Games Played at Epsom Games Club 19/03/15
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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ASL - other tactical wargames call it Sir.
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Beneath this mask there is an idea.....and ideas are bulletproof.
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22 gamers present this evening which I think might equal our all time attendance record - Russell, Capt Chris, Roy, Nameless Steve, Jon, Garteh, Andrew B2, Kim, Another Andrew, Gordon, Simon, Leanne, Ash, 'Nearly Diceless' Nick, Paul, Biblical James, Crispy Chris, T101 James, Mark, Alex, Matt and Graham.

Playing -



AND REMEMBER MORE GAMING AVAILABLE TOMORROW AT SATURDAY GAMES DAY - ST MARY'S EWELL
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1. Board Game: I, Spy [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:3437]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Gordon, Ash, Leanne and Simon

Welcome to Simon on his first visit to EGC - hope we haven't scared him off with this 4 hour epic.

A recent Kickstarter which I was a little uncertain about backing - a first time publisher which, despite liking the game concept, prompts the worry of inadequate development leading to a fragile game that only works in parts. Am pleased to say though that yesterday's play showed a pretty solid game with a lot to think about.

The setting is pre-WWI Europe with each of the players being a spy having a hidden allegiance to one of the 6 great powers (same as in Diplomacy but without the Turks). The game plays over a fixed 14 rounds with everyone essentially taking 3 actions a turn - the actions consist of playing a card or taking a board action based on the capital city you are in. All of the card actions you take adds influence to one of the powers in scoring rounds - so although you might want to do a particular action you may not want to benefit that power so there are some interesting trade-off decisions to make. Quite a few of the actions directly affect the other spies so there is quite a bit of screwage going on as well. Various politicians from the era come into play and the players also get to control and manipulate these as well - add to this a strong positional board element and that you are trying to conceal your allegiance and work out other people's and there is a lot to think about.

It's hard to relate the progress of the game due to the hidden identities but from my perspective (Italy) I operated a Sabotage heavy strategy as the sabotage card rewarded Italy. I also initially avoided going to London as the London action rewarded Italy and I thought that might make my allegiance too obvious. When I eventually tried to get to London Ash proved a major pain in the arse tracing my spy then blackmailing me then squatting in London so I couldn't enter. My sabotaging kept the Italian cause in motion and they typically were second in the scoring rounds.

We were all rubbish at working out who we each were with no one guessing my id and only Leanne being picked as Germany. Italy ran out the winners.

Scores/ratings

Gordon (Italy) 33
Ash (France) 30
Simon (Russia) 27
Leanne (Germany) 19

(I have added the points on we should have had for the Asset cards)

We all felt that the game ran too long but there are some mitigating factors here in terms of first play and I think 'I, Spy' is particularly affected by this due to the huge range of actions you can take. You all have 13 action cards to pick from as well as 6 (sort of 12) on-board actions with a lot to try and achieve. Would probably suggest only playing with 3 players if any of them were first timers in future to reduce the playing time and to reduce the info overload.

Have found myself thinking about the game since finishing as to future strategies and the like which is a good sign. Rating likely to rise on further plays.

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2. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:8]
James Faulkner
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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Alex - Swarmlings
Matt (not played before) - Alchemists
Mark - Cultists
Graham - Fakirs
James - Engineers

Alex started with tons of stuff, but everything cost him more. He really started to shine once his stronghold got built allowing him a free dwelling upgrade every turn.

Matt did very well for a first game. He scored a lot of points off the back of the turn bonuses for buiding certain buildings. Towards the end he started comboing bonuses for terraforming. Largely ignored the cult tracks

Mark got an advance on the cult track every time anyone accepted power from his building enxt to them. In the initial setup he stuck both his dwellings right in the middle of others. I spent the rest of the game trying to convince others not to accept the power and starve him of cult advances (with some success). Despite this, Mark was strong in all the cult tracks.

Graham struggled with the Fakirs and seemed to pass very early most turns. It may make him feel a bit better that they are rated as the worst of the races according to various lists here on the geek.

James got all his temples out early but was starved of cube amd money income. Very dependent on getting the correct power bonus actions and a few times was sweating that others might take them. Spent most of the game with 0 or 1 dwellings on the board. Lots of priests meant he was a strong player on the cult tracks.

Final Positions:
James
Alex (just pipping Matt in the end game scoring)
Matt
Mark
Graham
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3. Board Game: Savage Streets [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:9801]
Russell D
United Kingdom
Ewell
Surrey
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Back to Stalingrad for a return match- this time with me as the Germans and Chris as the Russians. I made a slow but steady push up the south side. In retrospect I should have been more aggressive across the whole front. By the end I had just reach the Volga, but Chris was able to reinforce every turn so there was no chance of me taking control. I realised in the after-action review that I could perhaps have moved in to pin him down, but overall my strategy was flawed. Still a good, which I enjoyed, engaging with some replayability, very good for a game that came in a magazine.

Final Scores
Chris - Russians - crushing victory
Russell - Germans - ignominious defeat
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4. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:60]
Russell D
United Kingdom
Ewell
Surrey
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Enough time for a quick Roll. Chris hadn't played before, but he picked up the rules very speedily, and in no time we were off. I put my head down without much looking at what the others were doing, and pretty soon decided on a settle rush strategy. With lots of dice, I was settling two planets most turns, and with five players Explore and Settle were being called almost every turn. I ended the game on twelve worlds, fingers crossed that I was ahead...

Final Scores
Crispy Chris 15 - new
Paul 17
Andrew B2 21
Biblical James 22
Russell 26

Perhaps my first win at this game? Still loving it.
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5. Board Game: The Lord of the Ice Garden [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:1273]
'Biblical' James
United Kingdom
Ashtead
Surrey
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Played by CHris, Paul, James and Nick

Chris bought this along for a play through. Once we went through the rules we were able to get into a game that offers 3 ways to victory, through reputation (being the least nasty to the locals), controlling most areas and gaining 50 VPs or meeting a race goal.

The early game started with a number of battles between Chis and Paul in the south and Nick and I in the north as I tried to keep the ultra aggressive crabs off the board.

Paul's main task was to dominate in a number of different areas so he could build towers and so was zooming across the board when Chris and I started clashing.

As the doom counter picked up pace I tried to ensure I could score well on the reputation battle and that paid off as I was able to trigger the doom scenario, surviving with the best reputation (least worst).

Game over: Bad snow scenario
James -8
Paul, Chris, Nick -9

No ratings as we all want to play again
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6. Board Game: A Study in Emerald [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:623]
Gareth H
United Kingdom
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Played by: Gareth, Jon*, Kim*, Andy*, Andrew
*First Play

The ancient ones have come to claim the Earth again and it's up to us to stop them. Or is it? Maybe I just want to make you think it is...

After a rules explanation by myself the game got started and I think all the new players realised it was actually much more straightforward than I had made it sound. Andy went first and tried to get 'Dr Watson', which he never finally did get, with it being blocked, highly fought over and finally lost to Andrew with about 15 cubes on it. I used Bismark to lock down London as my own private hidey-hole and everyone seemed to victimise Kim so that she wasn't able to secure any cards for about the first half of the game.

Andrew revealed himself to be a Loyalist when I tried to double agent Moriartey away from him, but as I hate being thwarted I assassinated him next turn instead. Ah Cairo, where life is cheap...

Kim got desperate for cards and managed to snag herself a load of bombs and murdered one of our beloved ancient ones. Did I say beloved? I meant hated. Or did I?

The game got to be very card heavy and a lot of cities ran out which forced the war track up to +9 meaning the loyalists no longer had to worry if one of them was in last place. In the end I announced my loyalty to end the game with the highest point total, though it should be noted that Andrew only didn't win because he forgot to do so.

Ratings and Results

Gareth: Loyalist (WIN) 27
Jon W: Loyalist (LOST) 14
Kim: Restorationist (ELIMINATED) 6
Andy: Restorationist (ELIMINATED) 10
Andrew: Loyalist (LOST*) 22

* Lost due to administrative error

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