Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tuesday 21st June - Alhambra

Originally uploaded by coljen.
We finished off the evening with a game of Alhambra. Building the gardens of Arabia took us just over the hour. I can never seem to get the right colour of money when the tiles I want appear. Anyway this turned out to be a very close game with the result being decided right on the final scoring. Garry, Steve and Richard all very close with me not far behind. An enjoyable game, one I will always play if asked.

Final Scores
Steve 108 Garry 107 Richard 105 Colin 95

Tuesday 21st June - Settlers, Cheops expansion

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Phew! The 21st June, the longest day of the years. After a hot sweaty day at work, those tubes in London are a sauna bath, an evening of good gaming was just the right relaxer. Richard had chosen the historical scenario of Settlers, Cheops. The only one we hadn't given a run out. This scenario recreates the building of the great pyramid. At the start you are allowed to place 3 settlements as opposed to the normal 2, but you can only place them on the banks of the Nile. This poses an interesting decision to make as the the pyramid is on the west bank and the only ore producing hexes are far to the east on the other side of the Red Sea. Hmmm. You need to contribute to the pyramid building as being the major contributor gives you an extra 3VPs, but being the least contributor gives you minus 2 VPs. Funnily enough you need ore to build stones on the pyramid!
Richard and Garry made a beeline for the ore, while I copped a sheep port and made for the pyramid. I placed my settlements on a couple of sheep hexes and reckoned I could use the port to get the ore. Those ore hexes became a magnet for the robber too. Anyway it didn't quite work out as planned, I managed to get the 3vp Tile for being in lead for building the pyramid and held on to it for quite a while. But I was held back at the beginning as for the first five dice rolls I didn't pick up a single resource, let alone any sheep!

At the end Richard and I were on 9VPs each and then Richard swooped and bought 2 pyramid stones to take the lead, the 3VP tile and the victory. I enjoyed the game but I think the others weren't as impressed and liked some of the other scenarios more.

Final Scores
Richard 12 Colin 6 Garry 6 Steve 4

Tuesday 14th June - Carcassonne with Dragon Expansion

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Carcassone is a game that is enjoyed by all our group, and this week we were going to give the Dragon and Princess expansion a run out. Basically you have a dragon (suprise), and when tile with a .......dragon on it is laid, the dragon moves six spaces. Each player moves the dragon one space, any meeples that are on those tiles get eaten (go back to the player). You also have a.......Princess. Her image is on certain city tiles and when these are placed the player has the option not to place a meeple but to remove an existing meeple from the city. Wait, theres more, you also have a fairy.
This cute little wooden piece, resembling a member of the KKK more than a lickle fairy, can be moved if you do not place a piece and it protects the tile it stands on from the dragon.
There are a couple of other different tiles, a magic gate tile that allows you to place a meeple anywhere on the board not already occupied or scored. And volcano tiles that move the position of the dragon around. How did it play, well, it could be quite cut throat if the players want to play it that way. Personally I think that is the only way to play it. Even if I did get munched by the pesky dragon on several occasions. You think you have a quite good position, then, have several meeples back in your supply. I scored 8 points for a city early on and then never scored another point until the scoring at the end. A massive city began to take shape with Richard, Steve and Garry all contesting it. The tile needed to complete it finally appeared with a grateful Garry placing it, Richard had been kicked of by now by the Princess so Steve and Garry scored a huge number of points, over 50 if I remember correctly.
I must say that I think this expansion does add to the game, some people may not enjoy the more confrontational aspects, but hey, munching dragons is cool. There are so many full expansions and mini expansions I think you have to be careful which you play with because they do not all mix and match. The game could turn into a chaotic mess. We played with just the basic set.

Final Scores
Garry 143, Steve 122, Richard 107, Colin 52, Neil 40

We rounded off the evening with 3 games of that very good cardgame Gschenk. People have definitely got different strategies for this. I seemed to think most points won in the first game. Doh! A good round off for a good evening.

Game 1
Steve 27, Richard 31, Garry 32, Neil 44, Colin 65
Game 2
Garry 5, Colin 8, Richard 25, Steve 28, Neil 79
Game 3
Steve 7, Colin 15, Richard 25, Neil 31, Garry 39

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Tower of Babel - Tuesday 7th June

Originally uploaded by coljen.
This is the first Billygames session for some weeks, so it was good to get back together and give Renier Knizia's Tower of Babel a run out. This is one of the games I purchased on holiday in Salzburg. As usual the game components are up to the usual high standard from Hans Im Gluck. With such a prolific games designer as Renier Knizia you would think that it would be impossible to turn out games of a consistently high standard, while ToB isn't a classic it is a solid game design with some interesting decisions to be made. Basically players try to build the 7 wonders of the world together while endeavouring to have the major contribution to the build. Each wonder has 3 building chips, either camels, cranes, stonemasons or boats. A player places his building marker on a wonder and chooses a building chip. This will have a number on it from 3 to 6 and invites offers from the other players to help build it. He can opt to choose any of the offers to complete the build contributing cards from his hand if necessary. The players involved then put as many dobbers on the wonder as cards they played and the active player gets the building chip. The rejected offers get VPs, one for each card they played. When all 3 building chips on a wonder are built the wonder is scored according to a scale on the gameboard and the active player gets an action card. Action cards do a number of things, allowing you to draw or exchange cards, having another turn, 5VPs at game end and so on.
That is it basically, the game ends when all chips of one type are built, then all the unfinished wonders are scored and you get VPs for building chips you have collected. It played pretty smoothly and we managed to get 2 games in during the session. Gauging how many card to offer is an art, sometimes knowing your offer will be rejected can be good as you can garner quite a few VPs this way. But having a presence on the wonders when they are scored is vital too as the majority of points are scored this way.
I managed to collect a good number of building chips in the first game and scored 20pts for the last wonder built and edged the win. In the second game Steve cornered the monopoly on camel chips and scored 20 points for those. He also built the last camel chip fairly early to end the game while he was in a winning position. Another winner for the good Doctor I think.

Final Scores Game 1
Colin 83, Neil 81, Steve 68, Richard 68, Garry 65

Game 2
Steve 63, Garry 61, Colin 47, Neil 43, Richard 40

As I have said before I can only update this blog at the weekends now (thanks IT) but hopefully I can remember what went on the previous Tuesday.

Tower of Babel 4 Web - End Game

Originally uploaded by coljen.
As you can see from the previous picture, Richard looks pretty baffled after we had gone through the rules (or is he just knackered?), but it was easy enough to pick up and we rattled through 2 games in the session.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Billygames an update

Just a quick update on Billygames game sessions. For one reason or another we haven't a session for over a month now. Hopefully we will get back to normal soon. As I posted in my last note I bought several games when I was on holiday in Austria and hope to give them a play before too long. Also the IT dept. at my work have blocked almost all the sites I regularly surf, and this is one of them, so I won't be able to update 'Billygames and stuff' until the weekends. All sites regarding 'games' and 'message boards' have been blocked, so I can't even get on Boardgamegeek.

I have just seen your comment Rick, when we go to Salzburg we go by the public bus and get off at the Mirabellplatz. This is the street that runs parrallal to the Mirabell Gardens. If you go back along the street away from the gardens, the shop is on the right hand side. The front is not very noticable and it has two doors, one normal sized and one kid sized. There is another game shop and that one is in the Getreidegasse, just along from Mozarts House. The first one is the best. Anyway until I have something interesting to post about, happy gaming!