Tuesday 24th October - Gheos
Here we are and the first session post Essen, Garry couldn't make it courtesy of a cold he picked up in Germany. So it was just Steve, Richard and I. Steve had chosen Gheos, one of the games I purchased at the show. This is basically a tile laying game with a bit of Euphrates and Tigris thrown in. The tiles form continents and islands on which you establish civilisations.
A close up of the tiles with civ counters
The components are very good, nice chunky tiles with good graphics representing land and water, with clear symbols in bright colours. All the blocks and discs are wood. The manual is clear with good examples of play. The gameplay is fairly simple but has a lot of possibilities. You either add a tile or replace a tile that is already laid. You can then start a civ on an unoccupied continent, or take a block of an existing civ. If you replace a tile this could either lead to a war or a civilisation migrating. There are 6 civilisations (colours) and when you establish a civilisation you gain followers (coloured blocks) of that civ, these can then earn you VPs in various ways. When you have sorted that out you could play one of 3 scoring discs each player has. You get points for each follower you have for civs in play and each follower is worth the number of cups depicted in that civ. Only the player that played the scoring disc actually scores. You then draw a tile from the supply to make your hand back up to two. If you draw an epoch tile then there is another scoring, in an epoch scoring each follower a player has is worth points equal to the number of pyramids on that civs continent, all the players score all their followers.
The overall gameboard
The interesting bit is when you replace a tile and cause a war or migration because the losing civ loses all its followers, and the players with any followers have to discard them. On several occasions in our game 4 or 5 followers were lost at a time. The game ends when all players have played all of their scoring tokens or when a certain number of epoch tiles have been drawn, in a 3 player game that was 7.
At game end all players score again just as if they had played a scoring token. Steve managed to end the game by making a move and then playing the last scoring token he had which ended the game, he scored 20 points for that, then there was the final scoring and he scored another 20 points....ouch, that effectively won him the game.
Steve 78, Richard 73, Colin 53
I think we all enjoyed Gheos, there are a lot of possible moves and plenty of opportunities to screw your opponents. It also plays fairly quickly, which left us enough time to end the session with a short cardgame.
Null und Nichtig (Null and Void)
This is a simple trick-taking game with a twist....well they all have haven't they. Basically there are cards 0-11 in five colours, with 2 zeros in each colour. Each player is dealt 13 cards and chooses 3 cards to place face up in front of him. The player to the left of the dealer leads to the first trick, you don't have to follow suit (colour) and the highest card wins the trick. This is the clever bit, the winner of the trick then picks up the cards in order, starting with his own, and adds them to the cards in front of him by colour, so each colour is in a single stack. You play the 13 tricks and at the end you score points for the top card of each colour stack you have in front of you. Easy uh!! well, it makes you think a bit, I found it easiest to play 3 high cards in front of me at the start and then try not to win any tricks. Never lead with a zero, every one dumps zeros of different colours on you...oh, I forgot if there is a tie for the highest card, it's the one who played it first that wins the trick. I admit I do like trick taking games and this one is very good, I'd like to play it with 5, the maximum number of players, should be a laugh.
Colin 88, Steve 79, Richard 69