Wednesday, June 28, 2006

King Arthur

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Next up was King Arthur, Reiner Knizia’s cardgame of the boardgame. Not knowing anything about the boardgame I don’t know if this bears any resemblence or not. Nobody had played before apart from me, I had played a couple of times with the wife so had a basic idea of what was going on. Not enough as it turns out as we managed to ignore a couple of the advanced rules.....ah well next time we play we will get it right. Steve was reading through the rules and found a couple of things we weren't doing but it was too late to change by then.
In this game there a number of quests, ie cards which have a number of victory points on them, and a cost, either points or colour, to obtain. There is a deck of knight cards and an adversary deck. You lay out adversary cards and use the knight cards in your hand to defeat them. Each adversary card has a points value and a colour, you use these to complete quests. In your turn you can, turn over adversary cards if there is not at least 4 of one colour, use your knights to defeat adversaries, use your adversary cards to complete quests. If you do nothing you draw 2 cards from the knights decks otherwise you draw one.
To defeat an adversary you play knight cards of the same colour equal to the value on the adversary card, you then place one of your seals on it. You only pick up this card when all adversaries of that colour have seals on them. To complete a quest you use adversary cards that meet the cost on the quest. Basically quite straightforward to play, but it does give you a few interesting decisions to make. You can see which adversary cards your opponents have in front of them and can try to deny them cards that will enable them to complete a quest, while trying to obtain adversary cards to complete quests of your own.
The rules we didn't use were you can defeat an adversary you have defeated before to pick it up immediately or play double the knight cards required to pick it up immediately. One other rule which I found later on the geek is that adversary cards left in your hand at the game end count towards your points score (sorry chaps!!), this would have made a difference to the results.

Final Scores for 2 games
Steve 42, Colin 38, Garry 35, Richard 29
Richard 41, Garry 41, Steve 30, Colin 27

I think we all enjoyed it and would willingly play again, with all the rules this time :)

Happy Gaming!!!

Tuesday 27th June - Cartagena/King Arthur Cardgame

Originally uploaded by coljen.
So we were to be three this evening, but after a long day of meetings in Birmingham Richard finally made it. On the table tonight is Leo Colovini's 2000 game Cartagena, and Reiner Knizia's 2005 cardgame, King Arthur.
I think everyone had played Cartagena except me, but not with the full advanced rules. This involves each player trying to move their six ‘pirates’ through the tunnel to the waiting ship to escape. To do this you play cards matching symbols on the board and move a pirate to that space. Or move a pirate back to the next occupied space and pick up cards. That is it basically, but we played open handed so we could each see everyone’s cards in hand. Also there is a row of 12 cards from which you pick up cards to replenish your hand. This makes the game a lot more challenging with more information you can plan your moves a lot better. I think the general consensus was that this made the game a lot better. The game plays fairly quickly, our game lasted just over the hour and flows along quite nicely. You could get bogged down trying to over analyse the board but I think you have to play it quick and dirty. More fun!!!

Final Scores (to get all his pirates on the ship)
Colin , Richard, Steve, Garry

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Monday 19th June - Carolus Magnus

Originally uploaded by coljen.
We last played this 2000 Leo Colovini game way back in April last year. It was a three player game with Garry, Steve and myself, and it was the three of us again this time. Basically this is a game of control of provinces by placing coloured blocks on them and also controlling the colour by having the majority of blocks on your court. I played this game like a complete donkey and I remarked that when we last played I thought I won. Steve said that seemed unlikely and I agreed with him, but looking back at the result it was indeed Colin 8, Garry 4 and Steve 3. Garry looked to be in a strong position with only one castle left to get on the board. I managed to secure the one remaining vunerable province joining it with another of mine. So denying Garry the chance to to end the game. This game is a bit of a brain burner with many possibilities open to you on every turn. Despite my poor performance and lucky win I still llike this game.

Final Scores
Colin 8, Steve 4, Garry 3

Garry remarked that boardgame news has got a preview of Essen 2006.....already! Bookmark that page and keep checking they are the premier site for Essen news.

Happy Gaming!!!

Carolus Magnus - End Position

Originally uploaded by coljen.
This is the end position, I am the black castles. As I said a win that I didn't expect, nor I suspect did Garry and Steve......but I'll take it :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

World Cup Interruptus

Well, sort of. Richard has bombed off to somewhere in Europe.....again, and Brazil were playing last night. So no games this week and England are playing next tuesday so we may be playing on monday. Pretty poor start from England against Paraquay. Hope we can do better against Trinidad & Tobago. Tony Cottee (ex West Ham) is reported to have said ‘We have the team to win it, and the manager to lose it’. I think he’s got it right. Still we shall see. Hopefully normal games service will be resumed next week. :)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Tuesday 6th June - Ark

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Well, here I am back off of holiday. Had a nice time in Austria despite the rain we had for 12 days out of 14. Ah well, there was still the Tiroler Grostle and Kaisersmarn. So thanks for the comments on the Industria report. Perhaps Steve, who wrote the report could clarify whether it was an enjoyable experience or not. My first session back and the game on the table is Ark, the 2005 game from Doris and Frank. Basically this is a card game involving putting animals into cabins on the ark. Each animal has a weight and is either a carnivore or herbivore or omnivore. There are certain restrictions as to which animal can go next to which animal and you either play cards onto a cabin or draw cards to fill your hand.
When we ran through the rules it seemed a bit confusing, luckily Garry had printed out some reference sheets from the Geek which helped a lot. The first game was a bit of a learning curve but we soon got the hang of it. There are 5 rain cards distributed in bottom half of the draw pile and when the fifth card shows up that is the end of the game. We played a second game and it was a lot smoother, although I still had to use the reference card. I enjoyed it and I think Garry and Steve did too.

Final Scores
Game 1
Steve 36, Garry 38, Colin 27

Game 2
Steve 30, Garry 29, Colin 40

This was a purchase Garry made at Essen last year. Talking of Essen, I booked my flight and hotel on monday so I’m ready to go. Garry and Jo are going too, Steve get moving there won’t be any hotel rooms left soon :)
We are flying out on the Wednesday, staying 2 nights in the hotel and flying back friday evening. Just got to save some money to actually buy some games now.

Until next time.....

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Tuesday 30th May - Industria

I was still on holiday in Austria last week. So Steve has written the report for Industria. Take it away Steve.

This is one of those games that ought not to work. Money is very tight – more so, possibly, than in any other game – and to give even one or two talers more to your opponents than they give to you will likely scupper your chances of winning. The obvious way to proceed when you are the auctioneer is therefore to auction all of the tiles that you are fairlysure others will be prepared to pay for, and then take the one you want for free. When someone else is the auctioneer, you should decline to buy anything unless you absolutely must have it, eg. the reource you need to play a technology that you already own. However, the same logic applies to everyone. All of the players get the same income, so there seems little to be gained by moving it around in the auctions. Consequently, the auctioneer should conclude that it is too risky trying to sell off other tiles before taking the one he most wants himself, with the result that the auction phase should consist simply of each player taking a tile in turn. Even if the resource tiles are deemed to be worth less than the buildings and technologies (and I would argue that they are not, since no-one can possibly play a building or technology tile every round), it will not do a player who sees one coming his way any good to
bid for an earlier tile because, even if his bid is accepted, he will end up giving the auctioneer a taler in addition to the resource, and will have less money himself with which to build his purchase.

Despite all this, for some reason most tiles attracted at least one bid in our game – except when I was the auctioneer, when there seemed to be a conspiracy to make me take a tile I didn’t really want (it must have
been concocted when I was making the coffee); even when I wasn’t the auctioneer, I found myself the owner of buildings that I only bid on to push the price up. As a result, I ended up with a lot of tiles that I couldn’t afford to play, including both the Bank and the Bourse, which cost me a total of 1 taler. Fortunately, my poverty put me well back on the scoring track, and towards the end the conspirators began to abandon
their principles and buy my tiles, in order to maximise the VP earnings from their remaining money. This enabled me both to play tiles from earlier epochs that were linked to my existing tiles and, more
importantly, to build all of the factories with anchor symbols, and since I had both anchor tiles, this gave me the victory.

Industria fiends will have noticed, of course, that we were ignoring an important rule - you can only count one symbol tile of each type when scoring bonuses. The reason for this rule is clear – that one tile,
which cost me only 1 taler to buy and one to play, yielded 20% of myfinal score. Normally, the players would make sure that such a valuable prize was not allowed to fall into the wrong hands, or that, if it did,
a high price was paid, but money is so tight in Industria, particularly at the end, that no-one can afford to make the necessary spoiling bids. This is a problem throughout the game, actually, but it seems to me we
could go some way towards a solution simply by saying that any tile not yet played can be sold to the bank for 1 taler. You might argue that this would simply result in an automatic bid of 1 taler for every tile, but I don’t think so. If you pay 1 taler for a tile and then promptly sell it to the bank, it is effectively the auctioneer who gets the taler, not you. Also, not bidding would remain a more attractive option,
particularly for those early in the turn order, because if no-one bids, the desirable auctioneer role moves around. The key effect, I think, would be that spoiling bids would become worth considering, and this would add to the tension in the auctions, which are, after all, the main feature of the game.

Final scores:
Gary (start player) 33; Joe 38; Steve 41 (of which 8 came
from the second anchor tile); Richard 38