Games played at Epsom Games Club 04.04.13
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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ASL - other tactical wargames call it Sir.
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A good crowd this evening - not sure I know everyone's name (I will add as I discover).

Gordon, 'Capt' Chris, 'Crispy' Chris, Andrew B2, Jonathon, Nick, Martin, Graham(*), Russell, Gareth, Seb, Herman, Josh(*), James(*), Roger(*).

We have duplicate names issues going on all over the place there. shake - suggestions.

(*) = not the person you think it is.

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1. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:114] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Gordon and 'Capt' Chris.

Using - (double depth board)


First Thursday of the month so time for a wargame - well sort of, Memoir'44 only just passes muster as a wargame, although that might just be my perception having played ASL (which is most definitely a wargame) against Russell all afternoon.

I am in three minds about Memoir'44 as it has a number of shortcomings as a wargame, and even shortcomings as a game.

sauron - Some of the combat mechanics are 'interesting' to say the least, e.g. armour's effectiveness does not vary with range.

soblue - Scenarios usually give the defender the same number of units as the attacker. This suggests that the game's mechanisms do not make attack more costly than defence.

gulp - The above reinforces the idea that the game is really just an exchange of dice rolls with forces swapping off given average roles and cards on each side.

yuk - More than any other game I've played, if you roll well you will win.

angry - Like in Combat Commander there are multiple layers of luck. There are the combat decision dice rolls and in addition there is having the right cards. (CC has an additional layer of luck in terms of the random events as well).

Despite all of this it's still a fun way to spend some time and this evening's plays at least proved that the Breakthrough version of the game (which is a better representation of WWII combat than the vanilla verison**) is still accessible and playable in a reasonable time frame - we finished two games of Mem'44 in less time than the cube pushers took for either Cuba or 'Bora-Bore'

The scenario played was 'Alam El Halfa', Rommell's last push against Monty. Chris (Rommell) piled forward in the centre and it did look initially as if the Brits would be overwhelmed. However a bit of 'stiff-upper lip' and some good dice rolls saw the Afrika Corp halted and then turned back - a comfortable Allied win 8 medals to 4.

Gordon won - rating [7]
Chris lost - rating [8] he didn't give a rating but all wargames start with at least an 8 rating as far as he is concerned,


** Breakthrough beats vanilla Mem'44 for WWII combat, simply because the shallower normal board forces a very linear feel to the battlefield, which is fine for Ancient battles, but not for the more mobile nature of WWII.
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2. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot: The Card Game [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:5842]
Russell D
United Kingdom
Ewell
Surrey
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Waiting to see who was going to turn up, six of us needed a filler and Jon suggested this card game version of the "Shadows over Camelot" board game. Like the board game, this card game has a traitor mechanism, but it's optional and we didn't play with it. Basically, the six of us co-operatively had to remember the sum of the cards in five suits as they were turned up, and call a suit when it reached (I think) 11-13, to get some white points. If we went bust or under, we got black points. Some cards mean you can't confer until a "Merlin" card appears.

We won! Seven white points with just a couple of black points.

Winning Players (Ratings)
Russell 3
Graham
Gareth 6
Jon 6.5
Crispy Chris
Andrew B2

New to everyone except Jon. It was very easy with six of us. To be fair, we didn't really experience the game at its finest as we didn't play with the traitor mechanism or the special power cards, so we basically just had a group memory exercise. My rating above is for this basic game, I think it would be somewhat better with all the additional options, although I don't like memory games so it's never going to be my favourite filler.
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3. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:16]
Martin (Hairy) Hatfield
United Kingdom
Little Kingshill
Buckinghamshire
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Our newbie game of Puerto Rico got underway with Andrew B2, Me, Crispy Chris, international Tabletop day recruit Seb, and Seb's mate Herman (another Chris!).

After my lengthy rules explanation we were off, and everyone seemed to pick up the gist quite well. I started on a building strategy, letting others worry about goods production and shipping, but making sure I got a small indigo plant in the first turn, and a small market soon after.
Seb went heavy into Sugar and corn, Herman went hard into the expensive goods plantations, but suffered without a roaster or tobacco storehouse for a good few turns.
Chris was doing very well with a mix of buildings and a good range of production too, and Andrew seemed to be ticking along steadily, and snaffled the last coffee roaster, making Chris' coffee plantations redundant.

Before long I had a large market and an office (sell goods to trading house of a duplicate type), so I was raking in the money, which enabled me to buy both the City Hall (VP for violet buildings) and the other large building which gave points for colonists.
It quickly became apparent I was one building away from game end, at which point some feverish shipping took place, where in I got very few points, but Andrew managed to single-handedly fill an 8 cargo ship with Indigo in one foul swoop. Seb was also doing well on VP from shipping, especially sugar. More than once Herman fell foul of having expensive goods but no available ship to put them on, spoiling the rest of his goods.

At game end only Herman and I had occupied large buildings, with Andrew and Chris managing to buy them on the very last role selection but being unable to occupy them with a colonist.
Despite knowing I'd triggered game end at a good point for me, and that with 2 large buildings I was in the running for a good place, I was worried that by effectively neglecting goods and shipping (I never once selected Captain or Craftsman) that my 7VP from shipping would not be enough to keep me in play, especially when Seb revealed he's made 20+ points on shipping alone. However, my building strategy had paid off, after all as scores revealed:

Final Scores
1. Martin (42)
2. Andrew (38)
3. Crispy Chris* (34)
4. Seb* (31)
5. Herman* (25)

*New to you

If Chris and Andrew had their large buildings occupied, we would have had the top 3 within 4 points of one another.

We all agreed it was a good game, which would bear repeated play and investigation and that play speed would increase as we played more. (Our actual play time was approx 2 hours).
I'll bring it again soon as I think to play again soonish would get most value from this learning experience.
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4. Board Game: Cuba [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:432]
Nick Case
England
Epsom
Surrey
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Roger explained the rules to refresh my memory after my only play in 2007 and to first timers Josh and James. Modestly considering ourselves elite gamers we decided to throw in the El Presidente Expansion that tacks on an extra board, 6 buildings and additional worker cards
Cuba: El Presidente
and the bolt on Hazienda
Cuba: Hazienda
and Spielecafé buildings.
Cuba: Spielecafé

'There are a wide and varied range of strategies available' became the mantra to the game along with 'Pick your cards up James'.

However James' scornful attitude to secrecy (and modest bidding) scored him the win;

1st James 133 Points Rating 10
2nd Nick 131 points Rating 8
3rd Roger 97 points Rating 9
4th Josh 89 points Rating 8

A very nice game that I must try to play more.
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5. Board Game: Bora Bora [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:162]
Russell D
United Kingdom
Ewell
Surrey
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Four of us left after the Puerto Rico newbies' table started up. There was talk of Troyes, but the cult of the new held sway, and we sat down to Bora Bora. Only I had played before so I explained the rules. There are quite a few mechanisms to get your head around, but by half way through the game I think it was all coming together for Jon, Gareth, and Graham. Having played twice before, I got an early lead which I managed to keep throughout the game. We all did a fair bit of building and settling. Gareth settled into an early second place, with some strong priest placements. Jon had a "harem" strategy of one man and plenty of women for most of the game, and was trailing in VPs for a long time, but rallied to a strong third place at the end thanks to a good collection of jewellery. Graham made use of lots of god cards throughout the game, giving him lots of flexibility throughout. I was pleased fully to be able to complete all nine tasks for a 6 VP bonus at the end. The others all got very creditable scores for a first play.

Final Scores (ratings)
Russell 183 (7.5)
Gareth 143 (7.5) - new
Jon 122 (7.5) - new
Graham 116 (7) - new

This was my third play of the game, I'm still enjoying it, and I'm pleased that it seems to possible to be able to plan ahead quite well as one gets the feel of the game. On the other hand, I think this is going to be one of those euros that will feel pretty much played out before too long, and I will just come back to on odd occasions, rather than one I keep returning to.
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6. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:114] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Gordon and 'Capt' Chris.

With Cuba, 'Bora Bora' and 'Puerto Rica' all showing no signs of imminent completion Chirs and I decided to simply swap sides and play again. So Gordon = Rommell, Chris = Monty at 'Alam El Halfa'.

Largely due to the cards available, I didn't try the rummble down the middle that Chris went for, but probed on the right and chipped away with artillery strikes along the whole line. A fortuitous early strike on the British right flank artillery and reducing the armour on the same wing, forced the British armoured reserves into the line. A lack of additional right flank cards then forced me to the left, where the same chip away tactics proved successful. At this point the Germans were looking good to make amends for their earlier defeat, but then it all went wrong.

I overcommitted to the left-flank then compounded that by unnecessarily exposing one of my right wing armour units. Chris, unfortunately for me, had the right cards to exploit the mistake and pounced with two left flank assaults by the reserve British armour overwhelming the remaining German armour on that side. Another British win 8 medals to 5.

A scenario that seems pretty hard for the German's to win.

Chris won [8]
Gordon lost [7]

At least this game seemed to be decided by player decisions, i.e. me over-committing to one side of the board, rather than just the dice rolls.


PS - it should be mentioned in dispatches that Chris very sportingly discarded a card he was dealt at set-up that would have essentially won the game for him if used straight away - an Airpower card that would most likely have crippled 4 German tank units before they had even moved. A commendation for Chris, but another mark against the game in having a card that could be so over-powered.
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7. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:236]
Martin (Hairy) Hatfield
United Kingdom
Little Kingshill
Buckinghamshire
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After Puerto Rico, Seb and Herman were heading back, but Andrew Chris and I settled down to King of Tokyo with the Power Up! expansion.

The expansion gives a personally themed deck of 8 cards for each monster, and rolling 3 hearts allows you to reveal and activate one of these cards. They're fun, and in my previous plays added (a sometimes significant) length to the game.

Chris as Gigazaur scored high on points from the get go, and despite Andrew and I swapping places a few times in the first round as King of Tokyo, Chris took charge of Tokyo and remained there pretty much unchalleneged for two whole rounds, racking up the points almost quicker than i'd ever seen before, with or without the expansion.

This is a fun game that I play more often than any other game with my sons, and I am starting to tire of it a little. The expansion has helped spruce it up a bit, but my rating has dropped accordingly.

1. Chris* (20)
2. Andrew (7)
3. Martin (2)
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8. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:495]
Andrew Bennett
United Kingdom
Epsom
Surrey
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Oops I found the scoresheet for this in the bottom of my bag last night...

Played by: Andrew B2, Crispy Chris, Gordon and Martin.

At the end of the evening we still had a bit of time to kill and were joined by Gordon for a game of Coloretto. It was new to Chris and Martin.

Martin went for a fairly safe stategy of only picking up the cards he needed and had very little against him. Chris and Gordon were focused on maximising their points while I was more focused on trying to minimise their scores by messing them up.

Gordon was ahead for most of the game but my superior* tactics of the last hand ensured my victory. The final scores were:

Andrew B2 36
Crispy Chris 28
Gordon 32
Martin 20

* i.e. left with a blank column and in third place, I turned over three random cards which turned out to be a +2 and two browns giving me a set of 6 and a completely undeserved 1st place....
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