Games played at Epsom Games Club 31.10.13
Andrew Bond
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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At our temporary new venue - Russell's church hall!

There were 15 of us there on Thursday - me (Andrew00), JimS, Jon, Russ, Russell (naturally), AndrewB2, Paul, Ian (noobie), Joanne, Steve, Maynard, (someone else on this table, but can't picture who), JimF, Gareth, and Crispy Chris.

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1. Board Game: Coal Baron [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:486]
Andrew Bond
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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A very well designed medium-light Euro that ticks all the boxes for me:

thumbsup theme
thumbsup speed-of-play - with honourable exceptions whistle
thumbsup easy-to-learn/teach
thumbsup simple interation to mean you can't win on auto-pilot

Very enjoyable

Scores:

1. Andrew 109
2. Russ* 104
3. Jon* 97
4. JimS* 93
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2. Board Game: Citrus [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:1542]
Andrew Bond
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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An old fashioned game with simple mechanics but some interesting tactical choices, depending on who lays what where. Russ kept his workers out on the board for a lot longer than the rest of us and it paid off when we got to final scoring. By connecting his large plantations to multiple fincas, he scored several majorities either alone or shared with someone else (either in majority or minority).

I hoped to force the scoring of fincas during the game while I was sole or majority occupier, but this plan was imperfectly executed.

Certainly one of the lighter, faster games that I picked up at essen.

Scores:

1. Russ* 114
2. Andrew 90
3. Jon* 89
4. JimS* 67
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3. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:495]
Andrew Bond
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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Scores:

1. JimS 25
2= Jon 12
2= Andrew 12
 
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4. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:289]
impy imp
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A fun filler co-operative game, where as a group you are trying to create piles of colour fireworks cards in numerical order.
You can't see your own cards, only other peoples.

On your turn you either:
1)use up a hint to help another player, pointing out all their cards that are a certain number, or all their cards that are a certain colour.
2)play a card - if you play one that can't be played on any of the firework piles, a lightening bolt is turned over.
3)discard a card, to get the group another hint

There are 8 hints available at the beginning of a game.
If all 3 lightning bolts are turned over, everyone loses.

I think everyone will agree I totally sucked at this game, having a memory of a goldfish :-)

I enjoyed it and will happily play it again, hoping to improve on my abysmal performance.
 
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5. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:211]
Russell D
United Kingdom
Ewell
Surrey
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Andrew B2, Ian (Crispy Chris's brother-in-law) and I sat down with Paul to play one of his Essen haul: Uwe Rosenburg's new game set in the glass-blowing industry of eighteenth century Bavaria.

There are a couple of neat little mechanisms in this game. The wheel you use to keep track of resources works very nicely. Each turn (of four in the game) you pick five of your fifteen actions cards, but you are only going to play three of them yourself. If you have chosen a card that no-one else has (more or less, a few refinements to this) you get a both actions on the card, but if someone else matches your card you have to pick one action.

So you cut down forests, dig pits and lakes, amass resources, all to build buildings which give you special powers and/or VPs in time-honoured fashion. It's hard to report on how the game went, as I'm not sure any of us had many grand strategies. I majored on lakes. Andrew B2 did a lot of Feudal Lord-ing which combined well with a building to give him an enormous contiguous pit to rake in the VPs with a couple of buildings, and that gave him the victory.

Final Scores (Ratings)
Andrew B2 24 (7.5)
Paul 17.5 (7)
Ian 13 (7)
Russell 11 (6)

Playing time well under two hours including rules explanation, which is nice. And the new mechanisms I mention above are interesting and work well. But I found the game far, far too random. The card selection seemed like an elaborate scissors-paper-stone: guess wrong and you will fall behind on actions. I really think there are far too many variables to make any sort of prediction. There are lots of buildings, of which you only see a few in each game: this makes it very difficult to plan your glass road to capitalise on buildings. Even if you knew them all (for which you'd have to play a lot) you wouldn't know which ones were going to turn up. I suppose my gripe is that game feel likes it's going to rewarding planning and strategy, but it turns out pretty random and tactical. Because I like the designer, I gave it a six as I would give it another go to see what I missed first time.
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6. Board Game: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:467]
Russell D
United Kingdom
Ewell
Surrey
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This is the Essen game I was most interested in playing, and persuaded the others on the table to give it a try pointing to the 30 minute play time on the box. Unfortunately, we didn't read, deep in the rule book, that the four player death match melee is a longer, more chaotic, and more difficult way to play the game: team play is recommended for four players.

We figured out the rules pretty quickly, but the play time came to nearly ninety minutes all told. This is an unusual Vlaada game in that it sounds very thematic: a gladiatorial-style arena, in which player summon various different combatants with special abilities. But it ends up being rather abstract too, as summoning is carried out by achieving the arrangement of your pieces as shown on the card.

The scoring for a melee game is like Ingenious or Tigris, i.e. you score the lowest total of the three different types of points (each corresponding to how often you have destroyed each of the other players' pieces).

Final Scores (Ratings)
Andrew B2 1 (5.5)
Paul 2 (4)
Ian 3 (5)
Russell 6 (7.5)

Four player was indeed pretty chaotic, but there were ways to mitigate that and plan around the chaos. I really liked the game, seemed fresh and different, and kept me thinking and looking at the board throughout. I'd be keen to try the other ways of playing (team play, the "High Form", etc. as well as further melees). I think it will make a great two player game as well. I might be tempted to buy, but if no one else is going to like it (see ratings above) I might not get it to the table very often.
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7. Board Game: Rococo [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:196]
Andrew Bond
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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Report to follow (by others), hopefully
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8. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:220]
Gareth H
United Kingdom
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9. Board Game: Nosferatu [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2711]
Gareth H
United Kingdom
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