Posts Tagged 'Railways of the World'

Weekend Gaming: Eclipse

My wife and I sat down to learn the rules for Eclipse on Friday.  It took about an hour to get through the rules the first time, but then we were off and running.

We started off at opposite ends of the galaxy, so the first few turns were spent gathering resources and getting things setup.  I was having a tough time upgrading my ships, as Gina snagged the plasma cannons early, and there wasn’t any upgraded energy source available that I could afford.  I did eventually get missile technology, built a bunch of little ships with lots of missiles, and then sent them at the Global Center.  It was close, but I ended up only doing 7 of the 8 damage needed and then was chased off.

The game came down to a final battle in the one hex connecting us.  Gina had sent four frigates with super accurate plasma cannons, plus a cruiser and a some little ships.  I had my missile ships, some frigates and a cruiser.  My missiles didn’t do enough, and then her Frigates were able to wipe out my frigates in a single volley.  The fight was over pretty quickly after that.  After totaling everything up, she managed to beat me 25 to 23.

Then, Saturday night, Ryan, Joe, Kevin and Louis joined us for some Railways of the World.  We were playing on the Eastern US map, but with the rotating cities from the Western US expansion in a few locations.  Louis and Kevin jumped out to early leads, Louis by completing a Service Bounty and then taking advantage of the rotating city to get the Passenger Lines points (we forgot to rule that the cubes had to be delivered to different cities).  Kevin had a service bounty as well and completed the major line from Atlanta to Richmond.  He also got the Washington to Boston route, and never looked back.  He managed to get his train fully upgraded and was running 5-7 point deliveries up and down the East coast for a good chunk of the game.  Joe was also helping him out by running deliveries through some of Kevin’s tracks.  The game ended up pretty close, but Kevin managed to edge Louis out by about 8 points for the win.

We finished up the night with a game of Hansa Teutonica using the expansion board.  I did alright, getting offices in the upper right hand of the board, but I wasn’t doing enough.  Joe managed to get all 5 actions and all 5 of his Merchants off his board fairly early, and then he went to town.  He linked up quite a few cities, and managed to get his Key upgraded to get the maximum bonus.  At the end of the game, he blew everyone away, scoring a total of 73 points.

Until next time, happy gaming.

Weekend Gaming: First Sparks

Joe, Kevin, Ryan and Louis joined us for games on Saturday night.  I had just received my copy of Power Grid: The First Sparks, so I was excited to try it out.  We took a little while to go over the rules, but then we got into it.  Power Grid is one of my favorite games, and First Sparks captures a lot of the same feel, though in a simpler and shorter format.  The auction portion of the game is simplified and the math required at the end is a lot easier.  There isn’t as much micromanaging as the original, which I kind of miss, but the random layout of the board means that the setup will be different each time.

I ended up getting the lowest starting card, so I was first to place my starting settler, so I started off in the center of the board where a bunch of mammoth hunting grounds were located.  Also, I was then last to get a new technology, so I was able to grab a spear to hunt them.  This ended up being a big bonus, as I was able to hunt a bunch of mammoths and keep myself fairly well stocked for the entire game.  No one else was hunting them, so all the resources came my way.  Later in the game I was also able to get the Speech knowledge, which ended up winning me the game.  I was mostly situated in the middle of the board, so I figured having the discount on shared spaces would help in general.  On the last turn, though, because of that discount, I had just enough food to expand my clan to size 13 to end the game and since no one else had managed to get there, I ended up with the win.

Since that game hadn’t taken too long, we decided to break out Railways of the Western US for the next game.  Ryan sat out, so it was only the five of us playing.

Both of my Baron options were focused on the Northwest, so I knew I was going to be playing there.  The one I ended up taking required that I connect Billings to Tacoma.  Then when the starting cards were revealed, there were four service bounties, including one for Billings and another for Spokane.  I was hoping to get the Spokane one, but I wasn’t willing to go all out for the first turn.  Joe ended up winning that, and took the Spokane route.  I did get the Billings one, though.  For the rest of the game, Joe and I were fighting for the same routes in the Northwest, while Louis was left mostly uninhibited in the lower Midwest.  Gina was in the Denver area, while Kevin was mostly on the West coast.

There were some oddities in the game, though, because of Joe and I.  Every route but one into Tacoma was blocked by Joe and I, so Kevin was dissuaded from completing the LA to Tacoma route, and then I grabbed the Portland to Ogden route, while Joe connected to Salt Lake City.  This ended up making it very difficult for Kevin to get through Promentory, and put him off trying the Promentory to Omaha route.

All this time, I was behind, as I wasn’t shipping much.  Eventually I managed to get a good shipping route from the Billings area with some longer shipments, but it was too little too late.  Louis had upgraded his train quickly and took advantage of a lot of goods near Oaklahoma City and the his hotel there, to launch himself into a sizable lead.  In the end, he and I were the only ones to complete our Barons, but it didn’t matter.   Louis had first place and Joe was in second, followed by Kevin, myself and Gina.

It was a nice night of entertaining games.  First Sparks is fun and it’s nice to have another 6 player game to add to our catalog, especially since it is a shorter game.

Until next time, happy gaming!

Weekend Gaming: Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2012!

We celebrated the end of 2011 by having all of our friends over for some food and games.  After a dinner of chili, beer bread, fruit, veggies, deviled eggs and sweets, we dove into some Rock Band.  That lasted for a few hours before we tired and decided to play a board game.

Joe, Phil, Kevin, Louis and I played some Railways of the Eastern US while Ryan watched and the girls chatted.  I started off the game very strongly with a Railway Executive on the first turn that let me get two of the Service Bounties.  That did cost me eight bonds one the first turn, though.  From there, I never could get anything rolling.  Phil and Joe got in my way on the east coast, and I wasn’t setup in the middle for long deliveries.  Phil and Kevin were able to get some consistent deliveries going, and Louis was working his way across the center of the board.  Joe managed to only build three links in the up East Coast and just keep delivering goods all over up there.  At the end, Phil had a sizable lead, but Louis was able to catch up after building from New York to Kansas City with a Western Link for 20 points.  After subtracting their bonds, Phil and Louis were tied, and Phil won due to having a bit more cash.

Everyone except Phil and Dana went home after that, so we played a quick game of Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers.  It was a fairly close game that I ended up winning with a pretty big hunting area that I was able to get into early in the game.

That was it for the last night of 2011.  It was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to many more nights of gaming in 2012.

Have fun, and happy gaming!

Weekend Gaming: Father’s Day!

The gaming started Saturday night with Joe, Phil, Kevin joining us.  Phil brought along his copy of Agricola at my request.  I hadn’t played the game in quite a while, and this would be only my second time playing.  In Agicola you take the role of a farmer trying to build the best farm over the course of 14 turns.  Each turn you have a number of actions equal to the number of people in your family.  You can grow you family, but you need to build a bigger house first, plus every few turns there will be a harvest, and at that point you need to ensure that you have enough food to feed your family.  Food and points are acquired through growing wheat and vegetables for cooking, or by raising various animals.  There are a ton of things you can do each turn, along with bonuses supplied by a random hand of cards dealt at the beginning of the game.

In my game, I was dealt a hand with a few cards that gave me bonuses for planting and harvesting wheat and vegetables.  I didn’t own any livestock until the very end of the game.  I was able to easily produce enough food that way to feed my family, but the work was a bit time consuming and I wasn’t able to put enough effort into upgrading my house or really expanding my family.  I had a strong game from that, but without the big bonus from my house, I wasn’t able to get enough points for the win.  Kevin ended up focusing heavily on building his house and family and then grabbed a bunch of sheep late in the game which propelled him into the lead.  It really is an interesting game with a lot of strategic depth.  There is a nice variety to the actions so that it doesn’t get too stale.

Louis had joined us part way through Agricola, so we launched into a six player game of Acquire.  I was able to get into a large company early this time, but it grew very quickly, and I was tapped out of cash fairly early on.  Luckily, I was able to sneak in a couple of smaller mergers with Phil’s help that provided me some liquidity.  It was not enough, though, as at the end of the game there were three large companies, and I only held an interest in one of them.  I placed a close third, but Phil and Kevin were neck-and-neck for first place with Kevin eeking out the win by $400.

We finished up the night as usual with a couple games of Dominion.  In the first set, I was able to quickly setup my deck with a Chapel and a Vault.  This allowed me to pare down my deck to the bare essentials.  i then added in some Mining Villages for extra actions, and an Expand.  These allowed me to quickly more my money up to Platinum and start buying Colonies.  I was buying them up almost every turn until they ran out.  This is when I made the mistake of getting complacent.  I stared buying action cards to try and end the game quickly, rather than buy more points.  I was worried that my wife, who had started buying a lot of Provinces, would catch me.  Little did I realize that Joe had nearly as many Colonies as I did, along with a few provinces.  At the end of the game, I had an even 60 points, while he had 68.

The second set was rather annoying.  My wife and Kevin were able to get Torturers early, and were annoying the rest of us.  In retaliation, Joe and I bought into them late with some extra buys allowing us to grab a bunch at once.  At this point both of us had decent engines running with Cities and Grand Markets allowing extra actions and draws.  We were regularly playing out our entire decks forcing everyone at the to either take Curses or Discard their entire hand.  I finally decided to put the game out of its misery by emptying one of the action piles rather than buy more points.  Sadly, it tended to make things worse, because most of the people at the table had been taking Curses rather than discard because they expected to get another turn.  It was an interesting set, but with no way to really counteract the Curses or discard mechanic it just became annoying when they happened repeatedly.

On Sunday, Phil’s daughter was getting baptized so we spent part of the day over at their place.  It was a nice way to celebrate Father’s Day and we were able to get in a game of Railways of the Western US as well.  Joe was able to get a bunch of the early bonuses and also monopolize the West Coast.  I could have countered that, but I was too focused on trying to complete my Baron (San Fransisco to Demming) an the San Fran to Promontory route.  Phil was controlling the lower Midwest with a couple long routes and some well placed hotels, while my wife had the Eastern edge of the Rockies in her control.  Jaime was building in the Northwestern Rockies getting points in Salt Lake City and Butte.  I was able to complete the Golden Spike bonus for building from Omaha to San Fransisco, but it was only after taking on way too much debt and basically conceding the game to Joe.  he had been making long shipments all along the west coast, and won by a sizable margin.

Overall it was a very nice, relaxing weekend.  Happy Gaming!

Weekend Gaming: Acquisitions

On Saturday, Joe, Ryan, Kevin, and Phil joined us for some gaming.  We started the night off with some Acquire, which I hadn’t played in quite some time.  I was able to start off decently, creating a couple companies.  I fell behind, though, when I neglected one of my companies, and focused on the wrong one of my companies.  I was able to make a decent profit holding on to the top position in two of the larger companies that merged prior to the end of the game, but I had no holding in the largest company at the end of the game.  My wife was just able to overcome my profits with her proceeds from that stock at the end.

Next up was a game of Railways of the Eastern US.  I had actually planned to play Railways of the Western US, but I had grabbed the wrong board.  So we played Eastern with the rotating city tiles from the Western US game.  We placed the rotating demands on Chicago, New York, Charleston,  Pittsburgh and New Orleans.  The biggest difference between the two games was made apparent from the first turn, when in the initial batch of cards, four Service Bounties and a Railroad Executive (allows a player to take two actions instead of one on that turn) showed up.  Joe took a significant amount of debt, but he was able to win the first turn and secured two of the Service Bounties to immediately jump to an 11 point lead.  Phil and I were able to get the other two Service Bounties, while Ryan went for the Passenger Lines bonus initially.  After a few turns, he decided to go for the Major Line from Richmond to Atlanta for the bigger points instead.  This allowed Joe to get the Passenger Lines bonus.  At this point I was working around the Chicago area, due to my Baron giving bonus points for connections into Chicago along with there being a lot of red cubes in the area.  I was able to get the Hotel Chicago early, and that provided a good number of points from everyone shipping there.  I was also able to get the New York to Kansas City major line for 20 points.  Sadly I was forced to do this a turn earlier than I wanted, giving me a bit more debt.  In the end, I wasn’t quite able to catch Joe.  I only got four points for my Baron, and had a bit more debt than he did.  It ended up being a very close game, that really highlighted the differences between the Eastern and Western games.

As an afterthought, I will say that the rotating demands really made a difference.  Chicago was a lot more useful with the ability to ship different colors there.  New Orleans was also a more viable destinations.  The other locations didn’t get as much use, due to there being more cities of different colors within a close proximity.

We followed that up with a couple games of Dominion.  The first included a Witch with no defenses, so we ended up with a lot of extra cards in our decks, and no one could really get anything going.  I ended up with negative points, and Kevin managed to sneak out a win, buying up a bunch of Estates and Duchies while no one was looking.  The second game was a bit more reasonable, but I wasn’t able to get much rolling.  I was blowing away my copper with Loans and Mines, but I wasn’t replacing them fast enough.  I was eventually able to get into a good engine, but it was too late, as Joe was able to get things rolling with Laboratories and Conspirators and bought up a bunch of Provinces.

Overall it was a fun night with some close games.  Until next time, happy gaming!

Weekend Gaming: Go West!

Image used from Board Game Geeks

With some of the birthday money I received this year, I went and ordered a copy of the Railways of the Western U.S. expansion for Railways of the World.  If you have been a regular follower here, you’ve probably noticed that Railways of  the World has become a very frequent fixture on our game table.  So it was definitely time to add some variety with a new map.

We had six of us playing on Saturday, with Phil, Ryan, Louis, and Kevin joining my wife and I.  The game got off to a pretty quick start, with three relatively easy service bounties available.  I wasn’t willing to start the game with a ton of debt, so I was not able to cash in on any and just started to make deliveries along the West Coast while going for the Tacoma to L.A. major Line.  Ryan was making deliveries in the Montana region along with Louis, while Kevin and Phil were dedicated to the southern and eastern portions of the map.  Gina running straight through the middle with the major line from San Francisco to Promontory.  Louis ended up with the best plans and was able to make quite a few 5 point deliveries through the Midwest, which really helped his score.  I was able to get a few 7 point deliveries going using some Fuel Depots, but they were slow going, and I started them too late to really cash in on them.  I finished the game in second, just 6 points behind Louis.

It was fun playing a new map, and definitely threw a wrench into our plans.  Two things really stood out to me.  The first was that we ha an inordinate number of cities that were filled with goods of that color (i.e. a blue city filled with blue cubes) and that couldn’t be delivered anywhere nearby.  Louis was able to get a bigger train fastest and deliver some of those, but the rest of us hadn’t planned well enough.  The other was that outside of the first turn, there were no Service Bounties available.  Nothing came up out of the Operations Cards deck, and since there is no Railways Executive card in this expansion, there wasn’t an incentive to really bid much on the turn auction.  Most auctions were won for 1-2 thousand.  Other than those oddities, the game definitely seemed more balanced than Eastern US.  There are a lot of mountains in the West, keeping track prices high, plus the bonuses available aren’t worth as many points and are typically harder to get.  This kept the scores lower and reduced the available money.  No one person was really able to jump out to an early lead and dominate.

After that, we played a couple games of Dominion.  The first was pretty weak, with no extra actions, but a lot of buys.  Kevin was able to get the most consistent deck and was able to grab a couple extra Duchies, beating me for the win.  the second game, though, was quite entertaining.  First off was the matter of deciding what Kingdom cards to use.  Since we had 6 people, we selected 4 random cards from the deck, coming up with the Counting House, City, Adventurer and Bishop.  Then each person selected on card in secret.  I selected the Loan, Phil the Thief, Kevin a Forge, Ryan the Remodel, Gina the Goons and Louis the Mountebank.  It was an interesting way of doing it, though I know a couple people had regrets once they saw what others picked.  The game started off with the Thieves selling like hotcakes.  I was able to get 4 of them, and for the first few rounds it was impossible to go a full round without someone playing a Thief.  Eventually I was able to get 5 coins into my hand and picked up a Counting House, and that was it for me.  Between the Thieves, Loans, and a couple others playing Mountebanks, I was able to get a ton of copper into my deck.  I also go lucky and would typically draw one of my Counting Houses about halfway through my deck and thus was able to gather up a bunch of copper out of my discard pile to buy Colonies.  I was able to do this at least three times.  Phil, on the other hand, was trying essentially the same thing, but he’d invariably draw his Counting House early on, and was unable to really get enough to buy the big points.  Kevin was hitting the Cities hard, and getting quite a bit of money and points that way, but I was able to get my combo off enough times to take the game by about 10 points, even with a Province and an Estate being nullified by Curse cards.

We finished up the night with a game of Monty Python Fluxx just to wind down for the evening.  It was a good night of gaming, and fun was had by all.

Happy gaming!

Weekend Gaming: Zombies!

Friday started off with a couple games of Dominion before everyone showed up.  Both games has a lot of Curses flying around, but strangely only one or two people were giving out the curses, so the scores did get a bit lopsided.  The second game was the worst, with Ryan getting a good combo of Laboratories and Witches to pretty consistently give out a curse each turn, while also piling up enough money for some big points.  The Joe and I were using Remodels and Forges to try and deal with the Curses, but it still ended up being pretty one sided in Ryan’s favor.  The other cards in that set were the Worker’s Village, Bureaucrat, Contraband,  Quarry, Ironworks, and Talisman.

After that, we played some Railways of the Eastern US.  Joe made a comment about halfway through the game that he could tell that people are learning the tricks, because everyone was going for bonuses.  In fact, Phil and I were the only two people that weren’t able to grab bonus points within the first few turns.  In may case it was only because I wasn’t willing to spend a ton of money to get the first turn from Ryan, and some tricky track laying by Joe.  Joe and I were fighting for the South Eastern portion, Phil, Gina and Joe had the Northeast, while Kevin and Ryan were in the center.  Eventually I was able to get something going in the Midwest, but at that point I wasn’t able to ship consistently and Joe had pulled into a decent lead with a good number of 4-5 link shipments.  Overall it was a very competitive game, and it was neat to see everyone fighting for the bonuses early without any one played jumping out to a huge lead.

Saturday was Phil’s birthday, so he held a Zombie Survivor themed party in the afternoon/evening.  It wall started out with a photo scavenger hunt through town trying to get pictures of various zombie and non-zombie things (make-shift weapons, snowman, VW Bug, a Mall, things you’d miss after the apocalypse, etc).  My team, which consisted of Gina, Ryan, Joe, Jaime and myself, managed to win the day thanks to the fact that Joe had a bunch of the items at his house, and were we made sure to get as many people in each picture for bonus points.  Then after dinner, Phil setup a zombie adventure game in his house.  Each room was a different store in a mall, and the players needed to collect various items before they could try and escape.  All the while, the zombies would randomly attack the rooms.  So we ran around in the dark with flashlights trying to avoid the zombies and get out.  I could have saved myself early, but I ended up losing a lot of items to save Gina.  My kids loved it, and it was a lot of fun for everyone involved.

In the end, it was a very crazy weekend.  Happy gaming!


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