Saturday, January 14, 2006

Tuesday 10th January - Kremlin

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Our first full complement after the holiday break and Richard chose the 1988 Avalon Hill game, Kremlin. This was designed by Urs Hostettler and hadn't been played by Garry or myself and I think Richard and Steve hadn't played for many years. Anyway I have been reading up on the geek and this is a short description of the game:

A game of political intrigue set in the Soviet Politburo. Players secretly influence politicians, using them to expunge other players politicians to Siberia, promote their own, or wheel and deal. The player who successfully gets their controlled Party Chief to wave 3 times at the May Day parade wins the game. Nice balance of chrome and playability, and the theme fits tightly.

Most of the comments on the geek rate this game very highly, I must say that on our one play both Garry and myself didn't warm to it. I found the rules slightly confusing and we took nearly 45 minutes just to run through them.

We played the advanced rules as well, perhaps this didn't help. I found myself in charge of the KGB for a while and kept getting urged to purge, purge, purge. I didn't think that purging characters with my influence on them or that I had written on my sheet but not yet played was a good move. So I think my KGB chief was very lenient. Steve managed to get the party chief to wave 3 times with 3 turns still remaining and we had been playing 105 minutes by then. With all the excellent games that have been published and I have played before I don't think that Kremlin will be top of my list to try again. But, hey, that's me. For the next 3 weeks there will only be 3 of us, no Richard who is off skiiing in Utah. Lucky chap!!Until next time.......happy gaming!!!

Kremlin Board

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Here's a shot of the board with all the politicians vying for power.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Tuesday 3rd January - El Grande/Clans

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Well, I hope you had a happy festive season and managed to get some gaming in. Happy New Year to you all. Our first session after the festivities saw us go back to the 1995 game from Hans Im Gluck, El Grande. One of the games in a lot of peoples top 10. Only three of us for this session and it was a while since Garry and myself had played, in fact I think Garry had only played once before. Most of you probably know the basis of this game, it's territory control, or provinces in medieval Spain in this case. Each player has cards from 1-13 and plays a card to determine turn order. You then choose a card from one of five stacks, these cards allow you one special action plus a number of caballeros (knights) to place on the provinces or the castle. Every third turn there is a scoring of the provinices and the castle.We were using Steve's copy of the game which was German but the pictograms on the cards are pretty self explanatory and Steve's grasp of German is pretty good, so no problem there.

The scores were pretty close right up to the last couple of turns. I managed to snaffle Sevilia from Garry (which had his Grandee in) using my knights from the Castle in the last turn. In the 3 player version only the first and second places are scored and some interesting decisions had to be made, do you lock down the King or score that provinice? I really like this game and it should see the table more often. The expansions offer a more complex game and open up the board if you are playing 5 player when it can get a bit crowded. The scoring track doesn't have numbers on so not really sure of the actual score, we went one and half times round anyway, so the winners score is X.

Final Scores
Colin X, Garry X-7, Steve X-21

We finished faily early so Steve suggested a game of Clans to finish off with. This is a Leo Colovini game from 2002. Neither Garry or myself had played before but its not difficult to pick up. Five minutes on the rules is enough. This game offers some decisions to be made and as there was only 3 of us two colours were not scoring, which made it more difficult to pick out which colours your opponents were playing. Moving huts into adjacent terrains to form villages which are scored when they are surrounded by empty terrains is basically it. A nice 30 minute filler to finish off with. Close scoring between first and second, only one point in it.

Final Scores
Garry39, Steve 38, Colin 24