21st Dec - Power Grid

We played Power Grid on the Korean map. I've got all the maps but I've not played Power Grid for a few years, I'd also just bought a set of poker chips that made dealing with cash a lot easier.

Steve 17 (won the tie-break on cash), Ben 17, Matt 16, Garry 11

14th Dec - Cuba

This week we played Cuba. Great game despite a bit of confusion about the last round.

Steve 76 (won the tie-break on money), Garry 76, Richard 75, Matt 68

7th Dec - Agricola

My 31st game of Agricola. I think I've played this game more than any other, and I still love it. This time we played with the through the seasons mini expansion.

Steve 57, Richard 39, Garry 35, Matt 32

6th Dec - Baltimore & Ohio

I had some holiday left at work so decided to have a game day as I had a couple of game that I wanted to play that would take more than an evening to play. Baltimore and Ohio is a train and shares game and took us around 4 hrs to play. An excellent game, next time we play we'll use poker chips instead of money and there is some software that will help with the calculations.

Richard 2712, Steve 2205, Garry 2079, Matt 2041

Then we had some time left for Hansa Teutonica with the new expansion.

Richard 53, Steve 49, Garry 43, Matt 27

30th Nov - Age of Empires III

Another game of Age of Empires III. Good Stuff

Richard 91, Steve 72, Matt 69, Garry 65

24th Nov - Navegador

A new Essen game, well it's that time of the year. Navegador is the latest in the roundel series of games by Mac Gerdts. I really enjoyed this one of the better roundel games.

Steve 102 (tiebreak), Garry 104, Matt 87, Lance 75

Then we finished the evening with a game of Parade, a Japanese card game themed around Alice in Wonderland, no really.

Garry 12, Matt 20, Lance 20, Steve 47

9th Nov - Age of Empires III

This week we played an older game (well only 3 years or so, so hardly that old), Age of Empires III. I'd played this before and not liked it at all, but this time it made much more sense and the time flew by, great game (even tho' I lost)

Matt 91, Richard 88, Steve 68, Garry 67

2 Nov - Steam Amazon map

This week we played the Amazon Steam map release this year at Essen. Quite a different mechanism regading the point scored for shipping cubes. It worked quite well but created a scramble for city exits with lots of stubs growing slowly across the board.

Matt 39, Richard 38 (2nd on tie break), Garry 38, Steve 37

26th Oct - Hornet and Mow

Played the first of the Essen games today. Hornet was a bit of an impulse buy just before I left the show. It's OK, but I think it'll need a couple of plays to work out the best strategy.

Matt 2 Hives + 16 Honey, Steve 2+16, Richard 2+15, Garry 1+20, Jo 1+8
(Three hives needed to win)

Matt has written up a nice session report here:
Session report

Then we followed up with a game of Mow which was a right laugh.

Garry 49, Matt 62, Steve 72, Jo 88, Richard 99

24th October - Essen

Just back from 4 great days at Essen Spiel '10

*clicky for big*

I came away with a nice suitcase full of new games, there seemed to be a lot of good games this year, but time will tell. Quite a few games didn't make it to the show, top of my list was German Railways by Queen and this won't be out for another month (this will be on my xmas list now). Also missing was Vinhos the wine game, Key Market only had 900 games delivered which was meant to cover 1000 pre-orders (as you can see I got mine - phew). There were over 650 new games this year so I guess the printers must have been completely overwhelmed.

Regarding production, quite a few of the games I bought were made in China, in the past the quality of Chinese produced games has been woefully poor but they are obviously getting their act together as it's getting much harder to tell the difference.

All I have to do now is start to play them all.

12 Oct - Cuba

We've not played Cuba for a while and all agreed that we should play it more. However it's Essen next week so it'll be competing with a lot of new games.

Richard 71, Garry 67, Matt 60, Steve 53

Then followed up with a game of Escalation, a great little card game by Reiner Knizia.

Matt 44, Garry 52, Steve 55, Richard 67

Fri 8th Oct - Carson City

Sally was out for the night so I decided to have another game night. We played Carson City, one of the best from Essen 2009.

Steve 46, Richard 36, Jo 36, Matt 34, Garry 33

To finish the evening, and continue the theme we played Tenakee.

Garry 64, Jo 59, Steve 58, Matt 55, Richard 47

5th Oct - Hansa Teutonica

Hansa Teutonica this week. I really enjoy this game.

Steve 53, Garry 47, Matt 46, Richard 32

We had some time left so we played Tenakee, a card game I bought at Essen a few years ago and hadn't got round t playing. It's simple stuff but good fun.

Richard 71, Garry 69, Steve 40, Matt 31

28th Sep - Endeavor

Another game of Endeavor, great game.

Steve 56, Richard 55, Matt 48, Garry 43

Then we had time for a quick game of Feurio! Which which wasn't enjoyed much by Matt and I.

Richard 42, Garry 18, Steve 18, Matt 2

21st Sep - Steam, Agricola & Lost Cities

This week we were down to 2 players, normally we don't bother when there are only 2 but we played anyway.
We started off with the Alabama 2 player Steam map, which works quite well, it did need a tweak to add the first choice job tile to make it work properly.

Garry 44, Richard 42
Yes you did read that right, I beat Richard at Steam!

As Steam didn't take too long we played Agricola, I haven't played 2 player for ages and it works really well.

Garry 45, Richard 42
Wh-hooo I won at Agricola!

Then we finished up with a quick game of Lost Cities, where Richard got his revenge.

Richard 112, Garry 38

15th Sep - Agricola

Guess what we played tonight? Argricola! thing is it's a great game, and tonight I did reasonably well.

Richard 50, Garry 39, Matt 31

Then we had time for a game of Medici.

Alice 152, Richard 127, Garry 124, Matt 119

7th Sep - Endeavor

This week we played Endeavor, good game can't wait to play again. I lost the scores when I gave my office a spring clean (in september?). Anyway I probably won my a huge margin.

31st Aug - Chicago Express

We had a new player this week, Ben, a self confessed newbie having only played Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride previously. We decided to play Chicago Express this week and Ben did really well considering that it can be a bit hard to get a grasp on auction games the first time out (and he bought chocolates!)

Richard 120, Garry 78, Ben 76, Matt 37

Then we finished up with a quick game of Tongiaki.

Richard 26, Matt 22, Ben 17, Garry 12

25th August - Vikings

Just 3 of us this week, started with a came of Vikings.

Matt 81, Richard 72, Garry 49

Then a game of Carcassonne

Matt 178, Richard 124, Garry 112

Finally a game of San Juan

Richard 42, Matt 39, Garry 27

17th August - Agricola

Yet another game of Agricola, as you can tell we quite like this game.

Matt 41, Richard 36, Steve 36, Garry 29

3rd August - Agricola

Another game of Agricola. This time with Steves new copy complete with cubes for animals etc.

Steve 36, Matt 36, Garry 28

20th July - Carson City

Another game of Carson City - great game, I'm liking this more and more.

Richard 41, Matt 40, Garry 37, Steve 32

Then time for a quick few hands of Poison

Steve 17, Garry 20, Richard 25, Matt 30

13th July - In the Year of the Dragon

Matt had come back from GenCon with the Alea box of expansions so we decided to try out the In the Year of the Dragon expansion. The problem with ItYotD is that you really have to know the game well to stand any chance of doing well, we've not played it enough to fully explore all the options.

Steve 105, Garry 94, Matt 60

We had a little time left so had a game of San Juan with another expansion.

Matt 31, Steve 30, Garry 22

22nd June Carson City

Another game of Carson City. It's a really good game with loads of different tactics worth trying. Can't wait to play again

Richard 42, Garry 41, Steve 39

15th June - Carson City

I like this game (well after 1 play, have to see how it pans out). Carson City was said to be Caylus with guns, it's not. Worker placement - yes, guns - yes, Caylus - no.

Steve 37 (win on tiebreak - dagnabit!) Garry 37, Richard, 35

8th June - The Dutch Golden Age

This week we played The Dutch Golden Age. Not bad.

Richard 37, Matt 31, Steve 28, Garry 24

25th May - Chicago Express

I really like Chicago Express and this time we tried the Erie Railroad expansion. Excellent game must play it more.

Matt 110, Garry 91, Steve 89, Richard 55

As we had a bit of time left we had a game of Buccaneer. We did get the rules wrong but it still worked OK, I'm sure it'll be better next time.

Richard 99, Steve 87, Matt 74, Garry 70

18th May - Amun Re

Amun Re is a Reiner Knizia design for 2003, I quite enjoyed it.

Steve 37, Richard, Garry 26, Matt 23

We then followed it up with a few hands of Geschenkt.

Matt 59, Steve 67, Richard 97, Garry 171

4th May - Schoko & Co

Schoko & Co is an old game (1987). Richard bought it on his first Essen trip. Still had to punch it before we played though. Not bad, but very much of it's time with a few random and chaotic elements.

Richard 1024,000, Matt 687,000, Garry 640,000, Steve 405,000

27th April - Steam

We've not played Steam for a while so it was good to get a game of this on the 4 Corners map.

Richard 51, Matt 47, Steve 43, Garry 40

20th April - Hansa Teutonica

Another current favorite Hansa Teutonica. I'm obviously being punished for winning last week.

Lance 61, Richard 53, Matt 44, Garry 38

13th April - Agricola

Another game of Agricola with the Farmers of the Moor expansion (which is great). For a change I actually won - wh hoo!

Garry 40, Richard 38, Matt 37, Steve 37

6th April - Canal Mania

Haven't played Canal Mania for a while, a bit better than I remembered.

Richard 115, Garry 105, Steve 99

We got finished fairly sharpish so time for a few hands of Hol's der Geier.

Richard 58, Steve 52, Garry 10 (disaster!)

30 March - Vasco da Gama

Another game of Vasco da Gama. Really like this game, but it's really hard, everything is an agonising choice.

Matt 85, Steve 80, Garry 65

16th March - Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama, good game.
Blimey! Bit of an AP slog tonight.

Steve 86, Matt, Garry 69

9th March - Le Havre

I've only played Le Havre twice and wasn't too impressed. At lot of people on the geek seem to like it so I thought I'd try it again before I sold it on. Well I liked it much better this time (3 player, short game) but blimey was it a brain burner. I'll be keeping it, but only just.

Matt 155, Steve 125, Garry 94

2nd March - Genoa

We played Genoa tonight. hmmm I'm not sure about this one, need to play it again to make sure.

Steve 695, Matt, 620, Garry 585

Then finished with a game of Relikt, nice little card game.

Steve 13, Garry 10, Matt 8

23rd Feb - Hansa Teutonica

Another game of Hansa Teutonica, this is a really good game. Forgot to pick up the paper with scores on.

Matt 59, Garry 58, Steve37

Then a game of Gipsy King.

Matt 105, Steve 94, Garry 3rd

2nd Feb - Hansa Teutonica

Back after a long break with Hansa Teutonica, and very good it was too, Steve was so impressed he bought a copy (which is saying something)

Garry 67, Steve 66, Matt 59

8th Dec - AoS St Lucia and Jambo

I couldn't make it this week due to work etc so Matt and Steve played a couple of 2 player games. Here's Matt's report. (Sorry for the delay but I thought I'd lost this when I swapped PCs).

Steve and I met at my house after Garry cried off again and Richard was still busy throwing himself down a mountain in style. I tried to rustle up some interest in Caylus, but was met with barely concealed derision from all sides and so Steve brought round:

Age of Steam: St Lucia two player map

For those not familiar with this particular map, there are a few non-standard steamy shenanigans afoot: Goods are found not in cities or towns, but scattered across the entire island. Whoever builds track to the goods has the ability to deliver them. There is no production and urbanisation does not put blocks on squares. What you start with on the blank squares is what you have to play with. If you ship a block from your own track tile you get a bonus point. The second big change is the priority for start player; at the start of each turn priority moves from one player to another who, after a potential share issue at the very start of the turn, gets first refusal to pay $5 to be start player. If they pass the other player gets the option, else the first player becomes the start player for no cost. The game plays over 8 turns.

The start is quite a canny process. There are no cities on the board and you can only build out of cities. The start player is likely to take urbanization and the second player must then capitalise on this if they can. I started; paid my $5 and played a black city towards the top of the board that had 3 black cubes around it that Matt’s Friendly Rail Inc. (tagline: mountains and rivers are our speciality, apparently.) could ship twice for 2 each (1 +1 bonus). Meanwhile, Evil Steve’s Rail Co. (tagline: There on time- whatever the human cost!) made some track to the south and headed in that direction. Turn two and Steve passes priority and I decide to play again, taking urbanization again. I urbanize the city at the very top of the board to blue which give me a few more choices, Steve heads south again. So I’m $10 down going into turn 3 but I had the idea that the bonus point for block shipping should mean that you can play effectively without a massive train, so I concentrate on tight routes in the cities at the top of the board and don’t plan on getting my locomotive to 6 in 8 turns.

The game move on and I end up issuing 8 shares before my money stabilizes and Steve issues 7, Steve has a 6 point loco, I kept mine at 4, but could and did reliably ship 2 batches for 5 in turns 7 and 8. Steve had stubs everywhere trying to get the big routes where he could, I picked up some of his stubs and built quite a bit of track to connect the cities at the top of the board in loops to maximise the connections and the 5 point shipping opportunities.

In the final round I have 10 connections to Steve’s 6. So; with the score tracks on 39 (Me) and 43 (Steve); we started the final scoring. Now what we have done in the past when we’ve played AoS is subtract the expenses and add the number of connections to see who the eventual winner is. That would have left the foul machinations of Evil Steve’s Rail Co. crushed in the grip of defeat 37 points to 36.

Steve reached for the rulebook.

Apparently the ‘real’ AoS scoring method is that you receive 3VP for each income and 1VP for each connection. Then subtract 3VP for each share issued. This left the scores at 108 points to 118, a victory for Evil Steve’s Rail Co. I asked if we could call it draw. Steve just laughed, cruelly.

Now, the thing I like(d) about AoS was that there seemed to be different ways of accumulating points that were weighted depending on the map, the trick being to find the right strategy for that particular map. Now it seems that points for connections, whilst initially appearing quite important, are not much for than a slight redress for spending more on track, not a strategy per se. Which is a real shame as it railroads (zing!) your strategic options towards getting a big loco and spotting where the best shipping options are. The multiplication of the final income renders any potential gain from connections trivial.

For reference, Steam gives players two vps per income at game end and 1vp per completeted link. With that method it would have ended 103:109 to Steve. A closer game and better for diverse strategies as it reduces the weight of the locomotive at-all-costs style of play. Another reason to be pro-Steam in my book at least.

Next up we played Jambo, one of the lesser known 2-player KOSMOS square box games

After a quick rules explanation to Steve in which I uncharacteristically remember all the critical ones we start setting out our wares on our market stands. I get an market expansion to 9 slots whilst Steve gets the Supplies utility which is rather good. I get one soon after but alll I seem to draw are wares cards of three identical commodities. I win a bid on 3 wares cards from a passing Arabian Merchant and Steve hocks a load of Pineapples to the Portuguese.

It's neck and neck for a while until Steve gets a Leopard Statue and swaps my Throne for his set of scales. Being the CCG hoodlum that I am, I use a 3 card combo to look at the top 6 cards of the deck, take 1, use the supplies to get another one and buy and sell two 6-wares cards to end my turn on 62 gold. Risky (the game ends after Steve next turn, if he can accumulate 63 or more gold, he wins), but Steve was on 46 so I thought it was worth a shot. Steve, the canny sub-saharran merchant that he is, then bought the last commodity he needed to complete his own 6-ware card to get to 62 himself with 3 actions to spare...he threw two actions in for a gold for a stylish win: 62 to 63.

Steve seemed to like Jambo, which is good as it makes a change to be beaten at it by someone other than my wife, and said he preferred it to Dominion. I'd never made the comaprison before but I see it now. It is better; there is more interaction and a great deal less shuffling.

Two close games then, both good fun.