Games played at Epsom Games Club 14.12.13 (Games Day #38)
Jim Sutherland
United Kingdom
(just) West of London
Middlesex
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Our second (and final?) Games Day at the Vestry and sixteen of us turned up. In no order:

Gordon, Croucho Mark, Will, Garteh, Russell, JimF2, AndrewB2, Martin, Daniel, Jomathon, Emily, Adrian, Kevin, Lee (a first appearance by Kev's daughter), Phil and me (JimS).

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1. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:288]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Gordon, Gareth, Mark, Emily

A favourite filler and family game of mine - plays quick - while we waited for Will.

We didn't fill in a score sheet but from memory

Mark 1st - 6 (2 dice)
Gordon 2nd - 4 (1 dice) - [7.5]
Emily 3rd - 3 (1 dice)
Gareth 3rd - 3 (1 dice)
 
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2. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:209] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
Russell D
United Kingdom
Ewell
Surrey
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On one level, the mission– 107 Tettau's Attack– was for a dozen squads of Germans in 1944 Holland to push through the defences of a small group of 7th King's Own Scottish Borderers. On another level, the mission was to convince (Ashiefan) Jim that he'd made a big mistake in selling all his ASL stuff and to get him back into playing the Greatest Game in the World.



The photo shows the situation a turn or two in. I had to get a squad and a half of the blue Germans off the map to the left; Jim had to stop me, helped by his excellent leaders and machine guns.

I had divided my force between the two flanks. On the bottom of the map my units danced around a bit, mostly staying concealed. I just wanted to keep Jim's forces down there engaged while my real assault took place at the top of the map.

I had a machine gun upstairs in the building on the right, and everyone else was pushing forward along the top. Unfortunately, the British heavy machine gun (marked HMG in red) was well-positioned and ensuring I could only move cautiously. Fortunately I had plenty of time (11 turns) so I crept along, and not many casualties results in the first half of the game.

Eventually the moment came and I rushed the HMG nest from all sides. Jim fired again and again, holding me back, but fired one too many times at my adjacent units, something ASL calls Final Protective Fire, a high risk strategy, as the HMG squad broke, and the machine gun itself malfunctioned. This gave me the chance to push on to the hedge.

Jim pulled back another squad and light machine gun, shown by the red arrow, choosing another excellent location K7. Then, something I'd completely overlooked, another squad of his sneaked around the back of the HMG building, picked up the abandoned and forgotten weapon, and repaired it!

By this stage I'd got one squad off the board, so just needed one more unit away to win. The best chance seemed to be just to run for it. In a hail of bullets all of my units got pinned or broken, with the exception of one leader, now in K1, the head of the upper blue arrow. Jim's leader in K7 ran across the battlefield to engage him in single combat. This held me back for another turn, but I tried again with my remaining units on the following turn, and one half squad dodged the fire, and successfully made it to the woods and beyond. At this point Jim couldn't stop me and conceded.

It was a simple but great scenario, ASL at its best: manoeuvre, bluff, risk, all telling a thrilling narrative as the game unfolds. We had about half a dozen heat of battle rolls which brought up heroes and berserkers, and a new leader created. As the British have relatively few units it is a scenario maybe susceptible to bad dice, but I think the dice were generous to both of us, just letting Jim down at that one crucial moment when he pushed his luck and the HMG broke. I was maybe too aggressive, but in the end I didn't need most of my units to survive. I think Jim's defence was entirely sound, I would perhaps have kept a half squad in the rear, or pulled someone back a little earlier to try and catch any "runners".

So the Germans completed their mission. But what about the other mission, the one to tempt Jim back into the world of ASL? Well, I don't think Jim is going to let Tettau's Attack go unavenged: so I expect I shall face him across the ASL table again soon! Welcome back, Jim.
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3. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:391]
Andrew Bennett
United Kingdom
Epsom
Surrey
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A quick filler played by Martin, Phil, Kev, Adrian and Andrew B2 and new to Phil and Adrian (and I think Martin).

Final Scores (Positions) and Ratings were:
Andrew B2 26 (1)
Kev 39 (2)
Adrian 44 (2)
Martin 50 (4)
Phil 66 (5)

Always a funny game and a nice way to start the games day.
 
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4. Board Game: A Study in Emerald [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:593]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Gordon, Will, Mark and Gareth.

There was a zombie invasion, Gareth turned out to be a Loyalist vampire supported by the Freemasons and numerous double-agents; Bismarkian Paris was destroyed by Cthulhu himself; while Ancient One Royalty were assassinated in Berlin and Madrid. Will appeared to be winning, or was he? In the end Gareth, who had managed to stay out of view from the authorities for so long, surged to a win in support of the Loyalist cause. All of this with a pretty elegant rule set.

A really fun first outing for this hard to describe or categorise game - looking forward to playing again on Thursday.

Winner Gareth (Loyalist) [8] masterfully concealed his allegiance right up to the reveal
Will [8.5]
Mark [8]
Gordon [8] likely to go up, it ran a little long, but this was probably down to first play rule stumbles and initial strategic aimlessness.

I'm not sure that positions beyond 1st are relevant but Will was also Loyalist and therefore the only other player left on the scoreboard given the removal of Mark and I as Restorationists.
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5. Board Game: Seeland [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1096]
Jim Sutherland
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(just) West of London
Middlesex
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Kevin 202 (-)
Aidrian 1717 (7)
Emily 112 (-)
JimS 106 (7)

I never got started in this game and even my "stay at the back" tactic failed to give me any advantage at any time.

In my desperation to prevent me being lapped by Adrian (who was doing amazingly well), I started taking points where I could and in so doing manged to give Kevin something like 40 points for one of his windmills plus the 20 point bonus for largest score plus a further 10 points for most over-seers.
 
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6. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:48]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Gordon, Mark, Gareth and Andrew B2

A couple of games of this introducing Gareth to the joys of RftG.

I didn't record the scores but I managed to sneak the first game with a military engine from Mark and fended off Andrew's 'blue' produce/consume engine in the second, for two wins.

A first outing of this for Gareth so his main conflict was with the the icons - he was getting there by the end.
 
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7. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:50]
Andrew Bennett
United Kingdom
Epsom
Surrey
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Next up was a game of Lords of Waterdeep between Jon, Daniel, Martin and myself. The game was new to Martin and Daniel and I think an unusually competent rules explanation from myself probably led to my defeat. shake

An interesting game in that only 6 buildings came out - all in the first four rounds and after which there were three buildings that weren't particularly useful, nobody had Larissa and nobody wanted to waste the gold on a 'useless building' This limited the opportunity to get cubes and probably led to a tighter lower scoring game.

Martin went all out for skulduggery early on, Daniel had a slow start, but by picking up the Lieutenant in round 3 kept himself in the early game and on course for a win, Jon picked up some early intrigue cards and used them to effectively get extra actions in the first part of the game while amassing a store of cubes that he gradually used up for the win. I achieved a 25 point mission early on but because of the lack of cube-space never quite got the synergy between piety and warfare.

Interestingly, only one mandatory quest was played. I say interestingly, I guess only one was drawn - given who was playing, they would have been played.....

Final scores (positions) and ratings were:

Jon 122 (1)
Daniel* 120 (2)
Martin* 117 (3)
Andrew 113 (4) :nostar

* new to Daniel and Martin (who at about round 4 got out his phone to check the price of the game.....)
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8. Board Game: Felicity: The Cat in the Sack [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1083]
Jim Sutherland
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(just) West of London
Middlesex
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Emily 50 (-)
Adrian 48 (-)
Jim 38 (7)
Kevin 30 (6.5)
Lee (7)

Lee made the classic mistake of over bidding early on and getting stuffed on her points. It happens.

I did not win a single set of cards, all my points earnt the hardway (from wimping out in the bids).

 
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9. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Jim Sutherland
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Middlesex
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Played a medium game and we (Emily, Adrian, me (JimS) and AndreB2 (new to the game)) won easily , or so it seemed to me.

We had some good combinations of characters though, so that helped.
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10. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:11]
Jon B
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Myself and Daniel decided on a quick game to fill time after lunch while waiting for the Pandemic game to complete. Also: because Jim was playing Pandemic we thought it might tease him to play CoB on the next table.

It was only my second time so Daniel quickly refreshed me on the mechanics. We went with a random board selection - though this resulted in Daniel picking the base game layout.

Main points: Daniel went with boats meaning he held first player for the vast majority of the game. He also completed three area types, and chose Cows as his prefered animal type. I went with a building type multiplier along with a power that withdrew the building type restriction rule. A consequence of which I filled a size 7 building area of which 5 were just one type. This type was one that gave me money and so helped me amassed a large fortune to the point where I had to give the bank a loan. I only managed to complete 2 area types and went with a mix of 3 animal types (but I had a point multiplier for animal types).

Daniel 176 (2)
Jonathan 202 (1)

We didn't score it but I got the feeling Daniel has played this a lot and so likes it. I think for me it's a 7.5 at the moment.

There is a feeling of randomness about it. Not so much from the dice but from the tile distribution - which powers appear in a game and at what point, also the building and animal distribution. A large part of my score came from managing to grab 5 of the same building but that was the result of luck in the distribution of powers and building tiles. In other words I took a bit of a gamble and it paid off and so beat Daniel who was probably playing a better game.

Having said that I do enjoy the game: though there's some risk of AP the pace is pretty good, and the decision making is engaging. It makes a good 2 player game.
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11. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:482]
Jon B
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Fun filler time. We played the original (classic?) scoring.

Jonathan 26 (3) 7.0
Daniel 30 (2) 7.0
Emily 21 (4) 7.0
Adrian 31 (1) 6.0


 
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12. Board Game: China [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:626]
Jon B
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Next we picked up China as it claimed to only take 45 minutes.

Daniel* 45 (2) 4.0
Emily* 37 (3) 6.5
Jonathan* 47 (1) 6.0
Adrian* 13 (5) 4.0
Jim 20 (4) 7.0

It's a area majority by placement based on cards played from your hand.

As this was the first play for the majority of us we no doubt did a lot things wrong in terms of tactics. I managed to pull in a high score because of a strong combination of Emissaries, more by chance than cunning design (I hadn't quite appreciated the scoring power of these).

On the plus side it does play quickly. Not a bad game but it felt a bit dry for my tastes. I think there are other more fun games I'd prefer to play in 45 minutes.
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13. Board Game: Trans Europa [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1167]
Jim Sutherland
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Middlesex
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Adrian 6 (-)
JimS 6 (5)*
Emily 12

* My low rating is because we played a variant where all the cards are used rather than the "harder to get too" ones are taken out as per the rules for a 3-player game. It was not an improvement IMO.
 
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