15th Feb - Java

Haven't played Java for years, great game although the end can drag a bit.

Richard 90, Garry 81, Matt 78, Steve 64

8th Feb - Hansa Teutonica

Hansa Teutonica tonight, I really like this game and normally do quite well but I really had an off night tonight

Richard 54, Matt 44, Steve 34, Garry 20

Then time for a quick game of Don (once we'd sorted out the German rules)

Matt 18, Garry 13, Steve 9, Richard 6

1st Feb - Galaxy Trucker

Detailed Report from Matt:

We were at Richard’s on Tuesday for a game of deep space vehicular rapid prototyping and intergalactic logistics management. I hadn’t played before and Richard hadn’t played in a long time citing the last occasion as ‘a couple of months BM (before Matt)’. Richard read through the rules and for the first 15 minutes we chuckled at the crazy Czech humour. After that we came to the opinion that the rules needed a thorough Germanising to remove excess humour and ambiguity. We played the advanced game and had particular trouble working out how many cards there should be in the second and third rounds which caused some scratching of heads. We resolved to play the first round and see if the situation became clearer following a bit of play.

We shuffled up the tiles, ran through exactly what would happen during the building phase and Richard, being the boldest player, said: ‘Go!’

The doorbell rang. It was Joe.

We restarted the Building phase whilst Joe searched though the rules with characteristic Extreme Calmness to find out how many cards we would face in rounds 2 and 3. Steve reached for the cards in the early build phase which was my cue to turn the timer over. I had 4 lasers and a weird purple dude who upped that total to 6 and 5 engines, Richard build a flying wall of power-hungry laser cannons whilst Steve had a structurally robust ship with a little of everything. We all had skeleton crews. After a minor hitch involving Richard leaving a non-essential part of his craft in the dock we were away….straight into the nefarious clutches of Space slavers! I powered my cannons to 6 and they ignored me, Richard did the same and they ignored him to- they really liked the look of Steve’s ship though and made off with most of his crew leaving him with a human and funny-looking brown dude who tinkered with engines.

After dealing with that first card the rest of the expedition was tame by comparison. Richard and I picked up a few blocks and we all ignored a succession of empty ships and stations before blasting through open space.

Round two saw me drawing pink storage tiles that fitted together well and Steve looking at the cards again. I flipped the timer with a lightly armed vessel that was virtually hollow with storage containers and powered by 7 engines. Richard had corralled all available crew members, human or otherwise, into his ship until it resembled the coach class carriage of a Bombay freight train whilst Steve once again had a well rounded ship that was meticulously designed, although suffered somewhat from a critical build issue when the engineers forgot to incorporate shield technology that had been set aside for them. Commodore Minson populated a flotilla of abandoned ships shortly before a space plague decimated the ships of Steve and myself. I pulled out a lead in open space and picked up all manner of hazardous goods on planets we came across. A meteor shower at the end of the round and a trip through a combat zone saw Steve’s ship become more streamlined as the peripheral outriggers were ruthlessly downsized by planet-sized rocks.

A truly enormous ship design beckoned in round three as Joe mused that Steve would fair better if the tiles were 100% known information. Steve suggested a tile auction replace timed blind picking which led to the proposal of a truly horrific ‘Age of Galaxy Trucker’ variant.

Sticking with a plan that was working, I resolved to run the clock down ASAP in the final building phase. After a couple of tile draws I realised the multi-connector tiles would be at a premium in this round given the size of the ships, so I started looking for and keeping all I could find. That seemed to work and my ship was soon bristling with lasers and engines although I ended with a hole in the middle and the outer surface resembled a cross-section of sewer- there were that many exposed pipes. Richard created a flying warehouse whilst Steve’s lightly crewed bijou freighter was both moderately armed and sporting shields this time.

After a slight altercation between Richard’s ground crew and one of his engines, we set off. Two cards into the deck and our convoy was hit by an epidemic which wiped out Steve’s already sparely populated ship including his resident alien. Richard had designed this out from the beginning and was able to capitalise on another empty floating hulk. If things were looking bad for Steve at that point they only got worse when we entered the combat zone—he ran out of crew and was left drifting, leaving Richard to face the remainder of their wrath. Richard’s finely crafted storage vessel was rendered a sprawling hulk by an onslaught of explosions and meteor strikes, but he made it to dock. I suffered a setback when, as a result of an installation error, meteors hit my exposed and unshielded right hand flank but was otherwise unscathed.

Final scores then, were:

Matt: 70, Richard: 64, Steve: 12

Galaxy Trucker is an odd game that used bits of your brain that don’t usually get a workout on a games night. I feel I got a bit lucky with the volume of red blocks available in round 2 that made the bulk of my points, but it was certainly fun.