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Meepleonboard

When I am not putting notes on paper I like to play. Here are my scribblings.

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Fighting fires

Nick
United Kingdom
Somerset/London
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My recent auction drummed up some funds for splashing out on new cardboard. I'd spent a cosy few hours in a games cafe in Bristol last month and liked the look and feel of at least a couple of games, but the one that stayed in my mind the longest was Flash Point: Fire Rescue. KT and I enjoy our cooperative games, especially as there are days when we just do not feel like destroying each other's tableaux, and we had both felt that Forbidden Island, which has had a good run, was coming to the end of its stay in our collection, so it probably "needed" to be replaced with something more suited to our current tastes. I'd been enjoying playing Forbidden Island solo, especially with the variant layouts, but the last time we brought Pandemic back to the table reminded us how much we enjoy something with a little more meat to the bones.

For all the filtering I do here on the Geek via the Advanced Search option to try to seek out new games, maybe I really should learn to trust to my gut feeling after all. If I read through the rules online and think it sounds dry and complicated, well then it probably is going to be dry and complicated for us. On the other hand, my briefish semiplay of Flash Point last month made me think of fun, variable levels of difficulty, along with decent theme and components. The similarities are there with Pandemic, but it certainly felt different enough.

In true Geek fashion I went all-in, found a bundle of pretty much everything (base game and all expansions) on Ebay and stuck in an offer. A bit of haggling later and, after picking up in person, I was heading westwards down the A303 with maps of basements, attics, planes, ships, submarines and the like on the front seat beside me, seatbelt on, of course!

I always feel it's a good sign if a game comes into the house and hits the table immediately. The longer they go unplayed the more likely they are to be forgotten or usurped by some shinier design, so yesterday afternoon we set the whole thing up and attacked the base game in the Family Variant, just to get used to the mechanisms. We lost the first game when the building collapsed, but we consoled ourselves that we had saved four people and the cat and dog by that stage, so it was not all bad news. For the second game we spent a little more time fighting fires, and this time we won with ease, so much so that I wondered if perhaps this game was just a little lacking in tension...

...but then I reread the rulebook and found that we had overlooked the line about smoke adjacent to fire becoming fire at the end of each player's turn, which promised to make things significantly more interesting. I have developed a habit of reading rulebooks before and after playing a game, just so I can pick up little moments like this that we might otherwise have missed. We've missed enough rules over the years to be able to address the issue now.

Easy or not, KT was immediately taken with it - "This is fun!" during game one, "I'm really enjoying this!" during game two, and "I'm so glad you bought all the expansions as well!" later on during the evening. I've blogged before about wanting a small and well-played collection, and this is yet another lesson in heading towards that goal, that, if I am really honest with myself, it is normally obvious right from the start which games are going to survive that first encounter with table and players. Simply put, they tend to be the games we want to play again straight away, the likes of Seasons, The Castles of Burgundy and 7 Wonders: Duel.

So we're going to tackle the Family Version with the proper rules this afternoon and see how it goes. We both woke up today wanting to play it, and that can't be anything but a good sign, right? I'm also going to have a busy week ahead, so we are both keen to get in some decent play today. If I'm really lucky, and we've had enough of being cooperative, there is also the slimmest chance of getting Babel to the table soon, a game that is quite the opposite of love and cuddles. I think that one is going to have to be timed correcly, though..!

Happy gaming!
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Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:38 pm
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Microtravel

Nick
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My thanks to everybody who chimed in and replied to my post yesterday about Lords of Waterdeep and Viticulture Essential Edition. I've done a lot of thinking, based on what was written, and KT and I had a long discussion yesterday evening on the future of our gaming, what we are looking for and where we hope it will lead in terms of enjoyment.

I'll get to all that another time, I think, but for now I am looking for suggestions. I am abroad this weekend, partially for work, but also to deal with some pressing family matters. My brother and I will be together with some time to kill, and I have managed to lure him into gaming over the past couple of years, so he is up for a face-off. I am travelling light, as I tend to do, but also because I need to head directly into work when I get back, so the components I am taking with me are minimal. I have packed the following:

The cards and pawns for Battle Line - there's no way my brother and I are not playing this. It is one of my favourites, and I know that this should get multiple plays, especially as we've played and enjoyed Lost Cities before.

Six (oops) Twelve dice, since I really want to try Cubeo after seeing it mentioned in the "shirt pocket" Geeklist. This looks like a good little game, and I've already played out a couple of dummy turns to get the feel of it.

A single deck of cards, for the playing of Indian Chief (as my brother's partner might be out for a couple of days, so we'll need something to support three players) and maybe Elements.

Anything else good I should be thinking of with these components? I guess we could always give Reiner Knizia's Decathlon a go as well, as we'll have the dice, but are there any other gems we might try? I do love the idea of always having dice and a deck of cards to hand for the ambushing of unsuspecting players...

Happy gaming!
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Thu Sep 8, 2016 3:57 pm
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Placing my workers

Nick
United Kingdom
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As with so many mechanisms in games, once you have experienced what each one has to offer it becomes a question of refining your taste and working out which versions you'd like to work with. For deck building and me, for example, it is still Dominion, the daddy of them all, that stays in the collection, although it comes out more rarely than it did, and it is supplemented by Star Realms, Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game and Puzzle Strike (Third Edition). I would say that each of these four does something different, and I doubt that any of them is ever going to find its way out of our collection. In the shadows, waiting on the darker end of the shelf for its first play, sits Super Motherload, and time will tell if its application of deck building to the board will give it enough of an edge to merit its own slot. Some other very fine games have come and gone, one of which I miss very much and might even reacquire at some point, but there's enough here to be getting on with.

I mention this because I spent a very enjoyable few hours in a game cafe in Bristol last week, the first time I have ever been into one of these places. While I did get a little playing done, this was more of a try-before-you-buy thing, an opportunity to open boxes, fondle cardboard and get a feel for what might be on my wishlist. Imhotep turned out to be about fifty times the size I had imagined it to be, very impressive, but ultimately too dry, I think, for me and KT, and liable to become bogged down, but other games took me by surprise, found their way onto my list of boxes to be considered.

The prime candidate here was Lords of Waterdeep. It gets a lot of praise here, but, then again, so does Stone Age, and eventually we traded that away, finding it just too dull in two, at least for us. Only rarely do we play in larger groups, and we aspire to a rather lean collection, so games need to earn their places pretty much on every play. Waterdeep surprised me, however, with the breadth of cards and buildings on offer, also - and this blindsided me - with the sheer joy of the theme. Yes, of course it is just cards and tokens, but the art and the names of characters and buildings bring it to life a little more than huts and fields.

The thing is, of all the mechanisms out there, I feel that worker placement has the best chance of disappointing us, as it can skirt around being a shake-and-bake method for a game. Games such as Magnum Sal, for example, which have some interesting things going on, just devolved for us into routine choosing of actions depending on which slots happened to be available. As always, please remember that this is based on our experience of it as a two-player experience, and it seems to us that the competition in these kinds of games tends to become more intense as the player count rises. Playing Stone Age against three other players on BGA, for example, was an entirely different and refreshing experience. I came last, of course.

At the moment the advanced search on BGG, for all its rough-around-the-edges imperfections, tells me I have five worker placement games in my collection. Ironically, the one we have played that is designed specifically for two, Targi, is sitting in my current auction, too long and too dry for us, although a great game. Of the ones we have played, it is Last Will whose position is the most fragile, although there is something charming about the art and the game play that keeps saving it, despite some fiddly moments and tiny tokens that are all to easy to dislodge. Dungeon Petz and Agricola, however, are going absolutely nowhere. The former is something KT really enjoys, and the latter is something whose advanced game we have yet to explore in anything like the detail it deserves. Both are games that make me wish I had a smaller collection, which is always a good sign for a box's longevity on our shelves.

So to the point. With Agricola, Dungeon Petz and Last Will already on the shelf, do we really need anything more in the worker placement category. Or, more specifically, do either Lords of Waterdeep or, say, Viticulture Essential Edition do enough differently to warrant their inclusion and, if so, do they work well enough with two? The temptation of the new keeps drawing me in, but am I better off getting more to grips with the occupations in Agricola and finding out what lurks in the darkest of alleys?

(Places meeple on "Seek Advice" action space)

Happy gaming!
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Wed Sep 7, 2016 11:37 am
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UK Auction

Nick
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I spent a really happy afternoon in a board game cafe last week (of which more anon), and, as a result, "need" to clear some games in order to make space for new acquisitions. I've started up an auction of games I would like to clear, a mixture of old and new with what I hope are decent starting prices. Auction is UK only and ends on Sunday, 18th, and I'd be grateful if anybody interested might wander over and take a look...

Happy gaming!
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Tue Sep 6, 2016 7:27 pm
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15th August 2016 - my week in gaming

Nick
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It was the second week of our holiday, and we managed to get in a decent amount of gaming, including two new-to-us games, one of which might just be a success, one of which definitely was not...

Tuesday:


3x Pass the Pigs

In a cafe in Ambleside, what's this in my pocket? Why, it's Pass The Pigs! A quick three-header before our lunch arrived was a sneaky way to get a couple of plays in. I won the first game 101-44, then KT managed to score a massive 70 on her first go in the second game to win 100-22, and in the final game she romped home 101-43.


1x UNO

We walked back from Ambleside to Grasmere via Nab Scar, so over five miles and a 455m ascent, more than I expected on a hot afternoon and after a leisurely lunch. At the end of the trek we fell into one of the local pubs and found a copy of Uno, deciding to play it to the specified 500 points. Boy oh boy did this ever drag on?! Katie probably won most rounds, but only managed to win 10 points here, 20 points there, while I would win less frequently but with much larger hauls of points. After what seemed like forever I limped over the line to win 649-242. We used to play Uno a lot in our very early gaming days (pre-game logging) but probably never like this - there are so many better ways to spend an hour gaming..!


Criminally underplayed this year, we went for a best of three, KT as Setsuki and me as Lum, agreeing to keep the same characters and the same bank from game to game. I always think of this as a quick-fire game, but it usually turns out to be much more thinky than that, especially between the two of us. I won the first encounter 10-5, although KT admitted that she still did not really know what she was doing, but then she managed to start combining with a vengeance, winning the second round 11-6. The decider was pretty tense stuff, to and fro between the two of us, but I just could not keep away from her attacks, and lost 10-6. Definitely need to play this more.


1x Aquarium - New

This was our first attempt at this, and I have to say that it was not a success. Gorgeous art, pretty decent components and different levels of gameplay, but we found it a terribly dull and turgid experience in two, with absurd levels of randomness. Fancy buying everything on the board? Ok, but it will all change by the time you get to be able to buy it and the price could be pretty much anything. Need to feed your fish? The price can be from 1 per unit to 3 per unit, more or less at random, so planning is frustratingly difficult at best. We ended up passing and passing to gather enough currency to be sure to be able to keep our fishies alive, and that does not make for a thrilling game. After the second feeding round (of four) we looked despairingly at each other and our tiny collections of fish and agreed to put ourselves out of this gaming purgatory. It feels like a mismatch of loads of different mechanisms that make no thematic sense at all, a shame as the core of the game (set collection of different types and sizes of fish and plants) is attractive and the art is great - the execution, though, is horrible, and we won't be playing this again. It must also drag on interminably with four or more players. KT's verdict was similarly harsh.


After battling our way through Aquarium we cleansed the old palate with a Star Realms battle. The game went through the usual motions, opening paper cuts developing into devastating punches and just prior to the end our scores were pretty much even, but then KT got her forces together to punch through my Outposts and finish me off. It was a loss, yes, but also a reminder of what a game should feel like when it is fun to play. Time to add in a couple of the expansion packs.

Thursday:


1x Seasons

It was good to get this back to the table - one of KT's favourite games, at which she seems to excel, and one that I enjoy even though I feel I cannot keep up with all the cogs and wheels going on during the game. I always forget how quickly and easily this plays once the drafting is done - maybe it's the big box that intimidates me - so we really should play this more. We both got off to fairly decent starts, and I was able to play some cards to keep my crystal income going from round to round, but, as always, KT was able to stretch her legs and increase her summoning gauge enough to play the cards she needed to keep cutting me back. I felt that my tableau worked pretty well, and was able to keep at least within reach of KT until the final scoring, at which point her cards and bonus points gave her the win 150-127.


Finally, finally, finally, after nearly two years of sitting on the shelf, I felt comfortable enough to try to teach this to KT and she felt up to giving it a go. I warned her that the initial barrier to entry was set very high, and it took a long time for us to get around the language and terminology of the game, but gradually it became clear what the various meanings were. KT played as Jinteki and I was Kate McCaffrey and we fumbled our way through the first game. KT, of course, lured me into uncovering a couple of Snares, which hurt me badly, and the game was over when I was unable to bypass some Ice, triggered a subroutine, and ran out of cards to discard. KT is apparently happy to play it again, but I have to say that I found running pretty exciting, even though I would love also to play as the Corporation. I do not expect to go any further down the LCG route, but I would love for us at least to give this a fair chance, to the extent of exploring the decks in the base box. I still cannot say whether KT will take to it, but Race for the Galaxy got off to a shaky start all those years ago, and we have played that nearly 200 times, so there is hope yet. One small obstacle we found is that playing opposite each other makes it very difficult for the Corporation to read the Runner's cards, so we might end up playing side by side for the time being.

Friday:


1x Seasons

With the rain coming down very heavily on Friday afternoon we decided to stay in and play another round of Seasons, but this proved to be a very tense encounter indeed. The draft cards were full of duplicates, which made things tricky from the start, and when things got running KT played Thieving Fairies which would have gained her a crystal every time I activated a card - thankfully my drafted cards were very light on activations, so I managed to get away with this right until the end of the game, also managing to play the duplicate Fairies which earned me a decent amount of crystals from KT's two copies of Die Of Malice. It was a tough game, very tight and with the both of us concentrating very hard, also a relatively low score. In the end there were only six points in it, but KT ran out the winner, as is her habit, 144-138.


To calm things down a little after our game of Seasons we reverted to this classic Italian card game, playing a best of three rounds. I won the first encounter fairly easily, but KT rallied to win the second, and in the final round we were down to a single card each when it came to the end, but I dived over the line to snatch it, in true Olympic fashion.


Saturday was definitely not a day for walking as the rain was coming down really hard. We needed to head out for provisions, but before we did so we snuck in a lunchtime game of Race For The Galaxy. What would a week be without a play of this? My opening hand looked promising for a military strategy, so that is the route I chose, while KT went heavy on exploration and production of goods, for once. I think I was a fair way ahead through the game, but the gap certainly got smaller towards the end, and I was glad that we finished when we did, as I scored the win 40-35.


Having ventured out into the deluge we stopped at a local bar and played a best of three of Star Realms, this time adding in two of the expansion packs. We have had these for a while and played with them before, but I took them out so that we could get a better feel for the base set. After our last game, though, we decided that it was time to add a little more heft to the game, and we both agreed that these two packs really open things up and make for a much more exciting encounter. In the first game KT pretty much annihilated me, building up to five Outposts at one point, which I simply could not get through. I was determined to make a better go of it in the second game, though, and held up much better, but I just could not get my firepower together enough to deal the killer blow, meaning that KT won the series 2-0.


After a very pleasant lunch in the local pub we managed to play a best of three encounter of Race For The Galaxy on our table. Somehow it is always a joy to be playing something "proper" while others are struggling with beaten up copies of Battleships or Scrabble. I took down the first game 34-27, but KT struck back in the second round to even things out with a 29-22 win in a low-scoring encounter. In the final game I made a couple of small errors which backed me into a corner in terms of choices, but KT played well enough to have won anyway, 37-33.


KT had gone off this of late, somewhat put off by the aggression that becomes apparent in the face-to-face version of the game. I decided to try out the flexibility that the second box promises to offer by putting together a set of professions that almost entirely omitted powers over the opponent's guildhall. Only the Sorcerer (at strength 3) allowed for it, and some of the VP cards. It made for a slightly more drawn out game, as it limited our options for finding the cards we needed, but it was also a little more relaxed, and KT admitted that she enjoyed it much more, and if that means that this game is safe then that is the way we will play it. We were pretty close all the way through, and it came down to the final hands but KT managed to convert her final completed chapter just as I was ready to do the same, winning 23-18. I am still intrigued by the flexibility this new set of Guildhall games promises to offer, and also want to try the four-profession/no VP cards/first to four completed chapters wins version as detailed on the AEG blog.

Wow, this really was a good week of gaming. At one point KT apologised to me, saying that she was sorry we had not got much gaming done, but compared to previous holidays we have done really well, playing at all times of the day, but picking the games appropriate to time, mood and so on, rather than forcing things onto the table. I'd still like to grab a couple more quick-playing easy games, and am eyeing up Push It with real interest, but nevertheless this was a good week.

Happy gaming!
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Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:03 pm
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8th August 2016 - my week in gaming

Nick
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Still on holiday this week and managing to get in a little gaming along the way.

Monday:


1x Carcassonne

After a revivifying walk round one of the nearby lakes we came back to our holiday cottage and decided to take this old favourite off the shelf. We were not sure whether it would fit on the available table, so played just the base game, although with Carcassonne: The River. The game got off to a decent start, with KT and I both vying for the lead. She placed a couple of early farmers, which always worries me, while I picked up points here and there for roads and cities as much as I could. I noticed that KT was building a large city on side of the board as the game drew on, and knew that she would be difficult to beat if she completed it, so I placed a knight close by with the intention of linking him to what was already there. Thankfully, and to KT's annoyance, I managed to do it, and in the final scoring I had also managed to link up one of my farmers to her larger farm, and that was enough to secure me the win, 134-120. A good game, and definitely enough room on the table for the expansions next time!

Tuesday:


1x Via Nebula

A walk up to Easdale Tarn on Tuesday, the tarn itself surprising us as we crested a rise, there and back around five and a half miles or so. KT was quite tired by the time we got back to our cottage, but wanted to play, and was game enough to suggest that we returned to Via Nebula. I had enjoyed our first play last week very much indeed, while KT was slightly less enthusiastic. We stayed on the basic side of the board for this game, and the distribution of the initial resources was oddly similar to last time around. This time, happier about the flow of the game, it played quickly and easily and we got into the midst of things with ease. I found more in this game second time around and was trying to balance buildings with their proximity to various resources, but KT built her fifth building first and none of the options available to me on my final turn made any difference. I had three resources left over, costing me 3VP at the final count, but it would not have been enough to beat KT, who romped home 26-21. She is still not quite convinced by it, I still enjoy the thinkiness that lies under the colourful exterior, but we've agreed to give it another shot. In some ways it reminds us of Pantheon, lower rated on BGG but much enjoyed by us, so it may lose out to that game in the final reckoning, but it is proving enjoyable for now.


After a break for food we played a tense game of Race For The Galaxy, both of us opting for military worlds at the start, my Epsilon Eridani against KT's New Sparta. We were both adding to our tableaux at a more or less even rate, our armies becoming more and more powerful, but the game hinged on two moments. I drew and then played the New Galactic Order while KT discarded a powerful Alien card just as she began to draw very little but Alien cards. Even so, the game was closer than we had imagined, but my Rebel bonus points saw me over the line 37-33.


A long walk around Derwent Water did for us on Wednesday, but on Thursday evening we played another round of Race For The Galaxy after returning home from a concert in Ambleside. KT selected Epsilon Eridani as her start world while I went for Sentient Robots. I was able to build up a strong trade tableau, but never found myself quite in a position to be able to turn it into a killer proposition. KT, meanwhile, quietly and effectively went down her favourite route of building up her military. We were pretty much neck and neck until the very final round, but the chosen Explore-Develop-Settle-Settle actions really did for me, as I found myself in a position were I was unable to settle a world at either opportunity. KT used her military to settle two Rebel worlds she had in hand for a benefit of 14 additional points, and that was a major factor in her 39-25 win.

Sunday:


1x Star Realms

We visited some friends on Friday evening and spent Saturday walking, so were too tired to play, sadly, but over lunch in a local pub on Sunday we got in a game of Star Realms. KT is not a huge fan of confrontational games, but enjoys this. We played with just the base set, opening up with a few salvos here and there, before things got more gritty. My Outposts saved me from too much damage, but KT was mustering her aggressive minions and managed to get a 19-point attack in to destroy me when she still had quite a few points left.

Happy gaming!
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Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:11 pm
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1st August 2016 - my week in gaming

Nick
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I was back at home for a few days after nearly two weeks away, and Friday marked the start of our great three week adventure (= holiday) away, with games in tow.

Wednesday:

A single game of this began the evening on Wednesday, one of the hits of 2016 thus far. We've yet to play it ten times, but this is rapidly becoming a core part of our collection. I managed to gain four separate Science symbols in Age I alone, while KT went for a typically aggressive military strategy. I managed to keep the enemy from the gates until Age III, when manipulated the tableau in order to enable me to build the Wonder that gave me the ability to grab the green card I needed for my sixth Science symbol. It was the first Science win, good to know that brains can outwit brawn occasionally.


We followed 7 Wonders: Duel with a romp through our most played game. KT went along the Alien/Military route, while I went heavy on the Novelty goods, managing to get my cards just about working together and scraping out a narrow 30-28 win.


To finish the evening off we played four rounds of this, which we played once upon a time, before I even began logging games on BGG, but which we have not touched for years. In fact, I have no idea where our copy is, but KT mentioned it a few weeks ago and I managed to find a copy in a charity shop for 50p. Almost guiltily, I have to admit that this was the perfect end to the evening, even though I lost all four games, 107-20, 105-46, 102-70 and 118-52. Some practice clearly needed.

Thursday:

3 further games of this over breakfast, a quick and easy throwathon, and I managed to avenge the previous night's shame once, at least. KT won the first game 103-56, I then struck back mightily to win 102-0, but was then humiliated in a 101-0 defeat. Hmm...


Given the choice between this and Castles Of Burgundy for an end-of-evening game, I felt that some cooperative gaming was in order, and this has been seriously underplayed this year, especially for a game we enjoy so much. On Normal level, things began ominously, but our combination of Scientist and Researcher worked well together, and we managed to cure the yellow and red diseases while keeping the blue and black outbreaks under control. We then managed to eradicate the yellow outbreak entirely and that, combined with some fortuitous event cards, secured us the win in fairly easy fashion. I think it's about time we tackled this on the highest level, and we need to embrace Pandemic: On the Brink more fully.

Friday:

More piggies over breakfast, light gaming but better than nothing! KT smacked me down 109-0 in the first game, I struck back 101-97 in the second, and she righted matters 103-42 in the third.

Saturday:

Holidays! Hooray! New games! Hooray! We ran through Via Nebula for the first time on Saturday evening on our first full day of holiday. I'd been wanting to play this for a while, so was very happy to get it to the table and really enjoyed my play of it. KT was slightly less impressed with it, giving it three out of five to my four, but I must say that I was really impressed by the design and would be very happy indeed to play it again. KT would play it with me, I know, but maybe this will suffer in the long run against a game that she really enjoys. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my play of this one. Oh, and I lost 24-23...

Sunday:

To finish off the week we played another game of 7 Wonders: Duel, taking us up to 9 plays in total. This encounter had a cagey beginning, some small military skirmishes resulting in nothing much of note, and each side making small scientific advances. KT managed to pick up the Strategy token, which always makes her dangerous, so I had to make sure I picked up military cards here and there to keep her away from the city gates. Eventually the game came to a head in Age III as I managed to keep her army only one step away from winning the game - with all the cards out, this was going to come down to points. KT's overwhelming military might won the day for her, although I was pleased to come close, 42-38. Still a wonderful game that I thoroughly enjoy, and this play was closer and much more involved than any we have had before. Such a great design.

Happy gaming!
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Mon Aug 8, 2016 12:45 am
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Backpacks

Nick
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Tucked up in our summer hideaway for the next three weeks, we took stock of the cottage that will be home for a while, having arrived late last night after an eight-hour trek, some of that time added due to traffic, other bits added due to breaks. The important news is that the games made it intact, along with the addition of Pass the Pigs, which has swiftly become our breakfast game of choice. I must admit that I am seriously considering ordering a copy of Push It to fill a similar niche, but maybe I shall wait until I have shifted a few boxes in the upcoming UK Maths Trade Still, all my babies, sorry, games are here, present and correct.

As usual in a holiday cottage, there is a paltry and rather old-fashioned selection of gaming to be had. A battered copy of Scrabble (I haven't counted the tiles, nor do I intend to), a travel edition of Connect Four (not counted the bits), and - wait, what's this? - a copy of the Ragnar Brothers' Backpacks and Blisters. Again, I haven't counted the bits and pieces, and there looks to be no instruction booklet in there, but it's still on the more esoteric end of what you might find , even if we are in the right part of the country. Sadly though, it doesn't appear to play with just two, so it looks as though it will have to stay on the shelf.

Meanwhile tonight the copy of Via Nebula looks as though it will be first to make it to the table. It just looks so inviting..!

Happy gaming!
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Sat Aug 6, 2016 12:36 pm
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Take it away

Nick
United Kingdom
Somerset/London
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KT and I are off on our holidays today, three weeks in a cottage with associated walking, eating, drinking and playing, of course. The nature of my work means that we rarely get the chance to go away during the year, so we splurge in the summer and get all our rest and relaxation in at once. Games are an integral part of that, naturally, but with limited space in the car we have decided to opt for four "large" games and some smaller ones, although we'll be multi-packing components to save space. After our discussions, full and frank and with surprisingly little haggling, here's what is coming with us:

Aquarium - my review copy of this card game about building up your fish tank and keeping them fed so that they don't float to the top. Packed away in the RFTG box.

Guildhall Fantasy: Fellowship & Guildhall Fantasy: Alliance - the profoundly satisfying reboot of a profoundly satisfying game that we knew already. So much to explore here, and I really want to get to understand the interactions between the different roles in a proper way, also to play some of the variants of the game. Both in a single box.

Race for the Galaxy - leaving home without this, our most played game? I don't think so! We're taking Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts with us, as we always play with it, and might use the break as an opportunity to get to know The Orb a little better.

Carcassonne - six years ago I dragged KT into the hobby with this game, so it's coming with us for the memories and the play, along with Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders.

Star Realms - RFTG for the space theme, Star Realms for the fight, now tucked up in its own bespoke box. The various small expansion packs are in there as well.

7 Wonders: Duel - one of our favourite games of the year so far, thoroughly enjoying every single play. We received Patchwork at the same time, but this has stretched far ahead of that as our quick and gritty play of choice. Looking forward to several encounters of this.

And the bigger boxes...

Seasons - so much variety and colour in the base box alone, and one of KT's very favourite games, playing surprisingly easily in two, quickly too. We've yet to expand this, and I think we still have a decent amount of play still left in the base box.

Puzzle Strike - an ideal opportunity to explore the characters in the base box of this fantastic confrontational chip builder in more depth. We both really enjoy this one, despite the occasional fiddlyness, and it provides another option for face to face nastiness, alongside Star Realms.

Android: Netrunner - on our shelf, totally unplayed for nearly two years and close to traded so many times, KT has requested that we use our time away to get to know this. I think I just about understand how runs work, and this has the potential to be a massive hit or sink without trace. I am really excited to give this a go, but I'll be the Corporation, thank you very much! Of course, the components have been tucked into the RFTG box (it's quite full now!), no need for that massive FFG thing.

Via Nebula - another review game, but one that looks like being a great little play. We like Wallace's London and Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, and this looks to be about the same level. KT was immediately taken with the pig on the box cover, and this has just about beaten Imperial Settlers to the final holiday slot. hoping to play this in at least three or four times.

So what do you think? I look at this list and wonder if three weeks is remotely enough to explore these games, but I am looking forward to giving it a go! There's a mixture of old favourites, and three new experiences to get to grips with, games for a quick fix and ones for deeper exploration. Hooray for games and holidays!

Happy gaming!
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Fri Aug 5, 2016 11:07 am
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Pigging out

Nick
United Kingdom
Somerset/London
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Too tired and too stressed to play too many full-on games last night, our eyes alighted on our copy of Pass the Pigs, liberated from a charity shop for the princely sum of 50 pence. When I had initially lured KT into gaming this was one of the things that we used to play, simply because I had a copy knocking around the house, so long ago that it was before I began logging plays on BGG. As our tastes matured I think it is safe to say that we left it behind, but KT asked after it a few weeks ago and, serendipity kicking in, I found a copy later that same day while out on my travels.

So we dragged it out and played it four times last night, pretty brainless stuff but thoroughly enjoyable, I would have to admit, and a good way to finish off the evening after playing 7 Wonders: Duel (I won, the first Science victory) and Race for the Galaxy (I won as well, going heavy on the Novelty Goods). In fact, we played it again three times over breakfast, and that's a time of day, traditionally, when we have never really played.

I would guess that something with many gears and cogs is not the greatest thing for starting the day, but throwing the pigs around first thing was quite good fun, a guilty pleasure, but it made we wonder what other quick and easy plays might also fill that breakfast slot. Any ideas what the two of us should be adding to the early morning rotation? A dexterity game involving a heroic rhino, perhaps, or some more luck-pushage?

Happy gaming!
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Thu Aug 4, 2016 3:13 pm
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