive, so I took the remaining negative bonus cards and a few rows with small positive cards in them, and then was planning on empty my hand of negatives, then take a row and the -13 and catch them on the hop. Just as I got rid of my last negatives, Seb got squeezed and had to take the -13, and I finished with an amazing 52. Seb was obviously negative, and Colin was only just positive. Then the second round I was dealt all but one of the +10s, along with lots of other large positives, and just ended the game quickly at that point, for +40, while both Sami and Colin were still negative! My final score was 92, while Sami was the only other player with a positive score, with a score of 8.

The other table were just scoring up Caverna, so we moved upstairs to heckle (and upset John's maths!), and then help pack-up, and then played a 6 player Ave Caesar to finish with. Despite Marion not liking this game, she proved yet again that she is really good at it and should play it more often to improve her stats - winning two of the four races, and finishing all four for the win. John was second, with two seconds and a third, and I managed to just get third place, despite only finishing three races, as when I did finish I was always well up in the first three places!
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Sun Apr 24, 2016 8:41 am
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Friday 15th April 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 9. We started with me suggesting Orléans for one table, which easily found 4 players, while the others played El Grande upstairs. It was a very close game of Orleans, with me just under 10 points ahead of Marion, and everyone else within about ten points of her. I went for the bottom track, and a houses to match, and also gained a high number of points early on from an early farmer more than everyone else. I also seemed to get far more in-game points than anyone else, ending the game with 20 more cash than anyone else. Marion meanwhile went heavily for the board, but neglected the bottom track, while Lisa got blocked on the board, but went flying up the bottom track late game thanks to two buildings she had bought. When she remembered that she had three people tokens to multiply this by, this netted her quite a large amount of points!

We then merged and split differently - I suggested a lighter party game for one table, and this ended up being Pictomania. Meanwhile the non-party game table played Age of Steam. I got off to an amazing start in Pictomania and was rapidly ahead after the first two rounds, with only Marion close. Seb had a disaster in the second round, and one later round, with almost no-one guessing his drawing. There were a couple of amusing moments - such as the time Hannah and I both finished drawing quickly and guessed each other's first - but she somehow thought my triangle was a rectangle - oops, picked the wrong number out of her hand!! We also had one round where whether you got Gill's card right depended on whether you'd looked at mine first - as hers could have been one of two, but mine was clearly one of the two numbers!! Seb was definitely last, unlike his last game where he did well, and then everyone else was in a bit of a clump in the early 20s, with Marion in second place on 28 points and me out in front with over 40 points.

Hannah was talking about leaving them, but I convinced her to play with a game of Duplik, which I know she enjoys and has a similar drawing theme. It was new to Seb and this certainly hampered him in the first round, but after that he was doing fine. Again it's a game I always score highly at and I won comfortably, but the scores were impressively close for everyone else - 47-46-45-44-43 in fact, with Hannah top and Seb just behind. As usual there was mass confusion several times. Marion caused general hilarity with her interchangeable use of left and right - the man and dog she was describing seemed to teleport several times, and one of the five dogs never got mentioned - her picture was particularly full and busy!! And Seb's four propellers confused a few people - I realised he meant a propeller with four arms, but several people drew four propellers and then struggled with his later instructions as a result. And then Seb confused me totally by describing the whole thing very thoroughly twice - so I drew it twice! My pictures were both actually pretty accurate as his description was very good, but the fact there were two of them did lose me a few points on things like "numbers of palm trees" in the picture!!

The others were just finishing up, so we played a quick Timeline: Diversity. Seb was really unlucky here, being first to get to one card, but taking forever to get rid of his last card, and both Gill (to her surprise!) and I finished before him. When he finished Marion and Lisa resigned, as the other table was waiting for us and they both had a couple of cards left!

At this point we merged and split again, and with Terra Mystica being suggested I headed that way pretty quickly, with the other usual Terra Mystica fans (Sami, Simon and Colin) joining me. We played on the expansion board but drew all normal races. Simon drew Engineers, and proceeded to struggle with them in the same way as Colin had the previous week! Sami was Alchemists, and seemed to have a fairly typical game with them. Colin was Giants, and confused me totally by starting next to me - it was the only place he could start where he could get a cheap trading post for his first settlement, from the way the others had placed. This however completely threw me off and I made a stupid blunder on the first turn, building my Swarmlings Stronghold where I had planned to build my Sanctuary, and then building my Sanctuary in my other area where I had planned to build my Stronghold. As the region with my Stronghold in had only three easy to terraform spaces, it couldn't form a town without a bridge and a double terraform (which is why I'd initially earmarked it as my Sanctuary area) - no mean feat for Swarmlings, especially when I'd burned down to just 5 power in my power bowl. I did manage it, and it did connect my two regions, which I hadn't initially planned to do, but it hampered my late game swarm, meant I couldn't found a third town, and just generally lost me points in other areas too, which meant I ended up behind Sami, and to his great surprise Colin flew past both of us at end-game scoring!!
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Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:05 pm
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Friday 8th April 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This Friday we were 7, so split into two tables. I suggested both Terra Mystica and Orleans, and these rapidly ended up being the two games tabled, with me on the Terra Mystica table. I drew Halflings, Sami Engineers, James Chaos Magicians and Simon Dragonlords. I got off to the usual Halfling great start, getting halfway round the board while the others had barely scored, but as usual with Halflings, the second half of the game then struggled to maintain that level of scoring, and was caught by first Sami, and then at final scoring by James, who used his Chaos Magicians to top every track - it helped that none of the rest of us were even vaguely going for tracks - Sami topped the brown track, but no-one got further than about three steps up any of the others!! Dragonlords terraform easily, so Simon spread rapidly, building all round James, but using his power for terraforms did mean he didn't have much to use to spend for stuff - he got largest area, but didn't get as many in-game points as Sami and I. Sami got his Engineers working very well, with little competition for space, getting two bridges by turn 4, and the third on turn 5, for lots of points.

Sami then asked for suggestions, and chose Power Grid from the list of games suggested, with the Spain map being drawn. We ended up with a C shaped board, with Simon and Sami on the ends of the Cs. I picked up an early garbage power plant, which cost me a house relative to everyone else, but meant I didn't have to get into the huge fight for coal that everyone else was in. I then picked up a size 4 recycling plant, and my costs plummeted. Phase 3 hit, and 3 recycling plants were put on top of the deck. I bought the other garbage plant from the plants available, but the only other reasonable plant was a coal one, and then the power plant row stalled for a couple of turns. This helped me, already powering for 13, but I was still behind on house buying. Phase 3 hit, and by now the coal situation was critical, with one of James and Simon guaranteeing not to power each turn - and the only new plants off the top of the deck were coal ones!! James bought goods first, so was able to risk buying any of the three coal power plants that turned up from the top of the deck (most of the others in the deck were uranium which was down at 1, so Sami and Simon were rather unlucky there!), and as he was also buying houses first, and with no-one having bought in Simon's area yet, was able to buy to 17 houses, powering 14 and end the game. Sami and I could also have built to 17 houses, but I could only powered 13 and Sami 12, and Simon was unable to power one of his coal plants.

We then played a quick Race for the Galaxy while the others finished up Orleans, which ended very close for the top 3 positions, James just one point ahead of Sami and I, with Sami beating me on the tie-break for second!

We then merged and split again, with the suggestion of Outpost not being popular at that time of night, but Vikings and Splendor proving rather more popular. I went for the Vikings table, with Marion and Simon. Marion somehow got herself into a very odd situation by the end of round 2, with six men sitting on her board waiting to be shipped! Then we had a succession of weird rounds, with all ends, no ships, 5 ships, all starts, and then in the final round, a round with only one end - which left Marion unable to finish her really long island. We all scored one end-game bonus, but I'd scored more in-game points which put me ahead. Marion moved back past Simon at final scoring due to her failure to feed, leaving him in second by just one point!!

I then suggested The Downfall of Pompeii. Simon needed a quick rules refresher and we started. I did very well off relatives, twice we had a sequence in a 4 building where Simon placed for one relative, Marion for two, and then me for 3! However, this didn't mean there were all in good positions, and I had far too many to be able to escape them all - almost all my pieces ended up on the board! I also drew almost all the omen cards, so alternated throwing the other two in the volcano. When AD79 hit for the second time we rapidly escaped, and it was a very close finish - Marion and I managing to get just one more person out than Simon, and Marion then winning out on the tie-break - as I had far more people in the volcano than she did!

Marion then suggested Rage, which I brought down and dealt out, only for us to then realise she had actually meant Burn Rate! We continued with Rage then though. First round went well for all of us - Simon going wrong, but picking up 5 tricks and +10 so his score wasn't any worse. Then we all went wrong in round 2, and then it started going rather better for Simon than Marion and I. He alternated rounds where he was right with ones where he went wrong, whereas I had five rounds in a row that went wrong, and Marion wasn't much better! Then at the end of the game he just kept getting it right every round, while Marion slumped down to my score. Then in the last round, with Marion and I within a couple of points of each other and Simon more than 40 points ahead, I was forced to say 0 with a 15 trump in hand!!! Needless to say I did not get that right!
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Sat Apr 9, 2016 12:38 pm
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Friday 1st April 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We were 7 this Friday, so started by splitting into two tables. Marion suggested The Castles of Burgundy for one table, while Seb suggested Pillars of the Earth for the other. Having played Pillars recently I plumped for Castles, and Colin joined us. I picked up the early quarry, then Colin went heavily for quarries for the next few rounds. I had a board with lots of little regions, so completed as many as possible early on for big points. Meanwhile Marion had the one with the 8 brown region so was working to fill that, and Colin had two 6 brown regions, so as well as his usual shipping strategy was aiming for them. I pulled ahead heavily early on as a result, but once their big regions started scoring they caught up, and going into the end-game scoring there was almost nothing separating the three of us. Colin just pulled ahead, thanks to picking up the yellow building that gave him 1 for every good he'd sold, plus a huge amount of cash from said buildings. I was just a couple of points behind, and Marion a few behind that. Very close!

Then Colin suggested London, which Marion was a little hazy on some of the rules for. This meant her black cubes got out of control in the mid-game, as she forgot to subtract her regions from her black cube total, until I calculated it for her one turn and we noticed. This may have contributed to her money shortage too, as she was focussing so heavily on cube reduction. Meanwhile Colin went for a mad loan strategy, ending the game on 6 loans, and taking all the buildings that cost lots of money and were worth VPs. I was just going for a standard strategy, but did end up with a rather large city, as I took so many non-flip cards that were getting me income - I had a huge pile of money most of the way through the game though! At end game we were surprised to see that although Colin had been buying high cost cards, and me normal ones, his cards were only worth a few points more than mine, and his negatives from loans out-weighed any other positives, so I was a few points ahead for the win.

The other game had finished at the same time, so Ellie went home, and we merged and split, with Sami (who had won Pillars comfortably as the only person who had played it before) suggesting Royal Palace, which was near the top of my play list. I gave up my option of picking as I wanted to play that, and Seb suggested one of his games, with Marion joining us to make our third. I'm sure Marion has played this before, when we first got it, but she'd forgotten it if she had, so we needed a full rules explanation and it took her a while to work out some of the intricacies. Because of the location of the card square Sami didn't go for this at all this game, and I still say that was why he won, beating me by just a few points as I got 6 points less than him and Marion at end-game scoring, and our in-game scoring points were almost identical.

He chose Agricola next, and we rolled the G deck, and this definitely led to very low scores all round - Marion not even breaking 30, and me only on 32! Even Sami, doing slightly better with cards that scored points only got 7 points from cards and improvements. Both the other two were struggling with feeding rather - Sami being a Vegetarian, and Marion forgetting that her special oven that she'd bought did cook animals as well as vegetables!! I was pretty much scamper feeding anyway, with lots of bonuses for taking the fishing and day labourer spaces, but did eat the animals that the other two were largely ignoring (although Sami did want sheep for his "trade sheep for vegetables" card.

We finished with a quick Love Letter, where I had a complete disaster in the early rounds, nothing going right for me (Baron with Princess - find Countess; Baron with Countess - find Princess; Start the hand with Countess/King or Countess/Prince in hand - yes it did happen twice!; 50/50 draw from the deck to win the round - draw the losing card etc etc). However, despite this I did manage to claw my way back to an all-in final round, which Marion won.
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Sat Apr 2, 2016 8:23 am
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Friday 18th March 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday there were 7 of us, one arriving an hour into the session. We started with a quick hand of Linko! while people were arriving, and then it was time to decide the first proper game. I suggested Orléans, as I'd missed out the previous week and was keen to try it, and John revealed that he'd bought a copy since last week and it was in the car. After a bit of a discussion we ended up with it just tabling on both tables!! I was with Seb and Simon, and Simon did a quick rules explanation and we started. Oddly all the positive event tiles came out early on - Simon was surprised how many there were in fact - having told us they were mostly negative, they just weren't!!! But then later, the more negative ones hit! I went for a good strategy, getting board presence from picking them up from the board, a building that got me a brocade if I activated it, and also going up the farm track to get the goods from that. We all played heavily for the bottom track, but the other two slightly more than me, although at end game we were all pretty much at the same point on it. I was the only person to take two cogs, and I think next time I might concentrate on them rather earlier, as they did allow me to take extra actions, and gave me more flexibility. I won with 145 points, pretty much split equally as 50 points from each of the three types of scoring, with the other two both around 90.

The other table were slightly behind us, so I suggested a quick game of Terra with James, who had arrived by then, while the others were finishing off. It was fairly close for most of the game - Simon's bad round being followed by an exceedingly good round that caught him up. Then somehow in the last two rounds I got lucky, and while playing for adjacency on a couple of things turned out to get the right answer, which pulled me ahead.

We then merged with the other group, Terra Mystica was suggested, and that was rapidly one table sorted, with us sending the other players upstairs to sort themselves out with a different game (I think they played Vikings but I don't know what after that!). We opened our expansion and managed to pull out two expansion races from the bag, as well as using the expansion board. I was the Acolytes, and had great fun playing with the tracks - up a bit, down a bit - terraforming enough squares to build two towns, and prevent Sami from connecting (a team effort with Simon when Sami wasn't expecting it!), before motoring up the tracks, and topping all of them in the end (two tied!). Simon had Shapeshifters, and these proved to be very powerful, although at least once he did change to a colour only to find that by his next turn the squares he was planning on terraforming had mysteriously vanished!). Colin meanwhile had a bit of a disaster with Engineers, and Sami played a very odd game with Darklings where he hardly terraformed with a priest all game, instead using them to go up the tracks, to get free terraforms there!!!

Simon then suggested Vinci for our next game. Sami got off to a great first turn, with a Weapons/Mining combination that took off very quick, but then both Colin and I attacked him (as he'd spread so much it was easy!), and he ended up declining on turn 2, and coming on with another mining civ on the other side of the board! I meanwhile took over a large area with a Militia civ, then declined for a Field General/Currency civ. This scored me a ridiculous amount of points for a turn or two, especially with a large declined empire, and everyone made it a mission to take me out at that point, Colin in particular, and I rapidly found myself with no pieces to expand with! After a couple of turns I was forced to decline as I had just one man left, just as Sami came on with his next civ, right on the empty area of board where my declined empire had been. The speed of growth he got from this, plus his declined minig civ scoring him 7 points a turn, meant he motored past the finishing post in three turns, with no-one really able to stop him. Colin was safely second, with me just going past Simon - but we were all nearly 20 points behind Sami!!

We had enough time for a quick game of Codenames, which was very close but eventually just won by Simon and I.
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Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:25 am
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Friday 11th March 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We started with a quick hand of Escalation! - Sami picked up a huge first trick, but then John seemed to have a mega-hand, so Simon, sitting to his left, wasn't doing well and his pile grew rather. I thought I was getting off rather lightly, as especially as when John had finished with his mega-hand he couldn't play bigger than a 6 ever, but then at the end it all went wrong, and my pile was almost as big as Sami's!

Then we were 6, waiting for one more, and ready to split into two tables to play Simon's two new games. We rolled for which people would play Orleans, as that was the more popular choice, and the rest of us played his other purchase, Quadropolis. I was about halfway through the rules explanation when first my youngest had a mega-tantrum and had to be put to bed, and our seventh arrived and joined in. I finished the rules, in particular the scoring, then we played a game of The City while waiting for my husband to finish putting my youngest to bed, which was new to Hannah, but she managed to come second with a solid fountain strategy - my fountain strategy just did a little better. We then played Quadropolis. It's quite a simple game to play in terms of what you do each turn, but can be awkward at times to see what your best options are with your four numbers. My main concern at the end of the game was that it was rather over-balanced, with all four players within three points of each other, despite having pursued rather different strategies.

The other table were only a quarter of the way through Orleans at this point, so I suggested Shipyard as the next game. Again it was new to Hannah, but she soon got the idea and built her first ship, and was working towards her contracts. She went for several ships, while everyone else seemed to be playing towards a couple of larger ships, from the contracts they had taken. Sami won, with a solid military strategy and lots of the upgrade tiles.

Orleans finished at exactly the same time, so we split into two tables again. John asked to play Prêt-à-Porter, as he had missed it when we played it a week or two ago, and Marion was keen to play that again. Sami suggested Terra Mystica for the other table, which everyone else was happy with. I explained the rules and we got going. John got off to a great start, getting the highest number of stars from every show, and putting on large collections, while Marion messed up in the first show, thinking she had an extra turn of preparation so only able to do a one-size collection. I found myself in trouble it the autumn season, having used up all my designs, and getting blocked out of getting any more in the first turn of the round. Some scampering and I did manage to put a three size collection on, but it was a close thing. The same then happened to Marion in the last round, while John had more designs than he knew what to do with! I had an impressive number of cards in front of me at the end - no less than 5 buildings, and 4 or 5 employees, not to mention several contractors, but was managing to keep my costs under control. We totalled up at end-game, and John had beaten me by just 8 cash! Very close finish.
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Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:44 am
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Friday 4th March 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This Friday we were 9, so, after a quick starter game of Timeline: Inventions, while players were arriving, we split into two tables, one of 4 and one of 5. The 5 played El Grande, while I was on the Galaxy Trucker table. I had a bit of a disaster, doing well in the first round, then my ship running out of boosters in the second round and left drifting in open space, along with Ellie, and then the third round my ship blew up again. I stayed ahead of Ellie, but Sami and Colin both were a way ahead of the pair of us!

We then introduced Ellie to Vampire, and played a quick three player game of Haggis after she went home, while the others played their last round.

We then merged and replit into two tables, with me playing Terra, in which I had another disaster, followed by Seb introducing us to Cockroach Poker, which I also lost!! We they played one hand of Codenames, which Simon and I were able to win, Seb having a few problems with the assassin card being very close to one of his other cards.

We then merged and split again, with me playing Time's Up! Title Recall!, paired with Seb against Gill and Jonty, who it was new to but soon caught on. I seemed to be doing very well at describing to Seb, and so we got ahead slightly in the first round, and then maintained a similar lead in later rounds. We had a few too many cards where the clue in later rounds was a gun, which caused confusion trying to illustrated the differences between them!
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Mon Mar 7, 2016 12:06 pm
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Friday 26th February 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we had 10 people. We started with a quick Chronology, which James won, and then split into two tables - one of Power Grid, and the other of Outpost. I was on the Power Grid table, playing on the Italy map. I started at top of the boot, with everyone else above me, so had a nice area to buy into down the eastern side of the boot. Simon was in a nice position to do similarly on the west, but got too tempted on the third turn by a 25 power plant that powered 5 instead, leaving himself too short of cash to buy houses. I ended up building to 15 houses, very cheaply, hoping no-one else could afford to build and power more than me, but Sami unfortunately could. I was ahead of Hannah on a cash tie-break, and the other two fell behind.

We then played Medici while waiting for the other table to finish. It was very close at the end with Hannah and Marion on a tie, with me just one point behind. Hannah had an amusing third round - having got to the top of one of the pyramids in the second round, but nowhere on any other colour, she just didn't want anything on the last round!!!

We then decided to split into three tables, with one table taking Snowdonia, another playing Evo, and my table taking Terra. It was a fairly close game throughout, but I was eventually victorious over Sami, with Simon a little behind. I then suggested a similarly named game might be a good next game, and we pulled out Terra Mystica. I drew Dwarves, Sami Mermaids (groan!), and Simon Witches. Sami won, predictably given that he had Mermaids (his best race), but not with a typical Mermaid spread - in fact I spread more on turn 1 with my Dwarves, but then after turn 3, with most of my houses on the board and having founded one town, I struggled to get any more points in the remainder of the game, but Simon's Witches were struggling even more to get points, so I ended up second. It was an impressively quick game - 38 minutes from start to finish!!!

Evo still hadn't finished, and so we played a game of Splendor while waiting for them, with me managing to win. Simon was struggling as Sami kept taking the bonus tiles he was going for just ahead of him!

We then joined with the Evo players for a 7 player 7 Wonders. Unusually Simon dind't get a huge military score, instead being beaten up by Marion and Colin either side of him. I and Marion nabbed first and second places, both with good military scores and good blue scores, but with me also having lots of Guild points to put me comfortably in first. After us there was a whole bunch of players on similar scores in the 40s.

We then split into different tables again to finish with, with Colin, Simon, Lisa and I deciding to play Keep Talking, one of my Christmas present game acquisitions - but I couldn't find it, so ended up pulling a similar game out, Them & Us, with Lisa and I taking on the guys and winning. There was the usual mix of impossible topics (things women do better than men!), and ones that sounded incredibly easy, but we couldn't manage to get the whole 10.
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Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:19 pm
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Friday 19th February 2016

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We started with a quick game of For Sale while waiting for the last few people - new to Simon and Lisa. Sami was not impressed when he ended up paying a huge amount for a 29 early on, and I got a 28 much cheaper two turns later (I think people were starting to run out of cash!). Then Lisa had a bit of a disaster in the second round selling her buildings. Everyone else had a score in the 50s, with me just a few points ahead of James.

We then had 7, so split into two tables. I was keen to play Prêt-à-Porter, so suggested that for one table, and Ellie eventually chose Lords of Waterdeep for the other table. I had to explain the rules, as it was new to both James and Lisa, and Marion couldn't remember all the details. We got started and I very early picked up the blue card that allowed me to double use contractors, so went for lots of contractors. I meanwhile got blocked out of buying new designs, as everyone went for them very early, so resigned myself to a size 1 collection in the first fashion show and just worked on maximising score from it and getting benefits for future shows. I got contractors for buying cloth and for getting stars at the show, and these were both still useful flipped. First fashion show and stars were fairly even, especially as the rest all tied for a size 2 collection, which meant they dropped to third place and scored no stars!! There was a major quality war going on, but I managed to get the PR very cheaply. Second fashion show and here James was the one with the small collection, while Lisa and I went for huge ones, and again I won PR very cheaply, with no-one placing second. Going into the third round we all had roughly the same amount of money, but our costs were dramatically different - James and Marion paying quite a bit each turn, while Lisa and I were making a profit, thanks to our accountants! Third season and here James actually had to ask about how to take loans, although he did manage not to need one. I meanwhile picked up a contractor that made all my buildings free, which with two upgraded buildings was worth quite a bit to me - and it worked flipped too! Everyone else finally worked out how to get PR too! In the third round it was everything but quality that scored - and T in particular scored high stars, which James beat Lisa for with his "break a tie-break" card. The last season, and we all had reasonable size collections, and on the last turn, no-one wanted any of the cards on the left-hand side bizarrely - not a single one was useful to anyone - never seen that before!!! Instead the bottom right corner was filled up. Lisa went for a huge amount of quality again, and I managed to stop Marion scoring too much from her building that got her 18 each time she ended up in first place. Scores were nicely spread at end-game, 420, 340, 226, 123, with me winning, and Marion, the only other player who had played before, predictably in second. Reminded me how much I enjoy this game - must get it to the table again soon!

The other table had just finished their second game as we hit the final fashion show, so we then merged and re-split into two threes, with me suggesting Black Vienna and the others taking Macao downstairs, as Simon wanted some more practice at it! James was rather unlucky in Black Vienna, as two cards were pushed towards him that got three tokens put on top of them, which meant we knew most of his hand, while he had rather less information about ours - in particular both of them had very little information about my hand, and with none of the cards ever having an A on them (A being one of my cards), and one other letter of interest to them also being sparse, I had a bit of an advantage, but everyone worked out two of three. The third was proving more problematic. I suddenly realised that I had ticks or crosses in every row but one for Marion's hand, so knew her last card, which enabled me to work out that James didn't have a card that I was interested in, so I knew the final card.

I suggested Hacienda next, an older game that hasn't been played in a while. We were on the dogbone board. James and I both went for market strategies - me going for a region in the middle and then connecting with animal chains in all directions, then starting a second mini chain with lots of branches off on the right hand end. I then bought haciendas and lakes for extra points. Marion meanwhile pretty much ignored markets for points, and instead saw them as sources of lots of money, and built up a huge land area - size 14 at end game - with hacienda on it and an animal chain connected to it, and again several areas of water. My experience with the game told at final scoring, and in the second scoring Marion moved ahead of James - I was impressed how much she scored from her mega-region!!

Again both tables finished simultaneously, and so we then joined up for a couple of six player games - firstly 7 Wonders, which Sami won - getting a ridiculous amount of double resource building cards in round 1, and then using them (and the money he was gaining from other players buying his resources) to buy his pyramid and some high scoring guilds, and one single blue card - but it was worth 8 points! Meanwhile Simon as usual went military from round 2 to get points there, and also got a good guild score, for second place. I was Mausoleum B and was most unimpressed with the selection of cards available to me when I bough the first stage at the end of round 2 - the only cards I could take were single resource cards, or science cards worth exactly 1 point to me!!!! I didn't fare much better building the second stage at the end of the game, but at least the card I picked up scored me more than just discarding a card would have done. Sadly my huge blue collection wasn't enough to do better than fourth!

We then finished with a game of Knowing Me Knowing You, where Sami seemed to know everyone best, with Simon and James just behind, and then a long tail for the rest of us!
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Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:00 am
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Friday 12th February 2015

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
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We were 9, so split into two tables of 4 and 5, after a quick game of ...und tschüss! to start, in which Simon proved his statement about not being very good at it - although it has to be said, in this case I think the cards I dealt him in his start hand had a lot to do with it!!

Seb had brought Mission: Red Planet (second edition) for me to play, having played the original many years ago and wanting to try the new version. Marion and Ellie joined us, while the remainder played Outpost. I ended up losing, after putting all my energy into winning a region which turned out not to score points in the final round!! Ooops, that made the difference between just narrowly coming second and being a resounding last!! Seb won, as you'd expect being the only person who really knew what they were doing, but Ellie wasn't far behind.

Both tables finished at the same time, thanks to some dithering on our table, and a very unbalanced game of Outpost upstairs! We merged and resplit into two different tables, downstairs playing a quick Incan Gold with Ellie before she left, while upstairs we played Kingsburg, which Simon and Lisa had been reminded of a few weekends ago and wanted to try again. It was fairly close at end-game. Lisa lost, due to her building being destroyed by the attackers on the last round. Colin just pipped me for first thanks to having a large disk left back, while mine was a zero! There were some very strange rolls going around - all of us made good use of buildings that rerolled low numbers, and then another round no-one had less than 13!

We followed Kingsburg with Macao. I picked up a card on the very first turn that scored me two extra VPs if I used the prestige bar, and focussed my whole strategy on using that, neglecting the city completely (only buying three in the entire game). I pulled away on points early on (making Colin discard his building that gained him a VP if he was in the lead!), and had very few negatives at end-game, although I took an extra on on the last turn to deny Colin an end-game VP card. Colin however had a large city area, and this was just enough to pass me on the final turn again! Lisa was well behind during most of the game, on both the wall and the scoring track, but that was largely because she didn't ship any of her goods early on - once she started shipping them, with an extra VP for each good, she rapidly caught up, and passed Simon.

We finished with Burn Rate, which was new to Lisa. It was a very close game. After I burnt for 30 one turn, thanks to no sales team and rather a lot of contractors, it looked likely that I was going to burn out first, but my one release card the next turn removed my x4 bad idea and kept me in the game for another two turns, and the next turn I was able to exchange hands leaving myself on 3, and picked up a perfect set of cards to stay in, while Simon, with similar contractor issues, burnt out ahead of me. I couldn't save myself an extra turn though, and Lisa followed me out on her next turn, leaving Colin victor, burning out himself on his next turn.
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Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:43 am
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