Posts Tagged 'Board Games'

Weekend Gaming: German Traders!

A bunch of the guys were out of town this last weekend, so on Saturday it was just Joe, Kevin, Gina and I playing games.  I had requested that Kevin bring over his copy of Hansa Teutonica, since I had heard good things but hadn’t played it.  Turns out that nobody had played it, and the pieces hadn’t even been punched out.

After learning the rules, we got the game started.  The game itself deals with using a set of five different actions to place merchants and traders onto routes between German cities.  You can block the other players and displace them to make things more difficult.  As you complete routes, you’ll either take control of offices in the cities or gain upgrades to the basic abilities from certain cities.  The game is won by scoring points.  The points are interesting, as the majority of them are gained after the game is over.  During the game itself, the only ways to gain points are to control a city connected to a route when the route is completed, or to place a person in each city between two specific cities on the board.  After the game end is reached, players gain more points for having their abilities fully upgraded, controlling cities on the board and for having a large number of cities linked together.

In the first game we played, I was able to connect a bunch of cities together in the northern part of the board.  While I didn’t have much upgraded on my board, I was still able to get enough going to complete those routes.  Kevin and I were both hitting the bonus tiles hard, and he had managed to grab both ends of a nice route and monopolize that route for a few turns before anyone intervened.  At the end of the game, he and I both had a big stack of bonuses, but I was able to pull away due to the linked cities.

Since the game didn’t take too long, we decided to play another.  In the second game, I was focusing heavily on upgrading my abilities.  By the end of the game, I was able to upgrade all of my abilities fully except for one.  I was also focusing on one of the special cities on the board that gave big end game points for upgrading the privilege ability.  When the game ended, I didn’t have a single city under my control and I had zero points.  Even so, I scored 34 points from bonuses, which put me in third place.  Gina had managed to complete the route across the board, so she scored a bunch of points for that, but she wasn’t able to upgrade the ability that gives more points for connected cities, so she ended up in third.  Kevin ended up winning because of a ton of points due to controlling offices on some of the most used routes, and then a bunch more at the end for controlling those cities.

We finished up the night with a game of Through the Desert.  I was able to connect to all of the oases with my caravans, and I was able to score the longest in white and pink.  I did have to compete with Gina for the pink one, though.  Joe managed to seal off a huge area on the right side of the board, which scored him 25 points plus the watering holes.  That ended up being the difference maker in the game, as I can up one point short of Joe.

Overall, it was a fun night, and we got to play a new game and a game we hadn’t played in a while.  I got my copy of Power Grid: The First Sparks on Sunday, so I’m looking forward to playing that this coming weekend.  Until next time, happy gaming.

Weekend Gaming: Games Galore!

Ryan, Louis and Kevin joined us for games on Friday.  Kevin was late, so he sat out the first game, Quarriors.

Gina and I had never played it, so it took us both a little time to figure out.  The game is kind of like Dominion or Nightfall, in that you are trying to build a “deck”, but instead of cards, there are dice.  Each die represents a spell, a monster or the currency of the game.  The monsters attack the other players and get points, and the currency is used to buy more dice.  Ryan started the game strongly, getting enough to buy some big monsters on his first two turns.  This put the rest of us in a position where we couldn’t defeat his monsters and he was scoring a bunch of points.  This put him quickly into the lead.  I tried to go on the offense, but my monsters then couldn’t stick around long enough to score points.  Louis a strong showing, but in the end, Ryan was able to squeak out the win.

The next game was Infinite City.  It had been quite a while since we had played, so again there was a bit of a learning curve.  I started the game out with a tile that let me draw a bunch of tiles.  I then lost those tiles to Ryan due to a “swap tiles” tile.  A few turns later, I used my own tile to swap tiles with Louis and got a huge pile of tiles in return.  This ended up being less that great, because I wasn’t able to draw any new tiles for the rest of the game.  In the end, I was barely able to squeak out 11 points.  Louis won with 17, while Gina and Kevin weren’t far behind.

We then broke out Ryan’s copy of Nightfall.  I had drafted a decent combo of a vampire that let me bounce cards back, and an action that would do direct damage to players.  I then bought a couple copies of another vampire that would double the ability of the first vampire.  The only problem with this, was that I wasn’t able to combo of any of Louis’ cards to my right.  This meant that I was forced to play most of my cards on my turn, and they were never alive by the time my turn came around.  Ryan had a strong combo of a big werewolf and an ability to do direct damage to all of a player’s monsters.  He ended up getting ganged up a bit because of that.  Louis ended up taking the least damage and won the game.

We finished the night with a game of Zombie Dice.  I started things off with a good run to 7 Brains.  Ryan got to 8.  Kevin was slowly building, one or two at a time.  Louis hit 7 and then stalled out for a few turns.  I eventually made it to 11, and Ryan hit 12.  I wasn’t willing to go out with 15 and went for it, busting out.  Louis and Kevin managed to catch up, while Gina was still trying to get past 1.  I managed to hit another good run, and got to 17 Brains.  I felt safe there, kept it.  Ryan made it 16, but then got shotgunned.  Kevin and Gina got blasted quickly.  Louis managed to get to 17, but decided to go for it rather than trying for a tie breaker.  He ended up getting blasted, giving me the win.

It was a nice night with a variety of games.  It was great to go back and play a couple games we hadn’t played in a while.

Until next time, happy gaming!

Weekend Gaming: Dominant Species

The only game played this weekend was Dominant Species on Saturday.  Kevin, Joe and Ryan joined us for the game.  Ryan had to be taught the rules, and then we were off and running.

I was playing as the Mammals, and I decided that I was going to try for the Tundra strategy.  It worked out alright, and I was able to pick up points almost every turn because of it.  After the problems Joe and Kevin had last week on the tundra, they were pretty content to leave it alone.  The problem was that I was spending all of my actions defending the tundra from the game itself.  I had to work a lot to keep adapting to changing conditions there.  By the end of the game, I was in a very precarious position.  Kevin had a very strong hold on one side of the board, and Joe had built a sizable lead through Domination actions.  I wasn’t setup to deal with the Domance cards on the last turn, and they wiped out a good chunk of my species on the Tundra.  This ended up giving Gina the lead in the Tundra vaulting her into second place.  But Kevin’s position on many of the Sea tiles shot him into first following the final scoring.

It was definitely a fun game, even though it did go a bit long.  There is just so much going on in the game that forming a strategy can be quite tough.

Until next time, happy gaming!

Weekend Gaming: Finally Football!

Saturday night started out with a short game of Zombie Dice while everyone was arriving.  Joe jumped out to a quick lead while everyone else was having trouble scoring anything.  Kevin eventually managed to catch up a bit and hit a good streak setting the game to finish with a score of 16 brains.  Joe managed to get within one, but then busted out.  Ryan had a good streak as well, but he was trying to come back from nothing and just couldn’t get enough.

7 Wonders then hit the table and I ended up playing as Giza (a Wonder I don’t normally play).  I focused heavily on Civilian points and my Wonder and it worked out alright.  I had very minimal resources, so I was buying a lot from my neighbors.  Louis had a much more balanced game and picked up a lot of points from military, to take the win by about 8 points.

Ryan had brought Le Havre over, so we broke that out.  Since it only supports 5 players, Ryan sat out to get a break and help with the rules.  It was Gina’s and my first time playing and there is a lot of detail to the game.  It was designed by the same person as Agricola, so the gameplay is similar.  There food resources that need to be paid each round, action selection is similar to Agricola, and there are a ton of little pieces to the game.  That’s about where the similarities stop.  In Le Havre, you are trying to gain money/points by creating the best harbor.  Each round is made up of 7 actions split among the players.  So in a 5 player game each player typically gets 1 action, but two players will a second.  This rotates over the course of 20 rounds for a 5 player game.  At the end of each round, there is a food cost that is needed to pay your workers, which increases over the course of the game.  The actions consist of taking resources, building buildings and using buildings.  Only one person can use a building at a time, and you can’t use the same building multiple times, so that is a big part of the strategy.  The other interesting thing is that you are not limited to your own buildings.  You can use other players buildings any time you want (provided they are unoccupied), but many of them have a cost that must be paid to the owner.  So a big part of the strategy is to get buildings that other players will want to use, so you can get paid.

It was definitely different and I was having a tough time taking it all in.  There’s just a lot of options.  I didn’t do terribly, but I started off the game taking on a ton of debt that haunted me all game.  I was able to finally get rid of it at the end, but it took up turns that could have been better used for other things.  Also, my building choices were a bit weak.  I was trying to get a lot of buildings to maximize the benefits of my Arts Center (the player gets cash for the number of other players in his buildings), but it didn’t really work out.  It was pretty obvious that Joe, Kevin and Louis had played before, since they knew exactly what they were doing as they all ended up with at least 15 more points than Gina or I.  Joe ended up winning the game by a couple of points.  I like the game, but I will definitely need to play a few more times before I can really make a call.

After that, Kevin, Louis and Ryan took off, so Gina, Joe and I played another game of 7 Wonders.  While we had played a number of 2 player games, we’d never tried it with only 3.  It was definitely a different experience from the 5-7 players we’re used to.  There’s a lot more planning involved in what cards to pass and more foresight into what you’ll see in later hands.  In our game, Gina ended up with a very strong military strategy and took a bunch in Guilds as well to take the game by 10 points.

Sunday was spent enjoying the first real weekend of football and it was a nice relaxing weekend overall.  The first in quite a while.  Until next time, happy gaming.

Weekend Gaming: It’s a Small World Full of Monsters

Joe, Jaime, Louis and Kevin joined us on Saturday for some new games.  I had picked up Nightfall: Martial Law last week, and Louis had brought Small World: Underground.  I hadn’t played Small World in ages, so I was pretty excited for that one.

We started the night off with Nightfall.  Jaime sat out so we had the five players.  I had a very powerful wall minion in Legion Ten, but I wasn’t able to consistently get him into play.  Joe was able to build up a big army, but even then it wasn’t enough.  He made himself a bit of a target, so everyone ganged up on him.  I had left myself too open and took a few big hits.  All the while, people were pretty much ignoring Gina.  She finished the game with only three wounds, for the victory.  Kevin was a close second with five.  Nightfall with five players is a bit crazy.  I think if we played it a bit more, we’d get the strategies figured out more, but right now, there seems to be a few people that get hit hard, and one or two that get ignored and end up winning.  It can be a bit odd at times.

After that, Jaime joined back in for a couple games of 7 Wonders.  The first game I was doing quite well with a bit of everything.  I was able to get to 60 points, but Joe edged me out with a 62 point game made up of mostly Guilds, Civilian buildings and military points.  In fact he had 30 points just from Civilian buildings alone.  The second game I ran into a bit of a snag.  I was really limited for resources, and while I was trying to go with a Science strategy, it just wasn’t going my way.  On the final turn, I was able to grab a couple more Science structures and scored 34 points on them, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Louis’ 64 points.

For the final game, we setup for some Small World: Underground.  Jaime sat out again, so it was just the five of us.  I started out the game as the Wise Ogres.  My plan was to use the Ogres ability to attack with fewer tiles and spread out quick, then go into decline and use the bonus from the Wise ability.  Luckily I was able to get a bonus location early that basically my one of my regions immune to attack, so I was able to ride that bonus for the entire game.  Sadly, my second race was less than effective.  I had taken the Vengeful Liches because everyone had been skipping over, so there was a bunch of points on them.  I didn’t get to use either of their abilities, and the points I was getting from the Ogres was too good to pass up at that point.  At the end I had a respectable 83 points, but it wasn’t anywhere close to Louis’s 104 or Kevin’s 99.  Both of them had been able to consistently get 15-18 points each turn.  It was a lot of fun.  I really like Small World and Underground added a bunch of fun new combinations and Relics that add a bit more excitement to the game.

Overall it was a good weekend.  Good games were played, and I was able to get my ‘Ard Boyz army finished up, so expect a post on that before the big tournament next weekend.

Until next time, happy gaming.

Weekend Gaming and the Deathly Hallows

Friday night, Joe offered to watch the kids so Jaime Gina and I could go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  The movie was great.  I loved every minute of it, and it was definitely the best of the Harry Potter movies, and even better than the book in my opinion.  When we got back home, we were too wired to go to bed, so we played a quick game of Puerto Rico.  I was able to make a killing selling coffee and was able to buy a couple big buildings, taking the game.

After that we still had time for one more, so since we had 4 people we were able to break out Thurn and Taxis.  Joe was able to grab the big points for the center of the board, but I grabbed the points for one in each zone and was able to speed to the biggest cart.  Gina and Jaime both cam close and in the end the game was only won by a couple points.

On Saturday, Joe was running late, so Gina, Kevin, Ryan and I played some Nightfall.  I had draft Vulko (a big defensive monster) and a card that let me change the target of other players’ cards.  My deck ended up with Vulko, the target changer and another card that directly damaged all opponents.  Things were going well at first.  I was able to prevent all damage to myself, while still damaging the rest.  Sadly I ended up leaving myself very vulnerable one turn and took a real beating.  I ended up in last place with 13 wounds, while Kevin had 6.  I’m really liking the game, and there really seems to be quite some depth.


Once Joe and Jaime showed up, we broke out 7 Wonders.  We played two quick games of this.  The first game was won with a very balanced strategy by everyone.  Ryan, though, had a stronger science position and took the game by a few points.  The second game was a lot more lopsided.  Ryan and I both started off with some weak resource positions, but luckily our neighbors were able to help us out.  Ryan and I took strong military positions, Joe had a ton of Civilian structures and Kevin had a bunch of Science.  I was also able to snag 3 different guilds that really pushed my score up.  In the end, Ryan had 20 points from the Giza wonder, Kevin had 30+ points of Science, Joe had 32 points of Civilian, and I had 35 points from my Guilds.  After the final tally, I was able to squeak by Ryan by three points for the victory.

Ryan took off and we finished the night with another game of Puerto Rico.  I made the mistake of grabbing a Large Market right away thinking that I would be able to sell everything for good money.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to produce anything for the first few turns.  Joe ended up making tons of cash and bought three of the large buildings and took the lead easily.

Sunday was crazy hot out, but I still played in a disc golf tournament that was put on by Ryan.  I played in the recreational division and ended up tied for second place.  It was a really nice day, and luckily we finished before the big storm hit.  I played with some great local guys and had a ton of fun.

Until next time, happy gaming!

Weekend Gaming: New Game Weekend!

I hope everyone had a good 4th of July, even if it wasn’t a holiday.

Due to the 4th falling on a Monday, I had both Monday and Tuesday off of work, so I had plenty of time this weekend for games, barbeques and home improvements.

On Friday night we had Louis, Kevin and Ryan over and started the night off with a couple games of 7 Wonders.  Gina and I had played a couple hands of the two player variant earlier in the week, so we were pretty familiar with how things worked.  The first game, though, was taken by Ryan.  He had ton of military and civilian structures and no competition on the military front.  He also managed to snag the Guild that provides bonus points for the number of defeat tokens his neighbors had, so that just boosted his score further.

I was able to win the second game with a much more balanced setup.  I only won military victories in the second age, but I had a bunch of science points and points from my wonder to squeeze past Kevin for a one point victory.

Kevin managed to take the last game, again with a pretty heavy military strategy that he decided to try after basically ignoring military all night.

After that, we played a game of Race for the Galaxy (with the expansions), which Ryan had brought over.  Gina and I hadn’t played it in ages, and it was only our third play through.  I started off the game with a planet that provided me with some military bonus, along with some military worlds in my hand.  I decided to stick with that strategy, and it worked out quite well for me.  I was getting to draw 5 to 7 cards each explore phase due to some bonuses and was able to really dig for the military cards.  I didn’t need cards to pay resource prices, typically, so I could pretty much ignore the Consume and Processing phases.  And I had a bonus card in the Rebel Alliance that gave me some significant military power.  I was able to build to 15 settlements and developments (needing 14 to end the game due to the Rebel Alliance).  This gave me a ton of points at the end of the game, placing me well in the lead.

After spending the day putting in some new hardwood flooring in my entryway on Saturday, I was ready for some games that evening.  The group was the same as Friday but with the addition of Joe.  We started off with another round of 7 Wonders.  This one was a little goofy because there was an alternating pattern of military power.  Joe, Kevin and I all had some military power, while Gina, Louis and Ryan had very little, if any.  The people with no military, though, were sitting between those who did, so Joe, Kevin and I were all able to max out our military points.  Ryan was going hard into Science, and Louis had a lot of Civilian points.  Gina had a bit of everything, with a heavy focus on Guilds at the end.  I can’t honestly recall exactly who ended up winning, but I know it was one of the closest games yet.

Next, we went about learning to play Ryan’s new game, Nightfall.  The game itself is a deck building game like Dominion, but instead of building a kingdom, you’re building an army of werewolves, vampires and zombies to attack your neighbors.  It’s pretty cool.  The biggest issue we had learning is that we missed the rule about discarding cards for influence.  Like Dominion, there are cards available to buy.  You need influence to do this, and you only get two influence per turn, while most cards cost three or four.  So the first few turns were painfully slow.  We finally figured out that you can discard cards from your hand for more influence, and then we were finally able to get some better cards into our decks.  It was a fun game, but learning it was a bit painful.

We finished off the night with a game of Dominion, using the new Cornucopia set.  We combined the Intrigue and Cornucopia sets to play the Spice of Life setup.  I’m not sure if it was the lack or buys available, the Young Witch passing out Curses, or a lack of money in general, but the game seemed to drag on a bit.  No Tournaments were won, and while I was able to grab a couple Fairgrounds, I wasn’t quite able to push them to 6 points.  I think Kevin or Ryan ended up winning, but it was a pretty low scoring game.

Sunday was just spend finishing up some projects and playing some video games.  But then on Monday, we spent all afternoon and into the evening barbequing and gaming.  Ryan, Louis, Kevin, Joe, and Dana all joined us.  Ryan, Louis, Joe, Kevin and I played a game of Nightfall before dinner.  Knowing the rules and such made for a much smoother game.  I was trying to get a direct damage and unblockable monster combo going, but it didn’t work as well as I’d like, plus it let Louis combo a card that could mess my stuff up, so I wasn’t having much luck getting anything going.  Luckily I wasn’t looking like much of a threat, so while I took a beating early, I was ignored late in the game and finished up with the least Wounds for the win.

After a dinner of brats and burgers, we played some Princes of Florence.  Louis and I were able to trade some works back and forth, but I messed up in the auctioning and bought the wrong thing one turn.  I’m not sure it was a huge factor, but it did mess up my flow.  Ryan was able to build up a ton of building with his three builders, but Louis ended up winning, with me in second and Joe a close third after getting about 20 points just from Prestige cards.

That was all for this weekend.  Plenty of new games and lots of fun.  I will try and get reviews of 7 Wonders and Nightfall up later this week.  Both games were a lot of fun, and 7 Wonders was definitely a hit with the group.

Until next time, happy gaming!


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