Life as a new board game group member: The second six weeks in games
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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A little while back I shared my first six weeks of game play as a new member at my local board games group. A few of you good BGG folks were interested enough that you requested further installments. So, as requested, here follows the second six weeks, once again with my additional thoughts and reflections.

You can find the first six weeks here: Life as a new board game group member: The first six weeks in games
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1. Board Game: Cottage Garden [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:632]
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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8th March 2017: Okay so into the second six weeks of board game group! Whilst walking out of our front door tonight my husband and I forget to pick up our bag of games. This evening we are no less than 10 meeple movers and split into two groups of five. However, we are a bit limited on substantive five player games and just as importantly, folks that can explain the rules. We are still going to have a good night though and at least our cat will be having a great time - no doubt playing solo with the boxes behind the front door.

The other table decide to tackle Blood Rage, whilst one game enthusiast on our table kindly offers to pilot the remaining four of us through Cottage Garden. If you like tessellation, you will like cottage garden. This appeals to my inner child that liked playing tetris and this is an all round friendly inoffensive game. Thematically, I'm slightly confused by the cat tokens being a help rather than a hindrance. I love my aforementioned cat, but I’ve never heard anyone who really cares about their garden say a good word about them…
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2. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:261]
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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8th March 2017: Next up tonight is For Sale with all five of us. We played this last week but my husband didn’t get a chance to participate, so it’s out again. With five I find myself bowing out of the bidding more frequently, but sooner, so at less cost to me. We play twice and this strategy sees me lose one and win one.
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3. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:481]
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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8th March 2017: A card game next, Coloretto, again with all five of us. The aim is simple enough, build up to three differently coloured suits of chameleon cards to score positively, go over three and you will start to have points deducted. It’s quick, it’s engaging, and it’s a bit of fun.
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4. Board Game: Potato Man [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:2342]
Christine Harrison
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Hertfordshire
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8th March 2017: Okay we are really exhausting the 5 player game supply now. We move on to Potato Man, another card game. Someone says it’s like Whist, someone else says it’s like rummikub; I’ve never played either of those so that’s not much help to me (your choices were Monopoly or Cluedo in the house I grew up in). So this is a trick taking game – erm - with potatoes. Our winning player actually scores all his points in one round; I pick up a respectful number across rounds and am satisfied with that.

We get some time at the end of the night to talk board games, which gives me a chance to pick our tabletop friends’ minds for suggestions. My husband and I are off on a walking cottage holiday in a few weeks and quite fancy some new board games to play in the evenings, or more likely, on the days when the climate gods refuse to grant us any fair weather to get out walking. We want something absorbing and good with two players. We leave with suggestions for Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, The Colonists, Race for the Galaxy and several others; thankfully my husband has been bookmarking these on his phone whilst we are talking because I forget half the names by the time we have walked back to the car.
 
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5. Board Game: Colosseum [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:351]
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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15th March 2017: This evening I fancy something a bit more immersive and have opted to play Colosseum as one of four. Colosseum is a minimum three player game (so something I wouldn’t get to play at home) and involves bidding and trading for resources to put on increasingly fantastical shows over a series of five rounds. Due to it being out of print for so long we are playing with a Spanish copy. I’m told English language Kickstarter reprints have stated to arrive in the UK, but tonight I welcome the opportunity to play on the originally illustrated board. After a thorough rule explanation and quick walk through a typical round I find the language barrier isn’t really an issue – as long as I can remember the rules it’s just my Spanish show titles I can’t pronounce - although attempts to do so provide several amusing digressions. The scoring is unusual in this one, rather than accumulating points for each show produced in each round, your end score is your highest scoring show from any of the five rounds. There is a big push in the final round to put on the most dazzling show – which sees our fourth place player jump all of us to the top of the scoring board to finish with the most successful Colosseum spectacular.
 
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6. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1208]
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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22nd March 2017: Cockroach Poker: We are six people tonight and begin the evening with a round of this creepy crawly bluffing game. The aim is to off load your bug cards on to other players by presenting them with a face down card from your hand. You tell them what it is, or you just plain lie and they can choose to pass it on or call you out. If they are right you put the card face up in your area, if they are wrong they have to keep it. First player with four matching face up bugs losses – everyone else wins! Okay…. but I have absolutely no forte for this sort of thing. Unsurprisingly I am the losing player – but I am amazed that I manage to delay my inevitable defeat no less than three times. You are welcome folks for that extra five minutes of tension!
 
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7. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:11]
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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22nd March 2017: We split into two groups of 3 for the rest of the evening. The other table is playing Caylus. I have a mental block with Caylus. Early on in my board game education we owned it but I just found it too overwhelming and made a bad association with it. I suspect if I were to it give a whirl now I would find it very different, but the alternative tonight is Castles of Burgundy and I have heard such good things about this one that it is clear that I will not be attempting to reconcile myself to Caylus this evening. Castles of Burgundy doesn’t disappoint, and there is strong testimony given for its enjoyment as a two player game. My husband is away on business this week so he hasn’t been able to try it tonight, but I think this is a contender for our buy it list.
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8. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 [Average Rating:8.66 Overall Rank:2]
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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29th March 2017: Okay so we are not actually at board games this week. We are instead on holiday in the beautiful English South Downs. But this week gets an entry because we are playing the games recommended a few weeks ago by our fellow board gamers. Although Race for the Galaxy makes an appearance once or twice, most of our evenings are spent playing Pandemic Legacy. But of course Pandemic Legacy is a bit like Fight Club; the first rule of Pandemic Legacy is you don’t talk about Pandemic Legacy. At least not to people who haven’t completed it yet and I’m not going to be responsible for ruining anyone else’s fun. I’ll just say that we played three characters between the two of us and really enjoyed the narrative.
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9. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:41]
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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5th April 2017: Tonight we are 7 game enthusiasts and although there was a loose plan to play Viticulture this evening, there are a few new faces and consensus is that it would be nice to play as one group. So we play 7 Wonders instead. Though everyone has heard of it, most of us, including me, haven’t actually played, and so it takes us a lot longer to work through the game than the stated 30 minutes. Although we draft simultaneously, we decide to play our chosen cards individually so that everyone can follow what is happening and learn about the different strategies. Although it slows us down, this is by no means a criticism as it makes for a very social evening and I feel I learn a lot more about the game. Now, we should have gotten a second game in but the restaurant upstairs is deathly quiet and the good establishment we are frequenting want to close the basement bar early. Really early – it’s not even 9 o’clock yet. This has been an ongoing problem for some time, however tonight’s closure time is a new record. But it’s judicious in a way, as our group organiser takes the opportunity to announce that from next week we are relocating to a pub across town.
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10. Board Game: Timeline: Historical Events [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:925] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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12th April 2017: First night in the new venue! Our first whole game of the evening is this very quick card placement game. We had started Polterfass, but quickly changed when we were joined by more players and needed an opener that accommodates more people. In Timeline we each hold three cards, and each card depicts an event from history (some more obscure than others). There is one card already on the table to start us off, for an occurrence in 1760 something. The aim is to be the first one to get rid of your cards by correctly placing your event in chronological order. You won't know the date until you flip your card over after placing it. If you are right, your card stays in the timeline. If you are wrong, it is discarded and you draw another one into your hand. I enjoy it as an opener but I am a bit worried it doesn't have much replay value after you have educated yourself appropriately. I am quickly reassured that it comes in many different editions including movies and music so clearly my fears are unfounded.
 
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11. Board Game: Secret Hitler [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:194]
Christine Harrison
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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12th April 2017: This one has been out a few times in the last 12 weeks and we are giving it another whirl. I am Hitler (same as last time I played) but I'm not so victorious this time - the liberal president (my husband) decides to assassinate me and that's the end of that. Whilst I do enjoy playing this, I'd prefer a different theme.
 
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12. Board Game: Deception: Murder in Hong Kong [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:169]
Christine Harrison
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12th April 2017: Another game of deception and deduction. This one is on my list of games I am keen to play so I am very pleased when it is suggested. As ever, most of us haven't played before, but someone who has offers to be the investigator. I've clearly upset the game gods as after being dealt Hitler in the last game I am now dealt the murderer in this one. For my first run through I would have preferred to be a usual player and focus on the discussion and story that makes the game; unhindered by trying to distract everyone else away from my cards. But it works out all right when I so very nearly get away with it - the last player to make a guess correctly identifies me, plus my two cards from the table.

The night does go on at this point but I have a head full of brain fog and I've reached my fatigue limit for new rules. Plus I've agreed to work tomorrow as a one off and don't fancy a late night. So we leave the others playing and head home. Most of the car journey is spent reflecting on what gave me away to my husband in Secret Hitler....apparently voting against his presidency was all it took!
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