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Subject: [South Manchester] Stockport Variable Magers - A Weekly Gaming Session rss

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Iain Benson
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Variable Magers is a Board Gaming group that meets every Tuesday night at the Heaton Mersey Conservative Club. We mainly play medium weight Euro Games such as Power Grid, Puerto Rico, Terra Mystica, Small World ... no wargames, RPGs or TCGs.

The club was started in 2006 by
Andy
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at his house, and is still going strong, with numbers varying between about 4 and 12, though Andy himself doesn't come very often now due to family commitments.

Meetings start at 7:30, with actual gaming starting about 7:45 to give latecomers chance to arrive, and lasts usually until about 10:30, but can be later depending on the games.

In order that everyone get a fair chance to pick games and to reduce wasted time over choosing games, we designate 2 or 3 "GMs" a week (depending on numbers) who will pick games. Others are then welcome to join the GM of their choice. Anyone can be added to the GM rotation - all we ask is a small fee of £5 a year. If you don't want to be on the rota, attendance is free.

The conservative club is at 444 Didsbury Road, Stockport, SK4 3BS, and we have exclusive use of the upstairs room, just ask at the bar and they'll send you up.

If you need more information post a message here and someone will answer your questions.
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Iain Benson
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29th April 2014 Meeting - You can't take the sky from me!
Last night's attendees were myself, Dean, Roger and Maxine. Dean was top of the GM roster and chose to play my new copy of Firefly: The Game.

None of us had played before, so 2 1/2 hours including set up and rules explanation (I'd read them in detail before hand) wasn't too bad.

The game is a pick up and deliver game, with a selection of story cards to determine the win condition. We went for the shortest one which involves completing jobs for at least two of the contacts and then delivering $6000 to a specific planet.

Dean won the game, and I was only 1 or 2 turns behind.

Hopefully, next time I'll remember to take some photos.
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Daryl Unwin
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Re: Stockport Variable Magers - A Weekly Gaming Session
Liking the GM of the day idea.
Stops the tendency to find something which everyone is comfortable with, but wouldn't be anyone's number 1 choice to play.

Do you ever get the 'well I'm not playing that' response?
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Andy
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Re: Stockport Variable Magers - A Weekly Gaming Session
Geremiah wrote:
Liking the GM of the day idea.
Stops the tendency to find something which everyone is comfortable with, but wouldn't be anyone's number 1 choice to play.

Do you ever get the 'well I'm not playing that' response?
I can't recall that really happening... Most of the people who come are willing to play something that's on offer... and the theory is that if you want people to play your game on your week you should play nice and play someone else's game on their week.
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Fuchsia A
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Re: Stockport Variable Magers - A Weekly Gaming Session
My partner and I may come.

I've got a batch of jam that needs finishing off this week so may not make it today (I don't think jam and board game components would mix terribly well so I'm not going to attempt multitasking...) but nothing planned for next week!
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Iain Benson
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6th May 2014 - Same thing we do every night, try to take over the world!
Last night's attendees were myself, Roger, Bruce and Tom. Roger chose Imperial.

For those who aren't aware, it's kind of a Risk like game in so far as you build and move armies around the map to control countries. The difference is you don't play the country, you play as an illuminati style power behind the countries, buying shares to top up their coffers and choosing whether to produce armies, move then, tax the people or pay of the investors.
Austria-Hungary pretty much dominated the map, and the game was won by Roger with 111 points. Bruce was a close second with 107, with myself and Tom bringing up the rear with 89 and 65 respectively.



As it was only 10pm when we finished we had a few quick rounds of No Thanks!, a card game where you take cards from the middle, trying to get as low score as possible, score being the total of the lowest card you have in each run in your hand. Roger won this as well, with Tom a close second again, a I brought up the rear with about twice Roger's score.
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Iain Benson
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13th May 2014 - Rebels, Romans and Nukes!
Tonight was a better turn out, with 7 of us in total. The attendees being Tom, Dean, Dan, Roger, Maxine and Uffe, in addition to myself.

We started the evening with a quick 10 minute game of The Resistance whilst we waited to see if anyone else would arrive. Dean, Uffe and myself played an excellent bluffing game to win as the spys on mission 4.

After that the proper games came out. Dan chose to play The Manhattan Project, a worker placement game where you a turn is to either place workers, or take back all the ones you have placed previously, giving an interesting mechanic of working out when best to sacrifice a turn to take back without opening up too many spaces. The aim is the build nuclear bombs, also building new buildings to help whilst also defending using fighter planes and attacking others to slow the using fighters and bombers.

Dean pursued a strategy of attacking everybody else early on in the game, which did slow the game down, but resulted in him being unable to do very much and ended the game with a score of zero. I started by making a major effort to maximise my workers early on, which gave me a good start, but it was never able to capitalise on it, and finished third with a paltry 6 points. Tom started strong, being the first to build a Bomb, but still only finished with 10 points, whilst Dan stormed away through very skilful use of the espionage space to use and in the process block other players' buildings and won the game with 52 points!



Table 2's game of Trajan was chosen by Maxine, who came second with a score of 110, the winner was Uffe with 126, and Roger brought up the rest with 108.


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Iain Benson
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20th May 2013 - Colonists, Cultivation and Cubans
Last night's session was attended by Richard C, Martin, Melica, Dean, Daniel, Andy O, Richard S and myself.

Martin chose to bring out Puerto Rico, and was joined by Melica, Richard C and myself. It played out as quite an unusual game, with all the quarries going very quickly due to the construction huts being bought early, and use of small markets and offices resulted in lots of trading and building. Richard took the final builder role that allowed Martin to fill his final building spaces with a second large bonus building pretty much giving him the game. Final scores were Martin 46, Richard 41, me 32 and Melica 23.



As this ended up quite a quick game we decide to have some hungry bamboo loving panda fun with Takenoko. A very fun and cute game where you score points by growing bamboo in certain amounts, feeding it the panda and laying out the plantation in just the right way to match the various scoring cards. I managed to pull out quite a lead in the mid game, but once I triggered the end by collecting 7 score cards, Melica managed a 17 point final turn, and Martin managed to catch up by claiming a couple of cards, but I just managed to hold onto victory with 36 points. Melica followed with 33, Martin had 31 and Richard brought up the rear with 27.



As the others were still playing, we wrapped up with a couple of quick goes at a fun auction based card game called For Sale. The game is played in two halves, the first half you bid round the table to buy property with values from 1 to 30, then once all the properties are bought they are used in blind auctions to get currency cards, and the person with the most money at the end wins. I was absolutely awful at it, coming last in both games we played with scores of 55 and 48 and Melica thrashed us all both times with 79 and 65. Martin scored 56 and 64 and Richard managed 59 and 64.


Richard S chose Cuba Libre for himself, Andy, Dan and Dean, and managed to beat them all, though they were all fairly close to their goals I believe.

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Mark Savage
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Re: Stockport Variable Magers - A Weekly Gaming Session
Hello,

Would it be possible to come along next Tuesday? I went to the uk games expo last weekend, and realised there was a whole world outside of my favourites of settlers of catan and ticket to ride. Do I need to bring anything?

Thanks
Mark
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Dean Thomas
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Re: Stockport Variable Magers - A Weekly Gaming Session
You are welcome to attend.
You don't need to bring anything at all.
(Maybe money for a drink at the bar).

Dean
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Iain Benson
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10th June - Beer Palaces and Citadels
I've missed a couple of weeks, mainly due to recovering from long weekends away, but now normal service shall be resumed for a while. Last night we have 5 attendees: Roger, Dan, Mark, Bruce and myself.

As it was my turn to choose, I brought one of my new purchases from The Works' latest £9.99 game sale - Fürstenfeld, and everyone was quite happy to give it a try.

Fürstenfeld is an interesting hand/resource management game by Friedemann Friese (designer of Power Grid) in which you have a small plot of land producing hops, barley and spring water which you sell to the local breweries, the value of which goes up and down based on a dynamic system of supply and demand. You also have a hand of building cards which you can pay for to build them on one of your six building sites to help produce more goods, draw more cards or get more money. The aim of the game, however, is to build yourself a marvellous palace, which consists of 6 buildings which have to be built over the ones you have previously built, therefore eating into you income as you do so.
The real skill of the game is that at the start you put the bottom 10 cards of your deck in whatever order you like, and every round you have to discard down to 1 card in hand, putting the discards on the bottom of your deck in whatever order you choose, so you determine the order you will draw your cards in later rounds!
The game was quite close in the end, with Roger and Bruce both managing to finish building all 6 palace buildings, so Roger took the win as the tie breaker is the most remaining money in hand. Dan and myself had managed 5 palace buildings, and Mark a respectable 4.



As it was still reasonably early we agreed on a quick game of Citadels. The aim is to buy a set of buildings with the highest total value, but each round you have to play as a different character which gives you powers such as taking more money or cards, destroying other peoples buildings, stealing their money or killing their character. I managed to have two building destroyed by the warlord, had my hand of cards stolen once by the magician, and was robbed by the thief once ... at least the assassin never got to me ... so unsurprisingly I came last with 6 buildings and a score of 20. Bruce and Mark both managed to complete 8 buildings, with Bruce winning with 30 points, Mark and Roger in joint second place with 26 and Dan on 23.

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Iain Benson
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Variable Magers Facebook Group
By the way, we do have a Facebook group for general chat and discussion.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/676879355692506

I think it is currently set as a closed group though, so if you want to be a member you will probably need to friend me or another member.

My page is https://www.facebook.com/benson.iain
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Iain Benson
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17th June - Car Chaos
I didn't make it last night due (indirectly) to the traffic as my wife didn't make it home in time to take charge of the 3 year old! Mark was kind enough however, to provide a quick session report ...

"Just four last night, probably due to the crash on the M60 (it took me 75 minutes to get the few miles from Sale), Daniel, Bruce, Roger and myself. We played Chaos in the Old World. Daniel won by a whisker with his disc turning thing, but I think we all finished with more than 50 points in the same turn."

I, on the other hand, stayed at home and had a nice solo, 5 character game of Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game, which I won without a single character dying, which is most unusual!
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Iain Benson
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24th June - Let's throw some goods of the bridge over the Seine!
There were 5 of us present last night, myself, Melica, Martin, Mark and Maxine. Martin decided to bring Le Havre to the table, and went on to win the game with a score of 165. Maxine came a close second with 156 followed by Melica 148, Mark 136 and I was last with a pathetic 125, due to never really getting my hands on any iron and only managing to get one ship, quite late in the game.

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Iain Benson
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1st July - Swords, Spice Shipping and Shanties
There were 6 of us with no interest in the football last night: Melica, Martin, Mark, Dan, Uffe and myself.

Dan had walked in with an virgin, unpunched copy of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) which I immediately staked my claim as wanting to play, as I'd never previously had the chance. We played it as a three player game, otherwise we would have been there all night, rather than just until 11. I played as the Baratheons, Uffe was the Lanisters and Dan was playing as the Starks.
Pretty much from the start I was in trouble due to Dan bringing his one ship down the coast and wiping out my navy, leaving me with a few scattered forces I couldn't do much with, turning the game into pretty much a two way battle between the Starks and Lanisters, with virtually no poilticing or ganging up going on - I'd love to try a 6 player at some point. As the game progressed I managed to get some of the lands across the south, but a lack of available castles left me with just 2 at the end of the game as Dan took my third off me giving the Starks their 7th and the victory on round 9. Uffe came second with 4 castles, despite having been up to 6 earlier on in the game.



All of us there who are on the GM list were right at the bottom anyway, so not that it really matters, but Martin chose for the other table managing to get in a game of Goa which he won, and a game of Cartagena which was won by Mark.



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Iain Benson
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8th July 2014 - An excellent evening engaged in Eclipse
Last night was fun, 6 of us were present, myself, Bruce, Roger, Daniel, Andrew, and Daniel S, and it was Roger and Daniel S who were choosing, both of whom decided Eclipse was the game to play and as we had two copies, we set up two games of 3.

I played as the Orion Hegemony against Roger as the Descendants of Draco and Daniel S as the Planta. My main advantage was big heavy ships, so I made a decision to go for the center quickly, taking one ancient ship on the way through whilst Roger and Daniel were playing to their strengths of exploring, Daniel with the aim of just getting lots of tiles under his control for bonus points and Roger with the plan of getting ancients out and hoping to keep them alive. I eventually ended up with the choice of going through Roger's ships which were equipped with lots of missiles, or Daniels larger army of less armoured ships, possessing of 5 hulls. As all the ancients were in Rogers's territory, and they were my only real source of resources I cut a swathe through his ships with my dreadnoughts, losing only a couple of cruisers on the way, and managed to end with a final score of 41. I should, however, have broken my alliance with Daniel and taken a couple of his less well defended sectors as his bonus score resulted in a final score of 47. Roger was unfortunately left somewhat behind, due to my aggression against the ancients, with a score of 26.



On the other table, Andrew played as the Eridani Empire, Bruce as the Descendants of Draco and Dan as the Hydran Progress. They didn't actually finish the game, so I unfortunately don't have scores for comparison to get an overall winner of the night, but I think they gave up in the last round due to a massive whitewash by Andrew, partly helped by him forgetting a 1 is an automatic miss and persuading everyone his ships would automatically win every combat!


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15th July 2014 - Gettting up early for Galaxies and Glassmaking
Well we had a massive turnout last night, with 12 people, requiring us to set up 3 games. Luckily we have plenty of space in the committee room so it's not a problem.

Andrew wanted to bring Eclipse out again, to make up for last weeks mistakes, and was joined by Daniel S, Daniel J Grundy and Mark. Andrew won again (without cheating this time) with 45 and one of the Daniels a close second with 44. The other Daniel was in third place with 20 and Mark brought up the rear with just 12. Sorry Dan and Daniel, I'm not sure which way round you were.



Dean chose for the second table, bringing out his Fresco Big Box and he was joined by Martin, Melica and Uffe in painting the The ceiling of a church. It appeared to be a very close game with Dean on 103, Martin on 99, Melica on 98 and Uffe with 95.



Dean, Martin and Melica then finished off their evening, after Uffe left, with a quick game of Race for the Galaxy won by Martin with 38 point and Melica and Dean on 28 and 35 each.



Finally, on the top table I chose to play Quantum which I recently purchased, and was joined by Roger, Andy O and Chris. It's quit a fun, light strategy game where spaceships of varying speeds and abilities are represented by D6s, the number showing being the number of spaces it can move, but lower numbers being better for combat. An action can be spent to reconfigure a ship, rolling the die to hopefully get something useful. The aim is to surround a planet with ships totalling the planet's number in order to build one of you 5 quantum cubes, and the first to build all 5 wins. Despite being picked on early and struggling to get anywhere I suddenly had a luck break on power cards and managed to get two cubes down in quick succession due to an extra turn, and by the end three of us only requires 1 more cube to win. Roger, however, was able to make the lucky roll and claim the win.



Quantum being relatively quick we finished off with a game of Glass Road which Roger had bought. Everybody has two resource wheels, one with the requirements for glass and one for brick. Once you have enough resources to make things they are made automatically, so you have be careful not to acquire things at the wrong time, causing you to use up something you wanted for glass you don't currently need. Each player has a deck of cards from which the choose 5 each round, then everybody chooses 1 from the 5 to play face down and take turns to reveal. If nobody else has that card in their hand you get to do both actions from it; if they do you both get to choose 1. Repeat until 3 cards each are played. 4 rounds of this are played in total with the various building bought and the amount of glass, sand and brick left giving victory points. I didn't really manage to get my head round the best cards to play and came joint last with Andrew with 15.5 points. Roger came second with 19 points but Chris stormed ahead with 24, helped by a rather nice bonus building he nicked off me because I couldn't build it when I needed to.
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Iain Benson
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Maharishis, Marvels, Markets and (dun)Manifestin
The were 10 of us turned up to play, Daniel G, Dean, Bruce, Uffe, Mark, Aidan, Chris, Daniel S and Martin Wallace.


We split into two groups, with Dean choosing Taj Mahal, and being joined by Dan, Bruce, Uffe and me. Bruce and I got totally thrashed at all the auctions leaving him at the rear with 18 and me not far ahead with 22. Dean was in the middle with 37, then Dan on 45 and Uffe stormed away with 53 for the win.



We followed this with a game of 7 Wonders with the cities expansion. Partly due to an early cock up due to forgetting how to play I brought up the rear, along with Uffe tied on 46. 2nd place was also tied with both Dan and Bruce on 54 and Dean just scraped a win with 55.

As for Mark, Aiden, Chris, Daniel and Martin, they played Istanbul which was won by Daniel, and then with Martin there a play test had to happen, so out came the prototype of his next Discworld game The Gods, which I'm hoping we get some info about from those who played. I believe this was won by Chris.

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Captains, Colisions, Crude Cards, Churches and Cuppas
The numbers are tailing off again: only 9 of us yesterday, with Dean and myself choosing.

I felt like playing a few shorter games rather than one epic, so Aidan, Mark, Owen, Chris and I started with a couple of rounds of Tsuro of the Seas. I think all the eliminations were made by the daikaiju; there were a couple of close encounters of ships, but nobody really made any hugely aggressive plays to take others off the board. Owen won the first game and Mark won the second.



This was followed up by a game of Asteroyds, which went hideously wrong for me. I managed to plan a couple of rounds for completely the wrong spaceship, and misjudged my movement into the last gate resulting in what should have been a victory spin on the spot turning into a case of hilarity as everybody else went past me to get their final tokens as I sat revolving stupidly right next to it. Owen managed to win the race with Mark coming in second followed by Aidan and then Chris.



We finished our gaming for the evening with a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity, the answers for which were mostly far too crude and tasteless to quote on here. We didn't get to 10 points, as we agreed to stop when the other table finished their game, and the resulting tie was broken by the best three card haiku, giving Chris 7 points, Owen 6, Mark and Rando Cardassian 5 points, Aidan 4 points and I brought up the rear with only 3.

Dean's choice for himself, Uffe, Roger and Daniel was Fresco, which was won by Daniel with a massive 117 points to Roger's 104, Dean's 96 and Uffe's 93



And then they finished the evening with a nice cup of tea with Darjeeling, though I didn't get the scores, or find out the winner for this.


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August is always a bad month as people are away

I am hoping to get down in September if I can find time

FNG
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Iain Benson
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Mobsters and Mayans
9 people, two games tonight. Dan chose to play Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game, and was joined by myself, Andy, Ian and Dean. The dice were well and truly not in my favour, with most of my movement being one or two spaces, getting lost in the deep jungle and failing to collect a single artefact. Dean managed to win quite easily with two artefacts, and a secret package for 17 fortune and Ian was a close second with 15 but not back home. Dan was on 8 and Andy on 7 after both raiding the zepplin and having a mixed run of luck. I had absolutely no fortune whatsoever.



Andrew chose Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar for the other table, joined by Daniel, Owen and Bruce. Daniel won as usual followed by Andrew in second, Owen 3rd and Bruce coming in last.


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Seasons, Skullport, Splendor, Saboteurs and Spies
Busy night last night, 12 of us there in total. In addition to me were Dean, Mark, Aidan, Chris, Bruce, Andrew, Daniel, Roger, Uffe, Daniel S and Andy O. I didn't get round to taking pictures, so apologies in advance.

GMs for the night were Daniel S, Dean and Mark, though confusingly Daniel didn't play the game he picked, instead electing to choose to join Mark, Dan and Aidan at Lords of Waterdeep.

The game picked by Daniel, but played by Roger, Bruce, Andrew and Chris was Keyflower. I've no idea who won these two games unfortunately, as I forgot to ask.

Dean wanted to play a few smaller games, and was joined by myself, Andy and Uffe, so first to the table was Splendor, a game I've wanted to play for a while as it was big at the UK Games Expo. It's actually a very simple and quick game. There are a set of cards which can be bought for a cost of several gems of differing colours, these cards giving discounts on future purchases, and in some cases victory points. Gems can be take as an action: either 3 different or 2 the same, a card can be bought, or reserved into your hand for later building. The first to build 15 points of cards wins. There are also bonus point cards assigned for the first person to build a certain combination of cards. Andy managed to storm ahead, winning on exactly 15, with me in second place on 7. Uffe just managed to get a clear 3rd place with 6 leaving Dean in last with 5.

After this we played Havana, which is a fairly straight forward collect building resources to build cards to get victory points. The twist is that you always have two of your action cards in front of you each turn, which determine play order and allow you to get the resources, and each turn you replace one with a new one, changing turn order and what you can do. Andy won again, hitting the 15 point victory condition due to a very nice run of builds pulling him way ahead. Dean and I tied for 2nd with 9 points leaving Uffe at the back with only 3.

As we finished Havana, Lords of Waterdeep was just finishing too, so they joined us for an 8 player game of Saboteur. There was lots of deception going on and a few odd moves, but the good dwarves managed to find the gold every time, which being a bad dwarf twice in three rounds didn't really help my final score. The eventual winner was Uffe with 7 gold nuggets, Aidan and Dean both had 6, Daniel 5, Mark and Dan 4, Andy 3, and me bringing up the rear with a paltry 2 nuggets of gold.

And finally, as we finished Saboteur, Keyflower finished. Some people left but we managed to hold onto 8 of us for a game of The Resistance. Both these last two games are so much better with large numbers of players. There was a lot of very good logic and guessing going on, but also a lot of good misdirection resulting in the 3-1 victory to the spies who were myself, Aidan and Andy, against Roger, Dan, Chris, Uffe and Mark. It nearly went all the way to a voting fail on the 4th round, but we managed to get through a combo I'd previously had rejected, putting the required 2 spies into the mission to fail it. A proper victory is much more rewarding than a voting failure! One thing I will say though is that I do think resistance is very much biased towards the spies, and saboteur towards the gold diggers, but they are both still great fun social games.
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10th September 2014 - Caverns, Cultists, Casinos and Cars
Sorry I missed last week, but I couldn't make it due to traffic, late dinner etc, but normal service is once again resumed.

Last night's selection of games were picked by Myself, Roger and Richard.

Roger chose to play Terra Mystica and was joined by Chris, Dan and Bruce. Richard chose Caverna: The Cave Farmers followed by Splendor and was joined by Andy and Mark. I didn't manage to take note of any scores, but here are a couple of mid game pictures as usual




I was joint by Dean and Uffe and my first choice was Lords of Vegas a game where you build and extend casinos, which produce money based on the values of dice you have in them and them points based on the number of tiles in the casinos you control. As you progress in points you eventually start to need 2 points at a time, then 3 and so on in order to keep scoring, so increasing the size of casinos is essential. Dean managed to get off to a flying start as his first two randomly allocated plots were very cheap and adjacent, so he could immediately create a double size casino and was rolling in the cash and points quite quickly. I on the other hand was stuck with the 15 and 20 dollar plots, and when I did manage to get some cheaper ones all my dice rolls sucked, re rolling 1s to 2s and 2s to 1s, so I struggle for money and thus also points. The final reckoning was Dean 44, Uffe 23 and me on 18.



With some time left of the evening I got out Road Rally USA, a card management racing game where check points are scored as they are passed, but each player has 4, of which they can only trigger scoring of 3 during the game. It was Uffe this time who got off to a flying start, owning checkpoints 1 and 3, and a decent starting hand allowing him to get 24 points in the first 2 turns. After that we couldn't really catch up, on points, and he also managed to finish first as well. Final scores Uffe 60, me 46 and Dean 38.
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Iain Benson
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30th September - Corruption, Canals and Chips
After another couple of weeks off due to reasons, I made it back to the table again last night. 7 of us turned up, with Martin and Richard choosing the games to play

Martin chose to play Lords of Waterdeep, and was joined by Melica, Andrew, and Me. I made quite a strong start, completing a high scoring quest which gave me all three visible buildings for free, but as also managed to pick up corruption quite quickly, and spent the later half of the game trying to find ways to get rid of it. The other three players managed to complete 40 point quests too, which I never got the chance to grab, so I never managed to capitalize on my head start, coming in last with a score of 129. Martin followed with 154, then Melica with 187 and Andrew taking the win with 193. After a quick recalculation, that is, as initially Melica was thought to have won by 2 points, until andrew realised he hadn't added the Lord bonus for his two plot quests!



The next people present on the list to choose after Martin should have been Andrew, and then me, but we both wanted to play join Martin, so Richard was the next on the list, and he picked Bruges, a game I know nothing about other than it being set in Belgium, that he was joined by Chris and Bruce, and that Bruce won.



After that they played a couple of games of Splendor, the first of which was won by Bruce, the second by Richard.


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Iain Benson
United Kingdom
Cheadle
Cheshire
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Please be aware: this week and next, we will have to play downstairs in the bar area as the upstairs area will be locked so we won't be able to get to the committee room.
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