Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our Austrian Adventure - update

Wow, I see that I haven't made an entry for almost a month now, well we have been a bit busy. We finally moved out of our house and into the Mother-in-Law's. We flew to Austria for a few days to view a 2 bed apartment owned by our friend's brother, right in the centre of St. Wolfgang, exactly where we wanted to be. It was snowing a blizzard when we arrived and with all the Christmas trees and decorations ready for the Advent Market it looked very festive. Well we looked at the apartment and liked it straightaway, having done that our friend was so helpful, taking us everywhere in his car. Sorting out bank accounts, looking at furniture and kitchen stuff. So we are all set now and are spending Christmas with the family then flying out to our new life on January 3rd.

Hopefully once we get things a bit sorted out I will start to look for local gamers, but as you can imagine that is not top of the wife's priority list. All my games have been in storage along with all our other stuff and that is coming over in early January. We have to go into BB for a couple of weeks as the apartment hasn't got a thing in it until that arrives.

That's all for now, have a great Christmas and I will keep you updated in the new year.

Happy Gaming!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Green dobbers - the new game blog

Garry has decided to carry on writing up the reports for their games...carrying on the Billygames torch. He's called it Greendobbers and you can find it at....


I have also put a link on this blog so you can find it as well.

Happy Gaming!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

News update

Well, this is not so much about games now as what I am up to regarding our move to Austria. We have moved out now and are living with the mother-in-law in Tunbridge Wells for the time being. We have some friends in St. Wolfgang in Austria and one of them has a brother who has a 2 bedroomed flat for rent. We are flying out next week to have a look at it. Apparently they have had quite a bit of snow out there so warm jumpers look a necessity, looks pretty though.

That's all for now......I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My last Billygames Post - Antler Island

Well, here it is, my last post as a member of Billygames.....choke. Steve couldn't make it because of work commitments, but Richard and Garry were in attendance. As it was the last session they let me choose and I chose Antler Island. Mainly because my wife wanted to see the cute stags. As it turned out the game was pretty good as well.

The board layout for Antler Island

Each player is a stag on Antler Island, the island is populated with does just waiting to be....er, serviced. In the 3 player game you have to have serviced 10 does and won a fight against another stag to win. You have 4 possible actions available to you, move, feed, rut or grow an antler. Feed and rut are pretty obvious, but feeding also helps you grow antlers and improves your fighting capabilities. When you land on the same space as another stag you have a fight, the attacker declares how many food tokens they are commiting to the fight, if any, the defender then has the chance to retreat or stay and fight. When you lock antlers you add together your antlers and any food tokens committed, whoever has the higher number wins.

The player board

Actually this is a really fun game, of course lots of double entres during play, and the game plays quickly. We got in 3 games during the evening. In the first 2 games I was pretty good at the rutting, but useless at the fighting. In the last game I won my fight but only rutted with 2 does. Garry seemed to have got the balance just right, good at fighting and rutting.

Final Scores
Game 1 - Richard 15, Garry 11, Colin 7 but didn't win a fight

Game 2 - Garry 12, Richard 13 but didn't win a fight, Colin 8 but didn't win a fight

Game 3 - Garry 14, Richard 7 but didn't win a fight, Colin 3

Antler Island

A stag sizing up the attractiveness of a doe

And finally a real surprise the guys had bought me a copy of Fagin's Gang as a going away present, I must say I have really enjoyed my years gaming with Richard, Garry and Steve, it's been a real pleasure and I will really miss our tuesday night sessions .

Thanks for reading!! Happy Gaming!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

3rd November - PnP4 at Saltdean

Pasteboard and Plastic games group hold a games day 3 times a year and the one in November is a showcase for all the new Essen games. Steve, Richard, Garry and myself made the trip to Saltdean on Saturday to see what it was all about. Having said that I'm sure that Richard and Steve have been before, but for Garry and myself it was our first visit. Dick Ruck organises the event and it takes place in the Scout hut at Saltdean.

PnP gamers in the Saltdean Scout Hut

The day runs from 10am to 12pm, but Garry and I arrived at around 10.15 to find some keen gamers already playing. After we signed in and met a few of the gamers Garry suggested we start off with a game of Giganten der Lufte, a card and dice game about building the Hindenberg designed by Andreas Seyfarth. As we were just starting Jo turned up and we asked him to join us. The game is about acquiring cards by rolling dice, the more cards you get the more dice you can roll. Some cards give you benefits to your dice rolls, some give you more VPs. When you reach a certain point in the game you are then able to attempt to build the Hindenberg. A fairly light game with not a lot of player interaction, but a pleasant 45/60 minutes.

Final Scores
Colin 12, Garry 11, Jo 10

Giganten Der Lufte layout

We had a real life personality join us, Francis Tresham, who had a prototype of a new game which Richard and Steve managed to sit in on. It was a train game of course, I don't know much about it just that it had a lot of bits!

Richard getting all excited about a new train game

Francis Tresham (with paper) explaining his game

As I never managed to get to Essen this year I asked Richard to bring back Galaxy Trucker for me. Jo had already played his copy and said it was a blast so Garry and myself joined him for a ride through space.

Components for Galaxy Trucker

In this game there are 2 phases, first you build your spaceship against the clock, trying to make it as stable as possible with all the shields, cargo holds, cannons, crew etc to survive the trials ahead. In the second phase you use a card deck which represents events that happen which affect your voyage. Smugglers, pirates, meteor storms, landing on planets for goods etc. If you haven't built a very good ship, bits of it tend to fly off if you are hit by meteors or cannon fire. Before you even start your trip you have to check your ship's integrity to see if it holds together, Garry had a bit of a disaster when before he even launched a large part of his ship floated off into space.

The remnants of Garry's ship

This game has to be played in the right spirit, but if you get into the mood it's a real blast. I did hopelessly, ending up with 5 space credits, Garry did better, even with half a ship and Jo had a runaway masssive win. Obviously a career in outer space beckons.

Final Scores
Jo 95, Garry 11, Colin 5

By now the hall had filled up nicely with games going on all over the place. There was a buy and trade table which was doing well, I had brought a few games and managed to sell about half. Board Games Group were there with a selection of games to buy, I think Garry bought a copy of Zooloretto.

Games in full swing

Luke Moscrop and his lady, Lydia, had arrived and were keen for a game of Agricola , I had read a bit about this game, it was getting a great buzz, but there were reservations about the amount of German on the large card decks. Luke assured us we would be OK, he had played 3 times already, and being a german speaker would guide us through the game. We didn't use all the cards, just played the basic game I think. There certainly is a lot to think about and it's a bit Caylus like.

Garry with all the bits for the basic game of Agricola

The game is beautifully produced and designed by Uwe Rosenberg, who 's reputation was based on the Bohnanza series of games. Luke talked us through the rules and explained the various cards we would be using. It took a while for the rules to sink in because there is so much you can do in your turn. I would like to play again but I think an english version would make things easier. As it was Lydia had an easy win.

Final Scores
Lydia 36, Luke 28, Jo 26, Colin 23, Garry 14

Jo discussing the finer points of Agricola

Player board for Agricola

We finished Agricola around 5.45pm and although the games would be continuing into the evening Garry and I decided to call it a day. We had had a great time, met some new gamers and played some good games.....what more could you ask! And finally a big thank you to Dick for running the event.

Galaxy Trucker.....Jo's super, duper spaceship

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wind of Change for Billygames

No this is not a review of Before the Wind, but to let you dedicated readers of Billygames (if there are any) know of a few changes coming up. First of, I am moving house, unfortunately not just down road, so I won't able to attend the Billygame sessions after next week. The plan is that we will be moving to live in Austria and taking early retirement! I'm sure I wil be able to find a few gamers out there. As for the blog, well hopefully Richard, Steve and Garry will keep the reports coming, for a start I would like to see what's been going on.

So I would like to take this opportunity to thank all you gamers that have visited the Billygamers blog and hope you will continue to do so. Next week's report will be my last and it's my choice of game......mmmm which of the tasty Essen releases will I choose?

See you next week.....happy gaming!!

30th October - Container

So here we are, the first session since Essen. Last week was cancelled due to illness, this was the first time we chance to play a new Essen game. Garry's choice and he chose Container, published by Valley Games and designed by Franz-Benno DeLonge and Thomas Ewert. The main theme of the game is container shipping, producing goods in your factories and buying goods produced by other players factories to store in your warehouses. These are then loaded onto other players freighters and shipped to a central island and put up for auction.

The overall Container layout - player boards and the central island

The game was produced in China and there have been some problems with boards warping and the resin ships being a bit smelly. I know Garry had to weight the boards down to straigthen them and gave the ships a good soapy wash to try to reduce the whiff. Anyway, once you get going the game is pretty straightforward. In your turn you have 2 actions out of a choice of 6, you can perform the same action twice with the exception of producing goods.
This is the choice you have:

1) Produce containers from your factories
2) Buy containers from other players factories to stock your warehouses
3) Buy a factory or warehouse to increase your production or storage capacity
4) Sail your ship to open sea
5) Sail your ship to the centre island and auction containers
6) Sail your ship to another players harbour and buy containers from their harbour store

Player board showing, factories, production area, warehouses and harbour storage

In the picture my ship is docked at Garry's harbour waiting to buy some containers from his harbour storage area. So far so good then, the interesting bit is the card each player is dealt at random at the beginning of the game. This shows how much each container that is on his island area is worth at game end. The cards are kept secret so you don't which colours are worth the most to each player. One colour is also only worth 5 unless you have all five colours in your area, then it's worth 10. Just one other thing to consider, whichever colour you have the most of is discarded before scoring takes place.

So what the hell do you do first? Well, both Garry and I chose to build an extra factory and produce on the first turn, Richard on the other hand built an additional warehouse and bought some of our production, providing an early target for ships. As I said the sequence of play is pretty straightforward, but contriving to get those 10 point containers on the island is another matter. It seemed as though I had taken early lead as I had a reasonable number of containers on my island base. But as the game progressed it evened out and looking at the other players containers it is quite difficult to try and work out what is their 10 pointer. The game ends when 2 colours of containers are depleted from the supply and before long there was orange gone and only 1 white left. Both Richard and myself had all five colours and then I put up 2 beige and 1 brown cube for auction, I only had 7 money so I probably knew I wouldn't be able to take them for myself. This was confirmed when Richard took out 2 loans for $20 and bid 11. Sounded good to me so I accepted his bid and took another 11 from the bank. It was Richard's turn next and he built a factory, a white one, and promptly ended the game by producing. It was the time to turn over our cards and tot up the points.

Final Scores (Containers+money+cubes in harbour- loans)
Colin 46+29+0-0 = 75
Richard 82+0+4-22 = 64
Garry 29+15+4-0 = 48

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another pic from Essen 2007

Apparently there was a strong attraction to the Valley Games stand, Jo seems to have found it particularly alluring!!

Miss Canada at the Valley Games Stand

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Essen 2007 Day 1 and I'm not there

No, I'm here at work, but the rest of the Billygamers made it OK. Just had this pic to prove it. Or to rub it in that I'm stuck back here.

Garry, Jo and Steve at Essen....no wonder their smiling

Apparently the fair has only been open 3 hours and they have run out of money already! There is only one ATM outside the halls and sometimes there is a mighty queue to get money.

Queuing for money already??

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

9th October - Mississippi Queen/San Juan

I don't know what it is about Birmingham but we are 3 again this because Steve is working away.......in Birmingham! Richard is in Birmingham regularly and now Steve, ah well. Anyway it was Richard's choice and he opted for Mississippi Queen with the Black Rose expansion. This 1997 game from Goldseiber was designed by Werner Hodel won the Spiel des Jahres for that year. We had played MQ quite a while ago but had never used the Black Rose expansion.

Garry (green) moves up behind Richard (red)

This expansion adds a few hazards to the river e.g. sandbars and log jams but also coal refuelling stations, which enables you to replenish your coal stocks. And you need it too as the river is that much longer when using the expansion. And of course the Black Rose itself which is a rogue paddle steamer controlled by the player whose boat is in last place.

The Black Rose and Garry queue up Richard

There are some pretty tight spots to negotiate on the river and the Black Rose can make these a real nightmare, plenty of opportunity to foul up your opponents plans if you are in control of it. So basically each player controls a paddle steamer and the object is to be the first to dock at the end of the river. The river consists of a number of tiles, you start with the landing stage and two tiles, as soon as a player reaches the furthest tile he rolls a die to determine the direction of the next tile to be laid, left, right or straight on. The Black Rose expansion tiles are mixed in at random. You have to pick up two passengers as usual and you can decrease/increase speed by one for free then you have to use up your coal. You also get one free 60 degree turn, then it costs coal. As I said those refuelling stations do come in handy.

I managed to hinder Garry with the Black Rose but he paid me back big time when he gained control himself. Richard managed to avoid most of the obstacles and pick up his passengers without too much trouble and ran out an easy winner. Garry came in a comfortable second with me limping in third.

Final Score
Richard 1st, Garry 2nd, Colin 3rd

We still had some time left so Richard suggested a game of San Juan. This is the card version of Puerto Rico and a good game in its own right. The cards in the 110 card deck have production buildings and violet buildings as in proper PR, but you also use the cards in your hand to pay the cost of building, use cards off of the top of the deck as produced goods, going face down on your production buildings. When you trade you sell your goods for more cards off of the deck. The game ends when a player has built his 12th building. You then add up the VPs on your buildings plus any bonuses for special violet buildings.

Card layout for San Juan

The library card is generelly thought to be the most powerful card, giving you double the privilege on the job you choose. Garry and Richard both got libraries on the table, Garry had used the Councillor a lot to sift through the deck to find his I suspect. I got a Guild Hall down which gave me a 2VP bonus for every production building I had built. (I think it was a GH). In the end it was very close, Garry had a Chapel which gave him an extra 4VPs I think.

Final Scores
Garry 33, Colin 30, Richard 27

There won't be a session this tuesday because Steve, Garry, Richard and Jo are going to some convention in Germany, they assured me there would be plenty of new games to play when they got back though!

Monday, October 8, 2007

6th October - Saturday Session

Well we finally got our Saturday session after a last minute hiccup when Garry had to pull out hosting, luckily Richard stepped into the breach and we gathered at his house in Haywards Heath on Saturday morning. Garry took Steve and myself in his car and when we got there Jo had already arrived. While Steve got the Coffee going we decided what we were going to play first, Railroad Tycoon got the vote and we started to set up the huge board.

Railroad Tycoon board setup

As most of you who read this blog regularly know I am not a fan of AoS, but will happily play RT. I think it's because you can take shares whenever you like so my brain doesn't have to work out what I'm going to do so far in advance. Anyway off we went, initial position of track can be crucial in any route laying game and RT is no exception. Steve and Richard started off in the top NE corner around the NY area. Jo and Garry thought they would have a tussle around the Lexington, Cincinatti area and I started building from Washington through Richmond going south.

Garry (green) and Jo (purple) having a little tussle

Richard decided it was getting a bit crowded in NE so struck out across the mountains to Wheeling, that cost him $16,000 and it was quite early on. I continued southwith luckily no competition to speak of.

Richard (red) forging across the mountains and me (yellow) going South

I think Jo was the only one with a 5 train everybody else had a 4, I couldn't see any blocks to deliver for five, I had plenty of 4 and 3 deliveries so didn't bother. I also had the card that gave me 7pts for most money at the end of the game so I didn't want to spend on trains or track if I didn't have to.Richard managed to connect New York and Kansas CIty and collect a massive 20pts from the Major Line connection card.

The board is so big you have to stand up to see the other side
Steve, Garry, Richard and Jo study the layout

I thought it was going to be close at the end but I won by 11 points, Steve had issued the most shares with 11, I had 6, Garry 5 and Richard 6, I think, correct me if I'm wrong guys.

Final board position

Final Scores
Colin 64, Richard 53, Steve 46?, Garry 42 , Jo 42 (Garry won the tiebreak on most links)

Time for a break and pizza.......hmmmmmm pizza. Jo decided to call it a day as he had some friends coming over to his place in the evening......to play games!! The 4 remaining dedicated gamers decided to give Kampt um Rom another outing, I think we had only played once before, just after Essen last year when Richard got his Klaus Tauber signed copy (what a showoff).

The starting corner of the KuR board showing the 2 tribe types, horse and foot

I must say I like this variation of Settlers, although I still get stuffed with the dice rolls!! Basically each player controls 2 tribes, horse and foot and they start in the NE corner of the board then spread across the Roman empire like the plague, looting cities and getting the rewards. The resources in this game are wheat, ore and either horses or oxen. You have to keep building up your tribe as you lose men when looting the cities most times. After you have looted 3 different coloured cities your tribe can settle and then conquer cities. You can move where you like on the map as long as you can afford the cost.

Kampf um Rom board overview

When looting cities you sometimes get development cards or you can purchase them. These have various effects some gain you extra VPs or give you free movement over the map or loot cities that are stronger than your current army. You shouldn't rush to conquer cities but build up resources and your army while looting. Once you have settled you can only expand from that point so you have to pick your position carefully. Wagons are crucial then as you have to leave one in every city you conquer, so being on hexes that produce horses/oxen and wheat is good.

Garry has just pulled off the win in Kampf um Rom and is almost smiling

Moving the legionnaire on a 7 closes down production for that hex and you can pinch a resource from someby adjacent as usual, no hand limit though so that pleased Richard who always likes to have a handful. The game was flowing along quite nicely when Garry suddenly annouces that he has the required 10VPs for victory, those 2 face down development cards.....doh!

Final Scores
Garry 10, Richar 8, Steve 6, Colin 5

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

No tuesday session this week!!

Due to a combination of circumstances there is no session this week, that's the bad news, the good news is that Garry is hosting a Saturday session. So hopefully I will have lot to write about after that. At the moment Richard is doubtful because his TVR's fuel pump packed up in Luxembourg and he may have to go out and pick it up.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

25th September - Pillars of the Earth/Geshenkt

The session this week looked as though it might be in jeopardy as Steve was working in Birmingham and Richard was in Austria (again!!). Luckily Neil and his girlfriend Aga were able to come along and make their Billygames debut. It was my choice and I knew that Garry had a copy of the Pillars of the Earth and really fancied giving it a go. This 2006 game designed by Michael Rieneck and Stefen Stadler had had a load of praise and was the winner of the 2007 Deutscher Spiele Prei.

Me with our Billygames guests, Neil and Aga

Garry had the Mayfair Games edition so we didn't have to struggle with german on the cards. The rules seemed quite a handful and took us a good half hour to get through, but as with a lot of games once you have played a round it all becomes clear......sort of. This game does have echoes of Caylus about it, where you place your master builders on the board to get certain benefits. The object of the game is to acquire VPs and the way you get them is by contributing to the construction of the cathedral. Your craftsmen can use the resources you acquire in the first phase, wood, stone, sand or metal to construct the cathedral and thus acquire said VPs.
There is a deck of event cards of which the top one is triggered at the beginning of the 2nd phase, these can be beneficial or detrimental. Ours were almost all bad, you can place a master builder to negate this effect if you like. Basically in the first phase you collect or upgrade craftsmen or collect resource cards. In the second phase all the master builders (3 each) are put into a bag and drawn at random, the first one out costs 7 gold to place or you may pass, subsquent builders are drawn with the cost decreasing by one each time, when the cost reaches 0 each builder is placed free, finally the builders that passed may be placed. They have to take what options are left, the best ones will probably be gone by then.

Final board position

Aga seemed to get the hang of it pretty quickly and led for most of the game, I had a privilege card that allowed me to look at the event card at the start of each round (when I remembered!). The game is played over 6 rounds with a section of the cathedral being completed at the end of each round, the lovely wooden cathedral at the centre of the board is really just a glorified turn marker, pretty though. As the game progresses the craftsmen get more efficienct and more expensive to buy. In the end it was all pretty close with Garry just getting the win. I think we all enjoyed the game and saw what all the praise had been for. It was great to meet Neil and Aga and we had a great evening. The game finished well within the 2 hours that was on the box and managed to get in a hand of Geschenkt which is always great fun.

Final Scores
The Pillars of the Earth
Garry 41, Aga 38, Neil 36, Colin 35

Garry -47, Colin -49, Aga -55, Neil -72

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And another thing!!!

I forgot to mention that Garry has set up a Guild on BGG for gamers around the Horsham, West Sussex area. So if you are interested drop by and give it a look. Here is the link.


See ya there!!

11th September - Princes of Florence/Geschenkt

Little bit of a hiccup on the choice of game this week, should have been my choice but we thought it was the BGG Hall of Fame choice so we ended up playing the Princes of Florence instead. The last time we played this was at least 4 years ago so it was about time we gave it another go. This 2000 game from Wolfgang Kramer and Richard Ulrich is about getting your artisans to produce magnificent works of art and show them to garner wealth and VPs. Actually you only need the dough to purchase the buildings and landscapes and such at game end it's of no value at all, I had over 2,000 at the end so didn't utilise it to it's potential.

The Billygamers getting ready for Princes of Florence

PoF does have certain similarities with Colosseum, an auction phase where each player can only buy one thing, and in the action phase you produce a work of art (read put on an event) which needs to have certain things, the more of the things you have the more it is worth.Steve did happen to mention that the best games player he knew payed 1,100 for the first jester, Richard took that onboard and payed high prices for his jesters, he ended up with 3. It must have payed off because he won by a mile.

Princes of Florence layout

Garry managed to get 3 architects so could buy buildings for free, I didn't even get a second, which was a mistake because I couldn't place buildings adjacent on my board. Anyway, we all enjoyed the game and as I said Richard cruised to victory.

Final Scores
Richard 62, Steve 53, Garry 49, Colin 30

That seemed to play quite quickly so we had a bit of time left, a quick hand of Geschenkt was just the ticket. Richard was having a good evening and won that as well.

Final Scores
Richard 18, Colin 42, Garry 60, Steve 61

Looks like we'll be giving next week a miss as Garry is flying off to New York for a break and Richard looks like he's working. So it'll be the week after....see you then.

Happy Gaming!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

4th September - Marquis/Kathai

This week is card game week......Steve chose the 2005 game from LudoArt, Marquis. This game designed by Martin Gotz and Frank Czarnetzki is absolutely gorgeous to look at. The cards are very large and colourful, the coins are metal and the diamonds and rubies are plastic but quite realistic.

The very colourful cards for Marquis

In the game each player has his own deck of cards, eleven character cards and a veto card. Countess, Assassin, Diamond Dealer, Marquis, Prosecutor and so on. Each card has various symbols on it plus a special ability. In your turn you may first buy jewels at the rate on the card you played last turn, you then play a card to the table and then activate the symbols on the card, it may or may not interact with other cards in play. First you take money from the bank, then from the other players if certain cards are in play, then you may or may not use the cards special ability. The special abilities can be fun, the assassin kills one character in play and steals 2 coins from the victim, the robber steals one coin from each other player, the diamond dealer gets preferential rates for buying jewels and so on. One good card is the card sharp which reverses the order of play.
It took us a bit of time to work out the interplay of cards and all the implications of playing a certain card when certain others are in play, having the special abilities in german on the cards slowed things down a bit, although we did have crib sheets. I quite liked the game and once we got going the play flowed quite well. The veto card can be crippling, ending a players turn in his tracks, but the player it's played on keeps the card in front of him and can use it like a coin to buy jewels at the end of the game.

Final Scores
Steve 16, Colin 15, Richard 14, Garry 12

We still had some time so Steve got another card on the table, Kathai. This is a small card game designed by Michael Andersch and published by Adlung-Spiele. Players and sell gold, silk, spices and tea. The prices are always fluctuating so selling at the right time to maximise points is the name of the game.

The trading laoout for Kathai

I thought this was an OK game, but didn't really set the pulses racing.

Final Scores
Steve 20, Colin 18, Richard 17, Garry 16

Monday, September 3, 2007

August 28th - Caylus Magna Carta

With Richard in Birmingham again it was only 3 of us, Garry's choice and he chose Caylus Magna Carta. This is our second playing and I think we played with 3 last time.

CMC card layout

CMC is a good implementation of Caylus, in fact I think we all prefer it, cleaner, leaner and quicker. Do you go for the castle chits or concentrate on building....er buildings, then blue buildings. In our last game we didn't get any blue buildings on the table. In this game Steve managed to build one worth 10pts which clinched the win for him from Garry and myself.

Final Scores
Steve 43, Garry 35, Colin 33

Sorry this post is a bit light, I will do better next time :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

21st August- Space Dealer/Ark

I know, I'm late with this post, but in my defence I did take delivery of a new computer last week and I've been playing with all the shiny new bits!!!! Anyway on to the games, Space Dealer, this is a game by Tobias Stapelfeldt and published by Eggert-Spiele. I think it was released at last year's Essen. I must admit I was looking forward to playing this game, if only to see how the simultaneous gameplay worked. It looks fantastic with all the coloured bits and cubes on the table.

Space Dealer layout

The egg timers can't be that accurate though and this could be a factor when the time runs out as you can finish an action if it is started before the cut off....seconds could count. Each player starts at their own planet with a generator and a mine, then you race to manufacture and deliver goods to the other players planets. You can do research to upgrade your planet and equipment bringing other cards into play. The only catch is that with every action you take you turn over one of your 2 timers and that action is not completed until the timer has run through (1 minute).

A players home planet

As I said all actions by all players are taken at the same time, to be honest I hadn't got a clue what I was doing for the first 10 minutes or so. We were playing with the time track on the supplied CD which gives an audio countdown. So quite a hectic game, I didn't look to see what other players were doing so I suppose that if you wanted to cheat it would be quite easy, anyway the game lasts 30 minutes and that whizzs by so quickly.

Another look at the layout

I must admit that after we had played I don't think I would rush to play again....all to hectic for me :)

Final Scores
Garry 25, Steve 24, Richard 24, Colin 22

I think the rules explanation for Space Dealer took about twice as long as the game but even so we had enough time left for a game of Ark.

Enjoying a game of Ark

This is a Doris and Frank card game about putting animals into the Ark before the flood. Of course only certain animals can co-habit with others and that's where it gets difficult. You can't have carnivores in with herbivores, or herbivores in with provisions (cos they eat them) and so on. Also each animal has a weight and you can't put animals down if they capsize the ark. As the game progresses it gets quite difficult to place your cards, but for each card you place you get a dobber on the appropriate type of card, and at the end of the game, after the fifth rain card, the player with the most dobbers on a type scores points as do the second and so on.

Close up of the card layout

I must admit I quite like this game, even though it makes my head hurt!

Final Scores
Garry 32, Richard 29, Colin 24, Steve 23

Thursday, August 16, 2007

14th August - Vikings/Coloretto

Full complement this week, and my choice.....wooo hooo! Anyway I chose Vikings a game by Michael Keisling published by Hans Im Gluck/Rio Grande. Steve and Richard had played a few times but Garry and myself hadn't played at all. I think the overall impression is that we all like it. The board consists of a wheel surrounded by 12 places for tiles and viking dobbers, spaces to put the stacks of tiles and 4 spaces for special tiles. There are 76 tiles, 14 ships and 62 island parts, islands have a left, right and centre. Each player starts with a left piece which must be placed on their display when they purchase their first tile. So basically in your turn you purchase one of the tiles plus man available around the spinner and pay the appropriate price, and place them in your personal display. You do this 3 times, then there is a scoring, a small scoring after rounds 1, 3 and 5, this is just money, and a large scoring after rounds 2, 4 and 6. This gets you VPs and money, then there is a final scoring.

Overall board layout

I won't go into the rules in depth here, there are several excellent reviews on BGG. I seemed to go a bundle on goldsmiths for some reason and had loads of money but not many VPs. I think the score reflected who had played before, with Richard and Steve vying for first spot with Garry and myself in 3rd and 4th. I couldn't get enough fishermen on the board and so suffered a minus penalty for undersupplying my men.

Each players display

We didn't play with the advanced variant where you bid for the tiles/men on the spinner, but we did play with the special tiles which you get if you buy the most expensive pair from the spinner. As I say I got some tiles to enhance my goldsmiths, so lots of money, whereas Richard and Steve got enhanced settlement tiles which gave them big bonuses in the final scoring.

Vikings in full swing

Final Scores
Steve 50, Richard 41, Garry 37, Colin 42

Vikings doesn't take ages to play so we had a bit of time left to fit in a game of Coloretto. This is a card game by Michael Schacht in which you are basically collecting sets of different coloured cards. On the table there are 4 rows which can have a max. of 3 cards each. In your turn you can either draw and place a card in one of the rows or pick up a row.

Dos Rios near the start

Where you place a card can be critical you obviously want to deny good combinations of cards for your opponents while trying to get good cards for yourself. There are a couple of special cards, a +2 card, which is just 2 points, and a wild card which counts as any colour.
This is a great little filler and we had a good game.

Final Scores
Garry 103, Steve 90, Colin 85, Richard 83

Monday, August 13, 2007

August 7th - Dos Rios

Garry couldn't make it this week, Steve had to change his choice to a game more suitable to 3 players, and he chose Dos Rios. Dos Rios is designed by Franz-Benno Delonge and was published by Mayfair/Kosmos in 2004. I hadn't played before but Richard and Steve both had. Basically the board consists of a series of hexes of differing terrains through which two rivers run. The rivers can be dammed to change their course which will affect which hexes are scored. You start the game by placing 3 of your men on the board the other 3 start in the town which is at one end of the board.

Dos Rios near the start

In your turn you have six action points which you use to move your men onto or around the board. There is a deck of action tiles of which 4 are turned over, these have the terrain types on them or one of the rivers or bandits. The active player can after they have used their action points activate the left most tile or not. If it is activated then the terrain that is on the tile that passes through the river is scored, all players that have a man on the appropriate terrain get 100 dollars.

A nice funnel of dams

Each player has 4 houses and 1 estate, these cost 5 hundred to build a house and 1,000 to build an estate the first person to build all their buildings is the winner. You can win by building 3 houses and the estate if they are all on a riverbank. The bandits can be devastating, killing the first 3 men counting from the source of the river.

Steve's just built his estate

I liked this game, it gives you lots of options and with only 6 action points you always want to do more than you actually can.

Final Scores
Colin - 4 houses, 1 estate