Games Café (Oxford) - Games played 9 February 2014
Wakefield Morys-Carter
United Kingdom
Oxford
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The first Games Café of 2014 and a healthy turnout, including Grace who helped out on the CGF stall at Toyfair.
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1. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:13]
Wakefield Morys-Carter
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Oxford
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Carol at Games Keeper had brought this to our attention and Paul had his copy. Agricola without personal cards, but instead lots of unique caverns you can build if you get the one you want first. It claims to play up to 7 people, and we played with six. There was quite a lot of downtime in-between moves but everyone stayed engaged. The set-up was quite long, as was the explanation (five of us hadn't played before and one hadn't played Agricola either). The multiple strategies of animals, planting, mines, caverns, and adventures meant that no-one got left miles behind. No ovens needed to cook the meat or bake bread which made that aspect simpler.

I won, I think with a combination of having a cavern with reduced my food cost by 1 per donkey in a mine (3) and gave me a free piece of ore every turn for every donkey in an ore mine (2). I also went for the bonus cavern to protect me from up to 7 penalty points, so I didn't bother to cultivate all of my forest or dig out the last bit of my mine, and I also used my free ore to forge a weapon for my third dwarf at the end to get 8 bonus points for having all my dwarves with weapons.

Since I've got the score sheet with me I'll put the points here:

Animals: P14, R22, A21, O13, W19, M14
Missing a type of animal: O-2
Grain: P1, R1, A1, O2, W3, M3
Vegatables: P3, R3, A2, O1, W3
Rubies: P1, W1
Dwarves: P3, R4, A5, O4, W3, M5
Unused spaces: P-2, R-1, O-2, M-2
Tiles: P17, R23, A27, O30, W25, M25
Bonus tiles: P8, R13, A8, O14, W8, M17
Gold coins: P30, R6, A1, O2, W16, M5

Total: P75, R71, A65, O62, W78, M67

The game took around 5 hours in total, so didn't leave us much time to play anything else, but I think it will be quite a bit shorter next time.
 
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2. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:8]
Wakefield Morys-Carter
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Oxford
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I was interested in trying this, but chose Caverna instead and didn't have time for both.
 
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3. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:79]
Wakefield Morys-Carter
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Oxford
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4. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Wakefield Morys-Carter
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Oxford
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5. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
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6. Board Game: Cornish Smuggler [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:5867]
Wakefield Morys-Carter
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7. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:191]
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8. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:48]
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9. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:227]
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I read the rules for this over Christmas and figured it was simple enough to fit into the 2 hours we had left after Caverna (including re-reading the rules and working out how to play). It worked pretty well, though Adam felt we were all paying too much for the paintings. It certainly got more strategic as the game progressed, and it's difficult to factor in that even if you know a painting is going to be worth at least, say, $40,000 this season if you buy it for $35,000 then you are giving the auctioneer that money as well as getting the painting yourself, so perhaps the net result is +$35,0000 for the auctioneer but only +$5,000 for you. Hence Adam's conjecture that we should be bidding around 50% of the expected value.
 
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