Carolus Magnus (6th & 20th)
Die Kauflete von Amsterdam / The Merchants of Amsterdam (27th)
Die Sternenfahrer von Catan (6th)
Fair Means or Foul / Adel Verpflichtet (20th)
Kardinal & König / Web of Power (27th)
Pokémon CCG (6th)
Robo Rally (20th)
Settlers of Catan / Die Siedler von Catan (6th)
Space Beans (13th)
Zoff im Zoo / Frank's Zoo (20th)
This time we had six adults and four children, it must have been some sort of holiday. Anyway, Garry's daughters spent all evening playing Pokémon CCG.
Chris and I had specifically asked Garry to bring in Die Sternenfahrer von Catan again, so that we could get a full-length game in. Soggy joined us for a game. Although this playing confirmed that it could do with being shorter somehow, I still found it an enjoyable game, full of flavour. It also had the advantage over the original Settlers that you could come from behind and were never totally out of the running. Garry coped admirably with the introductions from his daughters, who had a whole stream of questions about their Pokémon cards, usually whenever it was his turn. The only bad spot was near the end when, due to a misunderstanding of the rules, I didn't take an easy victory when it was available. This was fine except that Soggy didn't choose to point this out until after I had completed my go and after he was unwilling to let me change my move. This is not the kind of thing that makes me relaxed! Anyway, revenge was mine, because I won anyway a few turns later. Despite that lack of sportsmanship, I am compelled to give Soggy the award for quote of the game, with the following pearl of wisdom: "There's only one 10 and he's got both of them!" Result: TC, GL+SO, CD.
Meantime the other two adults had a two-player game of Carolus Magnus. Geoff reported it not as good as the three-player version, but then, he did lose. Result: MH, GC.
They then recruited a couple of the children so that they could beat them soundly at the original Settlers of Catan. Result: MH, GC, BH, SC.
A turnout of six this week, and we spent most of the time playing Ocean. This is a new card game from Adlung Spiele and involves, mostly, trying to hold onto cards until everyone else has played them so that you can play them for more points. A similar kind of feel to New York, New York. On the whole, I don't think any of us were impressed by how little game we had had in how much time. Not really recommended. Result: BH, SG, TC+GL, SO, MH.
We followed this up with that new favourite, Space Beans. Garry played his usual tactic of trying to sell as many beans for no return as possible. Result: MH, SO, SG, TC, BH, GL.
Six adults almost outnumbered by five children this week - Easter holidays. Chris and I turned up to find two games underway already - Fair Means or Foul (Adel Verpflichtet) and Robo Rally.
Rather than wait for one of those to finish and risk having to play with small children, we started up a two-player game of Carolus Magnus. Chris dominated most of the game and, to make it worse, my luck with the dice was appalling, never managing to roll the colours I was in need of. And then Chris made a mistake, by playing one of my cubes to the board instead of one of his. I waited for him to notice the mistake and change it, but he didn't notice until he saw what I was planning to do. I told him he could still change it, because no-one in his right mind would have played that way deliberately, but he was feeling magnanimous in his dominant position, so he decided to leave it. This was the turning point: not only did he make a couple of more decisive bad moves, but Lady Luck seemed to have abandoned him too in favour of me. His rolls suddenly came out badly all the time and mine started coming out good. So, incredibly, I managed to win, still not believing the scale of the turnaround. It just goes to show that there are some games where you can't relax even though you've got a good lead. Anyway, we must have been concentrating hard because the game lasted most of the evening and we didn't fancy rushing in something else at the end. Result: TC, CD
As for the other games:
- Fair Means or Foul finished with the result: GL, BH, MH, CL, RL.
- I don't know the Robo Rally result, although I do know that Jonathan abandoned it soon after we arrived and tried to get in on the game of Carolus Magnus - too late.
- There was also a game of Knizia's new card game, Vampire, which seemed to go down well. Result: MH, BH, RL, CL, GL.
- Zoff im Zoo (Frank's Zoo) was also being played at some stage but no-one gave me the result.
Five players. We started with Kardinal & König (Web of Power), but I wasn't over impressed with it. We were playing with a slight rules mistake that resulted in me not being able to do anything for the first two turns and the game seemed to be over soon after that. Maybe it will improve when played correctly, but I'm not bursting to try. Result: SG, SO, CD, GL, TC.
Next up was Die Kauflete von Amsterdam. This is the new game from Reiner Knizia with the the gimmicky looking auction clock. It is based around the historic trading power of Amsterdam. Typically of its author's larger games, the scoring is quite involved. You need to balance your holdings within Amsterdam with those spread around the regions of the world that you are trading with. There is a lot of depth in there that I'd like to explore properly at some stage. Each turn, there is an auction of a holding and this is where the auction clock comes in. Appropriately, the auction is a Dutch Auction (I wonder what they call them in Holland?) and the clock starts at 200 and starts to tick down. As soon as it reaches a price you are prepared to pay you bang your hand down onto the centre of the clock, stopping it at the selling price. As it was our first game, no-one had a clear idea of the prices that things were worth and consequently, practically everything sold at 200. With a clock that spread from 100 to 200, it would be obvious that Knizia would set the average balance of worth somewhere about half that, so that bids of 200 every time was way over the top. So it proved, when it turned out that those who had managed to buy least in the auctions were those that had done best by the end - culminating in me, who had failed to win a single auction and turned out to have won the game. We later found that, if the clock is stopped at 200, it should be restarted with 100 added to all the values. If we'd done that, we'd still be bidding now! As I say, I'd like to play it properly to get a feel for the subtlety. Results: TC, SG, CD, GL, SO.