Cambridge Gradpad Games - how this girl spends the first Saturday of the month

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February 2012 Gradpad

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Games, games and more games!
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I was at the afternoon/evening session again. I arrived with my husband having left me two-thirds of the way through a game of Power Grid: The First Sparks. It was pretty much a case of just playing the game out at that point - I don't think there was anything that could happen to change the positions, with my husband ending in third.

After that one player was keen to play Rattus, which was new to me, but we seemed to be having trouble finding a third who was interested, despite there being three tables of players milling around! One other player who also didn't know it did join us in the end, and we got started. I found it quite an enjoyable game of moving cubes around a board. I got off to a very early lead in cubes, and as a result waa pioked on heavily all game by both the others, but for a long while seemed to be prety much immune to plague, which helped quite a bit! The player who owned the game by comparison seemed to be very good at catching the plague - you only had to flip a rat tile over and he lost most of his cubes! Meanwhile the other player the game was new to was quietly amassing cubes on the other end of the board, and it was almost impossible to give him the plague, and this was enough to win him the game, with me a few cubes behind him. Quite an enjoyable game, and I'm not sure why everyone else was so reluctant to join in!

Letters from Whitechapel came next - it's pretty much become a staple game of my Gradpad session recently, as it's the only place I get to play it. I asked to be Jack this time, having only been Jack once before. The first round I deliberately killed the lady furthest from my hideout, and left them a nice trail across the board, with them always just a couple of turns behind me. Second round, and they were hot on my trail from the start, and I had to do some dodging about to avoid them, including a carriage at one point to get out of danger, and an alleyway move to get past a policeman blocking me from my hideout, before dashing in to it. Third round, and two ladies killed at opposite ends of the board. They rapidly picked up the correct trail, but assumed I'd travel further north, as I had done the first two rounds, whereas actually I headed south at high speed, and cut in from the southerly side. They moved to blocking where they thought my hideout was, but had slightly misjudged where it was, so as I was coming in from the south I was easily able to dash in, as they blocked the area just north of it. With my last known position a long way south, there was then a lot of discussion as they tried to work out possible hideout locations, narrowing it down to just three in the end. Fourth round, and they gave up chasing me after the murder, instead just letting me move around the board freely, but trying to form a dragnet around the hideout locations to stop me coming in. They got bored moving around after a while though, and I was able to plan a safe route in, dashing through an alleyway. They spotted me coming out of the alleyway, but I was then only one turn from the hideout, and it was too late to catch me. A fun game, although I think I do actually prefer being the detectives to being Jack as a rule.

After that Kingdom Builder was suggested, and as I'd been watching others play it enviously I leapt at the idea. All I can say is it strongly reminded me of Through the Desert - to the extent that it almost felt like an expansion of that with a few rules tweaks! I quite enjoyed it, but prefer the simpler more elegant Through the Desert long-term I think. Our game was quite amusing though, with one player asking "Can I do this in any order" before almost any turn, along with various other queries, and then at end-game we discovered he'd been playing a rule wrong all game, and it gave him an amazing score, as it combined well with the Hermit scoring card we had. Ah well! Our own fault for not noticing earlier!

We finished with an 8 player Crappy Birthday where it turned out I had a slight advantage, knowing more of the players well than anyone else, and getting one point from all four of them. I think I prefer Gifttrap as a game, but there's no doubt this is quicker and shorter.
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