Ten games, ten plays, one year
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I accepted Sarah's challenge (2014 Challenge: Play 10 Games 10 Times Each) to play ten games ten times in 2014!

The idea of digging deeper into some of the games I have really appeals to me since we seem to rarely play the same game twice. One of the games I've enjoyed most this year is Pandemic and I think it's partly because I've played it so many times. In fact, on one occasion a friend and I played seven games in one sitting because we were so determined to work out what we were doing wrong!

This is my geeklist recording those plays. I'll be recording the details in here and just put a summary of where I'm at in Sarah's big challenge list.



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Progress as at 22 December 2014: 100% !!!
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And just because apparently I like making things hard for myself ... I decided to put all of my other underplayed and unplayed games on a list to try and work towards at least ten games for all of them as well. But there's no time limit for achieving *these* ten plays. ;-)

Underplayed and unplayed ... an ongoing saga

meeplemeeplemeeple

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1. Board Game: Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:419]
Board Game: Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia
Euphoria is a recently arrived Kickstarter that I've played a couple of games of - enough to show that it would be great to play a whole lot more to really get the strategy nutted out.

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Extras:

Play #1 - 3 January 2014
Played a game with Helen and it was about five weeks since either of us had played it and we found we'd forgotten a lot. Things kind of clicked for me about half-way through though. I'd really like to try playing this with a larger number of players as I suspect that it would be more unpredictable. I've said I'd have a go at a session report for it. If I do I'll post the link!
Session report: Two players striving for a better tomorrow

Play #2 - 19 January 2014
Played a 5-player game with Danny, Helen, Stuart and Allie. The extra players significantly changed the dynamic of the game. Some differences to the 2-player game: several of the tunnels were completed, there was a lot more competition for authority token spots and players were more likely to rely on their recruit ability. Stuart was new to the game but picked it up easily: Euphoria really is quite easy to explain despite being a complex game. Helen won but it was a very close game with three of us only having one star left and one person with two. And I learnt one thing I really should have already known - don't play complex games with a monumental headache - it really makes it almost impossible to think ahead!
Session report: Musings on a multi-player match

Play #3 - 2 May 2014
Played a 2-player game with Helen which she won in a landslide. It was one of those games where I just never seemed to get any traction. I'd drawn recruits who all had abilities that were either disadvantageous or unlikely to be used often. So I just picked the two 'best' that were in the same faction, which happened to be Icarite. Conversely Helen had recruits with abilities that she was able to use continuously throughout the game to her advantage whereas I was never able to use mine once. I think also that the effect of her recruits was magnified because it was a two-player game. But either way, she used it to full effect and wiped the floor with me - finishing when I still had three stars left to place and she had a vast quantity of unused resource and commodity tokens (seriously, she had enough stone tokens sitting there to build a small wall and enough water tokens to create a moat behind it!).


Plays #4 & #5 - 21 June 2014
Played a two 4-player games at the 'A Gathering of Meeples' games day. I joined in after the start with the first game and I just never felt like I never got my act together until late in the game. Consequently, I was keen to play a second game - just to play it properly. I enjoyed the second game much more, even though I resoundingly lost (!), mainly because I'd remembered how to play and was able to make moves that had a purpose and were part of a larger strategy.

Play #6 - 17 July 2014
Played a four player game at our big July games day.

Plays #7 & #8 - 27 September 2014
Played a 3-player game and a 6-player game at ConCentric. The contrast between the two games was interesting. The markets were opened in rapid succession in the 6-player game but lingered for a fair while in the 3-player one. One thing that was interesting was that in both games the tunnels were used extensively and at least one in each game was excavated through to the end.

Play #9 - 3 October 2014
Played a 2-player game with Helen. Was a fairly close game despite the fact we took different paths to victory.

Play #10 - 5 October 2014
Played a 5-player game at our big games day. Two of the players were completely new to the game, one had only played one other game and myself and the fifth person had played numerous games. So it was a bit unbalanced. Interesting to see how it played out though with the larger number of players. It does have quite a different feel to it with more players.

thumbsupEuphoria will definitely continue to hit the table. The dice as workers mechanic is different to anything else I have and I really like that there are many paths towards the same end (ie. placing your authority tokens) so it replays differently.
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2. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:74]
Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep
This is a recent acquisition that I haven't played yet. I really want to get it to the table and understand it properly. Looking forward to ten plays!

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Extras

Plays #1 & #2 - 3 January 2014
Played with Nigel, Ryan and Helen. The first game none of us had a clue what we were doing (despite the other three having diligently watched the TableTop episode beforehand) and we right royally stuffed up a couple of the rules! We worked out what we'd done wrong though and went on to play a second game that played a lot more smoothly and also made a lot more sense. It looks like it will be a fun game for the broader game group to play. It's actually 'lighter' than I expected which is a good thing given that a number of people in the group don't like long, complicated games.

Play #3 - 22 October 2014
Played a game with Danny and Helen. Despite the fact it had been over ten months since we first played it all went fairly smoothly. Helen won by a landslide! :-)

Play #4 - 1 November 2014
Played a game at PAXAus with Helen, Alice, Edward and Justin. Everyone was pretty tired from a full-on weekend but picked up the game really well. Helen won again! This seems to be her game!

Play #5 - 21 November 2014
Played a game after Bowerbird. We are getting much quicker with setup and packup and the whole game runs a lot more smoothly.

Play #6 - 24 November 2014
Played a game at the Monday night game group. We had the full complement of five, including three who'd never played before. The board got *very* full and we used all the building spaces! It was a fun game though.

Play #7 - 6 December 2014
Played a game with Danny and Justin. We had the Ambassador building appear in the first three buildings which meant that it was used throughout the game. This was quite different to all the other games played recently. Apart from getting more familiar with the gameplay wee are also getting much quicker at set up / pack up the more we play the game.

Play #8 - 13 December 2014
A two-player game with Danny and Helen. Helen was miles ahead all game, only to be overtaken by Danny in the final scoring. Danny had the lord who gets 6 points for buildings - and he'd built a *lot*! It took about an hour and a quarter to play which seems to be about the time we're hitting now.

Plays #9 & #10 - 22 December 2014
Played a four-player game with Danny, Helen and Allie and I had one of those games where everything just seemed to 'work'. Consequently, I ended the game miles ahead. :-) Also played a three-player game with Danny & Helen. This was a game where we were all fairly close during the game and there wasn't a big scores spread at the end. But Helen had completed a *lot* of the two quest types that were preferred by her lord and came from behind to win by one point! It was great way to end the 10 x 10.

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We've all really enjoyed playing Lords of Waterdeep and it's one that will see a *lot* more table time - particularly since we've now got the play time down to under an hour and can set up and pack up really quickly!
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3. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:352]
Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue
A *very* recently arrived Kickstarter that I've been looking forward to for ages! Knowing how many times I played Pandemic when it first arrived I'm hoping that this has the same sort of appeal and replayability. And I have a whole stack of expansion boards (Yay!) which I'll also count as plays.

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Extras:

Play #1 - 7 April 2014
Played a game with Helen. We started from scratch again with the basic set up since the first and last time we'd played, with a big group on New Year's Eve, none of us had a clue what we were doing and the game fell *really* flat. It was much better this time and made a lot more sense. I'd been avoiding it since the debacle on NYE but I'll make more of an effort to bring it to the table now.


Play #2 - 9 May 2014
Played a game with my nephew. We played with the simplest version since it was his first time playing and only my third. He kept complaining that the game didn't follow the physics of how fires work (he's 11!) but that didn't stop him eagerly dice rolling to place smoke nor being really pleased when his first rescued victim was the dog. He had to leave before we'd quite got to the end of the game but I finished off both our turns and was able to let him know that he successfully rescued an additional two victims and I rescued one - bringing our total to the required seven. However, the house was pretty much demolished with most of the internal walls destroyed or ready to collapse.

Play #3 - 11 June 2014
Played a game with Helen, Danny and Rosemary. We played the experienced (ha!) version of the base game rather than the family version. It was the first time we'd played that version and although we got most things right we did get one fundamental thing wrong which made the game far easier than it should have been and took the tension out. Our mistake? When setting the board and rolling the placements at the start we just placed 3 x smoke instead of 3x explosions. Oops! The good thing is that is one rule we'll never get wrong again!


Play #4 - 18 June 2014
Played with Danny and Helen. Helen decided we'd play at Heroic level on the hard side of the board given how easy we'd found the previous game. However, when we did the setup correctly (which was the thing we'd got really wrong in the previous game) we found it a *lot* harder. Consequently, we'd only saved a handful of the victims before we lost our fourth and therefore the game. But this game definitely had the tension that the previous one was lacking!

Play #5 - 21 June 2014
Played a 5-player game at the GoM games day. This time we played at Veteran level on the easy side of the board. However, despite seemingly having a better handle on we still couldn't stop the building collapsing around us (we ran out of damage markers). We were doing a better job protecting the victims though and only lost one this time around. Although technically I guess we lost another three when the building collapsed...

Plays #6 & #7 - 5 October 2014
Played two games at our big October games day. The first game was with the Family set up in order to teach a new player and we won that fairly easily. So for the second game we used the experienced setup on Recruit level. We were SO close to actually winning this game. We had six victims rescued and had the seventh victim standing in the doorway with the firefighter and the ambulance truck outside. But the roof caved in on the end of the turn of the player before the one with the victim! I know we'll master the experienced setup at some point. But clearly it's not just yet!

Play #8 - 28 October 2014
Played a game at the Monday games group. I set it up on Recruit level since there were two new players. However, it went suspiciously smoothly and there was no sense of tension or urgency in the game. We rescued seven victims without losing anyone at all. I'm sure we must have been doing something wrong! It's never that easy.

Plays #9 & #10 - 6 December 2014
Played two games with Danny and Helen. Both games were at Heroic level with the first using the easy side of the board and the second using the hard side of the board. The easier side has more entrances and a much simpler layout making it much simpler to move around, extinguish fire and rescue victims. We saved all the victims on the easy side but lost when the roof collapsed (on Danny!) on the hard side. The lack of access into the building really makes things difficult on that side and we don't have the balance right yet.

thumbsup I'm sure this will get played again in the future, hopefully with some of the expansion boards. I had the pieces for some of the expansions in the base game box and Helen saw the character token for the Rescue Dog. As a result I have to find the character card for the dog so that we can play with it as an option next time!
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4. Board Game: Pandemic: In the Lab [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
Board Game: Pandemic: In the Lab
This entry is actually for On The Brink + In The Lab.

I *love* Pandemic. It is my go-to game and I've played probably 30-40 games with a wide range of people since I got it this year but I hardly ever get the two expansions out and have barely played either of them. My current perception is that I prefer the base game to any of the expansion variants but I don't think I've really given any of them a fair workout in order to be able to understand what they add to the game. So next year's the year!

Note: I will not be counting plays of the base game without expansions against this - *only* when I'm using it with either of the expansions.

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Extras:

Play #1 - 2 January 2014
Pandemic: In the Lab - The Lab Challenge
Played the Lab Challenge with Helen and Danny. As usual, we drew our roles randomly - Danny drew the epidemiologist, Helen was the contingency planner and I was the scientist. The epidemiologist and contingency planner were both useful during the game at critical points but the scientist just didn't seem to contribute much. For some reason it never felt like we got ahead in the game and we failed to save humanity from the spiralling disease outbreaks that were occurring (we ran out of yellow cubes!). We did cure two diseases and we were one move away from curing a third and not far from the fourth but our outbreak track was on 6 and we only had a few blue cubes left as well so everything was pretty close. My impression was the same as the couple of times I played this when it first arrived - i.e. that the addition of the 'lab' and the extra actions makes it a bit chaotic and makes it very easy to get distracted both from the goal of curing disease and also from the necessity to keep infections in check on the main board. It will be interesting to see if we can learn to balance this properly and actually save humanity instead of annihilating them! :-)

Play #2 - 19 January 2014
Pandemic: On The Brink - The Mutation Challenge
Played with Greg and Helen. We very nearly won the game but Greg needed just one more action in order to be able to cure yellow; our only remaining disease. It was an odd game where we never quite felt like we got on top of it yet we did manage to cure four of the diseases and even eradicate red. To me, this challenge just ups the difficulty level - it doesn't really change the style of gameplay.

Play #3 - 2 March 2014
Pandemic: In the Lab - The Lab Challenge
Played a game with Helen. We drew the Researcher and Epidemiologist from the ITL roles. It had been a fair while since we'd played this, and we'd never quite got the rules down pat, so we managed to stuff up one of the rules and accidentally used 'any' colour cube on one of the diseases being processed - rather than the cube in the correct colour. We suspect it only had a minimal impact and probably didn't affect the outcome. We won, and saved humanity, but I won't *really* feel like we've got this version worked out until we can win a game without making any mistakes!

Plays #4 - 5 April 2014
Pandemic: In the Lab - The Solo Challenge
I decided to give the Solo Challenge a try. After all, the whole point of the 10x10 challenge was to try out the different expansions in OTB and ITL. So, I read the rules, set up the ITL board and the CDC and got stuck into it. Well, what a disaster of a game! I don't know if it was the card draw I had, the fact I don't really like playing on my own, or how the solo challenge plays out when playing with the ITL board but it was just awful. I just couldn't get on top of anything all game. Needless to say humanity perished by outbreak - *all over the globe*! And I still had at least half the player deck left. It will be a little while before I give that scenario a run through again I think.
whistle

Play #5 - 23 April 2014
Pandemic: In the Lab - The Lab Challenge
Played a game with Danny and Helen. We decided to only draw from the ITL roles to see if that made a difference. It didn't! We cured blue and red, were a move away from curing black and had enough cards out to cure yellow when we died from a cascading outbreak. As usual we were so busy running around trying to stay near research stations to perform lab actions that we hadn't quite kept up-to-date with the cube clean-up. This variant is a real balancing act. And we haven't quite got it. We keep killing humanity!

Play #6 - 26 April 2014
Pandemic: In the Lab - The Lab Challenge
Played a game with Helen, Mark and Leia/James. We drew from the ITL roles and used four epidemic cards. This game seemed to run a lot more smoothly than other ITL games and we actually succeeded in curing all four diseases! We only did it with two cards remaining in the player draw pile though - so as usual it came down to the wire. But on this occasion we saved humanity.


Play #7 - 21 June 2014
Pandemic: In the Lab - The Lab Challenge
Played a game with Danny and Adam. We drew from the ITL roles and used four epidemic cards. We cured the fourth disease on literally the last turn. There was only one card left in the player draw pile, the outbreak marker was at six and there were very few black and blue cubes left. There were so many ways we could have lost, but we just squeaked it in! So humanity was saved -- just.

Play #8 - 13 July 2014
Pandemic: In the Lab - The Lab Challenge
Played a game with the ITL roles at our big games day in July.

Play #9 - 28 September 2014
Pandemic: In the Lab - The Lab Challenge
Played a game with Helen and Danny at ConCentric. We drew from the ITL roles and played with four epidemic cards. Oddly, it was a game without much tension because it went relatively smoothly. We completed the last cure with about a third of the player cards left and still half of the outbreak meter. I'm not sure if we fluked it or if we've finally found the rhythm for this particular expansion?

Play #10 - 22 November 2014
Pandemic: In the Lab - The Lab Challenge
Hmm... well, it would appear the last game *was* a fluke. Helen, Justin and I managed to fail to save humanity. We were sooooo close. We really just needed one more turn and we would have had the final disease cured. But no, we ran out of player cards.

thumbsup Well, the ten games might be over but playing Pandemic in its many iterations certainly isn't. But that was never in doubt. Despite many, many games with many different people it is still a go-to game that lots of us enjoy. :-)
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5. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:518]
Board Game: Coup
Coup is a recently arrived Kickstarter that is yet to hit the table. However, it looks like it should be a good match for my gaming group.

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Extras:

Play #1 - 27 September 2014
Managed to squeeze in a first play at our big games day in July.

Plays #2 & #3 - 24 November 2014
Played a couple of games at the Monday night gaming group. This game is starting to make more sense.

Play #4, #5 & #6 - 7 December 2014
Played three games with Leia and James. We won one each which was a nice, tidy outcome. I'm starting to get the hang of the game more now. James observed that he thinks it would play better with a larger number of people and I agree with him. I think there's more interaction with more people and the game becomes more dynamic. One of the problems with our group though is that no-one bluffs! We all just tell the truth all the time. This means we lose our characters / 'influence' through assassinations and coups rather than losing them due to being caught out bluffing about having a card.

Play #7, #8 & #9 - 13 December 2014
Played three games with Danny and Helen. Danny had the game worked out by the third game but Helen still looked concerned all the way through - particularly when one of her characters/lives had to die.

Play #10 - 18 December 2014
Played two three-player games with Danny and Robin. Danny has well and truly got the hang of this game and I have no clue when he's bluffing! Which, of course, just makes it more fun!

thumbsup While initially having reservations about this game I've decided I like it. It plays *so* quickly that it is a great game for restaurants/pubs when we're just playing casually. It's also easy to explain and set up - although I have found that it takes a second play for someone to really understand what they're doing.
 
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6. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:185] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Carcassonne
Ok, I know this is a classic but I haven't had it all that long and it hasn't been played a huge amount due to everyone continually getting new games. I also specifically want to try and get my young niece (14) and nephew (11) playing this more to try to introduce them to other gaming genres apart from the Munchkin/Fluxx style of games that they are currently fixated on.

Note: I will be counting plays that include expansions.

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Extras:

Play #1 & #2 - 10 January 2014
Played two games with my niece and nephew. Yay! This was why I put Carcassonne on the list. And after the second one my niece announced that she liked the game. Double-yay! Mind you, it may have had something to do with the fact she somehow became a Cloister-magnet and drew four in the first game and three in the second. And I think my nephew may have a tendency towards being a property magnate - he loves building *huge* castles! But the really important thing was that they enjoyed themselves and enjoyed the game.


Play #3 - 19 January 2014
Played with Alyssa, Helen and Daniel. This was my niece's third game and she really seems to be getting the hang of it. It was a good game all round. I have to admit that I was most surprised to find I won - this is pretty unusual for me with Carcassonne! Or maybe I've simply tested all the strategies that don't work and I'm finally starting to find the ones that do? (Yeah, right. Wishful thinking!)

Plays #4 & #5 - 2 March 2014
Played two games with Danny and Rowan. This was only Rowan's (10yo) second time playing the game and it was many months since he'd first played it. He did *really* well and by the second game he was creating cities and staking out farmers like a pro. In the first game he did have a tendency to want to build the 'longest' road and 'biggest' city at the expense of his points score but he was having fun which was the main thing! The second game was with the Abbey and Mayor expansion which was one none of us had played with before. I don't think we really used the extra items to their full effect (well, apart from Danny who effectively used his Mayor to pinch one of my castles! ) but it was interesting to add them in and definitely something I want to do more often.

Play #6 - 10 March 2014
Played with my niece and nephew. They have both clearly 'got' Carcassonne and thrashed me. Alyssa played her farmers really well and ended up controlling a massive merged area of farmland with eight completed cities which gave her a huge end-game boost. And Adrian has learned to balance his preference for building mega-cities with actually completing them and scoring points and managed to pull off a win with a couple of late-stage city completions. Well played by both of them!

Plays #7 & #8 - 16 April 2014
Played two games with my niece. I had a whole stack of games with me and it was Carcassonne that she chose to play. I soon found out why. Alyssa has well and truly got this game worked out now. She thinks she hasn't and is still tentative with some of her moves, but she's thinking strategically about when and where to place her meeples and how to make the most points from her farms (which was how she beat me in both games!). She still doesn't want to play with any of the expansions, just the base game. And that's fine - we can add them in when she feels confident to do so.



Plays #9 & #10 - 8 June 2014
Played two games with my niece and nephew. The first game was just base Carcassonne but the second game was with the Phantom expansion. This was the first time my niece had agreed to play with an expansion and it was a good one to start with since it's so straightforward and the crystal meeples are so cute! Both of them are playing really well and thinking strategically about where to place their tiles and meeples to make the most points and/or steal a castle or a farm. Gone are the days of making the longest road and the largest castle just for the sake of it!

thumbsup And with those two games I reached #10! However, much remains for us to discover in Carcassonne - there are still many expansions waiting to be explored and mastered. And one of these days I'd like to play a mega-game with all of the expansions in together! It would take a long time and a lot of table space but it would be worth it.
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7. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:409]
Board Game: Hanabi
We've played a handful of games of Hanabi and I think it's a game that deserves more plays. It's such a deceiving little game - it looks so easy but it can be sooo difficult!

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Extras:

Plays #1 & #2 - 30 January 2014
Played two games of Hanabi. The first one was a two-player game. We got the deck out to Red 3, White 3, Yellow 4, Green 5 and Blue 4 before we ran out of cards in the draw pile for a score of 19.

This was followed by a three-player game where one of the players was new to Hanabi. We got the deck out to Yellow 1, Green 5, Red 5, White 4 and Blue 3 for a score of 18 before we again ran out of draw cards. Yellow was stuck at 1 due to an unfortunate early disposal of both yellow 2s! This immediately turned the remaining yellow cards into cannon fodder.

Play #3 - 27 February 2014
Played a three-player game of Hanabi with Danny and Helen. We seemed to be going ok and then 'suddenly' there were no cards left in the draw pile. We got the deck out to Green 4, Blue 1, Yellow 4, White 3 and Red 5 for a score of 17. We appear to be getting worse at Hanabi! At this rate we'll score 9 for the last 10x10 game!


Play #4 - 24 April 2014
Played a five-player game of Hanabi with Danny, Helen, Allie and Leanne. All the extra cards on display when playing with five added an extra dynamic. But conversely the game was over much more quickly than the two- and three-player games. We got the deck out to Green 3, White 4, Red 3, Yellow 5, Blue 3 for a score of 18. Better than last time!

Plays #5 & #6 - 26 April 2014
Played two games of Hanabi with Danny, Leanne and Leia. In the first game we got the deck out to Green 4, White 2 Yellow 5, Red 2 and Blue 3 for a score of 16. The second game seemed to run a lot more smoothly yet we again got a score of 16 with White 4, Green 2, Blue 5 and Red 2. I think part of the challenge with Hanabi has been that we keep playing with different combinations of people.


Plays #7 & #8 - 25 May 2014
Played two games of Hanabi with Leia. In the first game we got the deck out to Green 5, Yellow 5, Blue 5, Red 3 and White 3 for a score of 21. And in the second game we got the deck out to Green 5, Yellow 5, Red 5, Blue 3 and White 2 for a score of 20. The best games in a while! One of the things I'm finding really interesting with Hanabi is how different people communicate the same thing differently. So with one person 'This card is blue' will mean one thing and with another it might mean the opposite. A most intriguing game.

Play #9 - 13 July 2014
Played a 3-player game at the end of the July games day. We got the sequences out to 18.

Play #10 - 27 September 2014
Played a 2-player game at ConCentric. Managed to get the sequence out to 21, which is an equal best so far.

thumbsup And with that I've hit #10. I'm sure Hanabi will continue frequently hit the table though. It is easy to explain yet has complexity of play. In addition, the mechanic of not being able to see your own cards is very different to anything else that we play.
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8. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:218]
Board Game: Seasons
Seasons was the gift from my 2013 AU/NZ Secret Santa. Looking forward to learning and understanding the game in 2014!

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Extras:

Play #1 - 2 January 2014
Played a beginner's game with Helen. Since neither of us had played it before we followed the instructions in the rule book and used the suggested constructed decks instead of going through the initial drafting process. The game took about two and a half hours and we finished with scores only five points apart - myself on 339 and Helen on 334. Initial impressions of the game were favourable although it did lag in the third year once we had our limit of power cards out and were basically only playing rounds in order to gain energy to transmute it to crystals. It will be interesting to see if that occurred just because it was our first game and we didn't stagger the use of the cards well enough or if it's a feature of playing the game with only two players. There were elements of the game that seemed very similar to Magic and both of us kept referring to 'tapping' instead of 'sacrificing' the power cards!

Play #2 - 23 April 2014
It had been so long since we last played that we decided to play again with the suggested constructed decks from the rule book. We also had a close look at a number of the rules and realised there were a few things we did incorrectly last time. Following the rules properly (hah!) meant that the game played quite differently from last time and had a very different feel. It was also a lot shorter at one and a quarter hours. And a lot lower scoring (174 vs 124)! We've decided we'll start properly with a draft at the beginning of the next game so it will be interesting to see how that changes things.


Play #3 - 17 September 2014
Played a 3-player game with Danny and Helen. It had been many months since our last game and we were almost starting from scratch with the rules. But not quite! However, yet again we found a few minor things that we'd been doing incorrectly. This game has a bit of a learning curve!

Play #4 - 27 September 2014
Played a 4-player game at ConCentric with Danny, Helen and Adam. Play went much more smoothly with three of us knowing how to play (and actually remembering this time). We still managed to find one minor thing we'd done wrong last time! I really think that's it though and the next game we will actually play completely correctly!


Plays #5 & #6 - 28 September 2014
Played two more games at day 2 of ConCentric. Firstly a 4-player game with Justin, Helen and Allie. Justin and Allie picked it up really quickly and the game flowed well. The second game was the last game of the night - a 2-player game with Allie. Since we both knew how to play we drafted the cards rather than using the pre-constructed decks. What we ended up with was more random but I still felt like I had more control since I'd actively chosen the cards. Interestingly, because we both knew the game we found the game zipped through very quickly with very little downtime and we only took about 45 mins.

Play #7 - 3 October 2014
Played a 2-player game with Helen and we drafted properly with all the cards in for the first time. I like the look of the cards from 31-50 and really want to play another game with them.

Plays #8 & #9 - 5 October 2014
Played two games at our big October games day. The first game was with Helen and myself and two new players, one of whom was over-thinking and over-analysing every move. Consequently, the game went for what felt like forever. The second game was with Allie and Helen and the three of us whipped through it comparatively quickly even though it was late in the evening. I've now realised that Seasons is a game not suited to all playing styles. Which is fair enough - everyone fits some games better than others - push your luck dice games don't suit me as I do appallingly badly.

Play #10 - 9 November 2014
Played a 3-player game with Danny and Helen. We played by drafting with the full deck, which is good because there are cards in 30-50 that we've still not used at all!

thumbsup And that marks ten plays of Seasons! I still enjoy it and am definitely willing to play again. I'd be very interested in playing with the expansion at some point to see how that adds to the game.
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9. Board Game: Council of Verona [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2815]
Board Game: Council of Verona
Council of Verona is a recently arrived Kickstarter that I've played a couple of times. We were rather tentative in the games that we played and very polite. I think we need to play it a lot more to bring out the sneakiness and bluffing ability in everyone.


Note: I will be counting plays that include expansions.

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Extras:

Play #1 - 1 January 2014
Played a game in the restaurant after having seen The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug! Two of the five players were new to the game so everyone was still very tentative and polite. I *really* think we need to play a number of games of this in a row to really get it going.

Play #2 - 26 June 2014
Played a quick game at the monthly games dinner. It had been so long since any of us played that we'd all forgotten what to do!

Play #3 - 5 October 2014
Played a two-player game at our October games day. As usual, very quick. It makes a nice little filler. Kind of like a games day palate cleanser!

Play #4 - 15 November 2014
Snuck in a quick 5-player game at Kappys. It was hot upstairs and everyone was tired and I think I explained it badly and it just never seemed to get off the ground.

Plays #5 & #6 - 27 November 2014
Played two 2-player games with Chris. I explained it much better than last time and she picked it up quickly. Close outcomes both games.

Plays #7 & #8 - 29 November 2014
Played two games with my nephew. He picked it up pretty quickly and worked out where to place his cards and tokens to best advantage. He hasn't quite got the hang of using the character abilities to mess with the other player yet though. This is a bit of a surprise given how much he loves the 'take that' element of Munchkin but I suspect he'll work how to do that in CoV pretty quickly too.

Plays #9 & #10 - 6 December 2014
Played two games with Helen at the AGM. She won both of them. CoV really is a game that can turn around completely right at the end with strategic use of the right card.

thumbsup This is such a quick little game that I'm sure it will continue to see table time in the future when we need a light filler.
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10. Board Game: Viticulture [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:196]
Board Game: Viticulture
I've played Viticulture once so far at a games convention. 2014 will be the year to learn how it's *really* played!

Note: I will be counting plays that include expansions.

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Extras:

Plays #1 & #2 - 21 January 2014
Finally had a chance to get in some gameplay of Viticulture. Yay! Played two games with Helen. The first game went for about 1.5hrs and the second one only took 55mins. The last time I played the game really didn't 'click' for me at all. I don't know whether it was the noise in the gaming hall, the number of people playing or the version of the rules we were using. Either way, it made a lot more sense this time. I suspect that the updated rules we had plus the rules summary guide made a lot of difference. The Grande Meeple, in particular, made a big difference to how I remember it playing last time. This is another game where I'm really curious to see how it plays with a lot more people. I suspect it will be a lot more chaotic and more difficult to do what you want in any given turn.

Play #3 - 25 January 2014
Played a five-player game of Viticulture. Three players had played it before and two hadn't. The gameplay was constant and there were no lags yet the game went for over two and a half hours! I'm not sure if we were doing something wrong for it to go for so long? We'll have to go back through the rules again. It was interesting to compare it to the two-player game though.

Update: I thoroughly reviewed the rules and I found four, very minor, things that we were doing wrong. But none of them would have added much to the time. So I'm stumped!

Play #4 - 28 January 2014
Played a three-player game of Viticulture. In this case all three players had played it before. And if the previous game went on for ever this one just rocketed through! We only took 45mins. Danny won with 21, Helen on 20 and I was on 16.


Plays #5, #6 & #7 - 5 February 2014
Played three two-player games of Viticulture. All three games went for an hour or thereabouts so now I'm wondering if the previous super-quick game was due to having a third player and therefore having access to the bonus space. It was funny, but we felt really hampered by not being able to use any of the bonuses at all! I really want to play more 3-4 player games and see if the game on the 28th was just a fluke or whether that number of players is really a bit of a sweet spot for the game.

Plays #8 & #9 - 19 February 2014
Played two three-player games of Viticulture. Both games ran for about an hour and both games ended in a tie which was decided on the Lira countback (the first game saw two players on 25 and the second game saw two players on 23)! I think we've only had one tie previously so that was rather unexpected. It was good to have access to the bonus spaces again - it was bizarre how it felt like that just opened up so many more options. Interestingly, we are finding that the more we play the more we are testing different paths to victory instead of solely filling wine orders.

Play #10 - 26 February 2014
Played a two-player game of Viticulture. It was one of those funny games you sometimes have where nothing seems to gel for either player. I honestly thought I was going to lose but somehow I ended up winning by a huge margin. However, I strongly suspect that if it had gone for one more year then the story would have been different. I think that probably my best decision in the game was forcing the end-game to occur when it did!

thumbsup And that was game #10! While I might have finished the ten plays for the challenge I haven't finished playing Viticulture! I think there are still lots of gameplay options left to be explored. For example:
* Can I finish and win a game without filling a single wine order?
* What are the most wine orders I can fill in a game?
* What about just filling sparkling and blush orders, and not red and white?

I predict that this is just the beginning, rather than the end.

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11. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:118] [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Stone Age
Alternate game

This is my alternate game in case one of the above games turns out to be a bust and I really can't bring myself to play it ten times.



Play #1 - 21 June 2014
Played a game with Helen, Adrian and David. It had been a long time since I'd last played it but Helen did a great job of explaining the rules to those who hadn't played or were a bit rusty (me!). This meant I hit the ground running and for once didn't waste too many moves dithering around at the start. We were all quite close on the score track until it came time to do the end of game scoring. I'd concentrated on getting cards in three areas - huts, population and the green set collection ones. Surprisingly, this meant that I won the game convincingly. Bonus!
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12. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:269]
Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game
Personal challenge #1

Civ was, and is, my all-time favourite PC game so when I realised it was available in a table-top game it was a must-buy for me. Unfortunately, its length and complexity means that it isn't to everyone's taste and so finding enough people interested in playing it has proved a challenge - and in fact it took over six months before I could even get it to the table.

So my added personal challenge is to play Civ more times in 2014 than I did in 2013.



Play #1 - 9 January 2014
My first Civ game for the year! We played a great four-player game. I had realised part-way through that I'd stuffed up my strategy and there was no way that I was going to win. But it was very entertaining to watch two of the players (Roman and American) keep each other so distracted that they had not noticed that the fourth player (Russian) was about to win. It was nicely played by the Russians, quietly and unobtrusively building their tech tree until the triumphant announcement that they'd just built space flight.
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13. Board Game: Firefly: The Game [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:349]
Board Game: Firefly: The Game
Personal challenge #2

Another recent acquisition, as yet unplayed. But, it's Firefly ... shiny! And it appears that it can be played solo so that might be an option if need be. Although I don't usually play solo so I'll be looking for other victims ... er players to play it with me!

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Update:
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After a great deal of thought I've dropped this out of the main ten since the reality of when and where I play games with my friends means that hitting the table with a 2hr+ game ten times in a year is unlikely - no matter how much we may all like the theme.

However, I refuse to drop it off the list altogether! So my second personal challenge is to ensure that this hits the table at least once in 2014.

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