Feb 27th - Age of Steam Europe

Age of Steam again this week, as a point of interest I have never played this game on the same map twice, and I've played a few times. This time we're playing on the new(ish) Bezier games Europe map.

The map at the end of the game

Richard started building in the UK and down through France and Germany, there were quite a few towns to connect together in that region. Steve started to connect up around the Adriatic as there were a few cubes that could be delivered for 4 points. I had planned to build there but as Steve had beaten me to it I took my second option of build a nice little loop in Spain. As the game progressed Steve had a lot of trouble getting over the Alps and connecting to anything else, eventually he ran out of puff and went bankrupt a turn before the end. In his final few turns he had nothing to ship so he made it difficult for us by shipping Richard's and my cube's for1 point a pop, we both had a few cubes that could have shipped for 6 or 7 points that just went for 1, arrrgh!!!! A good map, but I think it would be better with 4 players.

Hmm... after reading up on the geek it looks like we played a couple of rules wrong. The express link has to be built between 2 CITIES, not towns. And when you place goods on the board as part of the Production action you can take them from anywhere (as long as there are 4 from the left and 4 from the right) on the goods production chart not just the top rows.

Richard 165, Garry 124, Steve Bankrupt

Feb 19th - King of Siam/Spiel der Turme

We were three players tonight as Jo was able to make it, made a nice change from all the 2 player games we've played recently. It was Steve's choice and her chose two games that we'd played last month King of Siam and Spiel der Turme. If you want to see pictures of these games have a look at the report from January.

In King of Siam you have to collect cubes OFF the board and try and gain a majority share in the colour that wins the most regions on the board, of course the colour that wins the territory is the colour with the most cubes ON the board. So it's a bit tricky, the more cubes you take the less chance that you can back a winner so you have to be careful with your timing. Also each player has the same 8 cards with which to move the cubes around, you can pass your turn at any time but you still only have 8 turns and as there are 8 territories on the board there is a lot to consider.

This time I decided against collecting even numbers of each colour at the beginning, last time I found that I ended up with an 'average' number of each colour and that's not enough to win. I also made sure that I didn't fight for every territory as with only 8 cards you have to let some cubes go and concentrate on the ones that you can pick up a little easier.

Well it seemed as though it paid off and I just scraped a win (whh hooooo!)

Garry 1st, Steve 2nd, Jo 3rd

As before we got Spiel der Turme out next, the idea is to stack your pieces up by jumping on other pieces with the same symbol on. Your towers only score when they are on one of the blue scoring squares at the end of the game, the games ends when all 4 square of one of the blue areas gets filled, if you can manage to fill them all with your own pieces then you get a double point bonus.

At the start of the game it can look a bit confusing with loads of bits everywhere but as pieces start stacking up it then starts to become clearer. Getting all four of the blue square covered by your own pieces is an obvious advantage, but as soon as you put one piece in then people will jump in on the others, so I hung back biding my time until I could swoop in and steal victory from under the noses of my opponents. Well it didn't quite happen like that as I left it too long and the game ended a bit quicker than I'd anticipated although I had plenty of stacks ready to pounce I only had 1 in a blue scoring area - disaster!

Jo 29, Steve 12, Garry 5

Feb 5th - 2 Player Vikings

Richard's still off throwing himself down snow covered mountains somewhere so there's just 2 of us. After looking on the 'geek for a few suggestions of multi-player games that work well for 2 I settled on Vikings which was one of last years Hans Im Gluck/Rio Grande releases.

It's a medium weight game where you are the leader of a band of vikings and you have to colonise a group of islands with your Viking meeples (veeples?). A set of Vikings and island tiles are drawn at random and placed around a wheel that has prices on. On you turn you can buy any one island and coresponding viking to add to your colony. The trick is not to pay too much but the wheel moves around as pieces are taken and things get cheaper and cheaper, of course the longer you wait there's a chance that the piece you wanted will get bought by someone else. After each round your colony is scored and you get gold and VP's depending on how well you build you colony. We played twice, once with the standard rules and once with the advanced rules. Both games we fairly close but Steve managed to beat me both times (ever since I started this blog I've failed to win anything, I'm wondering if it's cursed). Vikings is a great game and plays very well with 2 players, thoroughly recommended.

Steve 87, Garry 86
Steve 105, Garry 93

Jan 29th - More 2 player games

We're still 2 players and Steve decided to play one of the new 2 player Age of Steam maps that he'd bought at Essen. St Lucia is a map by Ted Alspach and there is a detailed description of the game here from a few weeks back when Steve and Richard played. I like Age of Steam but I've never played the game on the same map twice, so once again this is a new map for me.

Steve grabbed the urbanisation job, which is particularly useful, and started on the west coast making it as difficult for me as possible by winding his track about to prevent me from joining into his city. I intended to build across the south of the island but decided to head north to prevent Steve from gaining to much of an advantage, it was nearly the death of me as I missed out on the urbanisation for the next couple of rounds and found it difficult to get going. I eventually managed to make a few nice connections down the east side with Steve taking most of the west side. In the end it was very close with Steve just managing to pip me by four points.

Steve 70, Garry 66

As the St Lucia map hadn't taken long we grabbed a few games of Karo which we'd played before as an end of evening filler. This time I managed to fight back a little better but still lost to steve in the end.

Steve 3 wins, Garry 2 wins.

Jan 15th - Caylus for 2

Still just the two of us and rather than play a game designed for 2 players I decided on a multi-player game that also works for 2. I'm always a bit sceptical of games that say they work with 2 players, often it's a compromise and can end up as a dull plod. Caylus is one of my favourite games and I'd played it once before as a 2 player game and was quite impressed, so I thought we'd give it another go.

There aren't many rules changes from the multiplayer version, there is no jockeying for turn order as you take it in turns to go first and once the first player passes then the remaining player has to pay 3 deniers to place each of his workers, and that's pretty much it. Steve managed to get a good start and caught me out by managing to build 3 buildings that produced resources, by the time I realised what was happening it was hard to catch up, it was very touch and go throughout the game and Steve managed to just keep me far enough behind to take a comfortable win.

Notice the first 3 blue buildings - I think that was my downfall

As a 2 player game I can't recommend it enough, really tense and with plenty of control and opportunities for screwage, probably more so than in the multi-player game. Also the playing time is a fair bit shorter as well.

Steve 110, Garry 102