Games played at Epsom Games Club 26.06.14
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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ASL - other tactical wargames call it Sir.
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In attendance this evening were - Roy, Steve, Paul, T101 James, Josh, Jonathon, 3BS Dave, Gordon, Andrew B2, Gareth



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1. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:103]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Gareth, Andrew and Gordon

I was keen to play this again to try and decide whether I should keep it or sell it, as, although I like what the game is trying to do, previous plays have left me feeling underwhelmed.

After the first half of last night's game the 'underwhelmed' feeling was back and CE was definitely heading for the sale pile. As per the previous game the interplay of special powers and initial battles seemed to have produced a death spiral from which recovery would be difficult. Useful looking cards I had were immediately zapped and it all just seemed like I (we) were being played by the game.

Things then turned around a bit when Gareth's ability to keep taking turns ended and Andrew and I both were able to somewhat recover our positions. Uber-powerful cards seemed to be less prevalent and there were a few normal (i.e. straight-forward) battles, the occasional plan actually played out......oh, and I ended up winning......is that the only reason I ended up feeling better about CE? I don't think it was as I was already feeling better about the experience before I knew I would cross the line first but it might help encourage me to play again soon (with more than 3 players) to 'finally' determine the fate of my copy.

Gordon won - 5 planets
Gareth - 3 planets
Andrew 3 planets


So I am still undecided - I like games where the players have to steer a course through the chaos, sometimes being able to 'bully' the chaos, at risk of being overwhelmed by the chaos and on occasion being the chaos, but I don't like it when the game crosses over into simply being 'random'. Cosmic Encounter is very close to the random line with it's uber-powerful and very swingy cards and special powers. Three player may not be the best player count for it due to the alliance mechanic but more players generally means more chaos and will mean more of those uber-swingy cards are always knocking about - a curates egg.
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2. 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, Gareth and Andrew

Played with the first two expansions.

I forget the detailed course of the game but after heading off on an abortive alien route I managed to get a bit of everything which found some synergies with the 'goals' on offer.

Gordon 1st 63
Andrew 2nd 42
Gareth 3rd 31
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3. 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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ASL - other tactical wargames call it Sir.
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Played by: Gordon, Gareth, Andrew

This time my starting cards did not really line up with anything and I thought I would have to go military which was one of the 5 pt 'goals', although I did have a couple of cheap blue worlds, so a blue produce/consume strategy was a possibility if the right 5 or 6 development turned up - which it did on my first explore. It took a little while to get the blue strategy onto the table as I had no planets to generate cards from trade, but a bonus power that let me keep an extra card while exploring was useful until I could get the 6 development down and then simply get cards from consuming at the same time as scoring points. Then just rinse and repeat...

Gordon 1st 54
Gareth 2nd 44
Andrew 3rd 39
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4. Board Game: Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:441] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Gareth and Andrew (taught by Gordon)

With 40 mins left I showed Gareth and Andrew Avengers v X-Men - a dice pool building, dueling game.

I like the theme of this, although the game itself doesn't always make sense in it's implementation of it, i.e. super-heroes can attack super-heroes and be on the same side as super-villains, and I'm not really sure who/what the player represents. It does provide some surprisingly varied tactical and strategy options and decisions for the players so I'm glad I bought into it although the collectible purchase model is odious.

Gareth and Andrew fought out a cagey affair with Gareth looking like he had the upper hand for most of the game, after taking an early pummeling by Andrew's warband of side-kicks. After a long spell of Gareth's Magneto's facing off against Andrew's ragtag bunch of heroes, spearheaded by Hawkeye, Gareth waited just a little too long to try and spring the perfect strike and Andrew's Spiderman wrapped up the defending super-villains allowing Hawkeye etal to punch Grareths lights out - Kapow...!
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5. Board Game: Extra! Extra! [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:4512]
James Faulkner
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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5 player playtest.

Feedback:

- Interviews were felt to be difficult to achieve and not valuable enough. They give the same points as the story they attach to for the same number of cards but they do not help you finish your paper. Currently included as something to do with the Headline cards once a player has completed their headline.

- Newswire: we never got 5 or 6 cards on the newswire as the action was taken nearly every turn. So it was deemed attractive but meant the newswire didn't quite work as intended.

- Morgue: the 1 cube space was felt to be too weak though this doesn't produce a problem as such. Suggestion of 2 morgue spaces: the first chooses 2 cubes, the second takes 3 of the cubes remaining.

- Advertising: felt to be too easy and the 3 cash advert was seen as a no-brainer. Suggestions included possible -ive VPs on the bigger adverts (would people take the £3 advert with a -2VP?) or have the advert space(s) as competitive ones.

- Extra Reporters: again gaining 1 or 2 reporters as soon as possible was seen as a no-brainer. Is this a bad thing? Wages for extra reporters or have the cost of an extra reporter be decreasing based on the number of turns played. Suggestion to reduce the number of spaces so whoever takes action usually pays a premium.

- Stringer spaces: having 2 spaces was seen as too loose but they didn't get used that often in our game so I thought it was ok and stringers seemed to work fine.

- big story dominance?: Balancing incentivising collecting a long suit vs allowing a small stories strategy to be competitive. Feeling is the game leans too far towards the big 6'er story.

- Hand Limit: 12 cards? Discard at end of turn. Given the possible limit on the number of cards in the game probably needed so there is always a draw pile in each coloured back.
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6. Board Game: Taj Mahal [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:315]
James Faulkner
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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