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

Blog about the games I play at Gradpad each month
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September 2011 Gradpad

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
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Games, games and more games!
This month it was my turn for the evening session. I turned up at the University Centre at 3pm, expecting to feed the kids and change the youngest one's nappy for half an hour before finding a game, but my husband saw me and beckoned me over to a game of Olympos, and said I could take over as he'd only had one turn. After a brief rules explanation from him, and a bit more added by the other players round the table I said I was happy to start. I then had some minor confusion on my first two turns, taking over a wood region, and then trying to spend woods to buy a tile that needed pots - the colours in this game are appalling, and it's very hard to tell the difference when you're learning. Anyway, I bought one that got me cheap tiles, and another with a sword on, took over a few regions, used the resources to buy tiles, and then was heading for some buildings in the bottom row, when I realised I had a problem - how on earth to get enough of the symbols you needed to buy the bottom tiles - a rule that had been missed was that each tile in the column contributed to the cost - luckily I'd bought all the tiles out of just two rows, so that wasn't a problem! Then I had a problem - one of my opponent's took out my white region and I spotted a flaw in the game - one of us had to give in and agree to not get the white regions, or we'd be back and forth taking each other's regions for the rest of the game. I gave in, and let him have the three white tile I was after, buying 2 large buildings instead. Meanwhile another play was got by the Zeus tokens - as everyone round the table got 2 Zeus tokens in the same round, just before he passed the card and had to discard all his Destiny cards - not pleasant for him! Discovered a few more final scoring rules in the end-game, but they didn't change my overall impression of the game, which was something that was just too fiddly and dull, and with a combat mechanic I didn't like. I would play this again if pushed, but not otherwise.

After that one player wanted a 15 minute break, so I asked to play Ascension: Deckbuilding Game, a game I discovered last week and love! We borrowed someone else's copy, that had the expansion in it, and it makes the game even better!! I went heavy military while the other two went for cash, one going heavily into constructs. Unfortunately it wasn't a very good game for military, and my lack of cash started to hurt me in the late game especially, when often there was nothing for me to attack in the central row.

Then Maddy was looking for a game, so we pulled out Gnadenlos!, and were surprised to hear it was new to her. It was a fairly fun game, with lots of spectators by the end, as all the other games in the room finished.

After that we had 12 players milling around looking for games. Various games were suggested - Underground, Agricola, Troyes, Dixit to mention just a few. It soon became apparent taht Troyes and Underground were the most popular, so players interested in those two games separated to two tables, with me joining the On the Underground table. We discovered that dropping a black line on the floor made it almost impossible to find, with the dark carpet!! Tim was winning all the early game, but late game his network kept getting bypassed, whereas I was regularly getting two points for routes running along both colours of my track, so I started to pull ahead and ended up victorious.

We finished about the same time as another table again, so had the "What to play next?" game all over again. This time the choice seemed to be between one of the Spiel games, played 4 player or something else. I chose the something else, Letters from Whitechapel, and the other table decided on 7 Wonders. Paul asked to be Jack, as he'd played already that day as detective. We explained the basic rules to the new players and were off. First murder in the east, where no-one was near, so it took a while to pin down his route and we ended up 3 steps behind him and in the south when he reached his hideout. Next murder was in the north, so we spread out to try and catch him as he came south, but he managed to dodge us fairly effectively as he went round the northwest, so it took a while to pin him down again - and the trail went cold in the exact same area again, but with us 2 steps behind him. Third night and the double murder - we sent two detectives each way, with the fifth hanging around the likely routes to where we suspected the hideout was. He went rather further south than we expected, so we didn't catch any sight of him until quite a way into the night, and were again 3 steps behind him when he vanished again, in exactly the same location. Grrrrr!!! Fourth night, and you'd think it would be easy, but no - we managed to make a mistake on one of the deductions on night 3, and removed a possible location that we shouldn't have done, and he slipped the net, and made his way back to his hideout, which proved to be right next to the place the trail had gone dead each time - we'd assumed it was a slightly different area from the way the chases had gone. Grrrr!!! We had some consolation during the chases though, with Colin, who was spectating for the last bit, doing runs up to the Grads Cafe for scones for everyone - they do a particularly nice cheese scone there, and warm too!!

We were reaching the end of the night, so finished with a couple of lighter games before the room was locked up - Dixit and The Bucket King - where Paul was eliminated amazingly quickly, thanks to a 9 card blue hand! (Unsurprisingly Colin, sitting to his left, lost all his blue buckets quite early on!).
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