May 5th - London

Three of us met at Richard's who had decided that we were to build the city of London. It initially seemed daunting, but Richard had coffee and caramel shortbread so it seemed rude not to try. I had never played before and Steve only a handful of times so after Steve and Richard read through the salient points and cobbled together a explanation we got off to a shaky start as I tried to grasp what I could and couldn't do. One thing I couldn't do was draw any cards as good as Richard's in the first few turns, but I stabilised on two loans having mistaken how the prison worked.

We all had quite big cities and ended up with 6 or 7 districts. There were some interesting card combinations- Steve had Hospital and Westminster working quite usefully.

Matt: 71, Richard: 61, Steve: 52

I won by getting the underground to work for me. I had 6 connected districts when a north river railway station funded 3 underground cards to generate 24 vps which was more than enough to counteract the poverty I was generating. It's a funny sort of 'detached' game where you never really feel involved in the play. I felt I was playing the game rather than the other players for most of it, there wasn't a great deal of interaction. I was idly ruminating on the style of game compared with Wallace's others and whether it had been play tested sufficiently as some of the cards were simply better than others for no real balance reasons. Steve remarked that Wallace's play testers were pretty experienced and had to find the holes in the game, but I wonder if he was using the right people? Wallace's other games are 'true' boardgames and the mindset required to perform well at Brass and Tinner's Trail is quite similar. I think London is different. You don't really need the board for a start, district tiles would easily suffice, and what you are left with is a combinable card game and that starts to stray into different territory where the CCGs lie. The 'geek is full of references comparing London to Race for the Galaxy and I don't think they are looking far enough. GOSU, Magic, Jambo and to some extent Agricola (although I think that may have been under-tested) have the sort of interactions that you see in London and getting people with ability at those games to test London might have resulted in better card balance that would lead to people having tougher decisions about what to discard rather than pitching away the obvious dross and hanging onto the more powerful cards. It's not a bad game, but not Wallace's best in my opinion and a lot lies in the execution rather than the idea, which seems sound.


Oh dear, merciful, bugger. Bottle Imp. Three players were better than 4. Less chaos. More understanding on my part and significantly less rage than last time. I still managed to stuff up the final round and end with the tricky little blighter though. Steve and I succeeded in stuffing Richard royally in the first couple of rounds so the scores ended:

Richard: 26, Matt: 32, Steve: 85

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