Pevans's Perspective

This was the title of my board games column in Flagship magazine, so I thought I'd resurrect it, 8 years after Flagship's demise. The idea is to get down my musings in a more contemporaneous way - expect things to appear later in To Win Just Once (www.pevans.co.uk/TWJO) in a more considered form. Now, can I manage a less formal style?

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And finally: day 4 at Spiel '19

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
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Checking out of the hotel meant a leisurely start to the last day of Spiel '19.

Peter and I started at the Devir stand as I wanted to give Paris: La Cité de la Lumière a go. Yes, another two-player game! It's also a game of two halves. First you place square tiles of cobblestones into the box - I do like a game that's played in the box. These are divided into squares of one or both players' colours and many also show a neutral square with a streetlight. As an alternative action, you can reserve one of the polyomino building tiles.
From gallery of Pevans

Once all the cobbles have been laid, the second half is placing your building tiles onto cobbled areas of your/both colours, marking ownership with a 'chimney' in your colour and avoiding the streetlights - as shown above. Having set up a block of cobbles to fit one of your large buildings, it's so annoying when your opponent plonks one of his buildings into it! The crucial thing is that buildings need to be illuminated by (next to) streetlights to score. There's also a bonus for the biggest contiguous group - which made a big difference in our game. This was an appealing little game and it gets a provisional 7/10 on my highly subjective scale.

While we were with Devir, we thought we'd give La Viña a go. This has a central track, along which players advance their grape-picking pawns. In time-honoured fashion, your pawns can move forward as far as you like, but can't come back. Wherever your pawn lands, you pick up an adjacent grape card and add it to one of your baskets. Here we are working our way along and with several grapes already in our baskets.
From gallery of Pevans

The aim is to pick the right grape varieties in the right values to meet the minimum requirements of the objective cards at the end of the track (bottom of the photo). These score points, of course, and are then covered by a barrel tile. There are limitations on what you can do at each point that make this trickier than I've described. Plus tools you can pick up that let you break these limitations. On first acquaintance, it's a nice enough lightweight game. That's a provisional 6/10 on my highly subjective scale.

After this we strolled over to hall 5 to see a game that had been recommended to me, Yin Yang from Taiwanese publisher BGNations. This involves each player tossing half a dozen Chinese coins each turn (possibly using the turtle shell provided). These give black/white (or heads/tails) combinations that you use in different ways, starting with an immediate action. Here's my player board at a late stage, programmed with my actions for the turn (three from coins and the rest from tiles I've picked up earlierĺ).
From gallery of Pevans

This is the key use of the coins: in pairs as your actions for the turn ('programmed' in advance). As the game progresses, you'll pick up action tiles that provide a specific action, so you get more and more actions as the game goes on. And much of what you're doing is travelling around the provinces on the board, collecting goods and building temples - one element of the scoring is area majority at the end. The photo shows little contention between the different colours of temples - it won't last.
From gallery of Pevans

This is a cracker. There are plenty of options, lots of decisions and clearly different strategies. And the programming element is a nice challenge in getting the best out of the actions available to you each turn. Plus the clever use of a unique (?) component. That's a provisional 9/10 on my highly subjective scale. Now, where can I lay my hands on a copy?

A happy few hours playing Yin Yang brought my Spiel experience to an end this year. Time to retrace my journey and head home: U-bahn to the station, train to the airport and flight home. All nicely efficient and uneventful.
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Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:55 pm
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Saturday is busy at Spiel

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
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Yes, Saturday at Spiel usually means shuffling painfully slowly along the aisles, bumping into the person in front when they suddenly stop to look at something. Plus being buffeted by those wearing huge backpacks. Despite the risks, Peter and I hit the popular hall 3.

Or first stop was Lautapelit.fi, where were got to try Amul with an entertaining Dutch gamer. This is a card-drafting, set-collecting game set around an Arabian market that will apparently take up to eight players. Each additional player not only adds extra cards to the deck, it adds different types of cards, opening up new tactical possibilities.

The game's mechanics are very simple - essentially you'll play one card each round (possibly adding other, different cards from the Palace or Bazaar), with a limited opportunity to change what you're holding. The complexity is all in the cards and their interactions. What you're looking for, of course, are combinations that will score lots of points. However, some cards score if they're on the table, while others must be in your hand.
From gallery of Pevans

There's a definite learning curve in getting to grips with what all the cards do. Luckily, it's an entertaining and appealing game to play and I can see it being really popular. This is another one that I'm looking forward to playing some more - especially with different numbers of players. 8/10

Our next stop was to have a go at Potemkin Empire with designer Jonathan Woodard (II) on demo duty. The game is based on a historical incident when prosperous facades were erected to persuade Catherine the Great that all was well as she progressed along the Dniepr river. Thus players add cardboard buildings to their village (no cost), placing a face-down card behind that identifies it as real or fake.
From gallery of Pevans

The different types of building provide actions for players - producing income, say - whether they're real or fake (since nobody knows). However, the most important action is challenging another player's building. Identify a fake and you get a reward, but if the building's real there's a penalty. Of course, it's the fake buildings that definitely score points at the end. It was good fun, but not special. 7/10

Strolling past the Sit Down! stand, we were enticed to try Wormlord by co-designer Jonathan Bittner, who was refereeing each game. This is a good move as the game is a frantic, real-time scramble to take control of the towers depicted on the board tiles with your worm army!

The 'worms' are short, fat shoelaces. To deploy one, you tie a loose knot and drop it on a square next to another of yours. If an enemy worm is there, you untie it and chuck give it back. At first you think the game will take for ever as players swap ownership of the towers. And then somebody sneaks a win! This is utterly hilarious and really does take about 10 minutes to play. 9/10

From gallery of Pevans
We needed something quieter after this and tried out De Stijl, whose Mondrian-style artwork attracted our attention. Players take it in turns to add another card (showing solid blocks of colour in a square grid) to the table. This must overlap some squares already on the table, but not too many.

Once the cards run out, players score for the number of areas in their colour with a (substantial) bonus for the largest area. The way the game plays, you can't help but add areas for your opponents as well as yourself. You just hope to come out on top - there didn't seem to be too much control. And a lot of thinking. It's definitely not my thing. 4/10

As we had discovered the day before, Game Brewer had a bar on their stand serving some excellent Belgian beer. After a refreshing Tripel, we grabbed the opportunity to play Dawn of Mankind. This is a clever little game of developing your tribe of 'cavemen'. It's a kind of worker placement game, where workers can get stuck, leaving you with no alternative but to take a turn to get them back in play. I thoroughly enjoyed this, despite being comprehensively beaten by the German couple playing with Peter and me. Mind you, they had played the game once already. 9/10
From gallery of Pevans

Returning to hall 3 we were able to get on a table at Quined Games to try one of the games high on my list: City of the Big Shoulders. Though Quined preface the title with "Chicago 1875". I suppose that year is a hint as it turns out to be 18xx share-dealing on top of running a company that produces stuff via worker placement. And a lot more, as you can see from the board.
From gallery of Pevans

The demo game was two rounds and set up to be non-confrontational (none of us was producing the same stuff, so there was no competition when selling). I think we'd just about got the hang of what is a complex process after two rounds and this really whetted my appetite to try the game for real. That's a very provisional 9/10 on my highly subjective scale.

Peter and I made an early exit to avoid the rush for the U-bahn at 7 and found a tiny Italian restaurant - essentially the front room of a house with room for, oh, maybe 24 diners - close to the hotel. Or expectations were raised when were spotted that the group on the other side of the room were Italian. And a very good meal it was too - though I didn't rate their Tiramisu...

Then it was back to the hotel to crack open the copy of Bushido that the nice people at Grey Fox Games had given me. For someone that's not that keen on two-player games, I seem to be picking up a lot of them this year. Even worse, this is a game of one-on-one swordplay. Oh dear.

We tried the introductory game first - the aim is to learn the mechanics of the duel so that you know what you're looking for in the preparatory (card drafting) stage. This was awful. When we tried the full game, we realised why: the section skipped for the introductory game contained several vital rules! Anyway, here's my board, tooled up with a giant hammer.
From gallery of Pevans

The full game was much better (and not just because I won). It's a card and dice combination, with the cards deciding how many dice you roll to inflict damage on your opponent. Or avoid damage you've just received. That's the clever bit: you have your turn to try to mitigate things before taking the hits your opponent dished out on their turn. Bushido was rather better than expected: a provisional 6/10 on my highly subjective scale.

We played a couple more games of Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes before turning in for the night.
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Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:43 pm
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If it's Friday, it must be R&R time (Spiel '19 day 2)

Paul Evans
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Peter and I decided to start in hall 2 on Friday and gravitated to R&R Games to say hi to Frank DiLorenzo and the rest of the gang. Two games caught our attention and we sat down to try them.

Coralia is definitely a game with brightly coloured pieces. Starting with the dice: you roll four and choose one to place on the board, according to its colour and symbol. The next player gets your remaining dice, adds a fourth and rolls them. Thus only the colour of the dice is passed on. Since there's generally only one position on the board for each colour+symbol combination, things get tricky towards the end of the game - though there is compensation if you can't place a die.
From gallery of Pevans

Most symbols let you pick up cards of that type and these score, at the end of the game, in different ways. Others let you do things on the board - like taking a treasure chest. It's a fairly light game, though with some clever tactical options. However, your options can be limited and there's noticeable downtime between turns. 6/10

The second game was Humboldt's Great Voyage. This has a central Mancala mechanism for players' movement along the connections between ports. The better this works, the more goods you are able to pick up and load into your ships. The other players get to pick up some chips, which they can use for bonuses when a full ship is scored. In the photo you can see the Mancala spaces/ports taking up most of the board. The available goods are on the right and the ships I'm loading are bottom left.
From gallery of Pevans

Each turn takes a bit of thought with the long range goal of maximising the return on your ships. Some ships require specific goods, rather than a generic colour, which is both trickier and more rewarding. The German couple we played with seemed to enjoy it as much as we did. I found this intriguing and challenging and look forward to paying it again. 8/10

Back at the hotel on Friday evening, Peter and I gave Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes a go. The board abstracts WW2 to five major theatres, each with a track showing which side (Axis or Allies) is winning. Players add one of their available chips to the current campaign in a theatre, shifting the balance and often triggering a bonus (adding a chip to their bag, removing an opponent's chip and so on). Then they draw a replacement chip.

Concluding a campaign scores points for whichever side is ahead in that theatre - thus the losing side has no incentive to close a campaign. The end of the war is triggered when someone reaches 25 points and most points wins. Here's the game with Allies ahead in three theatres, though the Axis player has completely closed one and is a couple of points ahead.
From gallery of Pevans

The game lives up to its promise of completing the whole war in 20 minutes, though at a very abstract level. It provides a clever challenge as you try to out-guess your opponent - within the limits of the chips you have available. 8/10

Sebastian joined us at this point, so we broke out the latest from Bernd Eisenstein and Irongames, Pact. This is a card-drafting game of collecting goblins of different types so that you can complete 'task' cards with the right set of goblins. Hence you are either taking cards or playing cards in your turn.

The thing is, you're unlikely to be able to play enough goblins in one turn to complete a task, so you have to leave them on the table for later. Unless one of your neighbours has the other goblins you need. In this case, you can use those goblins along with yours, but will share the points. Of course it makes good sense to use as many of your neighbour's goblins and as few of yours as possible...
From gallery of Pevans

The photo shows that I've completed three tasks jointly with Sebastian (on my left) as well as a couple of early ones on my own. Bonus cards (blue in the photo above) held by a player can be used to improve their action (pick up more cards, say), but are then passed to the next player. On first acquaintance, it seems quite a slight game, though there can be some neat tactical options. 7/10
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Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:58 pm
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What happened on Thursday? (Spiel '19, day 1)

Paul Evans
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Now, what did happen on Thursday? I have notes on a few games I looked at, but I played even fewer during the day. Of course, there were things to collect and people to say hello to...

Linking up with my roommate, Peter Card, we headed for PSC Games to see what was new. The new game was Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes, which particularly interested because it's designed by Paolo Mori. There'll be more about this one later on. The prototype on show was Rome & Roll, which looks like an interesting game built on top of a roll and write mechanism.

Also on its way from PSC is a new multi-player wargame from Martin Wallace, whose stand (as Martin Wallace Designs) was just across the aisle. Now titled Bloodstones, the game equips its players with sets of domino-style blocks. These are tailored to give each faction its own strengths and weaknesses. Peter (Giants) and I (Humans) sat down to try it with a German couple (Necromancer and something else) .
From gallery of Pevans

Not only are the blocks players' units, but they're also how you pay for doing things. However, it's villages (discs) you score points for, so I built lots of villages with a big enough military force to hold off the others (I'm green in the photo of an early stage of the game and have just beaten off an attack by the giants to score the first points). It's an interesting game with some intriguing tactical options, but it is very much a wargame and there's a substantial luck element. 8/10 for the time being.

From gallery of Pevans
Peter and I found another wargame at Osprey Games: Undaunted: Normandy. This is a skirmish scale, two-player wargame, powered by card play. We played the basic scenario, which just involves riflemen and scouts. It produced a really tough fight over the vital victory points, as we churned through the cards.

This is one of the game's clever features: you take a card out of the game when a soldier gets hit, only removing the piece from the board when you run out of cards. Since you need the cards to use that unit and cycle the cards Dominion-style, each card lost reduces the unit's effectiveness. This is a game I'm tempted to explore it more. 8/10

Thursday evening was the Pegasus game night, which has been good fun in previous years. Not as good this year, though. Peter and I were joined by our long-term gaming buddy John Mitchell, but found that all the heavier games - and Pegasus demoers - had been grabbed before we got into the room.

There wasn't much of interest left on the 'library' shelves either, so we ended up with Meeple Circus, which was at least something we hadn't played. To begin with, it was entertaining as you have to balance different meeples (animeeples too!) in odd positions to score points. The tactical bit is that you have to get both the scoring card and the meeples, but only one at a time. This gives plenty of scope to mess with the other players. Here's Pete's second act triumph.
From gallery of Pevans

The game degenerated in the third 'act' when the requirement for forfeit-style actions appeared. Plus you need the app to get random (I presume) timing for each round. I'm sure it's great fun in the right company, but I'll be steering clear of it. 4/10

John then found a copy of Tricky Druids for us to try. This is a dice-drafting game where you're collecting symbols on the dice to complete your (hidden) portion recipe. The twist is that you offer the dice to another player. You hope they will either refuse them, so that you can have them, or take them and have to put some/all in their bin. If your bin overflows, you lose everything you've collected so far.
From gallery of Pevans

The photo shows I just need one more ingredient to complete my second potion and have only one in the bin, so I'm fairly safe. This is a neat enough family-orientated game, but less interesting when three hardened gamers are playing. I suspect another player would improve things, providing more options for who to give things to. Peter was first to put too much into his bin, which set him back, and John romped to victory. 6/10

Next up was Adventure Island, a card-based co-operative game of surviving after being shipwrecked on a Pacific (?) island. First, you need to find food and shelter... "Hang on," I said, "this is just like Robinson Crusoe". And so it was. A simplified Robinson Crusoe, to be sure, but very much the same game - one of my favourite co-operative games.

So we pootled through the first scenario, feeling confident of achieving its goals. Then the deck ran out. "Shuffle discards and continue?" I queried. No: we'd lost. Oops! The time pressure is vicious. Reviewing what we'd done, we reckon it is possible to compete the scenario, but you have to focus on the goals right from the start. A few wasted actions and you're done for. If I've got the rules right, the game is actually easier with four players: you have the same number of rounds, but the extra person means two more actions each time. Bizarre.
From gallery of Pevans

As a Robinson Crusoe fan I quite enjoyed this and would like to give it another go - probably with four players. 7/10

That was the end of our evening. Time to find a taxi back to our hotels (the U-bahn stopped at 11 pm).
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Thu Nov 7, 2019 8:17 pm
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Spiel '19 - and so it begins...

Paul Evans
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There was no way I was going to be able to blog about Spiel while I was there - time not spent playing (or looking at) games is needed for eating and sleeping! Now it's over, I can start on my highlights. Given the size of the show, these are bound to be different from anyone else's. For a start, I know I didn't go down every aisle in every hall and there were major publishers I didn't get to look at. So this is my selection.

And I start with the preview night on Wednesday evening. This was the first such event run by the organisers (Friedhelm Merz Verlag), with the aim of letting people get an early look at some of the new games.

I had the company of David Chapman for the evening, playing games together for the first time in several years. The event was spread over three rooms with a games library in one and some publishers demonstrating their games on specific tables.

We gravitated to MEBO Games (publishers of Viral a couple of years ago and many others before and since). They had a couple of colourful games to try and we started with Carrossel. This features a merry-go-round, of course: a cardboard disc in the centre of the board which you rotate.

It's clearly intended as a family game, but it is actually very tactical. Not least because the board turns between rounds. Essentially you're playing a card and a tile to position the tile on the board, aiming to complete your target formation. However, this awards cards to all the players whose tiles are involved, so you're helping other players - often as much as you're helping yourself.
From gallery of Pevans

The photo shows our (three-player) game in progress. Note the row of my played cards (yellow) - you don't get these back, unless you use the appropriate card. Cards can be played for advantages like this during the game or kept for bonus points at the end. The strategic element is looking for the card combos and tile positions that score points at the end of the game. It's a nice enough game, but it didn't really grab me: 6/10.

Mebo's second game, Porto, was even more colourful and looked more complex. Play is simple, though: take cards or play cards. Playing cards adds storeys (rectangular tiles) to a building and scores points, with extra points for adjacent tiles, bonus cards and for starting and finishing a building.
From gallery of Pevans

The photo shows the board during our game, with cards to draft along the bottom, available bonus cards at the top and buildings under construction across the middle. Players also have (secret) end-game goals for more points and the game end is triggered when enough roofs (orange triangles in the photo) have been played to complete buildings. It's quick-playing tactical fun and nicely ilustrated. 6/10

Next up, David introduced me to Tiny Towns, which looked simple enough. One player chooses a resource (coloured cube), and everybody places one of these on the square grid of their board. If the colours and the shape they make match one of the building cards, place that building (nice wooden models) on your grid. It only occupies one square, but it's still limiting your options for what you place where.
From gallery of Pevans

Each building scores in a different way once one player has filled their board and the game varies according to which buildings are in play. My 'monument' building (red) meant I scored points for my villages (blue) without feeding them, so I just built lots of them, interspersed with the odd 'well' (white discs) and won by a point! Despite my simple strategy, it's tricky tactical stuff, but feels pretty abstract. I'd like to try it with more players, so 7/10 for the time being.

Returning the favour, I introduced David to the new edition of On the Underground. We set up the London board, despite the two German guys who joined us later ("I live in Berlin," asserted one of them) claiming that gave us an advantage. It's been a while since I played this, but I didn't spot any major differences from the original. Expand your lines to give the Passenger plenty of scope to use them, pick up bonus points for connecting things and look for the opportunity to enclose other stations in a loop.
From gallery of Pevans

I won by the tried and tested strategy of building the Circle line (in red on the photo above) to enclose lots of central stations (this usually only works against beginners, by the way). The Berlin map has the same basics, but different bonuses, and the whole package is nicely produced. It remains a 9/10 for me.

We wrapped up at this point, catching the last U-bahn of the evening into the city centre, rather than sticking it out to 1 am and the promised shuttle buses. Well, it's the first night, so you've got to pace yourself... or maybe I'm getting old
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:00 pm
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Bouquets and brick walls (Spiel '18, Day 4)

Paul Evans
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After the crush on Saturday, the walkways of the Messe were almost pleasant to walk around today. My first stop of the day was the odd-looking Darwinning!. The theme is evolving and competing prehistoric creatures and it was described to me as a "trick taking" card game. However, it's more that players make Poker/Yahtzee-style sets from their hand of cards. The winner can then add one of the cards they played to their creature, improving it in one of four ways. Then the creatures feed and breed - or starve. After a set number of rounds, players score for all facets of their creature. I had no great expectations of the game, but thoroughly enjoyed it and picked up a copy.
From gallery of Pevans

My next stop was to try Silk. This had an odd fantasy setting, but is essentially a shepherd and dog herding sheep and menaced by a wolf. Players roll two dice each turn and then take the corresponding actions - they can spend points to change dice values. The key action is scoring for the sheep on a tile, after which the tile is turned over and becomes worthless. I found it quite abstract and denying points to our opponents left us going round in circles until we decided we'd had enough and called a halt.
From gallery of Pevans

The fresh-faced young woman with a bouquet on the cover of Blossoms suggested that middle-aged male gamers are not its target audience. So I had to give it a go. It turned out to be a delight. The large format cards show a flower (there are six types), which can be used to extend that plant. If it's in one of the four flower pots. If not, you're bust, otherwise you can continue drawing cards. Stopping drawing cards lets you take a flower for points: the longer it is, the more points it's worth, and there are also points for the number of different blooms you have. Players also have three one-use tiles that give them one of the special actions shown on the flowerpots. It proved to be an entertaining, quick little game that I thoroughly enjoyed.
From gallery of Pevans

Strolling past the Cranio Creations stand, I was persuaded to try Walls of York (it didn't take much). A random selection of tiles gives each player the same city layout. Then we start placing wall pieces, attempting to enclose the target numbers of specific buildings, as few Vikings as possible and as many coins as we can. Once everyone's completed their wall (the first to complete gets bonus points while they're waiting), everybody scores. Two rounds of this and the most points wins. It's lightweight, but entertaining. Some spatial awareness helps.
From gallery of Pevans

And that was that for another Spiel. I've come away with some 15 new games to play, so that will keep me going for a while.
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Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:56 pm
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Redemption and Fortune (Spiel '18, Day 3)

Paul Evans
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Saturday at Spiel is always very busy: "saunter" is the speed limit and it's difficult to actually play a game. However, I managed a few.

Neon Limbo: Redemption was one. Here the players are retired Heroes, who suddenly find themselves wanted by the repressive authorities. They must move around the city, confronting the authorities to gain popularity. However, this also earns them 'glow' and you can't win if your glow is above the current level at the end of the game... The mechanisms worked well and the game was good fun. It's coming to Kickstarter next May, by which time it will have all new, professional graphics.
From gallery of Pevans

Ganymede has been around for a while - the publisher sold their remaining stock at Spiel, but a reprint is on its way. It's a neat little quick-playing game of crewing and launching spaceships. Cards and tiles let you recruit astronauts (meeples) in various colours and move them to your spaceships. However, you're also looking to get synergy from the symbols on the cards and tiles, letting you do several actions at once. I'm not sure we were playing it properly, bu it was fun.
From gallery of Pevans

Back at the hotel after pizza, I had several eager participants for Fortune, the fourth of Friedemann Friese's Game: Fast Forward. The idea is these is that you learn the game by playing it, so I'd better not give it away. The starting rule is that you draw a card on your turn. That's it. 10 minutes later and you've progressed to some mental arithmetic that's taxing late in the evening after a few beers... Suffice to say that everybody wanted to play right through and learn all the rules.
From gallery of Pevans
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Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:32 am
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Holding On at Spiel '18 (Day 2)

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
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Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
A delayed start today, for technical reasons. And I've spotted that I missed some things out of yesterday's posting. Oops! Must go back and add them in...

Anyway, on to the show. My first stop was EmperorS4, where I tried Discovery: The Era of Voyage. Not a new game, but new to me. It's a neat, fairly lightweight entertainment. Move your ship round the cards gaining/swapping pieces and using them to invest in the cards for points.
From gallery of Pevans

Checking out hall 5, I got into a demo game of Magnate: The First City. The idea here is property development: buy land, build a type of building, attract tenants (when the types of building nearby is a factor) and earn rent. However, players' activities affect the market, which will eventually crash. The trick, of course, is to cash in at the peak.
From gallery of Pevans

Then I made a fourth to try Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr, under the tutelage of co-designer Michael Fox. This is a brilliant co-operative game where the players struggle to keep their patient alive, while helping him recover memories. We won the first scenario, by the skin of our teeth, but Michael reports a roughly 1/3 success rate. I'm getting a copy!
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Game Night at the Pegasus stand gave us access to their games all evening. We spent most of it playing Coimbra. I didn't notice the time passing, I have to say. This is a pretty standard game of choosing what to do out of the many options on offer and trying to do so in a way that scores more points than your opponents. I enjoyed it, but I don't think it's anything special.
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We finished off with Reef, which is a simple game with brightly coloured pieces. I thought I was doing quite well, scoring almost every turn, but was just pushed into third place. Hey, ho.
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Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:46 am
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Pax this, Pax that (Spiel '18 Day 1 - updated)

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
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Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
Yes, I'm spending time looking at new games- and playing a few.

This is Athens on its very colourful play mat. Started a game in the evening, but this was cut short by dinner.
From gallery of Pevans

From gallery of Pevans
Here's Ian Brody explaining Quartermaster General: The Cold War. Designed for three players, with a specific catch-up mechanism for balance, but playable with up to six (though this takes a bit longer as partners need to discuss things).





And here's Ragnar Phil doing the same for The Romans. Each player develops their own version of the Roman Empire, fighting off external enemies, and also competing with the other players for the actions they want to take with their senators/generals.
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Pax Emancipation is clearly building on Pax Renaissance, but with a theme about the abolition of slavery. There are some new wrinkles, such as the barriers (represented by cardboard counters) that need to be removed in each region. We played a few turns, in the co-operative format, and I was having trouble getting my head round what to do when.
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The quick way to describe Chartered: The Golden Age is "Acquire-lite". However, that would not do it justice. The mechanisms are different, even if the main thrust of the game is similar, and I found it much more enjoyable than Acquire. As you can see below, the Gold warehouse is swallowing everything...
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And here's the prototype of Pax Transhumanity. This uses the 'barriers' introduced in Pax E, but ties them to different areas of technology, each with their own market of technology cards. The actions available are also similar, but the theme here is resolving the major issues facing humanity today. Having played for an hour, I'd say it's the most intricate of the Pax games.
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Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:39 am
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