Board Mondays - New games club, North London, UK
Andy Wade
England
London
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Last night (6th March) saw the second meeting of Board Mondays, a new games club just starting up in Barnet, North London.

The first couple of weeks have been a bit of a pilot to see if it's gonna work out and if the location is right. And, in truly self-congratulatory fashion, I have to say I think it’s gone pretty well.

We had 8 people along last night, mostly new gamers and everyone enjoyed the food, a couple of beers and some great gaming. This is a quick list of what we played, for the sake of posterity.

If anyone is interested in coming along to the next Board Monday, we’d love to see you. We meet every other Monday in a bar, 5 minutes walk from High Barnet tube station. GeekMail or call me (07989 148096) if you’re interested and I can give you the details. The next Board Monday is 20th March.
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1. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:379]
Andy Wade
England
London
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Despite getting to the bar late (!), fortunately no-one else had arrived when I got there, so me and my brother, Rich, got a couple of drinks in. Before long, Roger arrived and I was just about to start explaining San Juan, when I got a call from Dave and Andy, two guys me and Sarah (my wife) met travelling in Oz. They were making the trip all the way up from Moorgate - thought as they'd travelled so far, they probably didn't want to watch us play cards !! So we set up Bohnanza, which Dave and Andy had enjoyed in Oz.

I always find this game a bit slow unless everyone is au fait with the rules and it proved so again this time. Don't think it helped that I hadn't seen Dave and Andy for months and we were trying to catch up while playing!

Having said that, we got some good banter going and only went through the pack once, so it didn't drag. In the end, Rich pulled out the win in a close game aided by getting 3 Garden Beans (3 coins!). Everyone else was pretty close:

Rich - 9
Roger - 8 (+3)
Andy W (me)- 8 (+2)
Andy P - 7
Dave - 6

Looks like their practise in Oz didn't help the boys from the city. Haha!
 
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2. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:234]
Andy Wade
England
London
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While we were playing Bohnanza, Chris and Paul L arrived and ordered food. While they were waiting for and, indeed, eating their food, they played a quick 2-player game of San Juan.

Chris has played quite a bit of San Juan's big brother, Puerto Rico, so I expected him to do the business against Paul, who had only learnt the game 2 weeks ago.

Clearly I taught him well (!) as he romped away with the victory, crushing poor Chris with plenty of production buildings, the Guild Hall and a *very* full chapel!

Paul L - 35
Chris S - 25

This began a very bad run for Chris, who was to come dead last in 3 of the four games he played. Knew you wouldn't mind me pointing that out Chris

I think San Juan is a fantastic game that works on many levels, scales perfectly from 2-4 and has got a lot of depth to it. Probably my current favourite card game.
 
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3. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:262]
Andy Wade
England
London
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While Chris and Paul were finishing off their game of SJ, we decided on a quick game of For Sale. Lewis arrived and joined the five of us that played Bohnanza to make 6.

This game is always fun, and again went down really well. Andy made a ridiculous bid, leaving him with no money for the last 3 rounds! Amazingly, Dave still managed to pip him for last place....

The big properties were pretty well shared around and it ended up being tight (rough guesses at scores):

Andy - 49
Rich - 46
Roger - 44
Drew - 41
Dave - 34

Those void cheques are absolute killers!!

This game was really well recieved - while we played Dragon's Gold on the other table, this game got played about 5 (!) more times back to back!!! I understand that Dave was top of the property dealers by the end.

For Sale is interactive, quick and fun. For me, one thing that bothers me is that I don't feel you really have to make many difficult decisions in the game (compared to, say, High Society) but, hey, as I said, its quick and fun so who cares?
 
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4. Board Game: Dragon's Gold [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1589]
Andy Wade
England
London
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While the other guys were playing For Sale (repeatedly!!) on the other table, we cracked open my new copy of Dragon's Gold. For me, games are all about interaction and this has got plenty of it.

Paul L, Lewis and Chris joined me to squabble over treasure for 45 minutes. We played the advanced rules and there was spell casting going on all over the place. I think some of us got a bit fixated with the spells and forgot about scoring points (Lewis!!).

The black diamond came out near the end and Paul got a bit stitched thinking it would be more useful than it was (it was only our first game). Another funny moment was Paul drawing the invisible hand card with only one dragon left on the table!!! Not much chance of using that!!!

Anyway, thanks to some good spell cards and some good deals, I managed to get far more than my fair share of Gold and Silver (I think I got 8 of the 20 gold pieces!) and ended up with the win.

Andy - 54
Chris - 49
Lewis - 41
Paul - 39

Really enjoyed this one and am looking forward to playing it again when we know the value of the gems a bit better.
 
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5. Board Game: Pit [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:1397]
Andy Wade
England
London
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After Paul left, we tried having a game of Pit (billionnaire), the only game I'd packed that would accommodate 7. Not a good idea yelling as loud as you can in a bar and it took us 2 rounds to realise that everyone in the bar was staring at us. We packed this one away again.
 
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6. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:130] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Andy Wade
England
London
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Dave and Andy left to get back to the city cos their mummies had said they had to be home by 11. It was great that they made it up to Barnet and I'm sure they had a good night.

The five of us that were left (Me, Rich, Lewis, Roger and Chris) had an hour left to play a proper *board* game

So I set up Ticket to Ride, the only game I'd packed that took five and had a board!

Roger, Lewis and Rich were all new to the game, but they picked it up quickly and we were away.

Roger and Lewis built quickly around the Kansas/Chicago area, while Rich went down the West coast and Chris tried some elaborate Orleans/Vancouver pincer movement. I had been dealt some crappy tickets and was trying to connect up a kind of Calgary-SLC-LA route.

As the game proceeded, there was some great blocking by Rich (on Lewis), Lewis (on Chris) and Roger (on Chris again) and a lot of ticket drawing (me). I finally ended up connecting some wierd route from LA-Calgary-Chicago-New York.

All other tickets were completed, except Chris who was manfully blocked by..... well, by just about everyone!!

Lewis did really well here, almost sneaking the win thanks to completing 2 long tickets and the longest route but I *just* pipped him to the post:

Andy - 108
Lewis - 104
Roger - 100
Rich - 92
Chris - 74

Really good game and played nice and quick too. Still my problem with this game is its all very 'heads-down', staring at the board. There's very little direct interaction. Having said that, I really enjoyed this outing and am looking forward to playing it again.
 
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7. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:293] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Andy Wade
England
London
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At the end of Ticket to Ride, it was about 11.15, so we left the bar. Roger and Lewis went their separate ways and me, Chris and Rich went back to my flat.

After watching a bit of Hannibal on TV and me annoying the neighbours with some didgeridoo action, we had a quick game of Settlers. We'd all played before, although Rich only once.

The board was a bit short of wheat and the robber sat on Rich/Chris' wood '6' hex all game. This really slowed Chris up and he was never really in the game. Rich played pretty well and was in the lead for a while, before he got blocked in a bit - if only he could have got onto the 2-1 rock port he'd have walked this game.

But it was not to be, my farmer strategy worked out. I was getting loads of sheep and trading 2-1 on the sheep port. In the end, it was only a matter of time - we ended in about 45 mins.

Andy - 10
Rich - 6
Chris - 5

For me, this game has got it all. Its got theme, interesting choices, enough luck to keep everyone interested and, most importantly, *loads* of player interaction *and* it packs everything into 45m-1hr. Just awesome.

Well, we then went off to bed (separately). Great night guys, thanks all for coming along.

The next Board Mondays will be on 20th March from 18.30.
 
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