Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tuesday April 25th - Stephensons Rocket

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Down to 3 players again, Richard swanning off to France for some more skiing. Steve has just come back from BayCon and said the best game he had there was one of Stephensons Rocket. So we opted for that for tonights game. Garry and I had only played once before. I had picked up a shrink-wrapped copy at Essen 2004 for 10 euros. A buy I was well pleased with. Steve quickly ran through the rules to give us a refresher.
Basically there are 7 rail companies that you can expand by extending their track, the other players can veto the direction by spending their shares to move in another direction. If you match the shares with your own you carry on with your move. When 2 companies touch they merge into one. The game ends when there is only one company left or you run out of rail tiles. The winner is the one with the most money at the end of the game. You have 2 actions on your turn and it rapidly becomes nowhere near enough. There are always more things that you want to do. I thought I would concentrate on moving one company to start with and getting stations on the line. Picking up a few tokens along the way. Steve said the game was totally different from the one he played at BayCon, but that had 4 players and obviously that would make a difference. All too soon the rail tiles are in very short supply, signalling that the end of the game is pretty close and you realise that you haven't done half of what you had planned to do.
I seemed to have a pretty clear run and picked up a lot money during the game. In the end I won pretty comfortably which I was very surprised by.

Final Scores
Colin 100,000, Steve 65,000, Garry 53,000

As we had some time left we finished off the evening with a game of Don, a 2001 Queen game designed by Michael Schacht. This is an auction game to purchase cards of different colours. There are 6 colours numbered 0-9. You have a number of chips to start and after you have won a card you are not permitted to bid the number on the card. If the winning bid is a number of a card held by another player they get all the money. If more than one it's split. This interesting mechanic makes for some amusing play as the numbers you can actually bid diminish the more cards you are successful in getting. Steve had picked up his copy for £2 at BayCon. A good £2 worth I should say.

Final Scores
Steve 22, Colin 21, Garry 19

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tuesday 18th April - Ticket to Ride Marklin

TtR Marklin
Originally uploaded by coljen.
Here we are again after cancelling last week. Garry was in Aberdeen and Richard had to work so Ticket to Ride Marklin was put off until this week. Once again Garry had a late call and had to dash off to Aberdeen so he was missing, but Jo had some time and elected to join us. I think we had all played TtR in some form, I had played both vanilla and European flavours. This version looked as though it added some new elements that made it a bit more of a gamers game. With +4 Locos which could only be used on links of 4 or more and passenger tokens which can be picked up to score more points. I think both Richard and Steve had played once before but Jo and myself were first-timers. The initial choice of tickets is interesting too. Do you go for a balanced approach (2 long, 2 short), or all short or all long? I did the 2 and 2 and kept 2 long and 1 short, and I know Richard kept 4 short. The map is well designed with more of the long routes going north/south and a lot of the short routes in the south.

Richard’s strategy soon became apparent, all short routes and lots of passenger tokens to be collected. Hopefully he will comment outlining his thinking (Richard?). I started OK working towards completing my 2 long routes but making sure my short route was still achievable. A couple of single and double links to keep an eye on. Jo worked his way from east to west across the map and Steve started coming down the western edge.

As the game progressed Richard had used his first passenger token collecting 31 points, I had put my first one down in a not too good position and Jo collected the 7 point Berlin token first. Towards the end of the game I had to gamble and take tickets otherwise I had no chance of winning. I took 4 short and one was pretty good, a couple of turns later I took 4 long hoping at least one would be within reach, but no luck all impossible. I had to keep the lowest point one, that was minus 12 points! Jo took tickets at least twice I think and connected at least once every time. Steve was having a pretty tough time of it and kept taking blind picks to try to make his sets.
Overall I think this is a terrific game, the new rules give you a lot more to think about and make it more challenging to play.

Final Scores (Initial points, completed tickets, uncompleted tickets, 10pt bonus for most completed tickets)
Jo 104-70-0-10=184
Richard 111-53-9=155
Colin 102-43-12=133
Steve 84-22-43=64

A short note about the picture this week. I had forgotten my camera so Richard took a pic with his phone. How to get it on to a PC? Steve had a PDA so he connected to Richard’s bluetooth phone and grabbed the pic then downloaded it onto his PC and finally emailed it to me. Phew!! I’ll try not to forget my camera next time.

Happy Gaming!!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tuesday 4th April - RA

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Today we all assembled at Garry's for a game or two of Renier Knizia's Ra. We had all played this game before apart from Garry, although the last time I played was a while ago. This is really an auction game with an egyptian theme thrown on, this doesn't make it any less of a good game. Basically the game runs for three epochs (rounds) and each epoch you can purchase 3 lots of tiles with your 3 bidding tiles. Getting rivers, civilisations, monuments and so on. Multiples score more and rivers don't score at all unless you have a flood tile to go with them. If you don't have a civilisation tile you get minus 5 points. Some tiles are thrown away between epochs so you have to collect them again.
I enjoy this game, it plays quickly and smoothly and gives a good number of choices to make. Richard played a blinder in both of the games we played ending last in each. He gambled waiting until last to bid and turning over tiles to get a good score but that last Ra tile kept popping up.

Final Scores
Game 1
Steve 36, Garry 31, Colin 21, Richard 15

Game 2
Carry 49, Colin 48, Steve 30, Richard 9

Richard had just purchased the new Ticket to Ride - Marklin and we had a quick look at the bits etc. I like the TtR games and this looks to add a few new twists. My choice next week and this looks likes a good candidate.

Happy Gaming!!!