Games in a Pub – 17th February 2013

8 Year Old Holds His Own At Pub Games Night!

As the group gathered they kicked off with one of our most popular fillers, Straw. Straw is an excellent card game that is simple, fast and has sufficient screwage to make it great fun. It is also a great way of helping children with their maths based skills.
Abandon Ship - The players
With George joining us (Simon and Laura’s 8 year old son) the consensus was to go for a slightly simpler game next (although as will be seen later this really wasn’t necessary) and Abandon Ship was selected. This is an amusing, but lightweight, race game about rats abandoning a sinking ship. Each player has 3 rats to look after. However the fun comes from the fact that the rats are shared and nobody knows who is looking after which rats. As the water level rises sadly the slowest rats get washed away. However the danger for the first rat on deck (the rats climb / race through 50 deck levels) is that it will get trampled by the passengers who are also trying to get off the ship; a close game that was won by George.
Abandon Ship - The surviving rats with the dead ones floating in the water with their dice!
Next up at Simon’s suggestions was Infinite City, a game that I would not immediately have picked to play with somebody as young as George but at another level doesn’t surprise me given experiences with other children from families who play lots of games.
Infinite City - The city early in the game
Infinite City is a tile laying game where each tile represents one of a number of different types of buildings each of which has some text narrative at the bottom of the tile explaining its special powers when placed in the city. As you place a tile you also place a marker in your player colour and it is these markers that indicate ownership of building which at the game end give victory points. In addition to these points you also score one point for each marker that is connected to 3 or more of its own colour. This was a game George clearly understood and was more than comfortable reading and understanding the text as well as making appropriate decisions! Whilst George didn’t win he competed well at and needed little help and when dad offered help George generally responded with a reasoned and logical argument for his actions.
Infinite City - The city as the game nears the end
The final game was The Dwarf King (reviewed here) and is best summarised by Martin’s comment that he would pay good money not to play it again. This is because, I think, that in the final hand the previous scores where completely reversed and the looser at the end of round two became the winner. It may be fun but balanced it is not, particularly if you don’t play the recommended number of hands (put no. in here?) where some of the big swings may get evened out
The Dwarf King - Some of the cards

More photo's of the evening can be seen here.

Our next event at the Crow and Gate (please note note NOT the Blue Anchor), Crowborough is in two weeks time on Sunday 3rd March starting at 7.00pm - £1 per head. More details can be seen on our Facebook Page Social Gamers - Crowborough

Match Report - 11th February 2013

A treasure island and the Robots of Doom! 
Tobago - The board during the game
This is a very short report & overdue - there are just not enough hours in the day! Although as ever there are plenty of photos (if you click on the link at the bottom of the post), in particular a series that show the progressive destruction of the robots involved in the second game Goblins Inc.
Goblins Inc - The two Robots ready to fight the first round with the Tactics Cards placed between them
On this occasion we had a group of four gamer's and Gwen slipped off to have a quiet evening not playing games! Malcolm had just returned from a two month holiday in the Far East, Robin’s wife had just had a baby boy and Natalie had once again baked some lovely cakes. We started with one of the Zoch games, Tobago. This went down well with the group, however as a family game I find the lack of player interaction makes it a little dry. I wonder if it might work best as a 2 or 3 player game, where there would be less down time between player turns? Note to self - must try those configurations at some point.
Tobago - A close up of the board
With coffee and munchies (wholemeal and apricot muffins) consumed, our second game was one of CGE’s new games, Goblins Inc. This is an interesting co-operative game were players work in teams of two to build two robots. It has many similarities to Galaxy Trucker, which depending on your point of view is the better game. Goblins Inc introduces the co-operative element in much the same was as is found in games like Saboteur, Bang! or Panic Station i.e. you are working together in some way but perhaps not everybody is working to the objective you think they are! It also introduces a more combative approach in that you are building a robot to fight the other team’s robot. This element will appeal to some but perhaps not all! Thanks to some inspired driving by Natalie our robot pretty much destroyed Robin and Malcolm’s and through good fortune rather than ability on my part I somehow amassed the most points.
Goblins Inc - Our opponents Robot, it is still there if look carefully!!

More photo's of the evening can be seen here.

Our next event at the Crow and Gate (please note note NOT the Blue Anchor), Crowborough is in two weeks time on Sunday 3rd March starting at 7.00pm - £1 per head. More details can be seen on our Facebook Page Social Gamers - Crowborough

Match Report - 28th January 2013

From Norse gods to bikers! Two mini reviews - Voluspa plus Skull and Roses

We only had a small turn out but pleasingly there was a willingness to have a go at two of my favorite games from last years Essen.
The Monday night gamers playing Voluspa

Match Report - 14th January 2013

With the winter snows just around the corner the group gathered to eat the remains of the Christmas munchies and obviously play a few games!
The Monday Night Gamers
At one end of the table Gwen led Crispin and Daniella in one of her favourites, Alhambra with many references from Crispin to the need for his palace to have plenty of Seraglios! Gwen, unsurprisingly, emerged victorious.
Alhambra - Gwen's palace part way through the game
At the other end of the table Kingdom Builder was played by Robin, Claire, Brian and I. This game again proved popular and, whilst far from being my favourite game from Essen 2012, it is growing on me due to its simplicity, speed of play, replayability and the balance of tactics to fun. Robin again won this game, although in part because I spotted a strategy that whilst I loused it up myself I had pointed it out to him. He obviously took the guidance with open arms and profited mightily from it!
Kingdom Builder - The board mid way through the game

Review – Geistesblitz 2.0

2 to 8 Players, Aged 8 with a 30 minute playing time 
Geistesblitz 2.0 - The box artwork
Gesitesblitz 2.0 designed by Jacques Zeimet was kindly provided for review by our friends at Zoch Verlag.

In Geistesblitz 2.0 –we meet the ‘ghostess’ (and 4 new objects) a friend of Balduin the ghost in Geistesblitz and this new game is essentially a re-working of the original. It is styled as ‘an independent game’ playable without the original but that can be combined with the original, in my view for unnecessary pain!

Given the similarities to the original Geistesblitz this review will build on my first review and seek to highlight the differences rather than go through the whole game again, although it will follow my standard approach.

What follows is an overview of the game broken down into 5 sections: The Game Components, Setting Up The Game, How To Play The Game, What Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It. So if you don't want to read the whole review scan down to the heading that interests you.

Games in a Pub – 6th January 2013

A new year and a new pub, the Crow and Gate, Crowborough

With the beginning of the New Year we decided to take our merry band on the road and try out a new venue. We have been meeting at the Blue Anchor now for 2 years and it had been my hope to bring the wealth of modern board and card games to the attention of the wider community, not just gamers.

The reality is that with a few exceptions and in spite of the redoubtable efforts of Damian (the landlord at the Blue Anchor) to interest his clientèle in our activities, largely little interest has been shown. So following the premise of nothing ventured nothing gained the idea is to try a new nearby location and see if the winds of chaos result in a different outcome! Time will tell.
Settlers of Catan - Two of our players, Robin and Gwen

Match Report - 21st December 2012

A festive meeting with lots of Saboteurs!

With Christmas just around the corner there was a festive feel to the evening and a welcome visitation from one of the regulars at the pub.
Claire and Brian had just scooped a copy of Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers at a local charity shop for £2.50 (a steal) so it didn’t take much convincing to interest Crispin in a variant on one of his favourite games.