Wednesday, May 30, 2007

29h May - Leonardo Da Vinci

So, my first session after a very relaxing holiday in Austria, if you would like to see some pics go here:

It was Garry's choice and he had chosen Pillars of the Earth, but at the last minute Jo could join us and as Pillars only plays 4 he changed his choice to Leonardo Da Vinci. We have played Leonardo a couple of times and in the first game I didn't invent a single thing and came last, the second time I did a bit better, so this time I hoped to improve again. Before we had even started one of Richard's meeples was mysteriously suspended at an impossible angle. After several ribald suggestions as to what was keeping him at that angle we had a brief recap through the rules as Jo had only played once I think.

The incredible floating meeple

We played the advanced version where each player gets three picks of either 5 money, 4 resources, an upgrade or an extra apprentice. I chose 4 resources, an extra man and an upgrade. I think everyone chose a different combination of extras. Leonardo is an excellent game but this is the first time we have played with 5 and I found it a lot tighter than with 4. Steve went into the lead on inventions as he quickly got inspiration and had 2 or 3 in front of him in no time. As the game progressed I managed to invent something the same round as Jo, luckily we both went for different ones. Richard completed an invention but it was the same one as Steve and Steve won the auction for the card, that was the only thing that Richard completed until fairly late in the game when he completed a 15 weeker.

The game board

Going into the last 2 rounds I managed to get a look at the top of the inventions deck to see if there was anything I could build. I had the resources to build one and put it on the top, unfortunately I miscalculated the number of weeks and didn't have enough time to build it anyway...DOH!
So a good game, Richard never spent any money at all, only in the council to buy a resource for 1 a couple of times and in the end had a convincing win. I ended being last....again, ah well I enjoyed it which is the main thing.

Final Scores (money + bonuses)
Richard 42 + 0, Jo 35 + 0, Garry 23 + 8, Steve 13 + 13, Colin 21 + 0

Friday, May 25, 2007

Garry's Report - AoS May 22nd

Age of Steam, London Map.

Tonight as Colin was away on holiday we decided to take the oppourtunity to play AoS as Colin hates it. We had the London map which Richard and I had both bought at Essen last year. As is normal there are a few tweaks to the rules for a different map, you can build up to 5 tiles per turn but you have to pay the Union rate for overtime and this gets more expensive the more tiles you build. Then when you ship a cube it's replaced immediatley form the goods supply board.

Money is quite tight as building costs are high, I decided to just build a few tiles per turn but make them count by grabbing the 'first build' job most times, I stayed around central London and managed to build a couple of nice loops. Richard went off towards Wembley and managed to build a lot of track by the end of the game. Steve had a nice long network running across central London and out to the South East but never quite managed to ship for long distances.

It was quite a close game and I was thankfull that I didn't go bankrupt. Although the final scores were quite spread out it was fairly neck and neck throughout the game.

Richard 1st
Garry 2nd
Steve 3rd

Catch-up Posts For May

As I have been away on holiday I havn't been able to post reports of the 2 sessions that I missed. Well, I am back after a very refreshing holiday in Austria and here, belately, are the reports diligently reported by Richard and Garry.

Richard's report for the 15th May

With Colin away enjoying the vacation joys of Austria, we were down three attendees, and I seem to have volunteered be fill you all in on what we played in his absence.
Anyway as it was my choice for the evening it gave me opportunity to try Age of Discovery, one of the games I had recently acquired from the excellent Clifton Roads Games in Exeter (, whilst visiting family down in Devon.
Age of Discovery is a recent release, that is based around the explorers and conquerors (ie Magellan & Drake) who sailed from Europe on voyages of discovery and trade in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Age of Discovery Layout

Essentially you have the option each turn of doing two of the following, but not two of the same action, Take 2 Money, Purchasing a ship, Purchasing a Trade Contact, Starting a Trade Contract or Adding to an Expedition. You primarily get victory point for contributing to Expeditions; however you won't be able finance the Expeditions without gaining money from fulfilling Trade Contracts.
Normal scoring (for Expeditions) happens twice a game, however you can gain extra end of game points according to the criteria of a random secret Special Contract you are assigned at the beginning of the game - Basically a multiplier of the number of Trade Contracts you have completed and a multiplier based on Special Contract criteria (eg Number Expeditions you have at least one ship in, Number Expedition where you have all the ships in etc).
After Steve had run us through the rules, the game started rather slow as all of us opted to take 2 Money so as to finance an Initial Trade contract - Gary beating Steve and myself to generating the first money by a couple of turns. I was quite lucky as the two of starting contracts dealt to me at the beginning of the game where both white, which meant I could concentrate on buying the white ships to which I could reuse on other white contracts. However as I had primarily concentrated on completing Trade Contracts and gaining money I lost out to Steve and Garry by the first scoring and they opened up a gap on me. It was around this point that we realised that me had misinterpreted one of the rules and had been restricting ourselves to adding only one ship at a time to expeditions - we played with the correct rule for the 2nd part of the game.

Age of Discovery End

As the end of the game arrived it was pretty obvious that Garry's special contract required him to have the majority of ships on an expedition and that mine was just to have a presence. Steve was stuck with having to have all ships on an expedition - something he didn't manage once.
In the end my Special contract proved to be winning issue as I had contributed to 10 expeditions and had completed 5 trade contracts and I managed to overhaul my points deficit on both Steve & Garry.

Final Scores
Richard 86 Garry 73 Steve 69

By the time we had completed Age of Discovery it was gone 9:30 and we suspected we wouldn't have time for another game, so we decided to finish with a game of San Jaun which we felt should be quicker.
It turned out, to my surprise, that Garry hadn't played San Jaun before, but it didn't take us long to run through the rules and start. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that San Jaun is one of my favourite games - it is quick, fun and easy to pick up. So quick to pick up that Garry had soon purchased a Library and looked like he might run away with the game. Luckily both Steve and I purchased Chapels and were burying cards under them like there was no tomorrow in an effort to mitigate our end of game scores.

San Juan

As the game progressed it was obvious hat Steve wasn't picking up any '6' building as he kept taking the councillor to try and find some (Little did he know I had already buried 2 such buildings under my Chapel!). Garry soon built a Palace and eventually followed this with a Guild and City Halls (The first time I have seen three '6' building built by a player in a game!). I also managed to get Library and a Palace down and in final buildconstructed a Triumphal Arch - which neatly complemented the two monuments I had already completed.
In final scoring it turned out to be very close between Garry and myself - with my Chapel points just managing to counteract the extra '6' building Garry had built.

Final Score
Richard 48 Garry 46 Steve 28

Garry's report to follow

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

9th May - Power Grid/Central Europe

Back to full complement this week, and playing number 3 on the BGG top game list, Power Grid. The central european board is the only one we haven't played so we quickly have a look at the additional rules. Basically there is more trash available and if you have a plant in Vienna it's cheaper for you. There are some countries that don't have nuclear power, Western/Eastern Poland and Austria. If you only have plants in non-nuclear countries you can't put up or bid for nuclear plants. We chose to eliminate western Poland and the Purple country bottom right (whatever that is!!).

Europe Board Close Up

Resources seemed tight all the way through the game and the centre of the board became quite congested. I thought that I had put my first city in the wrong place at first but it turned out not too bad. Steve started straight away in Vienna to get the reduction on the trash, Richard and Garry started right in the middle of the board. Although there is quite a bit of math in this game it never does my head in like AoS, I don't know why. Garry was in the lead for most of the game, but Richard came from behind with a late burst of plant building to take the win.

Final Board Position

Final Scores
Richard 17, Garry 16, Colin 14, Steve 13

I shall be away for a couple of weeks now, walking round some Austria Lakes, so session reports will resume when I come back.

Happy Gaming!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

2nd May - No Session This Week

So with Richard in Birmingham again we were only going to be three, but last thing Garry had to cancel because of pressure work....ah well, there's always next week. Now I suppose I can watch the Champions League Semi between Liverpool and Chelsea. But, being a Spurs fan all I want to see is Chelsea lose :) Close game though, down to the penalty shoot out. Mourinho thought Chelsea was the best team again, suprise.
So what I have been up to game wise, well, at the weekend I was playing about with the Westpark Gamers Windows implementation of Yspahan. It's not bad, clear layout and easy to figure out the moves. I haven't really given the AI a workout as I didn't have the time but I will. I have added Westpark Gamers to the links panel.
Hopefully next week we will be back to 4 and will be playing Power Grid on the only map we haven't played which is Central Europe.

Happy Gaming!!