Saturday, February 25, 2006

Tuesday February 21st - E-&-T-Cardgame

Originally uploaded by coljen.
So Richard is back in one piece from the piste!! That means four players for tonight and the E&T cardgame is on the the table. Garry and I hadn't played it before and Steve had played twice and Richard once. We had all played the boardgame so a quick run through the rules was in order which didn't take long. The gameplay was fairly straightforward, plenty of reviews on BGG if need more info. But I didn't take to it much I must say. I know the boardgame is considered a classic, that doesn't rate in my top 10 either. So we placed our leaders, laid a few cards, scored a few cards, had a few battles...... And after about 90 minutes Richard won with a score of 6. The playing time on the box is 45 minutes!!!! I came second with 5 and I didn't really know what I was doing. Steve instigated a lot of battles and I don't think he won one.

Final Scores
Richard 6, Colin 5, Garry 3 (tiebreak), Steve 3

As we had a bit of time left we finished off with 3 hands of Hol's der Geier. This is a simple trick taking game. Each player has 15 cards to 15. There are a stack of cards to play for -5 to 10. These are shuffled and one turned over, the winner of the trick gets this card. Highest card wins the plus numbers and the lowest card wins the minus numbers. Quick playing and good fun. In the last hand I managed to go the whole 15 tricks without winning one!!!

Final Scores (3 hands totalled)
Garry 38, Steve 34, Richard 28, Colin 22

There are a few good trick taking games around although I know they are not everybody's cup of tea. Still maybe we should have an evening of cardgames :)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Monday 13th - Tower of Babel

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Only three players again this week, Richard was away in Austria, skiing again. I think I'm in the wrong job!!!! Anyway, this week the game on the table was Renier Knizia's, Tower of Babel. We had only played this once before so I though it time we give it another outing. This game is about building the eight wonders of the world. Players collect cards, water holes, camels, masons and boats. Each wonder has 3 discs on it, the discs are of the same types as the cards and each disc as a number. This is the number of cards needed to build that part of the wonder. The active player asks the
other players if they want to help build and each player makes an offer of cards. The active player can accept any of the bids as long as the total number of cards do not accede the number on the disc. If the number of cards is not enough he can make up the difference, or he can not accept any bids and supply all the necessary cards himself. Each player that supplied cards put one house on the wonder and the active player takes the disc. Every player that bid cards but had their bid rejected gets one VP for each card they offered. Also each player has a switch card, which he can offer with his bid or not, if his offer is accepted he does not put any houses on the wonder, the active player puts all the houses on, but he takes the disc. When all three discs on a wonder our built the wonder is scored. The player
with most houses takes the points for first, second most takes second, and suprise, third takes third. The player who initiated the scoring also takes a special card which can give special abilities, exchanging cards, more VPs and so on.
Also at game end VPs are gained for the number of discs held. So basically it's a majority occupation game with a few twists. It's a pleasant enough way to spend an hour, but I find it a bit dry. Garry had a bit of trouble with the bidding mechanism, the switch card is a tactic that can be used to good effect. So the result will come as no surprise.

Final Scores
Garry 101, Steve 86, Colin 80

Monday 13th February - Karibik

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Garry is on a bit of run lately, having won Caylus the last two weeks. Still we had a bit of time left so time to visit the Caribbean for a bit of Karibik. Here is a description from BGG:

The board shows the Caribbean in the 18th century. Six pirate ships lie in wait on sea, ready to pillage the rich ports, or to rob the booty from other ships.

The sea is divided into spaces. Each player is in possession of three safe havens, marked in his color on the board. If only two or three players are playing, the safe havens in the vacant color(s) are treated as normal sea spaces.

The aim of each player is to lure the pirates to deliver treasure crates to one of their own safe havens, and not to the safe havens of the opponents.

The pirate ships do not belong to any player. That is why the players must bribe the pirates each time they want a pirate ship to act on their behalf. And what is the greatest temptation for a Caribbean pirate? Rum of course, barrels full of rum!

In every round the players try anew their best to bribe the pirates. The player who has offered the most rum to a ship gets to move that ship as many spaces as the number of barrels shown on the bribing chip. An active ship can (a) rob a crate from a port or from another ship, (b) reach a crate over to another ship, (c) swap crates with another ship, and/or (d) deliver a crate into a safe haven.

The aim is to have the most doubloons at the end of the game.

In a three player game the goal is to amass 41,000 doubloons which Garry did in double quick time. He really is on a roll. Well done Garry!!!

Final Score
Garry 42,000 Steve 33,000 Colin 24,000

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Tuesday 31st January - Caylus (Take 2)

Richard is still away skiing so just Garry, Steve and myself again and Steve chose to give Caylus another outing. I am beginning to really like this game I just think it plays a tad to long. Anyway last week Garry had a resounding win and Steve and myself were going to try to stop his second win. I had tried to build in the castle a lot last week and decided not to pursue that strategy this week, in fact I was determined to build a blue building. Steve had suggested a rule variation before be started which we decided to give a go. If a player puts a man in the gate, which was ignored entirely last, he can move to the unoccupied building of his choice and activate it
immediately. As this comes before movement of the merchants guild it does give another option and makes the gate more attractive. It didn't change the game at all really and the gate was used a couple of times to good effect.

Garry had changed his strategy of building buildings every turn if possible and now was building in the castle in multiple batches. He also maxed out the VP track on the favours. So the game seemed to be much closer as the game progressed. Last week Steve had amassed a lot of gold and in fact built the only blue building. This week I got to go first a couple of times and got some gold ahead of him. I also built a couple of residences and the extra 2 money was useful. Garry had pulled out into the lead and tried to end the game by moving the baileff over the finish line. Steve and myself managed to pull him back by paying and forced the game into another turn. I
had built the monument by now and edged into second place. The bank was in play now so I bought a couple of gold on the last turn for 6 more VPs. Congratulations to Garry for another convincing win.

Final Scores
Garry 86, Colin 76, Steve 71

Tuesday 24th January - Caylus

This week there was only Garry, Steve and myself as Richard was off skiing in Utah. Garry chose to give Caylus another spin. We have played this game only twice before but I think we all liked it. As it was a while since the last playing we had a quick resumé of the rules. I think we played it last in October after Essen 2005. This game has been compared to Puerto Rico by many players. Actually 'is this the next Puerto Rico?' by some! I like Caylus a lot but I'm not sure it's the new Puerto Rico, both games are excellent.

When we first played we did misplay quite a few rules. Consequently nobody got very far on the favours track. On the second playing we had sorted all that out and I think we got all the rules right. There are many ways to proceed in the game, just as there are in PR and as the game progresses you can usually see what your opponents are up to. Garry had built a few of the key buildings producing cubes and consequently was very valuable to him throughout the game. I built quite a few times in the castle in the first few turns, gaining favours. I must say that my eyes are a bit dodgy at best and I had a job telling brown and purple apart on the tiles which made me rethink my plan at least twice. Also I must remember that it's no good
trying to build a brown building if you are not getting the appropriate cubes until after the building tile is activated!! Doh!! Nobody used the Inn at all in this game and as we progressed Garry raced away into the lead by a considerable margin. Steve and myself were pretty neck and neck. As soon as the gold mine became available Steve went on it at every opportunity. Ah! I remembered that Steve had amassed a large quantity of gold at the end of the last game.

Three quarters of the way through the game and still nobody had built a residence, it was looking debatable if a blue building was going to built at all. Garry was building stone buildings nearly every turn and was still a long way in the lead. He did try to finish the game by moving the provost over the tower line but Steve pulled it back and forced the game to carry on. I was buying 2 gold each turn towards end but couldn't see me building a blue building. I could see Steve was aiming to build one next turn. I knew if he did he would get close to Garry and leave me in last place. He also was going first in turn order. I would have tried to grab turn order and grab the architect to foil his plan, even though I couldn't build myself, but Garry in his stone building frenzy had build two architects and I knew I couldn't stop him. Steve did build the Library for 16pts so at the game end it turned out to be quite close. I think Garry was glad it ended when it did as he was beginning to run out of steam. So I ended last but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. As I have said before I don't necessarily have to win to enjoy the experience of playing (see my previous posts about Age of Steam).

Final Scores
Garry 94, Steve 90, Colin 78