Adel Verpflichtet / By Fair Means or Foul (30th)
Alles für die Katz (2nd & 9th)
Andy Capp / Willi Wacker (16th)
Carolus Magnus (30th)
Die Siedler von Nürnberg (9th)
Die Sternenfahrer von Catan (16th)
Durch die Wüste (16th)
Esels Rennen (30th)
Flying Carpet / Die Fliegende Teppich (16th)
Katzenjammer Blues (16th)
Mamma Mia (30th)
Sky Runner (30th)
Space Beans (23rd)
Taj Mahal (2nd)
The Big Cheese (23rd)
What a massive turn-out. We had nine players today, including Karl, who we hadn't seen for quite a while, and Geoff, who came for the last half hour.
We started in two group so four, both playing Taj Mahal. This is the new Reiner Knizia game that seems to be the 'thing to buy' from this years Nuremburg toy fair. I first played it at Ramsdencon last week. It is basically a game of incremental bidding with cards for six different things at once. The cards feature pictures of one or two of the things that are being bid for and each player must, on their turn, either play a card or drop out. If a player drops out while having the lead in one or more of the six categories, that player wins the points associated with that category. There are more trimmings, but that is the gist of it. Twelve rounds are played in this way and the player who has scored the most is the winner.
Our game turned out to be quite a bit higher scoring all round than the other game. In fact Chris was keen to point out that Steve had made them restart after the first round when he claimed "I have made a few errors. We'll start again." Chris, on the other hand, found himself with only two points after the first seven rounds - quite a feat! Result 1: TC, BH, KB, MH. Result 2: GL, SG, SO, CD.
As we finished somewhat before the others, we followed up with a game of Alles für die Katz, roping in Geoff who was here by now. This is a simple little game, but went down fairly well as a quick filler. Mick, who had had a hard time with the weighty Knizia game, stormed ahead in the game for ages 5 and up. Results: MH, BH, GC, KB, TC.
Then we had a brief interlude where Chris was showing off his personalised set of Schotten-Totten signed by his "old school friend", Reiner Knizia. At that point we went home.
Six players this week, although Chris decided to sit out the first game and eat his sandwiches at us. It's a shame really because we started with a game where you win by scoring zero - it could have been made for him...
The game was the current club favourite card game, Drahtseilakt. Mick complained during the game that I was over-celebrating the fact that I was winning after round two. I told him that I had to because I knew what was coming. Sure enough, I spent the next three rounds slipping ever further back. Result: MH, SO, SG, GL, TC.
Next we split into two groups of three and I introduced my group to my current favourite 'big' game, Chinatown. This game is all about interaction, co-operative interaction - players who co-operate most often and with most varied partners are the players who will win. I think it is this co-operative nature that makes it such a pleasant social game. I am keen to introduce it to as many people as possible. This is the first time I have played it with three and it certainly doesn't work as well as with more - if two players are trading, there is no-one for the third player to trade with. Anyway, it was a close result, but I came out narrowly ahead. Result: TC, CD, MH.
To fill in the last ten minutes we had a quick game of Alles für die Katz. Result: CD, TC, MH.
Meantime, the other players had been playing the latest instalment of the Settlers of Catan saga, die Siedler von Nürnberg. This appears to be similar to the original Settlers, but with a fixed board, an extra part of the board featuring the city itself and a doubled playing time. I didn't get any opinions of the players, so I can't tell you much more. Result: SO, GL, SG.
Seven players, once Chris had turned up after missing the first game.
First was an old card game that ws new to me - Andy Capp, based on the cartoon strip of the same name. You play beer cards in front of yourself, hoping they will still be there when it comes round to your turn again. The factors stopping this are the other cards that players can hold allowing them to steal beer or cause it to be discarded. Simple enough, but not bad fun. Result: GC, MH, SO, TC, GL, SG.
After splitting into two groups, we had out first go at the latest game in the the line of Settlers of Catan themed games, this one set in space: die Sternenfahrer von Catan. I'm not a great fan of Settlers, so I was perhaps a bit prejudiced against the game from the start. It also took a very long time to play and we didn't have time to finish - I don't like games to be too long. We did, however play probably two-thirds of the length, which was enough to get a feel for it. So despite all that, I enjoyed it. Many people have complained about the random factors introduced by the event cards, but I found they added falvour to the game and weren't as random as all that - they generally forced you to make sure you developed your spaceship enough to stay on a par with your opponents. It would be nice if the game was shorter, but it is difficult to see how it could be shortened and still allowed to come to a natural finish. I'm looking forward to trying again and playing more quickly - and finishing. Result: GL, TC, CD, SO.
During all this time, the others got through a whole stack of games:
Durch die Wüste. Result: SG, GC, MH.
Durch die Wüste. Result: MH, SG, GC.
Katzenjammer Blues. Result: MH, SG, GC.
Flying Carpet. Result: GC, SG, MH.
Only four this time, but we got down to business and covered a few games.
We started with Nanuuk!, which I had wanted to try again ever since the author pointed out to me that I had interpreted the rules wrongly. Altogether, though, we weren't overly impressed with it - and the changed rules certainly didn't help me to do well at it... Result: GC, MH, TC, SG.
Next we tried Samurai and had an altogether better time, although I didn't do any better at it. This was obviously my night for coming third. Steve was the only player to gain a majority in one of the token types and so the only player 'entitled' to win. He said he was disappointed, though, and that he had wanted to "win more convincingly." Result: SG, MH, TC, GC.
On to a newer game, Space Beans saw me come...oh, third. Result: GC, MH, TC, SG.
We then rounded off with a couple of games of The Big Cheese where, surprise, I managed to come first and second. Crikey! Actually, I also notice that Mick's habit of coming second this week was even stronger than my havbit of coming third. Result 1: TC, MH, GC, SG. Result 2: GC, TC, SG, MH.
Seven players and a fair coverage of games again. I was a little late, though, and arrived to find five of them playing Mamma Mia, the card game of making pizzas. Result: GC, MH, GL, BH, SO.
Then we played Fluxx, initially to kill time until Chris turned up, but he joined in when he arrived and the first game was over fairly quickly, with Mick winning. It had been so short, we decided to play again. This time it dragged on for ages until Chris finally won after everyone else had given up the will to live.
Chris had brought in his copy of the new and excellent Carolus Magnus. I had already played this with him a couple of times as a two-player game, so I allowed others to have a go and Garry and Geoff joined him for a three-player game. They must have been playing pretty slowly, though, because it took them the rest of the night and they still didn't finish. They were all impressed with the game, however - I expect Garry has bought a copy by now.
While they were doing that, the rest of us kicked off with Sky Runner, the climbing game featuring a large cardboard skyscraper for players' climber pieces to climb. All good fun but far from being as impressive as Carolus Magnus. Result: MH, BH, TC, SO.
Next, Mick suggested a game of Adel Verpflichtet. As we only had 45 minutes left, I told him we wouldn't have time for it. He then set out to prove me wrong. By dint of lightning fast choices, the game was over in 25 minutes. An impressive feat! If only I hadn't come last, it would have been even better. Result: BH, SO, MH, TC.
So there was even time to get a race in from Doris and Frank's lovely donkey racing game, Esels Rennen. I came last at that too... Result: SO, BH+MH, TC.