Games Played at Epsom Games Club 20/11/14
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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ASL - other tactical wargames call it Sir.
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Another Thursday so some more games - playing were: Paul, Jo, 'Nearly Diceless' Nick, Jim (yes, that Jim and on a Thursday), T101 James, Gordon, Nameless Steve, Biblical James, Roy, Russell, Capt Chris, Matt, Chris, Kieran and Alex.



A couple of games went looooonnnngggg this evening - Kanban might still actually be going.
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1. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:131]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: James, James, Gordon, Roy and Steve.

A lengthy outing for James's newly (Essen) acquired copy of Cyclades. It's a fun game of bidding for the god's favour in a quest to acquire, either through building or conquest, two metropoli among the eponymous Aegean archipeligo.

Biblical James went out into an early lead based on his discount giving priests, but was cut down by Roy's military thrust across the middle of the board. I failed to get any early priests and was in a poor position, yet despite that T101 James managed to convince everyone I was close to winning shake and then he nicked one of my philosophers. Having distracted attention sufficiently from himself T101 was then only one philosopher away from victory but he then got hit by everyone, at which point Roy looked like he had it won but overbid on securing his final philosopher.

I then nearly moved into contention, I won't say 'victory' as I would still have needed another metropolis but it was the closest I got, with an attack on one of Steve's islands but a poor choice of troop size to attack with along with even poorer dice rolling, ended any serious interest I had in winning. T101 was sneaking back into it and Biblical was close and Steve was still in the hunt.

In the end Biblical held off Steve and Roy held off Biblical and when the dust settled it was a tie between T101 and Biblical, even down to the second tie-break - so a win** for team James.

Rating from me an 8.

For me Kemet just has the edge. This evening's game ran a bit too long - with the player count being responsible for that rather than any AP issues - 5 player makes it just a little unwieldy although it does suit the number of gods better.


** or maybe not - a strict reading of the rules stated that in the event of a tie the player with the most money behind their screen was the winner, without confining that to those in the first place tie. And I had the most money devil
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2. Board Game: Quartermaster General [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:696]
Alex W
United Kingdom
Epsom
Surrey
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The four player setup suggested by the rulebook is Germany/Italy & Japan vs UK/US & Soviets, so we went with that. As Matt and I played before, we took the pairs to try and keep the game chugging along at a decent pace.

Allies
Matt as UK & US
Kieran as Soviet Russia

Axis
Alex as Germany & Italy
Chris as Japan

There was surprisingly little conflict in the early stages of this game. Germany opened with a quick conscription to take Western and Eastern Europe, the UK went straight into the North Sea, Japan got a navy into the Sea of Japan, the Soviets went straight for the Ukraine and the US went West. Many supply points were had. Only Italy missed out on the first round expansion, and played a response. So far, so good.

There was an attack into Western Europe which Italy countered with their response (recruit an Italian army in Western Europe), and Germany (on round three) played Atlantic Wall - huge three card economic penalty for attacking WE. As such, very little fighting actually took place in the traditionally bloody battlegrounds of France. The Allies went North, and the Axis went South.

Italian control of Africa (and the straight of Gibraltar) was quickly established. Statuses were played that turned Italy into the moneymakers of the Axis team, generating up to eight points a turn. Germany remained stuck in a squabble with Russia - with a status that allowed for a same-turn attack against adjacent space, a buffer zone developed in Eastern Europe, and the Soviets seemed to back off for a while. Despite this, Germany struggled to find much of a footing throughout the game, with a bad distribution of build army cards.

The US slowly spread over the Atlantic, and into the Baltic sea, with the aid of UK ground troops setting up ports for them. With the US suddenly within striking distance of Germany, economic warfare crippled the already weak German war machine. With Germany down, the Soviets quickly set out West, and finished the job, taking Germany. Whilst the Italians were doing their best to fend them off, Germany never truly recovered, and Allied victory seemed certain.

But Hark! The Japanese, seemingly from nowhere, launch an assault on the Western US. Heroics abound, and the US must cease their attacks on the Germans, for long enough that the Axis are back in with a chance. Sadly, Japan lacked the land capabilities to keep their assault up for long, and the US could eventually turn their Baltic Navy's eye back on Germany, for Russia to keep up their meat-wall (courtesy of the heabily used Women Conscripts card).

By turn 17, all Axis armies had no draw pile, and were at a 20 point deficit. With not a single land battle card between us, we ceded to the might of the Allies.
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3. Board Game: Savage Streets [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:9575]
Russell D
United Kingdom
Ewell
Surrey
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A few days in Stalingrad, September 1942. The Germans (Chris) are trying to take control of the Ferry landings, and the Soviets (me) are trying to stop him.

This is a pretty simple game for a wargame, just four or five pages of rules, partly because it came in one of MMP's Special Ops magazines. Chris had recently read a book on Stalingrad and the expected play time of this game meant we could expect to finish in an evening.

The forces are asymmetric. The Germans have mobility, Stukas, and HQ units but suffer constant (though manageable) attritional damage in combat. They also have to achieve the victory objectives, which are to take both ferry landing areas. The Russians have the advantages of defensive terrain, fog of war, "event chits" which include things like snipers and molotov cocktails, but they are slow-moving can take very large casualties in combat.

A spread myself thinly along the front, and from the start Chris pushed a schwerpunkt on my right flank, reaching the riverside ferry landings on turn 1 (of 9!) I never managed to get him off the banks of the Volga during the entire game. This meant my reinforcements had to take enemy fire as they came across the river, and I lost a lot of troops before they even got on to the map. On the other hand, it was often difficult for Chris to reinforce his advance troops, and the ongoing battle by the river swung back and forth through the game.

As turn 9 drew near I pulled back to keep reinforcing the victory areas. I was pretty confident until turn 7 when a very good turn for Chris left me with very few forces, hanging on my their fingertips. I was surprised then to last till turn 9, and indeed it all came down to the final dice roll. I had been cleared out of all but the final victory area, just a couple of units left, but the Germans could throw everything they had at me here: Stukas, unopposed armour, Pioneer companies. The dice chose to honour Chris-- well played, sir, for a German victory.

Ratings
Russell - new 7.5
Chris - new 8

I enjoyed this very much. It was very thematic, quick-playing, tense and exciting till the very end. Easy to pick up with just enough "chrome" and detail to make it feel like a historical game rather than something too abstract. I don't think it's one I would replay endlessly (one doesn't expect that from a magazine game), although I'd certainly like to try playing the other side.

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4. Board Game: Kanban: Driver's Edition [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:221]
Paul Bruce
United Kingdom
Croydon
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New to Jim, Nick and Jo. I had played once before and so was teaching. It is a bit of a pig to explain. I don't think we got anything wrong but I may have skipped over a couple of things and definitely mislead a couple of people about one of the end game scoring rules.

All agreed the first game is really just a learning game especially Jo. That is until she won.

Players are middle managers in a car factory trying to impress their boss Sandra. Upgrading parts, manufacturing cars and testing them along with a fair bit of brown nosing is what it's all about.

If you hate Vinhos and CO2 then you are not going to like this.

The game took three hours to play which is too long but with inexperienced players these things happen. However, I don't think it will come down to much less than 2 1/2 hours. It really isn't very intuitive and will take several plays to get the best out of it.

It does have a lot of very clever/nice elements. Sandra, the turn action mechanic, banking shifts among them.

1. Jo (7 - rather play Aquasphere because it is quicker)
2. Nick (8)
3. Paul (8)
4. Jim (? - I'm scared to ask)
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5. Board Game: Skull [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:440]
Alex W
United Kingdom
Epsom
Surrey
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Borrowed, thanks to Jo (who was far too busy with Kanban to have any need of it). Played by the same as Quartermaster General.

What a pretty little game! Very nice artwork, solid construction, and a clear theme.

Explanation (none of us had played before) was quick - ~ five minutes, with a practice first round. Only error we made was a round where we didn't realise that you have to reveal your own stack before going on the others.

Played two rounds. The first, there were three unsuccessful challenges, which removed three skulls. This meant that the challenges seemed to mount higher and higher, and Chris won his second round with a challenge of seven, with only eight discs on the table.

I forget the second round - I just remember losing three challenges... Kieran seems to play like Gareth, a disturbing propensity for subterfuge.
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6. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:392]
Alex W
United Kingdom
Epsom
Surrey
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As Skull and Roses, but Alex and Kieran have played before.

Brief and entertaining. Kieran took probably over half the cards with a very lucky streak allowing him to build a combo of about eight cards in a row - only picked up a few tokens for his trouble though.

I took the final card (22) with about 35 tokens on it. We had forgotten that the tokens are worth minus one come the end of the game... Scoreline was rendered a bit meaningless by this, but an enjoyable hand nonetheless.
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