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Snippets 2014

 

 
 
March 2014 roundup (1st April 2014 20:46)
In March, I managed to play 23 games of 19 different titles, 10 of which were new to me. The new games were: Eldritch Horror, Bang: The Dice Game, Amber, Auf Teufel komm raus, Council of Verona, CV, Fleet, Potato Man, Nox and Glass Road. I added 12 new games to the collection which were Eldritch Horror, Habe Fertig, Potato Man, Nox, Abluxxen, Dungeon of Mandom, Kobayakawa, Wurfel Bingo, Qwixx: Das Kartenspiel, Zooloretto Mini, Glass Road and Splendor.  My unplayed list has crept up to 31, something I need to reduce during April, and Game of the Month was the excellent re-imagining of Arkham Horror: Eldritch Horror which has a great story to it and can be played in a pretty reasonable time. Our first three player session ended in failure but we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

A carton of cards (13th March 2014 21:35)
I had a small delivery from Amazon Germany arrive today. And when I say small, I mean four small card games whose box sizes in aggregate are about half the size of a typical Ticket to Ride box. That said, having gone through the rules of each of them, there is some interesting game play in each of them. The games I'm talking about are Habe Fertig, a game of playing in the gap by Qwixx designer, Steffen Benndorf; Potato Man, a trick taking game where not matching any suit played is the key requirement - otherwise the round ends; Nox, a wicked game of building high scoring piles of cards while trying to shrink the piles of your opponents (just make sure you have three colours showing when the round ends); and Abluxxen, by Kramer & Kiesling, where you try to build up the number of cards in front of you while snatching cards played by others and making sure you don't get left with cards in hand when the round ends. I'm really looking forward to playing all these.

   

Wayback When? - March '94, '99, '04, '09 (9th March 2014 21:29)
Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at March 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.

 

Five years ago, I played Martin Wallace's Brass for the first time. A meaty economic game played over two phases; the canal age and then the railway age. The other game that had a noteworthy first play was Blox, which is very different: an abstract tower building game where demolishing as well as building your towers is very important.

 

In March 2004, I got to play two very well regarded games. Alhambra was a variation of the earlier games Al Capone and Stimmt So by Dirk Henn and was rewarded with the Spiel des Jahres. San Juan is Andreas Seyfarth's best game: Forget Puerto Rico. This distillation of the game into card games is absolutely brilliant and one of my favourite games of all time.

 

Fifteen years ago, March 1999 didn't see any really outstanding new games played. Of the eleven titles I played during the month, the only two new titles were Fluxx and Johnny Controletti, the former of which is good fun but susceptible for outstaying its welcome and the latter is a somewhat forgettable bidding and bluffing game.

 

March 1994 saw me play 12 titles at the Nottingham Boardgames Club with two new games of note. Bier Borse was Sid Sackson's Bazaar translated into collecting bottle tops to fulfil combinations displayed on beer mats. Al Capone was the first incarnation of what, as previously mentioned, eventually morphed into Alhambra. The version I have is Stimmt So and a fine game it is too.
February 2014 roundup (1st March 2014 14:32)
February saw me play 19 games of 18 different titles, 12 of which were new to me. The new games were: Shephy, Candy Chaser, Caverna: The Cave Farmers, Famous Fairways, Famous Fastballs, The Great Heartland Hauling Co, Greedy Kingdoms, Khmer, Palmyra, Trains & Stations, TransEuropa and Machi Koro. I sold 45 games and added 7 new games to the collection which were Bang: The Dice Game, Khmer, Greedy Kingdoms, Famous Fairways, Famous Fastballs, Council of Verona and Age of Industry. The only game I played more than once this month was Shephy and that was only twice. My unplayed list has dropped from 32 to 30 and Game of the Month didn't appear until the very last day of February when I played the absolutely fabulous Machi Koro. When this comes out in an English edition, it is going to be an instant purchase.

Industrial Horror with a Japanese side-order (26th February 2014 20:16)
Having successfully sold 45 games in my latest Ebay auction, I have spent a small part of the proceeds. A browse of Ebay while waiting for the bids to come in revealed a copy of Martin Wallace's Age of Industry up for sale at £10. I got it for £12.50 plus £4.00 postage which I was quite pleased about. It turned up today and most of the pieces are still unpunched. Looks like the previous owner just tried a single two-player game and decided it wasn't for them.

 

Possibly against my better judgement but deciding to take advantage of a Bookdepository deal, I also grabbed a copy of Eldritch Horror for £32 with free postage. A shorter Arkham Horror with a worldwide landscape sounded intriguing and it's been getting some very favourable reports so I'm keen to give it a go. Hopefully, we might finish it - something we didn't achieve with AH. Should be with me around the weekend.

Finally, I decided against getting a Japanese version of Machi Koro as part of the service that Mandy Tong is providing to the favoured few (as I didn't want to go too mad with my Japanese adventure) but having raised some cash on Ebay, I actually ordered a lovely homemade version designed by Matthew Marquand to try it out. If it's as good as people suggest it is, I'll definitely get an official version once a new English edition appears, but this gives me a chance to try it out. Hopefully that should appear in the next week.

Anything can happen in the next 24 hours (22nd February 2014 13:51)
My latest Ebay auction has just over 24 hours to run and there are a few titles I'm surprised haven't had any bids yet.
  • Porto Carthago is another great design about influencing the passage of ships and goods through the harbour of Carthage by Bernd Eisenstein, the designer of Peloponnes;
  • Kamisado is a beautiful and very clever abstract game by Peter Burley where the colour space you land on determines which piece your opponent has to move next;
  • Drunter & Druber is a Spiel-des-Jahres winner from Klaus Teuber about directing a city's walls, roads and irrigation system while avoiding the precious outhouses (it was republished as Wacky Wacky West;
  • Café International is another Spiel-des-Jahres about seating customers of different nationalities at the tables in a posh café.
  • Schrille Stille is a rare game about the music industry with a unique voting mechanism and beautiful production as usual from Zoch.
  • Villa Palettti is both a Spiel-des-Jahres winner and a beautiful production from Zoch - and it's a fun dexterity game where steady hands are crucial;
  • Alcazar is a huge game by Wolfgang Kramer which was a follow-up to the classic Big Boss and includes rules to adapt the game to fairly closely recreate that earlier game;
  • Time's Up is the classic party game that has come out in many editions because it is that good with three rounds of increasingly difficult clue-giving;
  • Ostia is another economic game about trading in a harbour this time set in ancient Rome and it is a game of timing when to donate goods to the senate to get the best return.
There is also the very collectable first edition of Vlaada Chvatil's Through the Ages, released in 2006 by Czech Board Games (which I've only played once so is in near mint condition). There are lots more that do have bids but still at reasonable prices, particularly those by hot designers like Stefan Feld, Friedemann Friese, Uwe Rosenberg, Reiner Knizia and Kramer & Kiesling. The full list is here.
Latest Ebay auction (17th February 2014 20:10)
I have a new set of games up for sale on Ebay. Among the 56 titles are Suburbia, Tzolk'in, Dungeon Petz, Amyitis, Le Havre, Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game, Hawaii, Trajan and a first edition Through the Ages (although the last of these reflects its collectable status). The auction ends on Sunday afternoon and the full list is here.
Two-player Saturday (15th February 2014 22:22)
I've got several two player games on my unplayed list so I managed to persuade first Jan and then Becky to help me cross a few off the list. First up was a golf game utilising just nine cards and some markers, Famous Fairways. Eight of the cards represent the fairway, rough, water and bunkers in front of the player and the final card shows the clubs available to the players. This one didn't click with us as it was more a challenge of positioning yourself relative to your opponent rather than against the course so didn't feel like real golf. It worked but didn't strike us as something we'd be bothered about playing again. Famous Fairways is here on Boardgamegeek.
Second game was much more fun. In the same series, Famous Fastballs uses eight cards and markers but portrays the classic match-up between batter and pitcher as a rock, paper, scissors guessing game. I was surprised how well it worked and how smoothly and quickly it played. Both Jan and I enjoyed this and, in a five-inning match, I came out ahead 5-3. The third game was one of my latest shipment from Japan and, as soon as I read the rules, I knew I was going to like Khmer, and I wasn't disappointed. It is an excellent numbers game, trying to deduce what cards your opponent has and judging when to "knock" to end play. I misjudged things and knocked when Jan had 1 point more than me. Should be played over multiple rounds really but we just played one to see how it worked. With the same feel as Love Letter, this should see a good amount of play.
The final game saw Becky and me try out my other new Japanese game, Greedy Kingdoms. This is a quick engine-building game that has a strong psychological second-guessing element as, if you can guess what cards your opponent is going to play, they're going to be hampered in their progress. And so it was in our game, I was too obvious in my card choices and Becky got some good upgrades to allow her to build her two royal palaces before I'd even built one. Good fun though.
How many Reiner Knizia titles can you think of? (11th February 2014 21:21)
Over on Boardgamegeek, someone started a geeklist entitled "Who is the most popular designer... on your shelves?" and was looking for the top three designers by number of titles that people had in their collections. The geeklist in question is here. Well, I looked at my collection and the names of the top three weren't a surprise:
  • Reiner Knizia
  • Wolfgang Kramer
  • Michael Schacht
However, what I didn't expect was the number of Reiner titles that are in my collection. The answer: 89 !!! Wow! Kramer was second with 40 and Schacht had 36. I did also enjoy the comment someone made in response to my entry, suggesting I'd only another 500 Reiner games to go before I had them all. :-)
Wayback when? - February '94, '99, '04, '09 (7th February 2014 23:16)
Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at February 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.

  

Five years ago was the first chance I had to play Matt Leacock's excellent civilisation dice game, Roll Through the Ages, which is still fun today. We also got to experience Bonnie & Clyde, another in the Mystery Rummy series but a game that had been delayed so long people had forgotten how good the rest of the series had been and it, sort of, passed people by. I really enjoyed it though. The third game of note was the elegant little auction game of Byzanz designed by Emmanuel Ornella. I miss playing these clever little card games and should probably go about setting up another session outside of our current cycle to try and play some of these again.

 

In February 2004, I managed to play only two games and the only new game was Martin Wallace's Princes of the Renaissance. This is a good game set in Renaissance Italy between warring princes and with a smattering of backstabbing and intrigue. Five years earlier, although I played a few more games (still only seven, what is it with February?), again I only played one new title and this was an obscure maze race game called Hey Culligan Man, later released in the U.S. as Switchboard

 

Twenty years ago, I played two great new games. The first was Jolly Roger, a fun set collection game with a push your luck scoring element. The second was the World Cup Tournament Football game, which was a great game of hidden teams in which the players were interested and you played chits to help their progress through the tournament. Probably a bit dated now and The World Cup Game probably does the same thing a little better.
Superbowl XLVIII session (2nd February 2014 08:48)
I played a thrilling solo session of Pizza Box Football yesterday afternoon in preparation for the big event tomorrow. Could Peyton Manning lead the Broncos to victory against the NFL's toughest defence? Let's see. First Quarter Seattle kicked off but the return left Denver in good field position. Unfortunately, Manning was sacked on his very first play and Denver were forced to punt three plays later. Seattle moved the ball quite effectively and capped their opening drive with a field goal Denver 0 Seattle 3 Denver fumbled a completed pass on their next drive giving Seattle the ball on Denver's 23 yard line. No further progress led to a second field goal, doubling Seattle's lead. Denver 0 Seattle 6 Denver ended the quarter on their own 32 yard line. Second Quarter First play saw Manning get his first decent passing gain with 20 yards and they continued on the ground until they had to accept a field goal rather than anything better with ten minutes remaining in the half. Denver 3 Seattle 6 The next drive saw Denver's defence go to sleep as they first gave up 26 yards on the run and a 48 yard rushing touchdown. Ugly stuff. Even uglier was the PAT attempt giving Seattle just six rather than seven extra points. Denver 3 Seattle 12 Denver kept plugging away on their next drive but an interception around midfield deepened their agony. Seattle were, however, unable to capitalise and a missed long field goal attempt at least kept Denver with some hope.

Third Quarter Russell Wilson started the third quarter in conservative mood although his running backs made sure they kept the ball. 32 yard and 24 yard gains took them to the Denver goal line and they forced their way in with Denver looking a beaten side. Denver 3 Seattle 19 With little to lose, Manning strung a couple of good completions together to bring the Broncos to the Seahawks 25 yard line but with a fourth down and 2, Denver went for the yards rather than the field goal - and piled over with a 4 yard gain to keep the game alive. This obviously sparked the offence into life as the next play saw Manning deliver a touchdown pass to reduce the deficit to just 9. Denver 10 Seattle 19 Seattle kept the ball for the rest of the quarter but it ended with Denver back in possession on their 33 yard line. Fourth Quarter Manning could sense the tide had shifted but with time running out he needed some big plays. 13 and 19 yard pass completions as well as 11 and 15 yard rushing first downs certainly looked to be the right medicine and a ten yard pass into the endzone brought the game down to a one score game. Denver 17 Seattle 19 Seattle fans were biting their nails as their team tried to wind the clock down but they eventually had to punt the ball to Denver for one final push. Manning was in his stride now and a couple of fifteen yard passes brought them just about into field goal range. Not wanting to give up the ball, the next couple of plays stayed on the ground before one of the running backs broke through for a twenty yard gain. With just seconds left on the clock, Denver completed a remarkable comeback with a successful field goal to win the Superbowl. Final Score: Denver 20 Seattle 19 What a great finish! P.S. I have no allegiance to either team. That is probably the best session of Pizza Box Football I've experienced and let's hope the real thing is as exciting.

January 2014 roundup (1st February 2014 16:25)
In January I managed to play 26 games of 20 different titles, 10 of which were new to me. The new games were: Air King, Coal Baron, Bugs in the Kitchen, Escape: Illusions, Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, Glastonbury, Guildhall, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Das Kartenspiel, Legendary: Fantastic 4 and Speculation. I added three new games to the collection which were Bugs in the Kitchen, Candy Chaser and Shephy. My most played game was the fun Bugs in the Kitchen at five plays although the oldie Vom Kap bis Kairo managed three plays. My unplayed list has dropped from 39 to 32 and Game of the Month was going to be either Euphoria or Speculation until the last day of the month when Coal Baron, yet another incredibly smooth game from Kramer & Kiesling, blew the competition away.

Holiday gaming- January 2014 (27th January 2014 11:56)
Just back from a week in Lanzarote. Although much warmer than the UK and only a couple of brief showers during the week, it was very windy which made it a bit chillier than normal. As usual, I'd packed one or two games and we (Jan, Cat and myself) managed to play something every day except one (when Cat and I watched The Hunger Games instead). Here's a quick rundown of what we played: Sunday 19th: Although we didn't arrive until about 7.30pm, we still managed a quick game of Clubs. Although a very simple climbing cardgame, I really like it and it is very easy to explain to people. We played to 40 rather than 50 points and Cat won 48-44-32.

  

Monday 20th: Managed a solo game of Friday in the afternoon. Can't believe it's so long since I last played this. However, it came back to me fairly easily and I managed a win. My score ended up as Fighting 34 Pirates 30 Life 45 Aging -5 Hazards -27 = 77. We also managed to play Air King which has been on my unplayed list since I acquired it at Essen. It's a hidden goal game where you are trying to manoeuvre planes to their destination so that your planes arrive before anyone else's. It wasn't a bad game but it's not one that's going to be jumping out at me to try again. Jan won. Tuesday 21st: Another one of my unplayed games today: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Das Kartenspiel. This is a simplified version of Reiner Knizia's King's Gate where you place tiles in your colour around a location and once all the spots are covered, you score and move onto the next location. Again, easy to play although Jan got stuffed a couple of times so wasn't as thrilled at the game as might have been the case. Cat won this one 12-10-9.

  

Wednesday 22nd: We played Vom Kap bis Kairo, a game I've been meaning to dig out and try again for ages. We were all impressed with this neat racing card game, building our railways across Africa. Has some nice bidding choices to make in determining the type of landscape you need to traverse each round but seems nicely balanced so a runaway leader shouldn't be a problem. This went right down to the wire with all of us just one step from winning but Cat had enough cash left to buy the extra rails she needed to reach Kairo first. Thursday 23rd: I'm a big Mystery Rummy fan and Wyatt Earp may be my favourite. Last time I played this was three years ago, again while in Lanzarote. Another close finish but I managed to take $11k in the third round to overtake Cat for the win. $26k-$24k-$22k. Friday 24th: This was movie night but I did still manage to play a solo game of SOS: Titanic. I got a very fortunate start but my luck didn't hold out too long. As it was, Fredrick Fleet managed to rescue 29 passengers before the ship sank.

  

Saturday 25th: Our final night saw us fit in two games. We started with No Thanks, a great little game. I banked on getting a long run of high cards but had two gaps killing my chances. Jan won 7-26-77 (don't look at that last score!) We then decided to play Vom Kap bis Kairo again and it was just as close a result as the previous time with Cat this time gambling by using the last of her money to cross her seventh terrain. However, it paid off as we were unable to stop her getting to Kairo first again. All in all, a great week's holiday, despite the breeze, and some good gaming as well. And I only won once all week.
Wayback When? - January '94, '99, '04, '09 (4th January 2014 21:52)
Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at January 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.

  

In 2009, we played a few excellent new games. Leader 1 was a fabulous cycle racing game with modular courses and excellent movement mechanism (one of Mark W's favourites). Diamonds Club is a very elegant design from Rudiger Dorn about a competition to develop one's country estate and really should be played again soon. Oregon is also a charming design set in mid 19th Century western America and is about positioning farmers and buildings in the best locations to yield the most points.

 

January 2004 only saw me play five games but there were two good ones among them. Oasis is a fun hand management and area control game by Alan Moon and Aaron Weissblum, with an interesting offer mechanism for determining turn order. Pirates Cove is an early Days of Wonder game about pirates fighting for booty over various islands to become the most famous swashbuckler.

  

Fifteen years ago saw my first opportunity to play the excellent Carabande (republished as PitchCar), the ultimate flicking race game, as well as Tycoon which is a Wolfgang Kramer and Horst Rainer Rosner design about businessmen travelling the world opening hotels and factories to make the most money. I also played another great Reiner Knizia card game, Circus Flohcati, which works as a fun 20 minute game in virtually any setting. Unfortunately, January 1994 saw me play only two games, neither of which was new to me. However, one of them - Broadway - is definitely worth playing again (Monopoly's gamier friend).
2013 roundup (1st January 2014 11:49)
2013 saw me play 234 games of 155 different titles (just one more than the 154 different titles played in 2012, one fewer than the 156 different titles played in 2011 and two fewer than the 157 played in both 2010 and 2009). Again, I find it pretty remarkable how close these numbers are. The total plays at 234 is slightly down compared with 239 in 2012 but higher than the 200 in 2011, 208 in 2010 and 229 in 2009). My full list of games played is here. My most played game was Legendary which saw 15 plays (including some played with the Dark City expansion). Only three other games exceeded 3 plays (Love Letter with 11, Qwixx with 6 and Star Wars: Angriff der Klonkrieger with 4). 13 games were played three times, 23 were played twice and 115 of them were played just once. My unplayed game list started 2013 at 23 but has ballooned towards the end of the year and sits at 39. I need to get this down to single figures fairly soon this year. 2013 (like 2012) seemed to produce several good games but not a single stand out game. My six picks for the year were Snowdonia, Qwixx, Rialto, Clubs, Spyrium and Amerigo. As with last year, I’ve also done a six picks of solo and two-player games featuring Legendary, SOS Titanic, Robinson Crusoe, Stak Bots, Space Hulk: Death Angel - The Card Game and 1911: Amundsen vs Scott. All in all, a pretty good year. Let’s hope 2014 is just as good.
December 2013 roundup (1st January 2014 11:06)
In December, I managed to play 21 games of 17 different titles, 12 of which were new to me. The new games were: Amerigo, Piraten Kapern, Flash 10, UGO, Mush! Mush! Mascarade, Prosperity, You Suck, The Logo Board Game, Concordia, Risk Express and Battleship: Hidden Threat. I added seven new games to the collection which were Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, Cheaty Mages, Guildhall, Mush! Mush! Game of Thrones, The Logo Board Game and Speculation. My unplayed list stands at 39 and Game of the Month could have been Concordia (but I need to see how it plays multi-player, although it plays really well as a two-player game) but instead I decided to pick yet another Stefan Feld game, Amerigo.

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