Games played at Epsom Games Club 16.05.13
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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ASL - other tactical wargames call it Sir.
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Bring on the games - along this evening were - Gordon, James, Nick, AndrewB2, Paul, Jeff, 'Groucho' Mark, Chris, Russell, Jo, Jon, Maynard, Kev, Martin, Seb.

 
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1. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:496]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played By: Gordon, Paul, Nick, Andrew B2.

A welcome outing for Reef Encounter - a great multi-player, abstract conflict game. Parrot fish eat coral whilst shrimps defend polyp-tiles and algae-cylinders manipulate the coral tiles. By the time you have wrapped your head around perfectly interlocking mechanisms your brain is screaming for mercy.

I started well, stalled in the middle and faded badly at the end. Andrew threatened and Paul hung on a little too long to a major clump of yellow coral, before Nick, who had made a pretence of forgetting all of the rules, suddenly 'remembered' them sufficiently to storm into a clear lead with a major pink coral binge.

Nick - 52 [8.5]
Andrew - 36 [9]
Paul - 35 [9]
Gordon - 27 [9]

If you haven't tried this game you really ought to.
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2. Board Game: Rialto [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:767]
 
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played By - Gordon, Nick, James, Paul, Andrew B2.

This is an easy game to get to the table - once you know the game I think the playing length will be 15 mins per player. Despite it being a lot less fiddly than the average Feld game there is still a fair amount of depth here so it's an excellent end of evening game if you have an hour left.

It's pretty hard to work out how well everyone is doing during the game - to me it looked like Nick was winning which turned out not to be the case.

My heavy Gondola and blue building strategy just ran out of steam to wards the end, largely due to a lack of gold to trigger my building powers which allowed Andrew to pass me and nearly Paul as well. James turned out to be well in front but I'm not sure how.

James* - 74
Andrew* - 60
Gordon - 58 (ahead on Doge track to take 3rd place).
Paul* - 58
Nick - 41

(*new to the game)

We all rated it a 7.5. If this holds up to more plays, and, if as I suspect it turns out to play best with 3 players, I can see my rating udge up to an 8
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3. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:33]
Russell D
United Kingdom
Ewell
Surrey
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The predicted two tables of Eclipse did indeed materialise, and on our table, 'G.' Mark, 'Cpt.' Chris, and I threw in some elements of the expansion: mainly one new alien race and ancient homeworlds. One nice facet of the expansion is that it's possible to pick and choose from all the different additions.

Our three growing empires were separated by ancient homeworlds sporting some tough-looking guardians, and fear of these helped delay the day when our respective civilizations encountered one another. For the first half of the game, Chris launched repeated assaults on ancients he discovered, but lost every time. This did at least give him the first draws from the VP bag. Unfortunately his "Rho Indi Syndicate" was a group of pirates whose speciality was early rapid expansion and pillaging from defeated enemies, but the ancient hexes had Chris contained. As the Orions, I was also looking for some ancients to beat up, but my explorations revealed mainly unoccupied space. Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered with ring 3 exploration, which perhaps spread me too thinly, but I do think (especially in three player) it may not be wise to leave all the ring three tiles to one's opponents. Mark's Hydran Progress meanwhile was tinkering with test tube, Hadron colliders and the like to do bags of scientific research over in his corner of the board.

In the second half of the game, I had built a couple of powered-up cruisers and, after taking out an ancient homeworld, felt confident to take on the Galactic Centre. Unfortunately, Mark charged in after me, and, as it turns out, the bookish pursuit of science has certainly militaristic spin-off benefits. His extremely well-equipped dreadnoughts made short work of my cruisers with barely a scratch, and Mark took the centre. Not only did Mark now appear-- out of nowhere-- to be in the lead, but my sectors were wide open and undefended. I was *very* fortunate that paused to consolidate before making any further advanced, as that gave me time to research the artifact key, giving me plenty of materials to rebuild my vanquished fleet. The lines between me and Mark were drawn. I had a sneaky plan involving the wormhole generator to cause havoc behind Mark's enemy lines, but pinned by a few of his pesky interceptors, nothing came of it. But, honestly, I was happy to hold my line against his fleet-- if he'd only had more moves, or faster engines, I don't think I could have held him off. Meanwhile, Chris has tooled up with computers and improved hulls, and was now making short work of the ancients all around him-- too late, though, to think of taking on Mark's vast defences in the centre of the galaxy.

Each of us had been quite convinced, during the early turns, that we had lost the game, but only two of us could be right in this when it came time to add up the final score.

Territory+Science+Battles+Other Final Scores (Ratings)
Russell 17+5+12+5 = 39 (10)
Mark 16+6+11+4 = 37 (9)
Chris 10+2+16+8 = 36 (8)

A close result, holding onto my empire along with some lucky VP draws from the battles just got me the game. Chris did extremely well to score so well, I thought-- a bit more luck on those early battles and he'd probably have been odds-on favourite. I'd have guessed Mark had it, though, from the board position, and if he'd just had those faster engines, the history of the galaxy could have been very different...

Great game, even more to play through with everything the expansion offers.
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4. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:235]
James Faulkner
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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Kev and Martin were attending for their first time. Martin had to head off at 8:30 so Jeff suggested StP.

This was new to K & M.

Jeff got off to a very good start and quickly had a nice upgraded building and some high powered nobles bringing in cash and VPs. Martin was keeping pace on the VP track with Jeff with a Firehouse but started to neglect his imcome a little too early and he struggled to play many cards to eventually finish in 4th. Kev started slow on income generation but by the end of the game was bringing in a massive amount of cash. He probably needed to start converting some of it to VP producing assets a bit earlier. However, he did rack up several different aristocrats to come from a long way back to grab 3rd.

I thought Jeff was getting away from me on the VP track but think I got the timing of my switch from income into VPs just about right with some VP generating aristocrat upgrades and then several building purchases with the -1 building discount worker. I finished off with both pubs and hit them with 20 money for 10VPs in the last turn.

It is the timing issues which are very hard to get right on a first game but both new players made a good stab at them.


1. James
2. Jeff
3. Kev
4. Martin
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5. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:392]
James Faulkner
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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With Martin leaving and Jeff only having a little time left we played 3 rounds of No Thanks!

his was new to kev, but from his pperformanc you wouldn't have guessed it. I put it down to my excellent rules explanation.

The first 2 rounds both saw a fairly high card come up first which Kev took in both cases with a reasonable amount of chips on them. This seemed to put Jeff and I under chip pressure for most of the rest of the game and we racked up some rather impressive -ive scores.

Jeff got some measure of respect back in the final round.

Such a simple game but great fun.

Round1
Kev
James
Jeff

Round2
Kev
James
Jeff

Round3
Jeff
James
Kev
 
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