Games played at Epsom Games Club 20.10.2018 (Games Day #96)
Jim Sutherland
United Kingdom
(just) West of London
Middlesex
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A good turn out today with 12 of us enjoying a full day of gaming.

Jon, Steve, Gordon, Alicja and Matt, Chris, Andrew, Ingrid and Nerijus, Daniel, JimS and JimF
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1. Board Game: Mansions of Madness: Second Edition [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:23] [Average Rating:8.18 Unranked]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Jon, Steve, Gordon, Alicja and Matt

After a panicked call from Eugine the butler at the Vanderbilt mansion, five intrepid adventures set off to save the world from the latest Cthonic menace.

This is a really good integration of App and boardgame and the best DM'less RPG lite which actually tells a coherent story out there.

Clues were found, a Haunting Horror or two were fought, a few cultists as well, then Jon's character managed to set the mansion on fire. The ritual to summon an Old One was interrupted just a bit too late to stop it appearing but we overcame the high-priest in time to get the evidence to reveal the foul plot and headed for the exits. A brave and apparently suicidal attack by Matt's priest to stall the old one and give us time to escape turned into a full assault which to everyone's surprise resulted in a dead star spawn and we were able to saunter out of the mansion at our leisure.

Great fun.
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2. Board Game: Robin Hood and the Merry Men [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:4264]
Nerijus Stimbirys
United Kingdom
Epsom
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Played by Chris, Andrew, Ingrid and Nerijus

First playthrough of our latest arrival from KS. Actually one of the rare ones released earlier than promised! So well done.

I have to apologise to the people at the table as this was not a very fluent session, as we kept going back to the rulebook, also it took a little longer than it should have and we still got a couple of the things wrong. Nothing major but definitely could have affected some people's decisions.

On the game side - I really enjoyed it. Thematically it is very well made, amazing artwork, nice components, very good rule book. Mechanics are not something unique as this is worker placement game, but feels good and provides solid, well-balanced gameplay. Well done.

On negatives - could be a bit fiddly as a lot of actions has consequences and they are easy to forget. Also, end game scoring could have been better, they really could have done with a better summary.

It does not look like it would play nice with two players so we will be bringing the game to the club a few times for sure. We probably could interest euro guys with this one?

Overall - good, solid game, on the longer side. Really worth trying out or picking up! In my scale stands somewhere between 7.5-8 which almost reflects BGG's opinion.

Scores:
Chris: 71
Ingrid: 69
Andrew: 51
Nerijus: 48

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3. Board Game: Ganz schön clever [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:373]
Jim Sutherland
United Kingdom
(just) West of London
Middlesex
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A short(?) 30 minute game tack took well over an hour.

So simple rules, 6 differently coloured D6 and a score sheet plus rules available on the geek make the £10 cost seem self defeating....

Good game, with a Children's SDJ nomination (which I think it may well win), but plays more like 20+ minutes per player.

Daniel took to it like the proverbial "duck to water", and JimF was not too shabby either, but by scoring reasonably well in all zones, JimF did very well using his "Foxes" bonus (that multiplies the lowest area score) giving him a comfortable in.

I also rolled the dice (getting my lowest score ever and by some margin, having played half a dozen times solo). Was my low score an omen that my poor play was continuing.....?


253 JimF
176 Daniel
105 JimS
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4. Board Game: First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express! [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:330]
Jim Sutherland
United Kingdom
(just) West of London
Middlesex
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A "thinky" game was requested and I proffered this, a recent purchase having played it once and enjoyed it.

JimF had played before and did a great job explaining the rules to Daniel (and refreshing my memory).

My previous game I had concentrated on the train track, almost to the exclusion of the carriages and almost lost the game because upgrading coaches from through 0 > 1 > 2 > 4 >7 >12 suddenly happens with alarming frequency towards the end of the game.

SO I went almost exclusively into carriages, scoring 39 in the first round. And not many more in subsequent rounds.... Perhaps I did not adapt enough to the cards on offer (only 6 card pocks through the entire game and they can be agonising choices!) or perhaps railways is the way to go - it was the way Daniel went although it also seemed to get him an enormous number of carriages (especially with his doubling of bonus actions).

JimF started in Railways, switched to carriages and eventually settled on contracts and it was a good call - he almost managed to snatch a win, but Daniels three 12 point carriages, all doubled to 24 each was enough to hold of the challenge.

Another "out of touch" score by me - needless to say I will NOT be attempting an all carriages tack again. EVER!

Really good game, and I suspect we may see it added to both Daniel's and JimF's collections soon...... (it really is that good).

230 Daniel
197 JimF
140 JimS
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5. Board Game: Cryptid [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1677]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Gordon, Matta and Alicja

Another 3-player outing for the new deduction game - we didn't run out of cubes so we must be getting better. Alicja found the Cryptid for the win.
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6. Board Game: Root [Average Rating:8.19 Overall Rank:120]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Steve (cats), Matt (Birds), Jon (Vagabond) and Gordon (Woodland Alliance)

First time (and possibly last) for Steve, everyone else had played before.

The Cats started out well, points wise at least, but the table allowed the Alliance to get and keep three bases out which allowed me to maintain a lot of warriors and officers on the board and build up a big war chest of 'supporters'. The latter allowed me to do a 16 point surge for the win (3 sympathy placed via supporters, 2x2 crafting, and another sympathy via Officers).

Steve is right that to play this anywhere near properly you have to have played it before so that you can see how all of the factions play - personally I don't see that as a problem given the interesting decisions and depth you get from the game. I am still a bit concerned about the end game - it can be just a bit too sudden and therefore a little underwhelming.
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7. Board Game: Altiplano [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:350]
Jim Sutherland
United Kingdom
(just) West of London
Middlesex
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Scoring as badly as I was, it was time to roll out my current favourite game that I just happen to utterly useless at (even more useless that I am at Istanbul (another favourite game)). Might as well keep the low scoring run going.

Of course, it did not help that we played a crucial rule incorrectly, which resulted in Daniel getting 4 carts, allowing him much movement around the board and resulting in JimF having only 3 moves (max) per round and me only two!

Needless to say, the impact on the game was dramatic.

We discovered the misinterpreted rule quite early on but we didn't restart, just played on to see what the outcome would be.

Looking forward to playing again, this time with all the correct rules.
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8. Board Game: Cryptid [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1677]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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Played by: Gordon, Chris, Jon, Steve and Andrew

Another couple of spins for Cryptid, including one with an advanced scenario.

Apart from it not being me I can't remember who won either game - but the double/triple/quadruple negatives associated with the advance clues really fried my noodle.

Still having fun playing it - without crib sheets.
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