Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saturday 2nd June, 2007

Beyond Monopoly!

I started with a 5-player game of Canal Mania from the Ragnar Brothers. In this, players compete to construct a canal network linking English towns to ferry goods. There are government contracts you have to complete, and you can enlist the help of famous engineers. The game ends with the arrival of the railways. Several players were familiar with it and, despite this, I managed not to come last. Final scores were: Adrian 80, Neil 66, Paul 58, me 54 and Keith 46. I enjoyed this and would play it again. The theme was a change to train games and I liked the engineers mechanic.

Next up was a 6-player game of Power Grid. This is a game I enjoy playing but am hopeless at. this was a typical outing for me: Paul won with 15 cities, Neil and Oliver were next with 14, Hugo and I managed 11 and Adrian could power 9. I wish I was better at this game!

I was then introduced to Cartagena. In this pirates are atttempting to escape from prison to a waiting boat. You play cards to move them along corridors, or they fall back to collect more cards. I found this somewhat challenging ot start with. In the end all 6 of Paul's pirates escaped, along with 3 of Adrian's and 2 of mine and Hugo's.

A good day's gaming!

Friday 1st June, 2007

Lisa and I decided to spend our Friday evening gaming. We started with a go at Trans Europa. Lisa struggled to get across Europe repeatedly allowing me to win on 10. We decided to carry on our Canasta campaign. We each won 2 games, although Lisa leads overall by4695 to 2730, helped by me scoring -260 on one hand!

Thursday 31st May, 2007

Thursday night is now games night as well! I was joined by Greg, Spencer and Vin. We kicked off the evening with Trans Europa. I won on 10 whilst everyone else went 'broke' - my best performance yet! Staying with the railway theme, Lisa then joined us for a game of Ticket to Ride - Marklin Edition. Spencer won this with 117. Lisa and Vin drew for second place with 114. I was next with 102 and Greg limped into last place with 46. The game got a lukewarm reception from Greg and Spencer who preferred the elegant simplicity of the original. Vin and Lisa thought it was great though!

Monday 28th May, 2007

Due to other people's commitments there was no games night. Instead Lisa and I played 6 games of Trans Europa. We both won 3 games, including a memorable one where it took 6 rounds to finish as we were neck and neck each round!

Sunday 27th May, 2007

Ellie enjoyed a long afternoon nap, giving Lisa and I a chance to play a game. We decided to have a 2-player game of Trans Europa. Lisa won with 4; we felt it worked well with 2 players. You have to be more careful with your route planning as their is less of a chance of joining up with other networks.

In the evening we broke out our 2-player favourite Carcassonne The Castle. Lisa won the first game 97 to 76; helped by having the largest keep and 2 (yes 2!) score 5 extra points tokens! However, I got my own back in the second game as I won 119 to her 88, partly by having a large keep and scoring double for it with a token, netting 32 points! To add insult to injury, this was completed by the final tile of the game!

Tuesday 22nd May, 2007

Lisa and I opened Ticket To Ride - Marklin Edition this evening. We were impressed with the quality of the pieces and quickly grasped the rules after playing normal TotR. The main difference is that you have passengers in this version which you can collect points tokens with. However, you have to time their movements well or the number of points you collect is reduced. We felt this was a good variant on the original game. Lisa faired a little better than me in the end as she managed to complete 2 more routes. Final scores - Lisa 201, Paul 193.

Monday 21st May, 2007

Whilst our daughters played in the garden, Jason and I had a go at several Pitch Car tracks. Jason won the first 3 races in a row; I got stuck repeatedly on a jump during the first game, and stuck in a tunnel on the second - the third - I kept coming off the track! However, I made up for it (a little!) during the fourth race in which I lapped Jason to take victory!

That evening was Games Night! Spencer, Greg and I started with a game of Trans Europa (borrowed from BM!). After explaining the rules I took the first game. Spencer finished second on 3 and Greg lost. Lisa then joined us for a go. Unfortunately she lost and this time Greg won on 5 to Spencers 3 and my 1.

I then persuaded everyone to have a go at Die Mauer. Lisa bluffed superbly to secure her victory, ending the game with only 2 points worth of buildings left in her supply. Spencer did well ending with only 13 points. With my gate and tower I faired less well, ending with 27 points. Greg, who really does not like this sort of game, finished with a grand total of 32 points. Oh dear!

Sunday 20th May, 2007

Lisa and I spent the evening in the company of Jason and Annette and, as well as good food and good wine, great games were also enjoyed. Annette beat us all at Trans Europa; she finished a route really quickly whilst the rest of us were still floundering around, thus we all went 'bust' on the scoretrack whilst she remained on 8! Lisa won the second game on 9; Jason and I limped home in second place on 1 and this time Annette lost. A lovely evening.

Saturday 19th May, 2007

Today was Beyond Monopoly!

I arrived late so lots of games were in progress. I hung around for awhile until Andy arrived. I then introduced him to the joys of It's Alive! Despite losing 37 to 54 Andy enjoyed the game and was impressed with the artwork.

We then had a go at Balloon Cup. Andy had played before and so explained it to me thoroughly. We enjoyed this as it was well-balanced and fun! Andy won by 1 green cup. We decided to play again. I felt I had made a few blunders and so was happy to play again. I did worse this time losing by the green and the blue cups!

We mutually agreed to try Architekton next - a game neither of us had heard of before. We felt we were missing something as we just kept copying each other's moves to effect a draw; there seemed no reason to do otherwise. We scoured the rules convinced that we must have been playing it wrong but, we hadn't. Not a great game.

I then got involved in a game of Settlers of Catan - my first for sometime. Of the three other players, 1 was new to it and the other 2 were clearly experienced. It felt like there were actually 2 games being played; the experienced guys made no allowances for me and the noob. Needless to say he lost and I limped into third place. Not an enjoyable experience. Little time was taken to explain the rules, tactics or anything.

I then got involved in a game of Winner's Circle. I'm not usually that keen on horse or racing games but this one was okay (and a Reiner Knizia game!). I liked the bluffing involved in the betting and the board itself. In the end I came second out of five, narrowly avoiding victory by losing a photo finish at the end.

All in all a fun day, although the Settlers game will stick in my mind as a BM! lowpoint.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Monday 14th May, 2007

Monday night is Games Night! But before Greg and Spence turned up Lisa and I had time for 2 games of It's Alive! Lisa won the first one 59 to 55 even though it was me who shouted "it's alive!" (I love doing that). I redeemed myself somewhat by winning the second game 48 to 46 and utterring my favourite phrase.... We tried our idea of being able to purchase cards from players' cemeteries with more than one card. It only made a little bit of difference. I think you tend to buy more spare parts in the 2-player game anyway as you have more of an idea what your opponent still needs. I don't think our variant would work with more than 2.

When the others did arrive we all decided trhat we fancied several short games for a change. We started with Trans Europa. Spence won the first game and Greg lost it with Lisa and I drawing in the middle! It had been a close game though. We decided to play again and Greg won this time. Lisa was second, I was third and Spencce was last; a reversal from the previous game!

We then played 2 games of Hey! That's My Fish! -a game we all enjoy but don't play that often. Lisa easily won the first game with 30 floes. I was second with 26 floes, Greg next with 22 and Spencer, whose penguins got a bit stranded, managed 19 floes. Spencer clearly learnt some valuable lessons as he romped to victory in the second game with 33 floes. Lisa did well coming second with 25, whilst Greg and I both managed only 21 floes (I won as I had more individual floes!).

After all that penguin madness we decided to round off the evening with a game of Guillotine. I won this with 22 points. Greg was second with 21, Lisa third with 18 and Spencer last with 17. I paid careful attention to everyone's scores as I had several cards which allowed me to end the game. I chose my moment carefully when I had jsut snatched victory from Greg.... a great evening.

When Spence and Greg left Lisa and I had a quick hand of canasta before retiring to bed. I won this hand scoring 1205 points to Lisa's 640 (I had lots of wild cards!). I currently lead this game 1840 points to 1770 (4 games each!).

Sunday 13th May, 2007

Whilst Ellie had an afternoon nap Lisa and I turned our attention to Trans Europa. I won both games, winning all 3 rounds in the first game. Lisa picked unfortunate cards, particularly for the yellow cities. Still, we both enjoyed playing and having a pot of coffee with cream!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Saturday 12th May, 2007

In the evening Lisa and I played a few games of It's Alive!, which Jack had been kind enough to lend me one of the prototypes of. The 2-player game is surprisingly harder than with any other number we think. It's a much more careful and considered game as you can easily mess up and give your opponent a great advantage.

I won the first game 49 to 39, helped by 2 coffins! The second game was much closer, with Lisa sneaking ahead 51 to 49 (Ihad no coins left!). Lisa destroyed me in the final game 44 to 33. I failed to notice just how much money she was accruing which enabled her to buy 2 coffins and all the best quality body parts. She played really well.

We think we might try a slight variation whereby in the 2-player game you can use more than one card to bring the top card from someone's cemetery into play..... we'll see if it makes any difference!

Thursday 10th May, 2007

Lisa and Lisa S returned home early from the pub and were persuaded to have a go at Trans Europa. Lisa S had not played it before but quickly got her head around the rules and leapt to an early victory. I won the second game by a narrow margin. We all agreed it is a good game, but poor starting placement can really mess it up for you!

Wednesday 9th May, 2007

I trekked into town to join in the playtesting for Jack's next publication, It's Alive! I've played this a couple of times in prototype form and greatly enjoyed it. This was a chance to see the finished artwork and play it with people who had not played before.

The artwork is superb; it matches the theme perfectly. I played two 5-player games and a 3-player. I won the first 5 player and shouted "it's alive!" - which is always fun! I also won the second game, by 2 points (!) although I didn't get to do any shouting that time. In both these games I didn't draw a single Villager's Uprising!

However, I drew 2 of them in the final game and lost, by a point from second place. I think I enjoyed it more with 5 than 3 players - although that may have been something to do with the group dynamics rather than the game. I remain convinced that the game will definately be a hit.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Monday 7th May, 2007

Monday night is games night! Lisa and I were joined by Greg and Vin. To begin with we introduced them both to Trans Europa (definately my 'game of the moment!'). They both really enjoyed this and, similar to Lisa on Saturday, tried different approaches. It was interesting for me playing it with 4 (previous player numbers were 2 or 3) and thus all 35 cities, rather than the usual 25. It was quite a different game. Your network would be impossible to complete if you did not join to other people's. Occasionally a link would be started and abandoned when another player's network suddenly became closer to your own somewhere else on the board. All the rounds we played were close - which made it quite exciting! In the end Vin won with Greg and I drawing for second place. Lisa brought up the rear... but only just! We agreed it was a good game and Greg is contemplating purchasing it to take on holiday.

Lisa then departed to do some work. The three of us decided to have another go at Tigris & Euphrates. We agreed that we had all enjoyed it when we played it previously, although we found it quite abstract and didn't have a clue how to form a strategy. This didn't really change much as we played! I was convinced Vin had won after he spent several rounds gaining loads of cubes from 3 temples. Then I thought Greg took the lead as he forced me into a run of disastrous conflicts. I never thought I was in the lead or that I was doing particularly well. Vin appeared to have a clear strategy with his temple building, Greg seemed commited to consistently finding ways to stop Vin. Yet in the end I won! I still don't know how. The fewest number of any coloured cube I had was 18 compared to Greg and Vin's 13. I amassed cubes by slowly and innoccuously placing tiles and scoring for them.... winning the occasional conflict... dividing a kngdom to palm off some of the temple goodies.... and avoiding some conflicts wherever I could. This seems to have been a winning strategy even if it wasn't a conscious one!

I like this game but I don't feel I've learnt to play it yet. Tonight's performance probably won't inform how I play next time as I still don't really know what to do.... still it's well worth playing again.... and again..... and again....

Sunday 6th May, 2007

In our usual Sunday afternoon routine.... whilst Ellie slept, Lisa and I decided to play a game. In a change to the norm though we played 3 games of Trans Europa. I won all 3 games, although they were all fairly close. Lisa started to look fed up with losing (she did seem to have harder routes than me!) but assured me that she was still enjoying it and thought it was a good game.

Saturday 5th may, 2007 (2)

I borrowed a copy of Trans Europa from Beyond Monopoly. It's a game I've played and enjoyed and it is staying firmly on my wishlist! I brought it home as I thought Lisa might enjoy it. She certainly did! She enjoyed having her European geography challenged and she appreciated the simplicity of the game. She tried several strategies; starting centrally, starting towards the edge, starting near her opponent, starting at the opposite side of the board to her opponent. I really admired her pioneering spirit!

We played three games (each of three rounds). I won 2 and Lisa won 1. We surmised that all of the above approaches had pros and cons. I faired better starting centrally, whilst Lisa won her game by starting at one edge. I felt this approach could be risky in the 2-player game as you are reliant on your opponents rail network going near where you need it to.

We really enjoyed this game and agreed we would play it some more.....instead of Carcassonne The Castle for awhile!

Saturday 5th May, 2007

Today I made it to Beyond Monopoly! Soon after arriving I joined with Robert, Richard and Paul A to play Marra Cash - a game Richard had brought. In essence this is an auction and area control game in which you try to lure shoppers to your bazaars to earn money. Players auction off bazaars of various colours and get a cut if they can lure shoppers to bazaars of the same colour.

It sounds a bit abstract but it was actually good fun. I think I would play differently a second time as I bid too much in a couple of auctions and backed out of a crucial one too soon! All in all a good game which I would happily play again. Robert won with 6,900, I came second with 5,300, Richard was a surprise third with 4,050 and Paul A brought up the rear with 3,900.

Many people then dissapeared for a long lunchbreak. When they returned I joined with Andrew, Keith, Jim, John and Richard to have a go at Shadows Over Camelot. I have been curious about this for sometime as co-operative games are few and far between. As with all Days of Wonder games production values were astoundingly high. The game was enhanced for me as Jim quickly cycled home to fetch his beautifully handpainted miniatures.

I liked this game. It could be described as a themed series of rummy games but that would be a little unfair. The Knights of the Round Table are questing to rout the forces of evil. They do this by placing white swords on the Round Table. These swords are awarded for successfully completing Quests. However, if the Knights fail, then black swords are placed instead. It was quite hard playing collaboratively when the rules state that you cannot clearly discuss the cards in your hand or your intentions.

The game is made more interesting by the dealing out of Loyalty cards, as a result of which one player may be a traitor. If this is the case then that player must surreptitiously work to scupper the efforts of his companions. He can be accused and unmasked however. I was playing Sir Gawain (of Green Knight fame!) and I was actually the traitor. I enjoyed this role immensely as it lead to the type of psychological gaming I enjoy. No one accused me and I managed to foil several Quests apparently innocently. Once Darkness prevailed I revealed my allegiance to evil and claimed my victory. I wouldn't want to play this every week but it will remain on my wishlist!

Finally, Jim suggested that we try a game he'd brought; Oltre Mare (another one on my wishlist!). Keith had to depart so that left myself, Jim, Richard, John and Andrew. Jim and Richard had both played before and so managed to explain the basics to the rest of us. Oltre Mare is essentially a hand-building trading card game. The pretty board with cool sailing ships on is not as important as it first appears. Jim had printed out some really useful reference sheets without which I think I would have been lost. As I am currently a "bear of little brain" I found this game a bit too hard. There were a lot of options and I could not work out what the ramifications were going to be. I was hideously behind for most of the game but I recovered somewhat at the end. Jim won with 50 points. Andrew was second with 47, whilst John and Richard drew for third with 42. I was a little behind with 39. This game will reamin on my wishlist although I don't think I will play it again until I am fully recovered from my neurological problems.

All in all a great day's gaming!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wednesday 2nd May, 2007

After Ellie had retired for the evening Lisa and I broke out Carcassonne The Castle, again. It was a fairly close game, although Lisa managed to snag most of the tokens. In the end she won with 116 to my 109. She did well with the markets, although I did have the largest keep.

Monday 30th April, 2007

Before Monday night is games night, Lisa and I played the deciding game of Carcassonne the Castle. Lisa wiped the floor with me - 104 to 75. She managed to pick up all of the tokens until the 56/57 corner on the score track(!) and was able to use them to great effect. How humiliating!

Greg and Spencer then arrived and the four of us had a quick game of Guillotine. Spencer played this really well, ending the game when he was clearly in the lead. He amassed 17 heads, Lisa 12 and Greg and I both ahd 11.

We then brought out Fire and Axe for the third Monday running! Spencer won with 166 (and the Bloodiest Axe!) Lisa did well scoring 155 and Greg and I were Shield Brothers with 141. Settling accounted for most of my points! A fun evening once again.

Sunday 29th April, 2007

Whilst Ellie had her afternoon nap, Lisa and I sat down to 2 games of Carcassonne The Castle. I won the first one with 85 points to Lisa's 74. This was mainly due to tokens allowing me to score an unfinished road, an unfinished house and an unfinished tower!

However, victory ws shortlived as Lisa won the second game 118 to 103. She had 10 markets to my 2 and the biggest keep which scored her 8 points.

A fun afternoon of games, although Ellie woke up before we could play a decider....

Wednesday 25th April, 2007

As he had a week off from work Greg came over this afternoon and brought Memoir '44 with him. This is another game that I have heard lots about but have not played so I was quite keen to give it a go. The box and all the components are lovely. The rule book is really clear and simple to follow. We played the first 5 scenarios in order, randomising who played Axis or Allies each game.

I won the first game, Pegasus Bridge, as the Allies. I obtained 4 medals to Greg's 3. It was a hard fought contest, although once I'd cleared the Nazis away from one bridge it became a little easier.

I was the Allies again in the second game, St Mere Eglise. I won this one with 4 medals to Greg's 3, mainly because of a perfect parachute drop at the start of the game.

I played the Axis troops in Swordbeach and managed to win 6 medals to Greg's 3. Hard to see how the Allies could win that one though! The artillery is just too powerful.

I was the Nazis again for Pointe du Hoc where I got royally creamed 4 medals to 1. I just couldn't get the command cards to make my troops do anything useful! Frustrating!

Finally I plumped for the Allies at Omaha Beach. The same command card problem arose and I was soundly thrashed 6 medals to 1 - Greg played this one well and kept me safely pinned down throughout.

Although I am no longer a huge fan of wargames, and WW2 has never particularly appealed, I thought this was a great game with pleasing, well-balanced mechanics. I had a fantastic afternoon. And there was cake. Did I mention the cake? Thanks Greg!

Tuesday 24th April, 2007

Mal and I met for lunch at a local pub (something of a tradition). Whilst we waited for our steaks to arrive we enjoyed a quick game of Fluxx. Mal won easily with 10 cards in his hand. He played really well to create this situation. The steaks were perfect by the way!

Monday 23rd April 2007

Before everyone descended to play games, Lisa and I squeezed in 3 hands of canasta. Lisa won the first with 1640 points to my 1120, bringing her total to 6915 and mine to 5230. Victory was clearly in her sites and she managed it on the next hand, managing 1035 points to my 1510. Final scores - Lisa 7950, me 6740. We are now drawing 4 games each. We played the first hand of a new game and Lisa won this one to with 1130 to my 635. Oh dear.

The hordes did not descend, only Greg. He brought Fire and Axe with him, so the three of us played this. I lost hideously due to abysmal (no, really, really bad... honest) dice rolls. Greg won easily and Lisa acquitted herself well. I still think this is a great game, although a little harder with 3 players I thought.

Monday 16th April, 2007

Monday night is games night! I was joined by Greg, Spencer and Vin. Greg brought his new purchase along, Fire and Axe, so we gave this ago.

Sadly, I've lost the notes I made on the night. But I do remember thinking it was a good game; finely balanced and with lovely pieces. I remember that I came last, but not by much... and subsequent re-reading of the rules showed that we'd scored the saga cards incorrectly and I would actually have won! A great game and a lovely evening.

Wednesday 11th April, 2007

Mal came around for dinner in the evening. He joined Lisa and I in 2 games of Fluxx. I won the first one with coffee and doughnuts; Mal won the second with the brain (but no TV).

Lisa then headed off to do some work whilst Mal and I played a further four games.... all of which I won!

Tuesday 10th April, 2007

Mal and I spent the afternoon together, chatting, idling away the time and playing Fluxx. Actually, we played 12 games! I won 9 and Mal won 3. No hard feelings though as I was often rather lucky with the cards, whereas Mal's victories were well executed masterplans!

Monday 9th April, 2007

Monday night is games night! Lisa and I were joined by Jack, Lou, Greg, Vin and Spencer. We decided to have a go at Pitch Car first. I haven't played this for quite some time so it was fun to get it out again, especially as we used the Expansion Pack to include some chicanes and a troublesome bridge.

Jack demonstrated a really impressive flicking technique which powered him to an easy victory. I came next about a quarter lap behind. Greg and Vin had an epic struggle for third place which Greg finally won. Lisa was next soem distance ahead of Lou. Spencer brought up the rear after having a disastroud time getting through the tunnel early on.

We then shrank the table and put the chairs back for a six-player game of Carcassonne including the Princess & the Dragon expansion. This was good fun. The dragon was brutal burning all in it's path. As a result farmers didn't appear (and stay) until near the end of the game. people focussed much more on completing small features as they didn't want their meeples to be on the dragon's flight path!

In the end Greg won with 86 points and one of the few farmers in the game. Vin was second with 64 and I was third witrh 62. Spencer managed 44 (and had a farmer!) whilst Lou scored 43. Jack was last with 24. He had faired badly at the teeth of the dragon but still..... quite a low score!

We liked this expansion. Lisa and I had been less impressed with it in the 2-player game. Here it was fun and meant that everyone had to change their normal playing style (although Greg's farmer did win him the game in the end as there were lots of little cities). The princess was used nastily a couple of times and the competition to obtain the fairy was often quite heated! This made Carcassonne feel much more adversarial, which was fun for a change.

A lovely evening of fun and frolics!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Sunday 8th April, 2007

Whilst our fair womenfolk took our smaller womenfolk out for the day, Vin and I enjoyed a day of lad's gaming. Did we marry the right women or what!

Vin was very eager to introduce me to Rommel's Panzers which, to quote BGG is a "MicroHistory #1 in the Metagaming MicroHistory series.
A game of Tactical Unit combat in North Africa. In 1941 Erwin Rommel arrived in North Africa to save the collapsing Italian empire. Among the units under his command was the Deutches Afrika Korps. With the Afrika Korps Rommel wreaked havoc and exercised such military ingenuity that he would therafter be known as "The Desert Fox"."

Now, this involves moving tiny cardboard squares on a map made up of hexagons. I used to love this sort of thing over a decade ago but I have kind of lost interest since. Still, I'm happy to play anything at least once and so I gladly sat down to a game. I didn't mind having to count hexes to assess range, or refer to hit tables half as much as I thought I would. It was good fun.

We played the 'Dawn Attack' scenario in which a British armoured encampment is surprised at dawn by a German Panzer column. It was a hard-fought battle but, in the end, the British were victorious although they only had two vehicles remaining.

Next, I introduced Vin to the joys of Carcassonne The Castle - perfect for two-players. Vin really enjoyed this and was only narrowly defeated 89 points to 84. I had the largest keep which gained me 7 points.

We then tried the two-player version of Finster Flure (Fearsome Floors). Vin enjoyed this a lot more than the four-player version we had played previously; it's much quicker for one thing. In the end Vin was victorious as two of his team escaped from the monster whilst only one of mine survived.

Vin then requested another go at The Castle. This time he was royally whipped 97 to 67. I managed to obtain most of the tokens and finish several high scoring buildings towards the end of the game.

We then decided to play Carcassonne with the added bonus of the Builders & Traders expansion. We played this twice and I won both (178 to 129 and 198 to 139). I concentrated on obtaining the trade goods tokens to ensure a monopoly. I also managed to place some high scoring farmers (and piggies!).

All in all a great days gaming and the realisation that hex-based wargames are more fun than I thought they would be!

Saturday 7th April, 2007

Today I made it to Beyond Monopoly! Despite it being a very sunny day, and it being the AGM, quite a few people had turned up.

First up I played Trans Europa with Richard and Michael. I had not played this before, although it is onmy wishlist. It is a simple game in which you construct a rail network based on a hand of location cards. You can join onto other players' networks if they get you nearer where you need to be. We played this once, although it took 2 rounds due to the mechanism whereby you work out how many links you were short of completing your network and count down to 0. I won both rounds due to some good fortune in drawing cards for easy to get to places! A good game which will remain on my wishlist.

Next up was Vabanque - a casino game I had not heard of before. It is a game of gambling and bluffing. A the end I was the clear winner with 490 points, to Michael's 250 and Richard's 170. I expect this game would be more fun, and more random, with more players. As it was I quite quickly worked out my opponents tells when they were bluffing and I managed to set up a pattern so that there was no way I could lose on the final hand. I would happily play this again, although I'm not sure it will go on my wishlist.

Richard, Michael and I were then joined by Ian, Hugo and Anna to play Citadels. I've wanted to play this for ages and was glad to get the chance. In the end Hugo won with 26 points, Richard was second with 24. Michael and I drew for third with 19, Ian was next with 18 and Anna brought up the rear with 13. I enjoyed this game, although it is really a glorified card game! I think it would be more fun amongst a group of friends; there was a fair amount of downtime as people chose their characters. As we didn't know each other there was very little banter. Still, this one shall remain on the wishlist.

The six of us then embarked on Fist of Dragonstones; another game I'd never heard of. Not too sure about this one; another glorified card game. I came second with 2 points, outmanouvered at the end by Michael who outbid me for the third point. I liked the mechanics of the game but the theme was a bit daft. I would play it again though. IU suspect it would be more fun with less than 6.

All in all a good way to spend some time over the Bank Holiday weekend. Members can now borrow games from Beyond Monopoly, so I'm going to discuss loaning Trans Europa with Lisa!

Wednesday 28th March, 2007

With an evening to ourselves, Lisa and I decided to enjoy a couple of hands of canasta, before turning our attentions to the TV!

I won the first hand with 1145 points to Lisa's 440. I picked up quite a few wild cards and so was able to go out quickly. This hand brought our total scores to me 2900 with Lisa leading 3060.

The second hand was closer than the score shows. Lisa managed to pick up all 4 red 3's (worth lots of points!) and got a natural canasta. She went out just before I did. She scored 2115 (huge score!) to my 1210. Lisa now leads 5275 to my 4110. Still, Lisa needs 150 to meld in the next hand...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tuesday 27th March, 2007

I met Mal in a local pub for lunch. He asked that I take Fluxx along as he was desperate to play a few games. In the end, we started a game waiting for our meal to arrive, we finished it after eating, we started another waiting for dessert, then finished that one and three more games. I can't remember who won what, but we had a lovely time, chatting, eating and playing. A delightful way to spend an afternoon!

Monday 26th March, 2007

Monday night is games night! I was joined by Greg, Spencer and Vin. We decided to have a go at Tigris & Euphrates - a game I bought some months ago but had not yet played due to my neurological problems. Having read through the rules several times I felt up to giving it a go. Spencer had played it once before but didn't remember it that well. Vin and Greg had heard good things but had not played it.

We spent a good 40 mins trying to understand the rules but decided that we'd probably fair better just getting stuck in. I have to say that this is a good, abstract game. There are enough elements to make strategising challenging and, on a first play, it was often impossible to work out what your opponents were trying to do. The game lasted about 2 hours - slowed down I think by quite a lot of rules checking. Vin won in the end having 11 of each colour of victory cubes. Spencer was second, I was third and Greg limped home in last place.

I struggled to score blue points as I drew only 3 blue tiles during the entire game! Vin did very well by being the victorious defender in many battles which he didn't instigate... similarly Greg lost mainly because he was the defeated aggressor in these clashes. Vin did manage his goes well though to maximise his scoring.

In retrospect I got too attached to a kingdom as I failed to realise how fluid the game was. Just as I was starting to have a game plan I realised we were almost out of tiles and would finish in a couple of rounds! Despite this I did really enjoy it and would happily play it again. I did find it mentally fatiguing as I had to take in a lot of new information and apply it to a new context - activities my brain currently finds hard. Still, it was well worth the effort.

The next day I realised that the four of us could have finished the game of Britannia we started a few weeks ago....doh!

Saturday 24th March, 2007

Our friend Helen came to visit us this afternoon. After Ellie had retired for the evening we three grown-ups decided to play some games. Being Lisa's current favourite we introduced Helen to Fluxx. Helen was suitably dumbfounded and befuddled during the first game (although much alcohol had been consumed by this point in the evening!). I won the first game with 5 keepers. Despite her bemusedness Helen was happy to play again .... I won again (money no taxes)....we played again.... Lisa winning with toast.

Lisa decided that Diamant may be a little more fun and less brain-aching. Helen really enjoyed this one, even though both the games we played were relatively low scoring. Lisa won the first one with 48 jewels. Helen came second with a respectable 21 jewels, and I assumed my usual spot, at the back with only 17 jewels

Following on from Lisa's cautious style of play, Helen won the second game with 62 jewels. I was not far behind with 54 and, for a change, Lisa was last with 28.

We decided to round off the evening with a couple of games of Carcassonne - a game Helen had heard us rave about but had not actually seen. We decided to play without farmers to make explaining it a bit simpler (given our alcohol intake!). Lisa won the first game with 71 points due to her usual trick of managing to place most of the monasteries! I came second with 54; most of these points came from a large city I didn't think I was going to finish. Helen managed a very respectable 43 and was keen to play again now that she realised that filling in the gaps to make it look pretty was probably not the best tactical approach to the game!

I managed to win with 79 points although I don't really understand how that happened. Helen did really well (and played quite aggressively) to come second with 74. Lisa suffered most from Helen's style of play as she had several meeples tied up for most of the game on features which Helen made impossible to finish. This hampered Lisa's score to 66.

A lovely afternoon and evening.

Wednesday 21st March, 2007

Mal came to spend the evening with us and, after eating a yumy dinner, we sat down to play a few games. To start with we re-introduced him to Carcassonne. We decided to play without farmers to make it a bit quicker and easier to play. Lisa did really well, placing most of the monasteries and finishing a high scoring city. I did atrociously and didn't manage to finsish much at all. Mal faired a bit better and managed to share points with Lisa for a few big scoring features. It was a satisfying game and the final scores felt suitably close. Lisa won with 89, Mal was second with 67 and I brought up the rear with 56.

Lisa and I then introduced Mal to Fluxx. I won the first game with 5 keepers. Mal initially hated this game; he just couldn't grasp it or see how to play strategically. When we reassured him that this was often how people felt after one go, and that it's best not to think strategically, he was happy to try again. He won this time with peace (no war) and was keen to play again. Lisa decided to head for bed at this point, but Mal was keen to play again. He and I had 3 more games with me winning 1 and Mal winning 2. He seemed to really enjoy it once he got his head around it!

Fluxx rounded off a pleasant evening.

Monday 19th March 2007

Monday night is games night! Lisa and I were joined by Greg and Spencer. To start with we had a quick game of Fluxx. This has really grown on me now that my brain has adjusted to it! Lisa has liked it since she first played. As it was I won this game with death by chocolate - still my favourite goal I think.

We then brought out Hey! That's My Fish! which we haven't played for awhile. I thought I'd done fairly well slicing off an expanse of ice for myself - but I hadn't oticed that I had mainly single fish floes! Oops....

In the end Greg won with 32 fish and Spencer was second with 26. They had something of an epic struggle to control a large ice floe which ended u;p with them sharing it fairly evenly. I managed third with 22 fish and Lisa, who fell fowl of Greg and Spence's penguin-empire-building, managed only 19. Still, we all agreed it had been a good game and that the scores were fairly close.

We all fancied something a little more involved next and Greg suggested Masons. It had been awhile since we had played this so Lisa did a quick rules refresher.... which was really useful. As we played I realised that I would score heavily for joining up the little cities that were starting and creating a large, central city. Everyone was surprised when I did this, as it denied usd all lots of scoring opportunities. But when I managed to score nearly 40 points off the 2 cards I played they realised why it had been a good tactic. It was quite an intense game after this. My lead dwindeled and Lisa overtook me and soon became uncatchable. She later admitted that she kept getting useful cards. I missed scoring rounds twice to enable me to swap my rather useless cards. On one memorable occassion the cards I discarded were replaced by identical ones! Lisa played really well and in the end was the clear winner with 115 points. I managed second, mainly due to my early high scoring, with 109. Spencer was next with 96 and Greg limped in with 79 points - he had had awful cards for most of the game.

As it was only 10pm we decided to have a quick game of Carcassonne. This lasted exactly 28 minutes! Greg and I spent lots of meeples contesting a big field... a contest which i finally won and which gave me the points to win the game with 65 points. Due to scoring nearly all the monasteries Lisa came second with 60 points. Greg lost out on scoring for the big field and this left him in third place with 47. Close behind was Spencer with 44 who didn't really get to place any high scoring farmers or build any monasteries. He did have a magnificent city though! A good game.

Another good evening of fun, frivolous conversation and enjoyable gaming.