Games in a Pub - 26th June 2011

Bohnanza - The end of a game and counting the points
More people and more games

It may not have been the largest group we have yet seen (there were 10 of us including my wife and I) but in so many ways it was an evening that was a milestone. It seemed to me that the things of particular note were:

Match Report 20th June 2011

Some of the evening's players
Lots of people and lots of games

With the weather doing what it so often does during English summers (rain) we had a bumper turnout. Welcoming back one of our youngest members Matt, spared from his toils as a trainee farmer because of the aforementioned weather. Although maybe it was the rumour of double munchies (more on this later) rather than the weather that lured our friends along on Monday night. We were also joined by Ben our newly qualified Yacht Master (well done), Natalie our trainee Barrister, Daniella our travel operator and some older people (Crispin, Malcolm and Gwen) who are either retired or do stuff!

With Ben surprising us by arriving at 7pm rather than his customary 8pm (some have said he operates in his own universe, certainly wherever he comes from there seems to be a time difference!) we were initially thrown into confusion. But with cokes, coffees, red wine and ginger beers to hand we started the evening with

Review - Trans Europa

This review draws heavily on a game we played earlier this week.
2 to 6 players, Ages 8+, 30 Minute Playing time

Trans Europa - The board, cards and box

Trans Europa is a simple little board game,designed by Franz-Benno Delonge and published by Rio Grande Games in 2005, about building communication (train, plain and boat) routes (generally referred to as ‘tracks’) from one side of Europe to the other. TransEuropa is a game I picked up following encountering the better known variant of it TransAmerica at London on Board last year.

35 City cards + 1 Start Player card

83 Black tracks

6 Sets of coloured player markers (a Start Marker, a Scoring Locomotive and 3 Vexation tracks)

1 Game board

1 Rule Booklet
Trans Europa - The board and cards

Game Play
You start the game by drawing 5 cards in 5 different colours (corresponding to cities in 5 different regions on the board). These cards are kept secret from the other players but tell you which cities you need to connect in order to win the game.
Trans Europa - Some of the cards

Trans Europa - The players piecesThe game board shows possible routes between the 35 cities identified on the City cards. At the start of the game you pick a starting city place your coloured marker on it and place one or two tracks depending on the terrain (mountains, rivers and sea generally limit you to placing one track per turn). In future phases you can extend your track with one or two pieces, as before, seeking to link your cities. Eventually, as other players are also building track with the same black wooden pieces, your track will

Review - The Great Dalmuti

This review draws heavily on a game we played earlier this week.
Aged 8+, 5-8 players, 15+ mins playing time

The Great Dalmuti - Some of the cards
The Great Dalmuti designed by Richard Garfield and originally published in 1995 which was out of print for a while and I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of at Essen last year. The aim of the game depending on your position at the court is to hold onto your position (me as I started as The Great Dalmuti) or advance your position (everybody else), this involves changing seats around the table starting with The Great Dalmuti who can select the most comfortable of those available and has been known to make the Peon's stand or sit on cardboard boxes.

As you may already have spotted this is a silly fun game were winning is not

Review - Crunch

Aged 12+ , 2-4 players, 45min playing time
Crunch - The cards and the box

Crunch was kindly provided by its publisher Terrorbull Games (who also publish War on Terror) courtesy of the artist Tom Morgan-Jones.

Crunch - Artwork, Stockmarket Slump
Crunch is a satirical card game that takes a pop at the world of banking; published following the 2008 banking crisis the game seems every bit as relevant today as the EU and the IMF try to work out a solution to the Greek debt crisis. As CEO of a global bank you seek to do whatever it takes (including awarding yourself huge bonuses and embezzling bank assets) to ensure a comfortable retirement, and if this bankrupts your bank then never mind there is always the chance of a government bailout just so long as your bonus pile is protected........
The subtitle on the box front “The Game for Utter Bankers” gives clear indication of the spirit that this game should be played with and the humour involved.

Games in a Pub - 12th June 2011

League of Six - The players
Ancient, medieval and renaissance games

Following more efforts to drum up interest I was not surprised to find that once again the take up was small. So it was great to have both Malcolm and Oliver join us for what turned out to be three historically themed games.

First up was Archaeology:The Card Game a card games themed on ancient Egypt that owed as much to Rummy as it did to the historical theme but was a fun light game that worked well as a starter.

Second was League of Six, a medieval tax collecting game, won by Malcolm although Oliver played a good game considering he was the only one who had never played this before.

The Patrician game board
Lastly was the Renaissance tower building game Patrician. Quiet a tactile game with lots of wooden pieces it has a relatively short playing time and seemed to fit well to the time we had left.

Interestingly as we finished for the evening we fell into conversation with a group who had come in for a late night drink who expressed interest in the games and enquired when the next games evening was. Who knows maybe we will see some new faces next time?!

Our Next evening will be 26th June 2011 anytime after 7pm.

Match Report 6th June 2011

An evening of horses and tax collection

League of Six (Age 12+, 3-5 players 60+ minutes playing time)
League of Six - the players
Just back from three days of Gaming at the UK Games Expo working with Imagination Gaming playing lots of great family games with lots of lovely strangers but it was good to be home with my own group. At Gwen’s suggestion our evening group of (Crispin, Malcolm, Gwen and Natalie) went for League of Six. This is a tax collecting games set in medieval Germany where each player is trying to juggle a number of variables (guards, horses, taxes etc) to rise highest in the favour of King Sigismund.

UK Games Expo 2011

A summary with links to posts for various elements of my trip to the UK Games Expo

It seems strange to think that just a year ago I travelled to the UK Games Expo, my first games event knowing nobody and not really sure what to expect (last year’s impressions can be read here and here).

A year on I have attended Stabcon in Manchester (one of the regional UK board games shows), staying overnight with Tim whom I met at the Expo. With the help of Steve (another contact from last year’s UK Games Expo) I found Paul and his road trip to Essen; a trip with a group I had never met before which included sharing a room with a complete stranger for three nights. I am now, somehow, part (albeit a very small part) of the UK Gaming Media Network and probably most importantly am part of the Imagination Gaming team, working in schools, community centres and old people’s homes plus of course helping to run the Family Zone at this year’s UK Games Expo. Some year!

What follows is pretty unstructured but hopefully gives a sense of this year’s show; the people the games and why if you love playing games you should consider attending next year’s show:

Friday Day 1, Part 1 - Meeting up with the UK Gaming Media Network Team here with more images here

Friday Day 1, Part 2 - An opportunity to play the Dungeon Petz protype by CGE here with more images here

Saturday, Day 2 - Most of my day was spent in the Family Zone a review of which is here. This was followed by an interesting dinner and then more games here with more images here

Sunday, Day 3 - The final day plus links to many other views and reports here with more images here

UK Games Expo 2011 - Sunday, Day 3

The final day plus links to many other views and reports

This was a more relaxed day, still lots of people but not the crush of the day before. Nigel gave me time off for good behaviour and so I was able to take time to wander round the show and catch up with the likes of Paul and Dave at GamesLore (also part of the Essen road trip team and publishers of Braggart). I was also able to also touch base with Patrick (who I met on Friday) and the guys on the Existenz / x610z stand. As a prototype this is unlike most prototypes I have seen. There is obviously a lot of money behind it as the production quality is already stunning with artwork that makes heads turn. Sadly I have not yet had a chance to play the game, hopefully something that I will be able to remedy soon with their help.

Returning to the Imagination Gaming Family Zone we played many more games with lots of people and again these activities can be read about here.

All in all it had been a great show with lots to do for the children, from face painting to

UK Games Expo 2011 – Saturday, Day 2

An interesting dinner and then more games!

The early morning drone of cars going past our window meant that Mark and I were up early enough to go for a stroll in the sunshine before breakfast.

Back at the hotel we shared a breakfast table with two Sci-Fi figure producers who had a trade stand at the show. We had an interesting conversation but one particular anecdote stuck in my mind; one of them said that his family’s game had been Monopoly, he loved it one family member even knew the mortgage values for all the properties, then, almost he commented on how his sister hated it because of the history and how it made her feel! It obviously put me in mind of our recent article

UK Games Expo 2011 – Friday, Day 1 Part 2

An opportunity to play the Dungeon Petz protype by CGE

Having played my first game of the show I quickly spotted Paul Grogan (leader of last years Essen Road Trip) who was just setting up a game of Dungeon Petz with Phil (another member of the Essen road trip team) and I think David. With a spare seat at the game they were kind enough to let me join them.

This is a game still in prototype which was going to be demoed at the UK Games Expo over the following two days, so the accompanying photo’s are not the finished artwork and Paul obviously got his ‘Blue Peter Badge’ as a boy because he had taken the PDF artwork supplied by Czech Games Edition (CGE) and created some pretty impressive game components, as well as pinching various cubes, meeples etc from other games to bring together all the playing pieces necessary for the game.

The game is set loosely in the same world as Dungeon Lords, but is a standalone game in its own right. When not designing and building new dungeons and killing the hapless adventurers, the Dungeon Lords want to spend time relaxing with a

UK Games Expo 2011 – Friday, Day 1 Part 1

Meeting up with the UK Gaming Media Network Team

The banner for the UK Gaming Media Network
As planned I met up with Mark Rivera (the man behind the Boardgames in Blighty blog, and one of the key players in the UK Gaming Media Network (UKGMN) ) at Euston and we got the train together. Coming at the hobby from slightly different angles (my focus being Euro games and his being more Ameritrash) we had a lively conversation and as you would expect played a couple of games Convoluted and Cold War: CIA vs. KGB.

At Birmingham station we bumped into Will from Clarendon Games, heading to the Expo to launch their first game Perigon. [I did get a very brief demo of the game on Saturday morning just before the Imagination Gaming team pitched up but shortage of time meant it was too brief to really assess the game and be able to say more than that it is an abstract strategy game with a wooden board.]

Richard Denning explaining The Great Museum game to Mark Rivera with Chris and Michael in the background
At the show venue we found the UK Gaming Media Network (UKGMN) area where we met Chris Bowler (Unboxed: The Board Game Blog) and Michael Fox (a contributor to The Little Metal Dog Show and recently the US Dice Tower - one of the largest and most respected games review sites), two more key members of the UKGMN who were preparing the kit for a number of interviews with games designers and other hobby luminaries. We barely had enough time to dump our bags before Mark was

Social Afternoon With games

This was another one of our occasional afternoon sessions at St Mary's Church Hall, Crowborough.

With the weather warm and sunny and one of our regular supporters ill it was never going to be a well attended event but we did nevertheless manage 12 attendees and they played lots of games with much laughter.

Players during a game of Pirate Cove
Games played included: Straw, Abandon Ship, Cartagena, Forbidden Island and Sherlock

Other photo's from the afternoon can be seen here