Games Played at Southampton on Board - 2013-01-14
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Games Played at Southampton on Board on Monday 14th January 2013.

A record breaking session: 12 games played (with a lot of multi-rounders) beating our previous record of 9 by 33% and 10 attendees (not really record breaking but in the upper percentile!)


Jason RJ
United Kingdom
Gosport
Hampshire
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Sam Mercer
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Adam Field
United Kingdom
Southampton
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Andy Dowland
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Russ


Will Morris
United Kingdom
Southampton
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Jacob Busby
United Kingdom
Southampton
Unspecified
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Tinwë
United Kingdom
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Donkeys!! ^^
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United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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I'll think of something witty to put here...
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… and me.
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1. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:682]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Jason

Played by:
1. Adam H
2. Jason
3. Marco
4. Andy


Needing a quick little filler to tide us over until the likely arrival of more of the group whilst Sam and Will played a two-player game we settled on this charming little exercise in route optimization.

To give a brief overview of gameplay: you're a group of penguins waddling around on some treacherous ice formations that have had a bounty of fish spread out upon them. Your goal is to collect as many fish as possible by moving (sliding in a straight line) from space to space (the number of fish per space range from 1 to 3.) You can slide as far as you like but only collect the fish from spaces you stop on. Simple, but for the fact that jumping off of a space causes it to sink, creating gaps in the surface and potentially splitting of little (or not so little) icebergs.

Our first round was something of an introductory round for Andy and myself—Jason having played before and Marco having printed-and-played a copy as well. I was quite fortunate to gather a reasonable sum of fish before having my two penguins each float off on reasonably substantial icebergs, all on there own, to feast in peace.

With one round—a fairly comfortably win for me—down we went for a second. This time our penguins were much closer: never seeming to let another player go wandering off and gather fish or carve out an iceberg by themselves. Final scoring reflected this with only a handful of points between us. Getting lucky again I managed to pip Jason to first place by a single point

All in all an excellent little filler and one I'd definitely play again.
 
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2. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2245]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Sam

Played by:
1. Sam
2. Will


Wolf & Pack by
Sam Mercer
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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From the designer himself:

Cogentesque wrote:
A brief 2 player game [created] for a friends daughter. [It's] a top trumps vs perudo type game. Simple game, plays in about 15 minutes, but so far (4 tests) it appears to be "Not Lame"


I have nothing else to add other than to say:

1. The cover art is simply gorgeous, I'd be happy to have that on a box on my shelf.

2. Worst card font ever.
 
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3. Board Game: Kingdoms [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1072]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Russ

Played by:
1. Adam H
2. Jason
3. Russ
4. Andy


Newcomer Russ brought in this tower building, tile placing, grid scoring, game by Knizia.

Played over three rounds and on a 6x5 grid players take it in turns to either: a) place a random tile; b) place their one known tile; c) place a tower. The tiles give either a plus or minus to the scoring of all towers in the same row and column or contribute some special effect (i.e. negating all positive tiles in the row/column, doubling all tiles in the row/column, etc.) Towers have between 1 and 4 spires and are scored by multiplying the score for their row (based on the tiles) by the number of spires, then doing the same for the columns.

Simple, easy to understand, but with lots of nice interactions. Plenty of opportunity to ruin another players plans and also—thanks to the random tile draw—unwillingly bolster them. I can be quite quick to jump on the "Knizia's games are themeless" bandwagon, and that certainly applies in this case, but I always seem to find myself enjoying his games and being left happy to play it again.

Final scoring saw me repeat the same feat accomplished in Hey That's My Fish!: I won, beating Jason by a single point
 
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4. Board Game: Summoner Wars: Master Set [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:147] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Sam

Played by:
1. Sam
2. Will


That old favourite Summoner Wars made it to the table again: this time with Sam facing off against newbie Will.

I don't know what factions were played, nor how the battle progressed, or how the combatants felt afterwards. The only thing I do know is that the game had to end before a winner emerged due to Sam having prior engagements.
 
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5. Board Game: Arkadia [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:739]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Adam F

Played by:
1. Adam F
2. Paul
3. Marco
4. Jacob


According to Adam F this is one of his favourite games, sadly I did not get to play it with him so I know nothing about it.

Perhaps someone who did play can chime in with some commentary?
 
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6. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:216]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Jason
Russ, Jason, Andy, me
Three rounds: Russ, Jason, Russ


Brought by:
Jason

Played by:
1. Russ
2. Jason
3. Andy
4. Adam H


As with the start of the evening we needed another quick filler just to tide us over till the other games had finished wrapping up. What could be quicker, and simpler, and more fulfilling, than Love Letter?

Incredibly simple "take a card, play a card" game. With only eight different cards (two of each in the extremely minimal deck) this is a fast and loose game of deduction wherein you hope to eliminate your opponents before they figure out just who's card your holding.

We played three rounds with Russ winning the first, Jason the second, and Russ claiming ultimate victory with the third.

Quick, simple, fun; filled the hole perfectly.
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7. Board Game: Space Cadets [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1199]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Adam H

Played by:
Captain:
Adam H

Helmsman:
Andy

Engineer:
Russ

Shields/Damage Control:
Jacob

Sensors:
Marco

Weapons:
Will


Fresh out the academy Captain McAnguish and his not-disloyal crew embarked on what appeared to be a simple search-and-destroy mission to mop up some recently reported pirate activity aboard the HMSS (Her Majesty's Space Ship) Titanic.

With our expert helmsman Andy piloting the way and the enigmatic engineer Russ extracting energy efficiently enroute, enabling everyone to operate their stations to full effect, we soon arrived in the designated area of space.

Steely eyed sensor operator Marco soon spotted something suspicious and locked the ships systems onto the distant signal of a small pirate fighter. Our enemy targeted and all systems go we engaged.

With engineering pumping out all the energy we could ask for we swiftly closed the space and had multiple torpedoes locked-and-loaded in our weapons bay. This was our very first engagement with an actual, real, enemy combatant: would we prove up to the task?

Holding the crew steady, keeping the tumultuous tumbling emotions of fear and excitement in check, our courageous captain gave the order to fire. With seemingly expert ease our weapons office Will sent the first torpedo streaking through space and … it was a hit! Aided by Marco's sensor skills the pirate was all but torn in two pieces with a single volley! Directing the next torpedo into the launch tube Will seemed confident verging on cavalier but we had nothing to fear: a mere flick of this finger over his display sent it on it's way to victory.

With the piratical scum vanquished the crew rejoiced: our first engagement was a success! However this elation did not last long as Marco once again looked to his sensor screen and beckoned us to examine the metaphorical horizon.

In the sector of space ahead lay not only various hazards such as rifts that would tear our ship asunder and asteroid fields that would pummel our shields and hull but another pirate: and no mere fighter this but a mighty frigate!

Trepidation filled our hearts as further review of the sensor data revealed that the only safe route across these local sectors of space would take us directly past the frigate. Close quarters conflict, we confirmed, was inevitable – we wouldn't be able to use our longer range to our advantage.

Shortly our ships closed the vast interstellar space between us and we were upon our enemy (or were they upon us?) Whatever jubilation the crew had felt at our prior victory was soon forgotten as we exchanged our first volley.

Having heard tell of our earlier valiant efforts the on board camera crew that were filming our efforts for use in some future fluff piece for the academy had gathered round our weapons operator as the pivotal actor in the engagement. Perhaps, then, it was the cameras, the flashing lights, the unaccustomed attention that caused his shots to stray. For stray they did and our enemy was able to continue his advance unabated.

Our hopes then turned towards our shields and ability to evade the enemy retaliation. Whilst our shield operative and damage control czar Jacob was certainly more than merely competent there was only so much he could do to protect us from the onslaught unleashed upon us, for the enemies weapons must surely have done their worst.

Shields swept aside as if they weren't there damage alerts started to flood our displays. Weapons, helm, sensors, shields all were dealt debilitating damage that would hinder them until repaired. The captain himself—ever at the forefront of things—was also injured and forced to take a less active role in events.

Some minor repairs were enacted but things were truly looking grim. The entire fore section of our ship had been badly damaged and could surely take no more before we would be faced with the calamity of a core breach.

Fortunately our helmsman continued to excel under these extreme circumstances taking us within touching distance of the enemy only to pull off an incredible looping manoeuvre—without further damage to our now fragile ship—to slip out of their grasp. The good ship Titanic may have been running, yes, but it was running for its life.

Unfortunately our helmsman's exuberance did not last long as his lack of foresight soon became all too evident. Before us lay a rift in space and were powerless to avoid it.

Again, our ship shuddered as external forces attempted to shear it apart. Damage alerts started to appear but thankfully we were through before they could become a deluge. Our captain, however, was once again injured and was now barely able to communicate with his crew.

Some hasty repairs brought several systems back on line but the ship was still in a sorry state. However the space ahead was now clear and the prospect of putting some distance between us and our target-turned-pursuer embolden the crew.

Of course, the space ahead being clear could only mean one thing: the space behind was far from it. The aft shields soon fell as another barrage of enemy fire blasted against us. Damage alerts flared across the board and the unthinkable happened: core containment was lost – we had a breach!

An all but incapacitated captain, a fearsome enemy on our tail, critical damage fore-and-aft, systems down, and a core breach. Things had never looked grimmer.

Scrabbling franticly the crew tried to make one last stand: engineering, helms, shields, sensors, and weapons, all set to their tasks as if it would be the last thing they would do. It even came together for them: sensors and weapons had a firing solution, helm had plotted a safe course … and then…

It all came apart.

The core breach was no longer a potential danger: it was a death delivering actuality. Too focused, perhaps, were the crew, or too lacking in the guidance their captain could have offered. Absorbed in their own stations the core went untended until it was too late! With everyone frantically rushing to shore it up their time ran out. The only saving grace of this tragedy were their mercifully quick deaths and soundless screams.

(Note: also submitted as a session report in the Space Cadets forum.)
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8. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:110]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Paul

Played by:
1. Paul
2. Adam F
3. Jason


From Adam F's favourite to (what certainly seems to be one of) Paul's.

I was blissfully unaware that this was played being too busy captaining a spaceship and all.
 
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9. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:456]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Paul

Played by:
1. Jason
2. Adam F
3. Paul


Another staple of Paul's gaming catalogue and another game that passed me by without notice.
 
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10. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:382]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Adam H

Played by:
1. Jason
2. Russ
3. Marco
4. Adam H
5. Adam F
6. Will


Ah, Coup. I could coo contently about Coup. Like a lot of these "medium-to-large sized group role based card games in little packages" that we play it's a game I enjoy immensely.

Unlike last week things took a much less sedate pace this time round. The early game saw some good work by Team Adam, as we did all we could to fight against the "stich-up-Adam" undercurrent that pervades every game we play (spearheaded by Will.)

With my coffers being steadily filled by the kindly efforts of my friend the Captain re-appropriating Wills ill-gotten gains from abroad it wasn't long before I became a target. Fortunately, this took not the form of assassination or a coup but simply of a challenge upon my character and the veracity of my statements. I saw "fortunately" because, of course, all my claims made during the game were true.

This trend of unsubstantiated slander proved to be Will's undoing first. You would think the boy would learn but, no, seeing my rebuff two challenges (one from himself) he still proceeded to challenge me a second time. This cost him what little influence he had, and the game.

Oh, how we laughed.

Sadly my erstwhile compatriot Adam F was the next to follow Will into disgrace and I could do nought to save him. The time of the Coup was upon us and thus the frantic scramble to be the last man standing begun.

Whilst doing my best to unseat Marco from his position of relative influential power I left myself upon to attack and was regretfully the next to fall. Things then seemed to happen in the blink of an eye and before you knew what had happened Jason emerged from the three men remaining: victorious if not virtuous.
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11. Board Game: Mr. Jack Pocket [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:619]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Marco

Played by:
1. Jason
2. Will


Being content to miss out on the next item Will tutored Jason in what seemed to be a very quick game of Mr Jack (Pocket).
 
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12. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2245]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Adam F

Played by:
1. Marco
2. Adam F
3. Russ
4. Adam H


Ninja Dice! ninja by
Adam Field
United Kingdom
Southampton
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Just when you thought a week was going to go by without this being played: here it is! Last game of the evening and one that just had to be squeezed in

There were new rules to explain, of course, I'm becoming convinced that it's actually part of the game – we just haven't been let in on it

The changes mainly focused on the aspect that we found lacking last time: the Go stone decision and somewhat too pre-determined nature of the reward/player order interaction. So, this time around, player order changed hands (or not) based on "bids" made against the number of participating Ninja clans and rewards were distributed after the change in player order.

I don't want to detail this mechanism in great detail but I think that what Adam's come up with is a very interesting and unique way of removing the pre-determinedness and really drawing people into the game and giving them an engaging, meaningful and multi-faceted decision to make every round. There's a lot of elements that now interact with each other to impact upon the Go stone decision and it adds a pleasing amount of depth without adding any bulk or weight.

The game was still quick and fun with no pacing issues or player balance issues that have cropped up in some previous rule sets, you can really see the refining nature of Adam's continual design work. In fact, the one concern that was raised related to the seeming evenness when our scores were totalled: Adam and Marco finished with 19 points apiece, Russ and I with 16.

What intrigues me the most about this latest revision though is my reaction after the game: for, I think, the first time I've been left thinking about the game play and not the game design.
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