This is the last session before Essen, and unfortunately because of work commitments, Garry couldn't make it. Richard had chosen Canal Mania for his choice this week and because that was a game of Garry's he had to make another choice. He chose Big City, a game dating from 1999, my one playing was over 2 year's ago. So Steve, Richard and myself sat down to refresh ourselves with the rules. Basically there are 8 gameboards, each board divided into squares with a number, each representing a neighbourhood of a city. There are 8 corresponding decks of cards with 1-8 on the backs and the numbers of the squares on the front. So on you turn you can either add a new neighbourhood (only after City Hall has been built), build a building using cards from your hand, add trams (only after City Hall has been built), exchange as many cards as you like from your hand or pass. There are also 2 parks that can be build and 2 factories. The buildings score points depending on there type and the location in which they are built. One interesting feature is City Hall, the game can't fully develop until it is built, but the player who actually builds it gets zero points and everybody else can benefit from the new position first. Steve had no qualms and built it fairly early. After City Hall the trams become a nice feature enabling double points to be scored if a building is adjacent in a lot of cases.
Steve built the tram line out on a new neigbourhood and Richard immediately built a factory there, diminishing the value of any buildings in the vicinity. The church (there are 2) can only be built on a square with a double number (33, 55, 88 etc.) and only if it is the last square left in a neighbourhood, this scores a nice 15 points. I managed to build both, tempting someone to build on the penultimate square of a hood by placing a tram nearby. All the bits in this game are first class, the buildings are really good. Our game took just over the hour.
Colin 126, Richard 108, Steve 80
We had a bit of time left so we finished off the evening with a game of Cronberg. This game was web published by the designer before getting professionally produced. Basically an easy, fast tile laying game. In your turn you either lay a rhombus-shaped tile or place one of your pawns on an intersection between tiles. If the pawn gets surrounded by tiles it gets scored, or if there is a space that can't be filled it gets scored at the end of the game. A good filler with a bit of thought required, obviously from my score you can see this bit passed me by.
Richard 24, Steve 14, Colin -4 (Yes you can get minus scores!)