22nd July - Yet more Agricola

Well there's not a lot more I can say about Agricola, this is my 10th game in a little over 2 weeks which must be some kind of record. Tonight we played with the complex deck (K), Richard seemed to have got the hang of his cards and was laying them out left right and centre at the beginning of the game. The rest of us were struggling a bit, Steve missed a couple of crackers in his hand, most of my Minor Improvements needed me to have played a lot of Occupation cards but the Occupation cards were a bit lack lustre.

This weeks featured Agricola player is Jo

It wasn't quite as close scoring wise this time around, Richard took an easy win, making the most of his cards.

Richard 43, Jo 34, Garry 31, Steve 26

19th July - Agricola (again)

As you can probably tell we're all pretty smitten with Agricola. So much so that I got an email asking if I fancied a game on Saturday night over a Richards. Our group normally meets up on a Tuesday evening with the occasional Saturday daytime, but we all really wanted to give Agricola another couple of plays. This time we decided to use the cards as we were fairly up to speed with the family game. We plumped for the I deck and ploughed in (get it?). After a short while we had reviewed the cards and started playing, I must say that the cards really add to the game, they obviously add a bit of randomness but not as much as I thought and we all started to adjust our strategies as we decided what to do with the cards. At the end we all thought that we'd not done very well but in fact it was a very close finish.

Garry 39, Richard 38, Jo 36, Steve 30

As it was Saturday and no-one had to get up for work the next day we decided to play again. We're starting to get the hang of things now and the scores are getting closer and closer. Jo won despite saying that he thought that Agricola was one of those games that he would never win.

Jo 40, Steve 37, Richard 36, Garry 34

Agricola is an excellent game and the cards just make it even better. Tonight's 2 games were great fun and I can't recommend it enough. I've played it 9 times over the course of the last 2 weeks which is unusal for me. I've upped my rating on the 'geek to a 10 so that puts it alongside Puerto Rico and Caylus for me.

15th July - Agricola

Another chance to give Agricola a go. We're still playing the family version, just making sure that we get the hang of things before we break out the cards.

Richard should eat more vegetables

There's not a lot to say really, we've played this a few times now and still really like it. If you're reading this blog then you'll know all about it, it is as good as they say.

Steve 33, Garry 20, Richard 20

12th July - Pasteboard & Plastic 6

Another P&P, it's a great day (if you like that kind of thing) Basically a bunch of people playing games in a scout hut all day. I got there just after 10am and after a chat and a rummage through the 2nd hand games stall Mike, Debs, Luke and I started a game of Tinner' Trail. I covered this before just recently and it's a very good game, I was teaching it to 3 new players so it kept me on my toes making sure that I'd correctly remembered the rules. It seemed to go down very well and Debs played a very interesting tatic of auctioning off most of the Mines one after the other at the start of the game. At first I thought I'd got a couple of mines for a good price, but as more and more mines came up for sale the price was dropping lower and lower and people were running out of cash, except Debs of course who managed to get a set of mines very cheaply.

The sell pasties option was also used quite a lot as well, so this made for a very different game from my last playing, still very enjoyable (even tho I came last)

Mike 97 (won on the tie break), Luke 97, Debs 73 , Garry 63

After Tinners' Trail we had a break for lunch and the Mike (who had only brought unplayed games with him) said he had a game called Venesia which he wanted to try. To be honest it wasn't very good and I didn't enjoy the game at all, I didn't record the scores and I didn't take a picture. So here's a quote from BBG's Derk Solko.

"In a word, this game is crap."

Well that's 2 hours of my life I'll never get back.

After that I sat down with Richard, Steve and Jo and started to learn the rules to Tribune. This was doing very well at last years Essen fair but as it had quite a lot of German text on the cards none of use played it. Well now there was an English version and very good it is too, it uses a worker placement mechanisim (which seems very popular at the moment) to gain cards which you them play in sets to take control of different factions in Rome. It all looked very good with lots of Roman theme but all I could think about was Frankie Howard in Up Pompei.

It was a good game and I want to play it again. My only slight reservation is the fact that it can be difficult to see who's winning until the last moment, but if we play again I'm sure it'll be a bit easier to keep tabs on what's going on.

Steve 5, Richard 3, Garry 3

July 8th - Agricola

Well what else were we going to play today other than Agricola? I'd played a few solo games over the weekend and I was looking forward to having a proper multiplayer game. Jo was gong to be about an hour late so I taught Richard to play and we started a 2 player game. All was going fairly well until around 2/3 of the way through when I realised that I'd mucked up the order of the Action cards which totally skewed the game (doh!). We finished the game even though we'd played it wrong as it was a good learning experience.

Richard 45, Garry 30

Get orrf moi laaand!!

Once Jo had arrived we started on a proper 3 player game making sure that we played it correctly. We played the 'family' version of the game, which is still very involving and not a stripped down simple version. You start with an empty farm and 2 family members, using worker placement you have to grow your farm by fencing in pastures, ploughing fields, planting grain and vegetables and having babies etc etc. and whilst doing this you have to make sure that everyone has enough to eat. It's not as easy as you think and you have to plan carefully for the next harvest to make sure that you have enough food. The way the scoring works at the end of the game means that you need to create a farm with a bit of everything in as if you leave out anything it scores you minus points.

An excellent game and I'm really looking forward to trying the full version with all the cards. And I won something for a change!

Garry 38, Jo 32, Richard 25

4th July - Agricola arrives!!!!

It's finally here! after months of waiting the English version of Agricola was delivered this morning. Looks like I'm in for an interesting weekend. What do you think the chances are of me getting any work done today are?

wh hooo! Animeeples

1st July - Spiel der Turme and Figaro

Steve's choice this week and as Richard and I had both forgotton to bring the games that Steve had asked for he chose Spiel der Turme to start with. We've played it several time's since I started this blog so you can easily find out what we think of it. I started out with a simple strategy of trying to jump on as many pieces as I could, that way I figured I had more pieses on the board and there fore more choice and more chances. This is true up to a point, I also became more of a target.

Things were going pretty well when Steve and I suddenly noticed that Richard was only 2 moves away from winning, how did we let that happen! We managed to delay the inevitable and tried to best position ourselves for the point scoring but we couldn't stop Richard.

Richard 22, Steve 12, Garry 9

We had some time left so we had a quick game of Figaro. It's a simple card game where you play cards in front of the players (yourself or others) and the first person to get 6 points in front of them has to pick up all the cards, at the end of the round the person with the largest amount of cards picks up a piece of cardboard road, the road peices are different lenghts and after three rounds the player with the shortest road wins. There is a funny rule in the last round where the winner has to swap one of their road pieces with the ones about to be awarded, this is a typical Reiner Knizia twist (the designer). It was quite good fun with lots of 'take that, no you take that' going on. In the end Richard managed to win by a nose (and dumping nearly every card on me in the final round).

Interestingly the purple 3 card had a picture of Reiner Knizia on it which was a little weird, I'd never seen that sort of thing before, we all recognised him but wondered what non 'geeks would have made of it.

Richard - shortest road, Garry and Steve - joint longest road

28th June - 4 games at Garry's

My other half was away for a week so we had a chance to play for a full day. After coffee, danish pastries and croissants (yum) we started with a game of Wabash Cannonball. This is one of the Winsome games from last years Essen, There are 4 railroads and each player gets the chance to buy shares in these companies via an auction. The money raised is used by the company to build track, which is controlled by the player with the most shares. There are also a few other things you can do to enhance the value of the company as your network snakes west. At the end of each round a dividend is paid to the owners of the shares based on the value of each company, the winner is the person with the most cash.
None of us really knew what we were doing and we only started to 'get it' about half way through. It's a really clever game and I liked it a lot, if only the production quality was a bit better, it's a typical Winsome home DTP effort (or lack of effort) I think I'll have to have a bash at making a decent board.

Richard 77, Steve 48, Jo 45, Garry 34

Next was Ice Flow which Steve had bought at the UK Games Expo. It's a very nicely produce game about crossing the Baring Strait from Alaska to Russia. You have 3 men and ou have to make your way via the icebergs making sure you avoid the polar bears along the way.

I must admit that with 4 players I did feel as though it was a bit chaotic, mind you this was only my first play so now that I know how it works the next few games may be different.

Richard won

After a bite to eat we had a go at Pandemic, I'd not played before but it wasn't too difficult to learn and as it's a co-operative game it was easy to pick things up as we went along. It's quite a well themed game and it brought back memories of the TV show 'Survivors' that I watched back in the 70s.

Make sure you wash your hands before playing

Pandemic is a co-operative game which means that your are not playing against each other but against the game system, there is no winner or loser you all win or lose against the game. I'd not played this type of game before and it does feel a little odd as we had a little discussion about what we should do before each turn. Luckily our group is quite well balanced but if you were playing with a control freak or a very bossy person I could imagine it wouldn't be much fun. Over all I enjoyed it but I wold need to play a few more time before I made up my mind. It's also plays single player as well which might be good for when you can't find any opponents.

We started off OK and seemed to start getting things under control and even managed to cure a few diseases but unfortunately the Italians succumbed to the fatal blue cubeitis so we all lost.

We all failed.

Finally we played Oregon. This is a Hans im Gluck game released at last years Essen. I did play it during the show and thought 'meh' but the others assured me that it was a good game.

I forgot to take a photo so here's a postcard from Oregon

It uses cards to drive the placement of of meeples and various buildings on a squared grid. I started off OK and was even in the lead at one point but a duff run of cards meant I ended up having to put a lot of pieces in the far corner and I dropped behind. Not a bad game but I still think it's a bit 'meh'.

Jo 81, Steve 71, Richard 66, Garry 49

17th June - Cuba

Another shot at Cuba this week. There were only 3 of us this time and as we knew how to play it didn't take so long. Richard seemed to hit on a winning strategy with the Dam and Golf Course and then making sure that he got the Water Subsidy thus gaining a lot of VPs, Steve and I tried to stop him but he always managed to have more cash when it came to the votes at the end of each round.
Water water everywhere...

I tried to keep a flow of VPs coming in with the large hotel but it wasn't enough. Next time we'll have to keep an eye out to make sure that someone doesn't get the same chance as Richard.

Richard 74, Steve 68, Garry 60