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Check please- Games played this month-July 2019- Part 2

Adam Majewski
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Foam Bananas
Hello Stranger!
Welcome to my newer, better, sexier and more violent blog! I go Foam Bananas over games and want to share my enthusiasm with you! Twice weekly I will be putting out new articles about games. For the weekly contents go to my user profile.

"Every where you look is gaming sustenance"


"What have I played this month?"

Welcome to part two of my busy month of gaming. Below are another fifteen games I managed to play in July. Not one stinker, but maybe the odd winner. Let us carry on with what I played at Manorcon.

El Grande

Gaming confessions- I am very good at El Grande. I am very good at El Grande until the end of the first round. I have the birds chirping my name, until the end where the birds excrete on my name. I was in the lead by a good ten points but then I was beaten by a strategy that had lost me the last game.

"Mate-country is full!"

Some creep managed to place the score multiplier on a province they were leading and then cackled as he placed the king there. In unison we all sang "You cannot place your caballeros there". I get so lost with the battle for the tower. Do you throw everything you have there or not. Is this game strategic? I am not sure, but I do enjoy the chaos and more importantly the number of laughs this game produces... or do I mean bloodshed?


"Water you say- I can help you"

Santiago was one of my favourite games of the convention. An old (over five years old) abstract game, with game pieces from the prehistoric era. The game play involved negotiation and clever play. Everyone would place their tiles around the board and hope that they would gain access to water. The lack of water would mean your crops would wither away, scoring you less. Another fun aspect of the game, was adding the crops to an already big field. The bigger the field the more points it would yield. It is a difficult mix of scoring points for yourself and keeping your opponents from scoring. This came to fruition as I stated that another player should add his field to mine as I am not at risk at winning. I won. There is this nice bribing round as you try to convince the player, who bid the lowest, where to put the water. It was a clever game and a real stand out during the convention.

"That's no ordinary water, that's magic"


I cannot say I like Colosseum. I had played it once before and it fell as flat as the moon sits in the sky. I was intrigued to play the Tasty Minstrel Games edition as it had received flack for not being as pretty as the previous Days of Wonder edition. I thought it looked great. I played the game with some regular convention attendees and sometimes they bring their mad ways into the game. As they put on a show, they explained what sort of show it was.

"Theatre of dreams"

Imagine the horror! "What!, this is not how you play this game!" But Ray and I ran with it. The repetitive set collection had disappeared into the night sky and the moon, that appeared so flat, showed its true form as a fully rounded entity.

"Would you like your show with a bit of fresh blood?"

The actual game play was quite tense and exciting. I had gone all out on my fourth show. I had a huge score- my season tickets made sure I had a hit. It was unlikely anyone would put on a show as grand as mine. The final show of the game had pipped me by two points. Ray had made a fool of me and my boasting. I had proclaimed I had the best show ever and that was not true. I will not rush out to play Colosseum again. I consider this game to be a special, one-off, experience. It goes to show, just how the players can make the game.


"For a bestseller, you need a bit of luck"

Biblios is a set collection I often play with Maartje (but not recently). You collect cards and then, in the second half, partake in an auction. Pete and Ray were some what new to the game and I ended up tying with Pete. Biblios really is a great game but it is better with more experienced players.

Ora et Labora

What happens when you play games you like and you lose? You like the game less. Ora et Labora is was one of my favourite Uwe Rosenberg games. I like the roundel and the clever placement rules where you can use other peoples buildings. Ora et Labora can be quite overwhelming but over the years I have played the game a fair few times. So I decided to be ambitious and try a new strategy.

"The french landscape has seen better days"

All gamers know that new is better. My new strategy was to spend all my energies into transforming goods into points. I was the best at it and it appeared I would win. Shaun, whose copy we were playing, had played so many times he had ran out of score sheets. I was playing against a pro! Pete was new to the game and John was barely an amateur when it came to the game. So, I shouldn't be surprised that I came second. What annoys me is that it could have been so different! I used my energies on my new strategy. My energy supply was low near the end of the game- the game took over three hours. I should have focused on creating the perfect civilisation just like Shaun did. What really hurt was the time investment in the game. My balloon was burst and instead of the air escaping to join the abyss of nothing it wallowed and became shame.

"Shaun's Ora"

"My Labora"

I should know better for next time, but will there be a next time? I am really hesitant to get back to Ora et Labora because it is so much hard work and when that work doesn't pay off you look for other pastures.

Great Western Trail

"All giddy uped"

I'd rather play Great Western Trail with the expansion. I find it more interesting. As is accustomed in these conventions, you play games you wouldn't necessary choose yourself. Like Ora et Labora, I had a great winning streak. I followed a consistent strategy which involved thinning out my deck and picking up cows near the end of the game. When I divert from that strategy I tended to lose. This game was tough and satisfying. I had to drop my usual strategy as I wanted the station bonuses. The stations were far away so retreating back was not an option. I enjoy dropping off my cows in Kansas as I the early income is a huge benefit. Two visits meant I was twelve points down with three other experienced players. Happily I beat both Shaun and John but it was Steve, the masterclass player, who beat me. He did a tremendous job with his buildings and everything else fell into place for him. He said the best station for points is the person multiplier and looking at how well he did I cannot say he is wrong. He was also the only player not to go to Kansas. All hail Steve as the best Great Western Trail player!

"Bullshit- a man's business"

Unlike Ora et Labora, I was not gamed out after Great Western Trail. I could see I was losing during the game. The buildings are quite harsh. One toll here and another toll there is starting to hurt worse than my genitalia. I do like Great Western Trail but I certainly love it less when I am losing.

That was the end of my gaming weekend in Manor Con. Now I can go to bed and sleep easy. Oh wait there are more games to play.


"Maybe this is here to show off my score"

I spent a lot of money on the deluxe version of Yokohama so I am happy when it gets played. I have another confession- I don't remember every rule of every game. Ron, Mariska and I started playing the game without much of a rules recap then either Ron and Mariska placed one of their assistants on a space with an opposing president. I thought to myself, is that right? It wasn't. We played without the rule where you pay to place an assistant in the same space as a president and the game was a blast. It was only the week after that Mariska had played Yokohama again and was forced to play with the correct rules. She let us know that we were playing it incorrectly.

"Your guaranteed to walk into someone you know in Yokohama"

I had won with over 40 points. A few technology cards, a few completed orders and I was loving Yokohama life. This was the first game where the end of game was triggered by the exhaustion of the order deck. The pace of the game reminded me of what Yokohama was like the first time I played. The First time I played was with two players and it was breezy fun. The others seemed to enjoy it as well. After such a fun game, I am willing to house rule the game for future plays. But when I think about it a square glitch starts poking out my head because it is pure wrong.

"Someone please create a one way system"

Yokohama is one of the best resource collection and trading games I have played. You don't need the deluxe version but it certainly is nice. Looking forward to having a wander around these Japaneses streets again-even on hard mode.


"Whose market is it anyway?"

After the success of the first game of Homesteaders, I was happy to play it again and Erik was happy to join with the others. Ron really enjoyed his first game. He described Homesteaders as the best game ever (not really) so it was a bit a demoralising seeing Ron down by the stables, standing in the horse muck, at the end of the game. In auction games, there is always going to be a victim of hard bidding.

"I got here on horse"

Erik was the winner of the game. He swam in debt the whole game- money int nothang but a thang. In fact, he had so much debt that he didn't actually win. He had the most points before debt. I had a farm and I produced meat. The west gotta eat beef. But it wasn't to be my day.

"This town is for local pioneers"

Mariska knew a town is not just the buildings you buy, but the people who live there. Her town was swarmed with homesteaders and who can blame them. She had a rodeo, a circus and a dude ranch. As I explained in my last game, it was really great to play with the events. You must calculate your strategy around the upcoming events. Hopefully it won't be too long before Homesteaders becomes another event on the table.

Exodus: Paris Nouveau

"A race against justice"

I love lying in the face of other players. Exodus: Paris Nouveau is a social deduction game about racing. What confuses me is that the group is infiltrated by 50% of bad guys (hunters). Why bother infiltrating a specialist team when you can just leave them undermanned. It was quite obvious from the start, that both Erik and Ron were the hunters. Me and Mariska were facing a tough team. They had blown most our cover and Mariska had only one health left. We decided to put Ron on our side in the hope there wouldn't be any option to lose the final cover. The hunters won. There was a lot of banter and quite suspicion so Exodus did exactly what it needed to do as a social deduction game. I enjoyed the voting with the tokens that became exhausted. I look forward to playing this again, however I do suspect that with six players it will be a better game.


"Noble friends"

It was so good the first time around, we decided to play Bastille again. With Bastille, you get so much game play in an hour. It feels more satisfying than many longer games. Bastille is an excellent worker placement game. Too many good things to do, too little time. My focus on the Bastille seemed to allow me a decent win. Mariska and Ron focused on getting contracts and allowed me to run away with flags. The advantage of flags, apart from waving them, is that you get free stuff: "Oi Monsieur- neat flag, why don't you have some free stuff". The question is, now that I have played the game three times this year will I play it again? I hope so otherwise I predict a revolt!

"Storm the castle, they have free Wi-fi"


There is not much decision making in Corinth but I still very much enjoy it. The city trekking is a more complex version of dot to dot, the resource collecting is point collecting. Who does not enjoy both those activities? The aesthetics help and it is very quick. One of my favourite roll and write games. Now all I need is someone to help me play with my pre-ordered set of Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write.

"You can only trade luck in this market"

Blue Lagoon

I am a big Reiner Knizia fan. I once saw him give a seminar at the UK Birmingham Games Expo and he is a bomb of charm. He sold the idea that games need a hook. The hook in Blue Lagoon (and many of his other games) is the player interaction. You race around the islands trying to pick up points anyway you can.

"Paradise is not for the hungry"

The game is set in a blue and green paradise but afterwards you are blue and green with frustration. In the first round, Mariska and Ron competed for leg room and in the second room Mariska and I competed for fruit. Mariska came last and Ron managed to over come my ten point lead to win. Blue and green I swear. The game is simple to play but complicate to process. It is a nasty game but another winner from Dr Knizia.

"Splashing good friends"

"Supper is up"

Roll to the Top!

In the background me and Maartje were watching some football. PSV you deserve to the champions of the world. And the reason why deserve fame, is because I have your hat. I don't have a hat for Roll to the Top but it is a nice simple game. It's very nuance and lucky. When do you go from low numbers to high? I was in the lead until Maartje managed to draw. PSV also equalised but then went on to lose. Just saying.


"The commanding tower gives all who pray hope"

This Euro game is unique and looks better than Bruges. The action selection is simple and unique, turns are quick and there is set collection. It should be a winner. However, it induces anger in me. I cannot explain why but I get so frustrated. Everything is just so slow. You move up the river, you collect an odd coin or two or you put one of your tokens on the board. Mariska did extremely well. She kept her ship at the start and spread her influence amongst the board. This, somehow, got her a massive win. Ron seemed to collect sets and I just blew up in a rage of annoyance.

"Choices, choices"

I really enjoy the way you get to influence Ulm, the action selection is unique and works and the cathedral looks great. Part of my disappointment with the game is that it promises to be quick but it is not. The game takes ninety minutes and you just don't do much. As much love as I have Ulm, I am still getting rid of it.

"Ulm, I'll give it a miss"


Now Bruges is a city based game I can get behind! You build homes for interesting Belgium people. This game was new to both Ron and Mariska and they both really enjoyed it. It's a quick game that plays within an hour and can be really challenging. You can get screwed on dice rolls, you can have a bad draw of colours and you can be attacked by other opponents. The pleasure is negotiating all this luck and winning. I managed to destroy Ron's dreams on the final turn by destroying one of his homes. That changed his entire last turn. I had advised him against the difficult canal strategy yet still he built one of the canals. Ron broke my dreams by winning by one point.

"Love spending time in the city centre"

"They said visit the canals you won't fall in"

"A corner of Bruges you wouldn't want to stroll upon"

I said that Bastille was a great game that plays within an hour this another.

That's your lot for July. Hope you enjoy my write up. X
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