Thursday, October 28, 2004

Ticket to Ride - Expansions

I’ve just been perusing boardgame related blogs (as you do) and found a couple of unofficial boards for TTR. Here are the relevant web addresses if anybody wants to have a look.

Belgian Rail Network

And this is for the Lyon Metro Network

I have printed out the Belgian one, it consists of 8 quality A4 jpegs for the board and 2 more for the destination cards. The Lyon one is 16 A4 PDFs for the board and another for the cards. I think as I have a week’s holiday coming up I will try to assemble the Belgian one. As TTR is one of the games I quite enjoy at the moment it should provide one or two diverting moments. Hopefully I can get the Billygames crowd to give it a trial run.

New Look

I decided to change the look of the blog today, think this is a bit easier to read. Hope to get some photos up soon. Maybe when we (if) start to play some of the Essen new releases I will get out the trusty Fuji and start clicking.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Tuesday 26th October - No Games Tonight

Due to a combination of circumstances there was no games played this week. Been reading all the Essen reports I can find and boy, am I jealous. Especially so of my friend Jo, who did go, sounds like he had a great time and picked up some great games too. He very kindly picked up the Ticket to Ride Mystery Train expansion and Der Graf von Carcassonne (The Count of Carcassonne) for me. As Jo was flying he was restricted to how many games he could bring back but I think he did pretty well. His purchases were Carcassonne the City (Rio version), Jambo (Rio version),

Clocktowers, Railroad Dice Duetschland, Reef Encounter, Scottish Highland Whisky Race, besides all the games he got for friends. That City version of Carcassonne is pretty heavy by itself by all accounts. Hopefully we can have a session one weekend soon to try some of them out.

Some of the games have interested me after reading some of the reports but as our group is normally 6 number of players does decide to some extent what I will buy. Some of the good games only play 4 and I know that they will only get played occasionally. Anyway here’s what I like the look of.


Germany in the late middle ages! It is a time of flourishing cities, influential bishops, the powerful popes, and a pompous aristocracy. In such a volatile climate, no dynasty can remain in power for long. Several aristocratic families seek to acquire the crown of the emporer. But this decision lies in the hands of the seven elector. 2–4 emporer candidates use their knights and cities, marry their barons, and work to influence the electors. But all efforts are useless if the candidate is not elected to be emporer. But, in the shadow of the properly elected emporer, are always those who want to displace him and become the new emporer. (Description from Rio Grande games).

Only a 2-4 player but I like historical games.


Niagara is set in the not particularly safe world of rushing waterfalls. In the late 18th Century, the Shawnee and Iroquois Indians pointed white Desperadoes, Mercenaries and Adventurers in the direction of hidden caches of valuable jewels, in the hopes of turning them against one another and away from their territorial expansion ambitions. Players play as some of those Adventurers.

The first player to be able to claim ownership of five jewels is the winner. But the chase after the riches has some snags. The speed of the river is always changing, since the speed depends on the decisions of the players and the changeable weather. And once a canoe goes over the walls, it's a hefty investment to replace it. And there are also the Desperadoes to contend with, who aren't above trying to plunder the riches from Adventurers returning home. Niagara is distinguished by an innovative movement mechanic as well as a beautiful three-dimensionsal rendering of the waterfall setting.

3-5 players, this looks interesting as the board is laid over the box and moved every round causing some boats to plummet over the falls!


From the designer:

Think of Civilization/Age of Renaissance set in the 18th century. Players take the role of one of the major powers of the period and fight in both Europe and the colonies. The twist to the game is that in each war players must form into two alliances. Once allied with a player you cannot fight each other. This means you do not have the backstabbing of Diplomacy to worry about; if he's allied he's with you until the end of the war. This means that a player has to think carefully about who he wants to fight against and who he wants to ally with. Very often he will want to ally with his natural enemy and go to war with the guy who doesn't really want to fight him. On top of this you have lots of improvement tiles that you buy to shape your empire, plus alliances with minor powers, and the possibility of going into revolution. The game is 99% done and personally I am very pleased with it. Even though it is a big empire building game it will scale from 3 to 7 players and has pretty simple rules.

The new Martin Wallace game plays up to 7 and is historical and plays in 90 minutes to boot! Could get this one.


From Gamefest:

The game, which is about power and influence in the French court at the end of the 17th Century is by Rudiger Dorn, who will have his second game in the alea series after "The Traders of Genoa".

The 2-4 players 12 and up take on the roles of members of the Court, and have about 100 minutes in which to carry out their missions and goals at Versailles. By using cards and influence stones, they influence high-ranking Court attendants, such as the King's Mother or one of the countless Royal mistresses. Naturally, the Sun King himself has a special role here to.

An excellent time and a high level of tension are guaranteed. The final outcome is in doubt right up to the end. Each game is different. A change of pace but still a highly promising strategy game in the finest alea tradition, one which sits at level 5 on the Alea complexity scale.

Only 4 players but a rich historical theme.

Anyway I look forward to playing some of the new games from Essen and will elucidate you with my impressions as and when.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Me at Fuschl

Me at Fuschl
Originally uploaded by coljen.
OK I’ve just figured out how to publish photos to my blog using flickr. Whoo Hooo! This is just a bit of a test so expect some gaming related pics to appear here soon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Tuesday October 19th - Seafarers of Catan

Full complement tonight, well, apart from Garry, so not a full complement. Doh! Anyway those adventuring seafarers took to the oceans of Catan tonight.

This is an expansion for the Settlers of Catan game. Players can build shipping lanes, which are very similar to roads. Additionally, the game comes with many different water-hex-heavy variant setups. Tonights scenario involved one large island in the middle of the board with an undiscovered area either side. The game is basically the same as regular Settlers with some sailing thrown in, discovering land as you go. The game started pretty evenly, but soon Natalie had got longest road, surprise there then, and Neil had got into sailing mode. Steve and I were confined to smallish areas in which to build at the start. Richard got into the sailing lark as well and captured the longest road/shipping lane card from Natalie. Steve was quietly building away keeping a low profile. And I, well was not doing a lot really. Natalie managed to capture that longest road card back again. The robber kept on shutting Steve and Natalies mud production, who did that?

As we approached the endgame Steve suddenly became a contender, and sure enough built another settlement and announced he had the 12 points required for the win, turning over a special card for the one vital point.

Good game, I am gradually getting to like Settlers more, even though my dice rolls usually suck.

Final Scores (*denotes starting player)

Neil* 7, Richard 8, Steve 12, Colin 9, Natalie 11

Game Rating (0-10)

Colin 7

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Tuesday October 5th - Samurai

With only Steve, Garry and myself able to make it this week it gave us the opportunity to play a 4 (or 3) player game. Garry chose Renier Knizia’s 1998 game Samurai. I do own a copy of this game myself, being a fan of the good Doctor, so I didn’t mind that at all. Here is a brief description of the game courtesy the Geek.

Another of the Reiner Knizia 'tile trilogy,' this game is ostensibly set in medieval Japan. Players use hexagonal tiles to surround cities, which have one to three different figures: rice paddies, buddhas, or high hats. The tiles represent influence on particular facets of the cities, and the highest influence on a figure when the city is surrounded takes that figure. The object of the game is to have more of any one else in one category, and then have the most remaining figures.

This description doesn’t do the scoring system justice. To even be eligible to compete for the win you have to have a majority in one of the different figures, rice paddies, buddhas or high hats. If you are able to get a majority in two of these it’s an automatic win. If more than one has a majority you then count your remaining pieces and the one with the most is the winner. This is a fairly quick playing game and with only three players it is even quicker. We managed three games. The first game got under way after a quick resumé of the rules, as none of us had played it for a while. Each city has one of each figure and the rest are placed by the players on the board in clockwise order. You start with 5 tiles behind your screen, either random or chosen, we had a random selection. These tiles of course determine to a certain extent the initial placement of the figures on the board.

When all the figures are placed you then place your tiles trying to accumulate a majority of influence on the piece and when it is surrounded the majority influence captures it. This is a good thinking game but one that plays quickly, quite a feat really. In the first game we each had a majority so could compete for the win. Steve edged it with myself second.

Score (*denotes starting player)

Steve 5, Colin* 4, Garry 3

In the second game the high hats seemed to get grouped together on one end of the board which was quite interesting. Steve started this one and again gained the win. This time with a majority in two of the pieces, Garry had a majority in the other, I didn’t even qualify, with no majorities.

Score (*denotes starting player)

Steve* 2 majorities outright win, Garry 3, Colin zilch!

Game 3 and the start player rotated to Garry, Steve could’t pull off the hatrick, could he? Garry started by capturing all 3 pieces in the city and was off to a flying start. By the way the pieces that are captured are put behind your screen, so you have to try and remember what everybody else has won. I thought that I wasn’t doing too badly, how wrong can you be. Yup, Steve did it again with another outright win with 2 majorities, this time Garry didn’t quality having no majorities.

Score (*denotes starting player)

Steve* 2 majorities outright win, Colin 4, Garry nadda!

Rating (0-10)

Colin 7.5

This is basically for my own reference, Natalie has posted the official Billygames order for choosing games.

The order, for the record, is:

Dave (Unfortunately only makes guest appearances now)







This order is in no particular sequence and definitely nothing to do with age. ;-)