27th Nov - Ticket to Ride: Switzerland

There are loads of Essen releases to play and it can get a bit overwhelming when there are so many new games, each week we have to dig out a new rule book and plough through it. We played a new Essen game this week but hardly any new rules to learn - phew! Ticket to Ride: Switzerland is a new expansion for TTR, you'll need the original game for the train pieces and the cards.

Starting to get a bit nasty around Bern

It was quite refreshing playing TTR again after a long break, and I'd forgotten what a great game it is , the Swiss map is nice and tight with 3 players and the scores were fairly close. At the end of the game Richard announced that he'd completed all 10 of his tickets, I thought I was going to be left in the dust as I'd only completed 4, fortunately his were fairly low scoring and he only scored 12 point more on tickets, still, it was enough to keep me at the back.

The board at the end

One thing I've noticed since I've started this blog is that I seem to have a hit a loosing streak, I do win sometimes (honest).

Steve 121, Richard 112, Garry 102

Age of Steam St Lucia - Steves report

Looks like we have 2 reports for this week, here's Steve's side of the story

Shameless backsliding by most of the group meant there were only Richard and me to commence excavations in my heap of games from Essen, so where else to begin but one of the two player Age Of Steam variants from Bezier Games. We chose St Lucia.
In this game, every plain and river hex is seeded with a random cube that can be shipped as soon as a track tile is built there, but neither the blurb nor the rules point out that the island map features 11 towns but no cities. This makes the opening moves very tense, with only slight relief being provided by the alternation of the start player (or rather, by the alternation of the right to be the first to choose whether to pay $5 to be the start player). Urbanisation is the only sensible choice of job for the first start player, and it is relatively easy to choose the location for the city and the routes for the first links in such a way that the other player cannot make any shipments, even if he manages to build track. However, the other player can ensure that he goes first next time, and as he gets two build turns in succession and can see where his opponent’s track is headed before he lays his first tile, it is by no means clear whether being the initial start player is an advantage.
My strategy was to distract Richard away from building track towards the undeveloped end of the island by building stubs elsewhere and then abandoning them, whilst Richard stuck to his tried and tested technique of steaming round in circles with a multi-link express. Unfortunately for me, the easiest blocks to reach at the end of the game were black ones, whose routes Richard could easily intercept by placing black cities on them, of which there were a number available, of course, compared with only one for each of the other colours. As a result, Richard was able to pull ahead on the income track far enough to make up for the extra shares he had issued, and the free track tiles that I had gifted to him earlier then gave him the victory.
A very enjoyable game that will certainly come out again. I would even consider using it to introduce a newcomer to AoS, and the absence of the turn order bidding and production phases might make it more amenable to those who struggle with the original game.

20th Nov - Age of Steam St Lucia

I couldn't make it this week as I was working late, Richard's written this weeks report.

With Gary un-available Steve & I took the opportunity to play one of the new 2 player St Lucia Age of Steam map he acquired at Essen - see what happens once Colin has departed we immediately start playing Age of Steam again!!

Apart from being a 2 player variant St Lucia also differs in that cubes are places on every 'normal' or 'normal river' hex on the map and the cities themselves only serves as destinations for cubes as the there is no production phase. Cube deliveries also generate an additional $1 for the owner of the first section of track.

Also rather than having an auction for player order the players alternate in getting the chance to pay $5 to go first - if the first player declines to pay the second player may pay $5 to do so instead - if the second player declines to pay $5 the first player may go first for free.
In our game in the first turn Steve decided to make sure he would go first by paying the $5 so that he could urbanise Micoud as a blue city and then build as many stubs as possible out of it to try to cut me out from making any blue cube deliveries. I took the train upgrade, delivered one cube and upgraded my train again.

For the first few turns Steve continued to take the Urbanisation Action - whilst I either took the locomotive or engineer action and strove to build a long distance line on the western side of the map - though my additional track costs necessitated me issuing a significant number of shares above what Steve had. However with the completion of a 5 city circular loop on the western side of the board I had the flexibility to deliver most available cubes for $6. Steve meanwhile was struggling to access the large number of black cubes at the northern end of the board to give himself similar sized deliveries.

With the game end approaching a final turn black city urbanisation by myself blocked Steve's long distance deliveries on the eastern side of the board probably sealing the game result.

Richard 115, Steve 100

All in all a very enjoyable game, and as Steve commented after we had finished, we felt it would definitely be a map that could handle multiple replays.

17th Nov - Frank's game day

Trying to choose what to play

Frank hosted a game day and it was a chance to get to meet some of the people who had posted on the Horsham guild of Boardgame Geek. There were 6 of us in all and it was good to meet Frank and Kevin for the first time.

We started with a quick game of Diamant which makes for a nice ice breaker, it's a very simple push your luck game that's a good laugh. It's not the sort of game where you can plan your moves but Steve took the strategy of running away as early as possible, it seemed to work as he ended up winning.

Steve 32, Frank 26, Garry 24, Kevin 16, Neil 16, Aga 13

Now that we were warmed up and had got to know each other a bit better we went for something in a big box. Eketrop is a game that I'd bought at Essen and fortunately accommodates six players. You have a set of viking meeples and a tiny version of the board behind a screen, everyone places their meeples in secret and reveals them at the same time. When Vikings share a space they fight for the resources, which is resolved using numbered cards, a nice balancing mechanism is that after the battle you swap cards, so watch out that you don't give all your 6's away to the same person. With 6 players there were a lot of fights but things didn't drag at all, it's a fairly light game but very enjoyable and produced to top quality Queen Games standards.

Kevin 28, Steve 24, Aga 25, Neil 22, Garry 18, Frank 12


Time for a couple of rounds of 6 Nimmt before lunch. A very simple card game where you play your numbered cards on the end of a higher numbered row, the idea is to get rid of your cards without having to pick up the whole row when you play the 6th card. Not as easy as it sounds.

Steve 19, Neil 20, Kevin, 22, Garry 23, Aga 31, Frank 38

Frank 'mad-eye' Bradshaw contemplating wether to go higher or lower.

After pizzas for lunch we played 'what shall we play next' for a little while and settled on Vinci, "It's a bit like Risk but without the dice" said Steve, and it was. You pick up a couple of chits which give can you extra points or powers for your empire, for example you may get 1 extra point for each pasture or be able to attack others easier. Once your empire has grown it's best to let it decline and then start another, this can take a little getting used to. With 6 of us there was plenty of conflict which kept things moving along quite nicely. Steve and Kevin had played before and took an early lead, but as we all got the hang of it we started to catch up, well most of us did, I seemed to get stuck at the back after about half way through. Kevin and Frank finished joint first and we all expected to see Neil come in a close 3rd but he made an ill advised choice of empire chits and ended up 5th.

Frank 100, Kevin 100, Steve 98, Aga 94, Neil 88, Garry 87

Aga about to start another fight

It was a great day and we play a nice selection of games. Thanks to Frank for hosting.

13th Nov - Commands and Colors: Ancients

No more Colin and no Steve this week. Just Richard and I so we decided to give Commands and Colors a go. C and C is a fairly abstract war game and is similar to Memoir '44 and Battlelore (or so I'm told). Commanding your Army is achieved by playing the relevant card (move 2 units on the left etc) and combat is resolved by dice throws.

Sorry about the rubbish quality of the pic, next time I'll use a proper camera not a mobile phone.

Richard had played it several times before and I'd not played this type of game since I was at school. I got a quick run through of the rules and we dived in. It took me a while to sort out exactly how to make things work the way I wanted, and even then I didn't do too well, not very well at all, well I got slaughtered basically.

It's quite a nice little system and the scenario we were playing didn't take too long so it was easy to set them up and have another crack at it. Funny thing was I fared worse the more I seemed to understand what I was doing, this time I'll blame it on bad cards and dice, but next time...

Richard 3 Garry 0

First Post


Well here's my first ever blog post on my first ever blog.

I've set this blog up to take over the Billygames blog, Colin has moved away and will be retiring to Austria soon, the thought of playing Age of Steam must have proved too much! Anyway as none of us live in Billingshurst now I've started a new blog and named it 'Green Dobbers' as I normally play with the green bits.

I've started this with good intentions so I hope that I can keep it up, I've never been much of a writer, but I'll give it a shot.

Sorry for the horrible look of this page, but as I'm new at all this blog stuff things will probably move around a fair bit and change colour as I get the hang of things.