Next Meeting, 29th November 2022

Our next meeting will be Tuesday 29th November 2022.  As usual, we will start playing shorter games from 7.30pm as people arrive, until 8pm when we will start something a little longer.

This week, the “Feature Game” will be the Asia expansion to the multi-award-winning bird-themed card game, Wingspan.  This latest expansion introduces new cards and a “flock” mode for playing with six or more players.

Wingspan: Asia
– Image from stonemaiergames.com

Speaking of birds…

Jeff and Joe were chatting about their favourite songs.  Joe was really into modern stuff, but Jeff said he preferred eighties music.  Then Joe asked Jeff what his favourite song was.

Jeff answered, “Wake me up before you Dodo…”

15th November 2022

With lots of absentees including Pink, Lemon, Orange and Plum, it was a relatively quiet night, but there were still nine and that left a difficult decision as to how to split up the group.  The “Feature Game” was Everdell, and although it only really plays four, Ivory had the new, Complete Collection which includes the Bellfaire expansion which adds two more players.  Three players seemed a little on the small side, so a four and a five it was, and the five were keen to give Everdell a go.

Everdell
– Image by boardGOATS

Although Ivory had played Everdell with Pink and Blue in the summer of 2020, nobody had seen the new, Complete Collection which was a recent acquisition for Ivory, and what a box it was—It was humongous!   Everyone wondered how Ivory stored it.  That developed into a conversation about where people store their games, and it seems pretty much everyone uses a “Kallax” (though some people didn’t know that’s what they are called). However, it turned out the Everdell box is so big, it doesn’t fit onto a Kallax and Ivory stored it under his bed!

Everdell
– Image by boardGOATS

Everdell is a very good looking game, a card-driven, tableau building and worker placement game set in a woodland glade.  Players take the role of leader of a group of critters constructing buildings, meeting characters and hosting events by placing workers to get resources and spending them to play cards.  Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to choose their own wooden meeple animals out of a selection of over twenty different types.  Ivory went for the purple Platypuss, Purple went for a light purple Owl, Lilac went for orange Foxes, Teal chose the grey Hedgehogs , and Green wanted the Brown Bats.  By random selection using a mobile app, Teal was to go first.

Everdell
– Image by boardGOATS

It took a few turns to get the hang of the game, although it is not overly complex on the face of things.  It is one of those games where there are apparently lots of choices, but in practice they are clear and relatively simple:  players either place a meeple to get a selection of resources, or play a card into their tableau.  And then, when all possible choices have been exhausted, players move onto the next “season”.  The trick is working out how to extend the possible number of turns taken each season. Ivory was the only one of the group who had played it before, so had got it worked out.  Everyone else had moved into spring while he merrily carried on taking his turns in his winter!

Everdell
– Image by boardGOATS

Teal was the first to move onto spring, and this order continued through the rest of the game. At one point it looked as though everyone else would have finished completely, while Ivory was still in summer!  It didn’t quite work out like that, but Ivory did have several more turns after everyone else had finished.  The other trick to Everdell is to pair up the Critters cards with the Construction cards. By building a Construction, a player could then build the corresponding critter for free afterwards, thus giving them extra turns and extra bonuses.  Ivory did well in this, and his starting and early meadow cards fell his way.

Everdell
– Image by boardGOATS

Green and Purple also did well getting pairs of cards and playing them during the game. Unfortunately Lilac and Teal just couldn’t seem to get the pairings they needed. So it seems there is still a certain amount of luck in this game.  The other thing which surprised everyone was how quickly the group got through a very big stack of cards from the meadow draw pile.  After last time where we nearly failed finish Endeavor before the pub closed, the group set an alarm to give them a thirty minute warning before closing time as we were worried we may have the same problem this time.

Everdell
– Image by boardGOATS

By the time the alarm went off nearly two hours later, the game was all but finished—not bad for a new five player game.  Playing it again, the same group could probably do it in ninety minutes or less.  Would it get another outing though?  It certainly has cuteness factor in spades; it is interesting, and the game-play is not overly complicated; it has challenge in random variations, and many good looking expansions to enhance and change the experience. So, it will almost certainly get another outing and Ivory had better not put the box too far under the bed, as we’ll be wanting him to bring it along again in the new year.

Everdell
– Image by boardGOATS

After too much “cards with text” with Villainous last month, it was clear that Everdell was not a game ideally suited to Lime and Pine.  Instead, Blue said she had just the game for them: Cascadia.  Cascadia won this year’s Spiel des Jahres award, and had not yet had an outing within the group.  The game is very simple though:  players have a starting three hex terrain tile, and on their turn, they take a terrain hex and a wooden wildlife token and add these to their tableau.  Each terrain tile has one, two or three types of wildlife depicted on it, and the wooden tokens have to be placed on a terrain tile with matching wildlife symbol and that is more or less all there is to it.

Cascadia
– Image by boardGOATS

The interesting part is the scoring.  Players score points for the largest area they have of each of the five different types of terrain with bonus points for the player with the largest area of each.  That is simple enough, but they also score points for each of the different types of wildlife, and their scoring is different for each game.  The scoring depends on the location of each type of wildlife, for example, this time players scored for each set of three (and only three) adjacent bears.  They also scored points for each different type of wildlife between pairs of hawks.  Ribbons of salmon and groups of elk also scored as did foxes for each different type of wildlife surrounding them.

Cascadia
– Image by boardGOATS

The game play behind Cascadia isn’t very new or terribly original, with the tile laying elements giving a feel similar to games like Kingdomino, or even Carcassonne.  The variation in the wildlife scoring (with more wildlife cards available to add more variety), however, and the fact that the wildlife tokens are finite in number and are drawn from a bag, adds just a hint of something reminiscent of bag-builder games like Orléans or Altiplano.  As the group played and Lime and Pine got into it, Blue and Black started to appreciate the subtlety a little more.  The addition of special Keystone tiles that give players nature tokens when wildlife tokens are placed on them, also help players to mitigate the luck elements.

Cascadia
– Image by boardGOATS

This time, foxes seemed to hide in the corner of the bag when players wanted them, then when they didn’t, they all came out of hiding.  Pine, inevitably put in a good showing and, despite everyone trying to persuade him, Lime succeeded in ignoring the advice to join his two groups of bears together (which would render them pointless).  The scores for the terrain were quite close with a spread of just a handful of points.  However, while Lime, Blue and Black had similar scores for their wildlife as well, Pine was eight points clear of his nearest rival giving him a final score of ninety-eight, ten points clear of Blue who was the best of the rest.  Pine and Lime had clearly enjoyed the game though and it will almost certainly get another outing soon.

Cascadia
– Image by boardGOATS

Lime excused himself, leaving Blue, Black and Pine to play something quick, taking less than an hour.  Although every time we play it, Pine points out that Bohnanza is not quick, this time he was persuaded because there were only three players and he wasn’t given time to think about it too carefully.  Bohnanza is one of the group’s most popular games, yet it hasn’t had an outing for ages.  The game play is very simple, but very interactive with a strong trading element. The active player first plays one or two bean cards from their hand into their fields taking care to keep them in the same order and only play the cards at the front.  They then turn over the top two cards from the deck and plant or trade them.  Finally when everything else has been dealt with, they can trade any cards in their hand with anybody else.

Bohnanza
– Image by boardGOATS

Cards are played into fields—with more players, each person has two fields in front of them and may buy a third, but with three, everyone starts with three fields.  This is important as each bean field can only hold one type of bean at any given time.  Beans can be harvested at any time to give coins and the game ends after three turns through the deck.  There are a few clever things about the game.  Firstly, players cannot harvest a field with a single bean in it unless all their fields have a single bean in them—this prevents players just cycling through beans they don’t want.  The really clever part of the game is that the fact that bean cards turn into coins when fields are harvested.  As the rarer beans are more valuable, this means they get increasingly rare as the game progresses.

Bohnanza
– Image by boardGOATS

This time, Blue planted two lots of Garden Beans early in the game which meant there were none available later.  Pine and Black shared the Black-eyed Beans, Stink Beans and Red Beans between them.  Blue planted lots of Green Beans and took it in turns with Pine to experiment with Soy Beans.  By the end, there were really only Wax Beans, Blue Beans, Coffee Beans and the occasional Green, Soy and Stink Beans.  With three experienced people playing, it was always going to be a tight game.  Pine finished with thirty “Bohnentaler”, a couple of more than Black, and was quite disgusted to find he was pipped by Blue by a single point.

Bohnanza
– Image by boardGOATS

Learning outcome:  Ikea need to sell a bigger Kallax.

Next Meeting, 15th November 2022

Our next meeting will be Tuesday 15th November 2022.  As usual, we will start playing shorter games from 7.30pm as people arrive, until 8pm when we will start something a little longer.

This week, the “Feature Game” will be Everdell (review, play through video, rules), a card-driven worker tableau building and placement game set in a woodland glade.  Players take the role of leader of a group of critters constructing buildings, meeting characters and hosting events by placing workers and playing cards.

Everdell
– Image by BGG contributor guzforster

Speaking of constructing buildings…

Jeff was working as a builder constructing a shed in a customer’s garden.  It was quite a wet day when he approached the backdoor of the house, knocked and asked the lady occupant if she could use the toilet.

The elegant lady looked down at Jeff’s extremely dirty boots and said, “OK, but let me just lay some newspaper down first.”

Jeff looked slightly offended and replied, “It’s OK, I am already trained.”

1st November 2022

Pine was the first to arrive and also the first to leave as he had just popped in to say “Hi!” while his baked potato was in the oven.  There were a few others missing as well, but still more than enough for two tables.  The “Feature Game” was Danger Circuit, an expansion for the card-driven bidding, racing, and betting game Downforce.  Downforce is based on the older game Top Race, which in turn is a reimplementation of several other games including Niki Lauda’s Formel 1. It is widely agreed to be one of the best car racing games, combining strategy and luck, especially when some of the expansion tracks are used.

Downforce
– Image by boardGOATS

Downforce comes in three parts:  a car auction, the race, and betting.  The game starts with the car auction where players bid on the cars using the cards they will use to race later.  The cards show how far the cars shown on it will move.  So when a player plays a card on their turn, they then move all the cars on it in order.  Some cards show only one car while others move more, even all six.  Before the start of the game, players are dealt the hand of cards they will use during the race and therefore know which car or cars over which they will have most control.  Using this information, they then chose a card to bid on each car, getting the card back, but making a note of the amount they “paid” to buy it.

Downforce
– Image by boardGOATS

On three occasions during the game, when the first car crosses a line, everyone makes a note of a secret bet—if the car they pick is placed in the top three, they win money.  This simultaneously makes and breaks the game, because it encourages players to help other players, however, it also means that if a player backs their own car and wins, they are almost guaranteed to finish with the most money.  For this reason, Blue was considering “House Ruling” the betting to use a variant, but as she wasn’t sure of the changes and had not printed the special betting forms, the group stuck with the rules as written.  The car auction is coupled with a Power auction.  The Powers allow players to break the rules of the game slightly to improve their chances.

Downforce
– Image by boardGOATS

The Danger Circuit expansion adds two new tracks with dangerous spaces and crossover loops as well as drivers with new skills.  This time, because most people had not played the game before, players simply drew two cards blind from the deck and picked their favourite.  Lemon won the first auction taking pole position and “Cunning”, which allowed her to control the movement her own car every time (instead of the active player moving it).  Unfortunately, she completely forgot about this in the excitement of the race, so didn’t capitalise on it.  Teal was “Defensive” so could move an extra three spaces if his car wasn’t on the card he played and Lime “Ambitious” which meant it could move an extra couple of spaces when it crossed a betting line.  Lime thought this would guarantee him an extra six spaces, but it didn’t quite play out that way.

Downforce: Danger Circuit
– Image by boardGOATS

Pink was “Experienced” which meant he was able to take advantage of slip-streaming and move a space forward whenever a car immediately in front of him moved, and Orange was “Tricky” and could move the cars in reverse order on his turn.  Blue was the last to take a car and ended up with “Reckless” as her special power which meant that if she ever squeezed through a tight space she would get to move an extra two spaces.  All of these special abilities except Tricky and Cunning were from the Danger Circuit expansion.  The group chose the Crosstown Speedway track for the race (also from the Danger Circuit expansion), which features two hazardous crossover loops and a couple of split areas of the track, where players must choose between the shorter single-lane section or the longer, more wide open section.

Downforce: Danger Circuit
– Image by boardGOATS

Lemon got a good start from pole and took an early lead and Lime, in an effort to catch up, managed to overturn his car.  Although Lemon was the first to cross it, it was all quite tight at the first betting line.  From there on, everyone was committed and the race began in earnest.  Teal made good use of his special skill a couple of times and Orange used his to great effect as well.  The race was almost all over, however, when Lemon effectively declared her bidding by moving Blue’s red car into the lead and down the first single track shortcut section.  With everyone else either stuck in the bottle-neck of the two track section with a bit of a hairpin corner or stuck behind Blue’s red car, she was able to put a bit of a spurt on.

Downforce: Danger Circuit
– Image by boardGOATS

Keeping her foot on the gas she was able to put clear distance between herself and everyone else along the back straight and make for the line.  She couldn’t do it on her own however, but as a couple of others had backed her to win early in the race, it wasn’t long before she crossed the line and the race was on for second.  That was a lot closer, but eventually Teal trundled home at the front of the pack with Lime coming in third.  The aim of Downforce isn’t to win the race, however; the aim is to finish with the most money when betting, winnings and outlay are all taken into account.

Downforce: Danger Circuit
– Image by boardGOATS

Orange was the only one not to place a bet on Blue’s little red car at any point and with significant costs at the start, despite some excellent in race moves, he suffered as a result.  Everyone else was fairly close though, with just two million dollars between Lime and Pink in second and third place and the others not far behind.  Betting on one’s own car though, is unbeatable however, as long as it comes home first of course.  And in this case, Blue had backed her little red car throughout, so winning the race and betting on her own car gave her a huge payout.  With only one million outlay (it didn’t seem right for anyone to be able to set up a racing team for free), she finished with the maximum of twenty-nine million dollars.

Downforce
– Image by boardGOATS

The game had been a lot of fun, but having played it a few times now it was becoming clear that the betting skews the game a little.  The alternative betting Blue had suggested at the start has the potential to alter that.  The problem is that with players simply getting a straight pay out for betting on the winner, the race can become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy:  in this case, because several people bet on the red car to win, they were invested in it and it won.  The variant betting winnings depend on the position the car is in the race at the time when the bet is placed.  In this way it increases both the risk and the reward.  Because this encourages more diversity in the betting, it can mix things up a little and, as such, is definitely something to try before too long.

Downforce: Danger Circuit
– Image by boardGOATS

The neighbouring table were still playing, so although Teal and Lime decided to take an early night, the others continued with a game of Kingdomino.  This is a lovely light game that was the deserved winner of the Spiel des Jahres Award a few years ago and has been a staple within the group ever since.  Orange and Lemon were new to the game, however, so Blue and Pink explained the rules:  Players take a tile from “Today’s Market” and place their meeple on a tile of their choice in “Tomorrow’s Market”.  The clever part of the game is that the tiles are numbered with the highest numbers going to the most “valuable” tiles.

Kingdomino
– Image by boardGOATS

Tiles starting are taken starting with the lowest value ones, which means players have to choose between taking a high value tile (and getting a late turn next time) or positioning themselves early in the turn order for the next round (by taking a low value tile).  When players take their tiles, they add them to their “Kingdom” making areas of different types of terrain.  At the end of the game, players score points for the size of each terrain multiplied by the number of crowns depicted in that terrain, with bonus points for completing a perfectly square Kingdom with their castle in the centre.

Kingdomino
– Image by boardGOATS

This time, Orange went first followed by Lemon.  She started with a small woodland, which rapidly became a large woodland.  As it grew, she took the opportunity early and picked up lots of crowns.  This meant nobody else had any incentive to collect woodland tiles so she was able to pick more and make her woodland ever larger finishing with thirteen woodland spaces and five crowns giving her sixty-five points for that alone.  Nobody was very surprised when Lemon won, finishing with a massive ninety-three points, five more than Pink in second who had focused on pasture and arable.

Kingdomino
– Image by boardGOATS

Although the bar had called last orders and the game on the next table was working through their final round, there was just time for a very quick game of No Thanks!.  This is a superb filler with almost zero setup time—just the kind of game the group loves in such circumstances.  The idea is super simple:  the top card of the deck is turned over and the active player has to choose whether to take the card or pay a chip to pass the problem on to the next person.  Eventually, someone weakens and takes the card and the chips.  At the end of the game, players add up the face value of the cards in front of them and subtract the number of chips they are left with to give their score: the lowest is the winner.

No Thanks!
– Image by boardGOATS

There are two catches:  firstly, for any runs of consecutive cards, only the lowest value card counts.  Secondly, nine cards are removed from the thirty-two card deck at random and in secret before the game begins, making the decision to take or leave a card considerably more difficult.  No Thanks! is a simply great game to teach and so much fun for the time it takes, so is ideal for a game at the end of the evening.  This is another group “staple” and yet Lemon and Orange had somehow missed out.  That was quickly rectified, and like everyone else, the realisation of the simple considerations was apparent as the game developed.

No Thanks!
– Image by boardGOATS

This time, Pink collected a lot of chips, while Orange and Blue collected a lot of cards.  Lemon almost ran out of chips at the end, but had also managed to avoid picking up any high value cards.  Lemon just managed to hold out finishing with thirty-nine points, eleven less than Pink, taking her second victory of the evening.  By this time, the bar was closed and the players on the next table were scrabbling to finish.  They had been playing Endeavor: Age of Sail, a game that was new to Plum, though Black, Purple, Green and Lilac had all played it before.  The game is relatively simple in concept, though one of those games where the interactions make the decisions challenging.

Endeavor: Age of Expansion
– Image by boardGOATS

The game is played over eight rounds, each consisting of four basic phases: Build, Populate, Payment and Action.  The four technology tracks roughly correspond to each phase and dictate what a player can do during that phase.  For example, how far along the building track a player is dictates what they can build: the further along they are, the more buildings they have to choose from.  Similarly, a player who is further along the population (or culture) track, can move more people into their harbour for use in the Action phase.  Payment also increases the number of people available as it moves population markers from the action spaces into the harbour.  More importantly, however, it makes the action spaces available again for use later in the round.

Endeavor: Age of Sail
– Image by boardGOATS

The guts of the game, however, is the Action phase.  when players place population markers on their buildings to activate them and carry out one of the five actions:  Colonise, Ship, Attack, Plunder Assets, and Pay Workers.  These are generally based round the central board which is divided up into seven regions representing the seven continents.  Each continent comprises several cities, a shipping route and a deck of cards. At the start of the game there is a Trade token on each city and each shipping space, but also on many of the connections between cities (these are taken if a player occupies both cities either side).  Players cannot Colonise a city until they have a presence in a region, which they can do by Shipping, using two markers, one to activate their building that provides the shipping action and one to place on the shipping track.

Endeavor: Age of Sail
– Image by boardGOATS

Players also need two population markers to Colonise (one for the action and one to occupy the city) and three if they are going to attack an already occupied city (one is collateral damage).  At the end of the game, after eight rounds, players score for occupied cities, connections and cards as well as points for progress on their technology tracks.  Although Green had been keen to include the last of his unplayed exploits from the Age of Expansion expansion, because Plum was new to the game, the group stuck to the base game. With hindsight that was a doubly good decision given the time constraint at the end and the table wasn’t really big enough for the extra boards anyhow.

Endeavor: Age of Sail
– Image by boardGOATS

Black put out the board while Green pulled out all the bits that were needed, Lilac randomly selected the Level Five buildings (all of them were money action ones by chance) and Plum familiarised herself with the pieces and symbols.  Then everyone helped place all ninety-six tokens onto their spaces on the board.  When finished there were three empty spaces:  one missing token was elsewhere on the board not in a spot and one was found hiding in the corner of the bag, but the last one remained elusive.  The group hunted through the box, on the floor, but nothing. They were in the process of selecting a random cardboard token (the group were playing with the Kickstarter wooden tokens) when someone finally spotted the missing piece lurking in North America.

Endeavor: Age of Sail
– Image by boardGOATS

So finally the game was set up and ready to play, just a quick run through of the rules primarily for the benefit of Plum, but also for everyone else as the game had not had an outing for a while.  The first couple of rounds were fairly quick and by the end of them everyone seemed to know what they were doing.  Throughout the game, Green found himself with more citizens than he could use, largely courtesy of going down a card route and claiming two of the Level One cards to give him extras.  Black seemed to be having the opposite problem as he proved to be the miser of the group and not able to pay his citizens enough.  Lilac was busy occupying Europe, while Plum and Purple were busy shipping and opening up India and Africa respectively.

Endeavor: Age of Sail
– Image by boardGOATS

Later in the game Black and Plum were looking to be doing well and there had been very little attacking going on—a very friendly expansion.  It was then that the group realised that they were playing with the wrong side of the board:  they were using the 2/3/4 Player board when we should have been using the other side for 4/5 Players.  The rules described the side they were one as a “High Conflict Four Player Game”, which presumably made theirs a Very High Conflict Five player game!  So what is the difference? Both boards use the same number of tokens (ie all of them), but there are more shipping routes and fewer cities on the 4/5 Player board. On the 2/3/4 board there were also more tokens in the link spaces, so those occupying had a slight advantage.

Endeavor: Age of Sail
– Image by boardGOATS

At this point the group realised they would all be needing more cannon.  Black was happy with that as he had recently acquired a Fortress Occupy/Attack.  Purple had one as well and had also managed to acquire a couple of blue Attack action tokens.  Green now realised he had boxed himself into a corner as he did not have any Occupy actions, only Shipping.  For one of his last buildings he grabbed a Fortress, as did Plum and Lilac.  The last round or two of the game involved a lot of to-ing and fro-ing as attack’s reigned down, particularly between Black and Purple as they traded blows over the America’s routes.  It was this that did for Black in the end:  looking like the player most likely to win, he became a target and lost a few points as a result.

Endeavor: Age of Sail
– Image by boardGOATS

By now the group had to rush the end, take pictures and throwing everything back in the box to be sorted later. The scores were to be calculated later from the pictures, but leaving, the group thought it would be close between Black, Plum and Lilac, although Lilac was convinced she wouldn’t be in the mix at all.  The later review of the final scoring proved that it was indeed between those three, and quite close too, although Lilac with sixty-three had a significant enough lead over the other two.  Despite the errors made and the quick finish everyone really enjoyed the game and are keen to play it again soon, perhaps with those exploits from Age of Expansion, but it’ll need a bigger table and it would probably be wise to use the correct side of the board too…

Endeavor: Age of Sail
– Image by boardGOATS

Learning outcome:  Backing yourself is sometimes a risk worth taking.

Boardgames in the Nude: A Report in The Independent

Board games have long been a tradition in Germany, as has naturism, but a recent report in The Independent suggests that in rural Lincolnshire they have taken to combining the two German traditions.  NakedLincolnshire organise “Social Nudity, Naturism and Clothes Optional Events”, and one of their recent events, attended by Colin Drury, was a games night in the Hemswell and Harpswell Village Hall.  The report suggests they played Chess, UNO, Snakes and Ladders, Scrabble and other family-friendly fayre, so perhaps someone might like to go along to their next event introduce them to some more modern games?

Uno
– Image from The Independent

Next Meeting, 1st November 2022

Our next meeting will be Tuesday 1st November 2022.  As usual, we will start playing shorter games from 7.30pm as people arrive, until 8pm when we will start something a little longer.  Please note that the pub will not be serving food on Tuesdays for the foreseeable.

This week, the “Feature Game” will be Downforce: Danger Circuit (rules), an expansion for Downforce (review, play through video, rules).  Downforce is a card-driven bidding, racing, and betting game based on the older game Top Race (which in turn is a reimplementation of several other games including Niki Lauda’s Formel 1).  The Danger Circuit expansion adds two new tracks with dangerous spaces and crossover loops as well as drivers with new skills.

Downforce
– Adapted from Image by BGG contributor kalchio

Speaking of car racing…

Jeff and his mate Joe were chatting about how they had both been enjoying the current Formula One racing season.

“It’s great that I have Sky, because it means I can watch every race, ” said Joe.

Jeff answered sadly, “I keep trying to watch racing on my computer but every time I press the F1 key it just opens a help window.”

18th October 2022

The evening began with introductions to two new people:  Turquoise and White.  As everyone else arrived and we waited for the last couple of people, the group started with a quick warm-up game of NMBR 9.  This is a quick and simple tile laying game where players take number shaped tiles and add them to their tableau.  Tiles must connect to an edge of tiles already placed in the same layer, and when placing tiles on top of others, they must not create an overhang or sit wholly on one tile.  At the end of the game, players sum the face value of the tiles on each layer and multiply that by the “floor” they are on.  In other words, the ground floor is “pointless” whilst tiles on the second floor (or third level) are worth twice their face value.

NMBR 9
– Image by boardGOATS

Although the game plays just four, with two sets squeezed into the box, all eight people were able to play together.  Everyone was happily laying tiles, with those who had not played it before quickly getting the hang of it.  A few people needed to be reminded of the fact that tiles on higher levels must be supported by at least two tiles and if not the first, must touch another tile on the same level.  Most people managed to stay on the straight and narrow though and before long everyone was practicing their mental arithmetic to work out their scores.  And it was really close at the top:  it looked like Turquoise’s score of sixty-nine was the winner until Teal posted his score of seventy, and then Blue just pipped him with seventy-one.

NMBR 9
– Image by boardGOATS

By the time NMBR 9 was done, everyone had arrived including Lime with his copy of the “Feature GameDisney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All, that he had borrowed from work.  This is an asymmetric card game where players take on the role of a Disney Villain (Maleficent, Captain Hook, Jafar, Red Queen, Ursula or Prince John), and try to satisfy their own personal objectives.  Although the game is fairly simple in concept, a sort of worker placement, where players move their “worker” to different locations on their private player board and then carry out all the associated actions.  The fact that every character plays in its own way and has different objectives, makes it much more complex than it sounds, however.

Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All
– Image by boardGOATS

Disney Villainous unquestionably plays best with smaller numbers of players and, with two copies, the ideal would have been to play two games with three players each.  However, several people were reluctant because the Disney theme didn’t appeal, or dueling card games weren’t their thing.  So in the end, there were five playing: Black as the Queen of Hearts; Turquoise as Maleficent; Blue as Jafar; Lime as Captain Hook, and Pine as Ursula (or Arse-ula as she became known).  Each player took their booklet with their instructions (their “Villain Guide”), and that was Blue’s big mistake in her preparation.  She had deliberately not read all the characters’ details in advance as she didn’t want an unfair advantage.  However, because the characters were so very different, it meant she couldn’t help advise.

Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All
– Image by boardGOATS

For example, each character has two decks of cards:  a Villain deck and a Fate deck.  Players have Villain cards in hand, while other players (mostly) activate their Fate deck.  The Villain deck includes Ally and object cards which are played below the action spaces on a player’s player board and usually enhance the actions in that space.  The Fate deck on the other hand includes Hero cards which are played (usually by other players) above the action spaces on the player’s board and reduce the number of actions a player can carry out when they activate that space.  Hero cards are a pain and most people can get rid of them by carrying out a Vanquish action, however, Ursula does not have a Vanquish action and instead defeats Heros using Binding Contract cards.

Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All
– Image by boardGOATS

The second mistake was that most people didn’t read their instruction booklet properly, partly because without knowing the game, it felt very abstract, and partly just because the situation wasn’t conducive to sitting down and concentrating.  Turquoise had watched a play-through video, so had a better idea of what was going on than most—Maleficent’s winning condition was to start her turn with a curse at each location.  Curses are a card type unique to Maleficent and have an Ability that affects Heroes at that location.  While Lime was still hunting for his Never Land Map to unlock the Hangman’s Tree and Pine was searching his deck for the Trident and the Crown, Turquoise suddenly threatened to win as she had Curses at all four of her locations.

Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All
– Image by boardGOATS

This seemed to organise everyone else, as they collectively worked out how to stop her from winning.  Meanwhile, Black was doing something odd with his cards, turning them sideways or “tapping” them.  He, as the Queen of Hearts had to have a Wicket at each location and then successfully take a Shot to win.  Wickets are Guard cards that have been activated.  A Shot is then taken by revealing the top five cards of the Villain deck and if their total cost is less than the total strength of the Wickets then he would win.  With several Guards played and and activated, he was making progress too, and aside from luck, nothing the others could do was going to stop him winning when the time came.

Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All
– Image by boardGOATS

While players took it in turns to prevent Turquoise from succeeding, Blue had found the Scarab Pendant and the Magic Lamp cards that Jafar needed.  Having not read her booklet properly, when she got her Magic Lamp at the Sultan’s Palace, she thought she was there, only to realise there was more to it than that and had to work out how to fix it.  There was a feeling of achievement when Lime finally unlocked Captain Hook’s Hangman’s Tree and had found Peter and Pine finally found one of his special objects, but was still struggling with lots of power and no way of using it.  By this time though, the game had been going nearly two hours and although nobody was going to just “let” Turquoise win, most people had had enough and were starting to secretly hope someone would do the decent thing and end the game.

Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All
– Image by boardGOATS

Eventually, Black took a shot, and was unsuccessful.  Blue, having worked out how to hypnotize the Genie had a path to the end, though someone ensured that would take several more turns by judicious application of a Hero card.  Turquoise was still doggedly playing Curses when Black finally had a Shot on target and everyone else cheered with genuine relief.  Unquestionably, the game had outstayed its welcome, though that was largely caused by the number of players—three would have made it easier to focus on what others were doing and would have had much less downtime.

Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All
– Image by boardGOATS

The biggest problem with the game though, was the mismatch between the cutesy theme (and gorgeous artwork from the Disney films) and the isolated nature of the asymmetric multiplayer solitaire which means it is definitely not a kiddies game.  This mismatch perhaps partly explains why there are so many copies of Villainous for sale cheap in online auctions.  It would have felt a lot less isolated though with fewer players.  That said, to some extent, the game is all about the individual players finding a way to solve their own personal puzzle, while trying to throw just enough spanners in other players’ works to delay them and ensure their own victory.

Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All
– Image by boardGOATS

In this sense, once a character has been played and “solved” it reduces the replay-ability, especially against new players, who have to solve their puzzle from scratch.  This is perhaps why there are several other Villainous character sets available, and even Marvel character sets (which seem to be more popular).  Lime though, was not looking forward to playing the game again (one of the conditions of borrowing it) and ultimately was very pleased when he was able to postpone the replay, indefinitely.  That said, both Lime and Blue commented that they felt they had unfinished business with Villainous and would like to try it again sometime, though there are so many games and so little time, it’s not clear when that might be.

Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All
– Image by boardGOATS

While the first group fought with their Disney villains, everyone else settled down to a six-player game of Citadels.  In this game, players take on new roles each round which represent Characters they hire to help them acquire gold and erect buildings.  The numbered Character cards are drafted in secret at the start of the round with one taken out before the draft and one left unused at the end, to ensure everyone has imperfect knowledge.  Then, each number is called and the player with that Character enacts it.  When called, each player takes their turn.  First they take money (two gold from the bank) or draw two District cards and choose one to keep, then they may build one District paying the cost in “toffee-look-alike” gold coins.

Citadels
– Image by boardGOATS

The game ends at the end of the round when one player builds their eighth District.  Players then score the cost of each District they have built, plus three points if they have at least one District in each of the five colours, plus four bonus points for the player who triggered the end of the game and two for anyone else that succeeded in building eight Districts.  This is an older game (one of Green’s first apparently), but nobody had played it in years so the group decided to play with just the basic characters:

  1. Assassin — Names another Character that misses their turn;
  2. Thief — Names a Character and at the start of their turn, steals all their gold;
  3. Magician — Swaps their hand with another players, or replaces some cards;
  4. King — Receives one coin per noble (yellow) District and takes the start player Crown;
  5. Bishop — Receives one coin per religious (blue) District and protection from the Warlord;
  6. Merchant — Receives one coin per trade (green) District and receives one extra coin;
  7. Architect — Build up to three Districts and draw two additional District cards;
  8. Warlord — Receives one coin for each military (red) District and destroys one District.

At White’s suggestion, the group tried a new method of choosing the start player, namely picking a character card at random and counting round the table to the number of that character.  The King was the card revealed, and counting round four places landed on White himself.  And so the first round started.

Citadels
– Image by boardGOATS

There was no Assassin in the first round, so a gentle start. The Thief, White, decided to steal from the King; often a dangerous thing to attempt, but not so much in this game.  Thus, the game began, with players taking money and building Districts, at least for White and Lilac, who had chosen the Magician. The King came next, and Green duly handed his starting money to White.  With nothing much he could do, he took two gold coins and could build nothing, but did take over the calling of characters. Pink and Teal continued the round with taking money and building Districts.

Citadels
– Image by boardGOATS

The next round was even more equitable as neither the Assassin nor the Thief were chosen. Teal took reign as King this time. Green was able to build his first District and everyone else was on two.  During the third round there was much mirth as Green tried to steal from the Merchant, who turned out to be Lilac, his partner — how dare he!  However, she had no money so it was fruitless anyway.  Green’s starting hand was such that he still could not build, just as everyone else went ahead and built their third District.

Citadels
– Image by boardGOATS

In the fourth round, Lilac was the Thief and chose to steal from the Architect, little realising that this time that was Green, and like last time, he had no money either!  While all this was going on, the others had been building up some several Districts. Pink had blue and red Districts, Lilac had a green and a couple of blue, Teal had a couple of green and a red, while White was also mostly targeting red Districts.  By this point, everyone was really getting into the game and there was a lot of good natured banter round the table. Somehow, Green was being picked on as usual, but this time not with intent.  Teal was beginning to look strong and Lilac had a lot of Districts, but all relatively low in value.

Citadels
– Image by boardGOATS

At the mid-point in the game, the Assassin finally came into play.  Green chose him and selected the Merchant as his target.  It turned out that was Teal, a good choice considering that by then he had three green Districts, which would have given him a lot of money.  The King finally moved away from Teal (to White), but overall there were very few yellow noble Districts being built.  During the second half of the game, the Magician began to cause a little chaos as hands of zero cards got exchanged with hands of four, five or even six.  It was still looking like Teal was strongest, just as he nabbed back the King, but then White built a nice big purple Dragon Gate. This cost six Gold, but would be worth eight at the end.

Citadels
– Image by boardGOATS

Somehow Teal had managed to get to seven Districts with the others on five and six.  Green, sitting directly after Teal in turn-order, chose the Assassin and took one for the team.  Since he picked second, the information available to him told him that Teal could only be either the Architect or the Warlord.  He decided to try for the Warlord, on the basis Teal had two red Districts and a couple of Gold already, so could probably build his final card and finish the game.  It wasn’t until the the very end of the round before this was confirmed, and Green had indeed been successful. Teal missed his turn. So everyone else was now on six Districts while Green was still only on five.

Citadels
– Image by boardGOATS

In the final round, Teal was still the King; would Green try again?  This time he chose a different approach and decided to try and steal from Teal instead.  Teal was the Merchant this time, so although Green was successful, he could not not stop him from building his eighth District.  Teal’s three green Districts gave him three coins, plus an extra one for the Merchant and the two he could take anyhow—more than enough to build his last District.  No one else managed to build eight, though almost everyone else managed to get seven.  Only Teal and Lilac got the bonus points for building at least one of each colour however.

Citadels
– Image by boardGOATS

That meant Teal was the runaway winner with thirty-two, with White and Pink very close to each other in second and third with twenty-six and twenty-five respectively, and Lilac not far behind that.  Everyone had thoroughly enjoyed it regardless of their final score—Citadels is good classic that works better with more people and this time it did not fail to deliver as everyone really got into the spirit of the banter.  Players drifted away and once Villainous finally came to an end, there was time for some chatter about things including Christmas party plans, before everyone finally went their separate ways.

Citadels
– Image by boardGOATS

Learning Outcome:  In asymmetric games, someone has to know how the rules apply to everyone.

Next Meeting, 18th October 2022

Our next meeting will be Tuesday 18th October 2022.  As usual, we will start playing shorter games from 7.30pm as people arrive, until 8pm when we will start something a little longer.  Please note that the pub will not be serving food on Tuesdays for the foreseeable.

This week, the “Feature Game” will be Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All (review, play through video, rules).  This is an asymmetric card game where players take on the role of a Disney Villain (Maleficent, Captain Hook, Jafar, Red Queen, Ursula or Prince John), and try to satisfy their own personal objectives.

Disney Villainous: The Worst Takes it All
– Image by BGG contributor The Innocent

Speaking of Disney…

Jeff and Joe were discussing their favourite Disney characters one day.

“I’d like to be a Disney prince,” said Jeff.

“Yeah, they’re really good looking,” commented Joe, “Though they are a little bit wet.”

“But they always get the girls,” explained Jeff.  Joe thought for a minute.

“You could be one of the Seven Dwarves instead,” he suggested. “They are much cooler and you’d have loads of great mates too.”

“Nah, I couldn’t be one of the Dwarves,” Jeff replied.

Joe looked at his friend and asked, “Why?  There’s nothing wrong with being short you know and a lot of the shortest people are really, well, you know…”

“Oh no, It’s not their height,” continued Jeff, “It’s just that I heard six out of seven of them aren’t happy.”

4th October 2022

To mark the tenth anniversary of our first meeting, this week was a bit of a party. We started with a fish and chip supper (courtesy of Darren at The Happy Plaice) and followed it with cake, complete with “marzimeeples”. There was also a special “solo game” of Carcassone, where everyone chose a tile, wrote their name on it and stuck it on a board to be framed as a keepsake to mark the occasion. Unfortunately, Lilac was unwell and not able to come, and the chaos on the A34 (due to a burst water main on the Oxford ring road and an accident) conspired to delay Black, Purple, Orange and Lemon. Everyone else made it though, and after a quick round of Happy Birthday and some cake, the group moved on to play the now traditional “Feature Game“, Crappy Birthday.

2022 Birthday Cupcakes
– Image by boardGOATS

Crappy Birthday is a party game where players give each other comedy birthday presents and the recipient has to decide who gave the best and worst gifts. We house-rule the game to play a year so that everyone has one birthday, so on their turn, they receive a gift from everyone else. They then look through the gifts and choose the best and worst, and the givers of those gifts get a point each. The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the year. Written like this, the game sounds very dry, but there are three things that make the game a lot of fun.

Crappy Birthday
– Image by boardGOATS

Firstly, the gift cards are fantastic; the pictures are great and the texts that accompany them are just enough to give a flavour while also allowing interpretation. Secondly, the way we play, the Birthday Boy or Girl goes through the gifts reading them out. It is not so much this, as the disgust, excitement or other response as people “open their gifts” that makes everyone smile. Playing board games can be very impersonal—for many people this is a good thing as it allows people who are shy or private to control what they reveal about themselves because everyone focuses on the game. As a result, gamers often don’t really know an awful lot about each other. In playing Crappy Birthday, however, players reveal just a little bit more of their likes and dislikes, helping everyone to get to know each other that little bit better.

Crappy Birthday
– Image by boardGOATS

Finally, we only play Crappy Birthday once a year. This is really key, as without this constraint, the cards would get repetitive and the element of surprise would be lost. In terms of game play, it isn’t a very strategic or challenging game, so playing more frequently would likely mean it would quickly outstay its welcome. As it was, Pink started (his birthday was soonest), and he set the tone for the year. As usual, we discovered lots of interesting things about people in the group. Pink surprised everyone with his delight at receiving some Monopoly money toilet paper, though it was a close-run thing between that and a road trip across the Sahara as he’d always fancied participating in the Paris-Dakar Rally. He was much less impressed with the bungee-jump however.

Crappy Birthday
– Image by boardGOATS

Pine was next and this time didn’t get his usual pile of equine and meat flavoured gifts. His choice of a giant lobster sculpture for his front yard was also unexpected, and he explained that it would be interesting to see where it ended up when the kids and drunks in the village decided to move it. On Plum’s turn we discovered that she liked the idea of a one-armed bandit and Chess lessons (no cheating, obviously), but preferred Flying lessons. Pink proved he knew Blue best when she picked a non-electric iron as her favourite gift, while Ivory was disappointed that when Teal eschewed his generous gift of a trip on the first trip to Mars. We discovered that Teal used to play the bagpipes, and that Lime was quite disgusted by the thought of a giant baby sculpture for the front of his house (to be fair, it looked quite hideous and not a little creepy).

Crappy Birthday
– Image by boardGOATS

Leaping off or out of things seemed to be generally quite unpopular, with a parachute jump being Black’s least favourite gift, though he was delighted by tickets to a live metal music gig. Ivory complained that he kept drawing perfect gifts for people just after their birthday. On his birthday, Pink thought he had a winner when he gave Ivory a snow machine, and everyone else felt the same knowing how much he loves Christmas, but surprised everyone by choosing a space walk as his best gift and a permanent barbed wire fence as his worst. Pine showed his approval when Lemon picked bird watching as her choice gift, and most people could see her point when she ranked her deer-foot lamp as her least favourite.

Crappy Birthday
– Image by boardGOATS

There was more surprise on Purple’s turn when she chose a custom chopper as her best gift, but her dislike of a trip on a submarine was less of a shock. The final birthday of the year was Orange who picked throat rings as his best gift. There was a lot of taxidermy-based gifts so it was perhaps fitting that his less surprising choice of worst gift was a good luck bat (not particularly good luck for the bat if the picture is anything to go by). Not that it really mattered, but everyone knew who the winner was long before the end of the year, as Lemon had managed to get a point in half of the rounds and finished with five points. The race for second place was much closer though with three people taking two and Black and Purple tying with three points apiece.

Crappy Birthday
– Image by boardGOATS

There was a lot of chatter, some tidying up and more chatter, before Lime and Teal wished everyone else a good night and enjoyable rest of the party, and those remaining tried to decide what to play. Everyone was very indecisive, so eventually Blue made the executive decision that one group would play New York Slice while the others played Ticket to Ride, and Pink went out to the car to collect the rest of the games that had been left in the car when everything else was brought in.  After some four-player, five-player, no definitely four-player shenanigans as Lemon shuffled from one game to the other, Ivory, Orange, Plum and Pink eventually got going with New York Slice.

New York Slice
– Image by boardGOATS

New York Slice is a re-implementation of …aber bitte mit Sahne, a game we’ve played a couple of times over the summer.  Having enjoyed the pizza version last month, it definitely deserved another outing.  The idea is that one player makes the pizza and cuts it into segments equal to the number of players, then players take it in turns to choose one of the segments.  When a player takes a segment, they can either eat the individual slices or store them for later. Those they will eat are worth points at the end of the game with the score dependent on the number of pepperoni slices on top. The pieces players keep are scored depending on who has the most of each type at the end of the game.

New York Slice
– Image by boardGOATS

Each piece of pizza has a number on it which tells players the number of that type in the game and also what the player with the most will score at the end of the game.  Some of the pizza slices have anchovies on them and any that are visible at the end of the game are worth minus one.  Each pizza is also served with a Special—a side order bonus tile with rule-breaking powers which accompanies one of the portions.  These can be good or bad, and add something to the decision making all round.  This time, the game was very close with just four points between first and last.

New York Slice
– Image by boardGOATS

As often happens, most people didn’t compete for the majority in the lucrative Meat Feast pizza, instead gobbling up the pepperoni straight away giving Orange the eleven points relatively cheaply.  The most valuable pizzas were collected by Orange and Ivory, whereas Plum made most of her points from her Specials:  “The Everyone-Else Diet” and “Seconds”.  The Everyone-Else Diet” was handy because it gave negative points to everyone else for every two slices eaten.  It was perhaps “Seconds” that just gave her the edge though, as it allowed her to eat one set of slices just before scoring, enabling her to see what she wasn’t winning and eat that.  As a result, she finished a single point ahead of Ivory with Orange taking third.

New York Slice
– Image by boardGOATS

Meanwhile, on the next table, Blue, Black, Purple and Lemon settled down to a game of the new Ticket to Ride: San Francisco.  This is the latest in the Ticket to Ride series and is making its debut at Essen this year.  The games all follow the same basic pattern:  on their turn players draw coloured cards, or spend them to place trains on the central map.  They score points for trains placed, but also for completing any tickets they kept at the start of the game or picked up and kept during it.  One of the smaller games, Ticket to Ride: San Francisco only plays four and has fewer pieces so games are shorter.

Ticket to Ride: San Francisco
– Image by boardGOATS

Like all the other versions of the game, however, San Francisco also has a small rules tweak:  when players make a connection to a tourist destination, they can collect a token.  They can only collect one per turn and one from each location.  Each tourist destination has different tokens, and players score bonus points at the end of the game for each different token they have collected.  These points are significant, varying from nothing to twelve, with the number of points increasing exponentially as players add more to their collection.  Otherwise, the map is different and instead of trains, players have cable tram-cars to place, but otherwise it is similar to the other versions of Ticket to Ride.

Ticket to Ride: San Francisco
– Image by boardGOATS

Black’s starting tickets both went north-south, but one was on the east side and the other the west side.  So he picked one and immediately went fishing for a more.  Everyone else was slightly better off, and although Blue’s were better aligned they were fairly low scoring so once she had made a little progress she also took more tickets.  Black and Purple went for the potentially lucrative Tourist tokens, while Lemon kept forgetting to pick them up and ended up collecting a handful at the end.  Although the more a player has, the more they are worth, it turns out that getting the last couple is really difficult, and they are the ones that are worth the most points.

Ticket to Ride: San Francisco
– Image by boardGOATS

Blue tried to claim the long route from Fort Mason to the Golden Gate Bridge, but couldn’t get the multi-coloured-wild or the last yellow card she needed despite the draw deck apparently being stuffed with them.  In the end, she ran out of time as Black brought the game to a swift end.  In the end, it was a really close.  Black had the most points from placing trains on the board, closely followed by Purple, who was also very close to running out.  Blue had the most completed tickets though so it all came down to the Tourist tokens which meant Black edged it by a single point from Blue with Purple just a couple of points behind that.

Ticket to Ride: San Francisco
– Image by boardGOATS

Ticket to Ride was still going on when people had finished their pizzas, so although Ivory headed home, Plum was tempted to stay for one last game of Draftosaurus.  This was new to Orange, so while Pink set up, Plum explained the rules.  Draftosaurus is similar to games like Sushi Go! or Go Nuts for Donuts except that instead of drafting cards, players draft wooden dino-meeples, which players then place in their Dino Park.  Unfortunately, Orange wasn’t familiar with either of those games, so Plum explained that drafting is where players start with a handful of dino-meeples, take one and pass the rest on.

Draftosaurus
– Image by boardGOATS

So, in Draftosaurus, each player begins the round with a handful of wooden dino-meeples and a player board for their dinosaur amusement park.  Everyone chooses one meeple from their handful to place in their park and passes the rest to the next player.  Each turn, one of the players roll a die which adds a constraint on which pens players can place their dinosaur in.  The different pens have different scoring criteria and some also have restrictions.  The game is played over two rounds, with players passing meeples clockwise in the first round and anti-clockwise in the second, ending with twelve meeples in their park.

Draftosaurus
– Image by boardGOATS

The parks boards are double-sided, but this time the group played just one round on the summer side.  The game rocked along quite nicely, though Plum struggled to find mates for the dinosaurs in her Prairie of Love, while Pink and Orange had fun with the Forest of Sameness and Meadow of Differences (which have to have either all the same or all the different dinosaurs in them).  A few scaly beasties ended up being thrown into the river because of the dice restrictions, but everyone did a good job of picking the right King for their Dino Park.  Orange was king of the King of the Dinosaurs with the most Tyranosaurus rex, but he wasn’t the king of Draftosaurus—that was Pink who finished with thirty-nine points and a lot of Hadrosaurs.

2022 Birthday Cupcakes
– Image by boardGOATS

Learning outcome: It’s great to be ten, but bring on eleven!

Essen 2022

Known to gamers worldwide simply as “SPIEL” or “Essen”, the Internationale Spieltage, the annual German games fair is the largest in Europe and arguably the world.  The fair is of particular significance as many new releases are scheduled to coincide with the event just in time for Christmas sales.  In 2020, like many other events, SPIEL was cancelled.  The online event that replaced it was not as successful, and in 2021 there was a return to the in person fair albeit with restrictions and much smaller than that in 2019.  Today is the first day of this year’s SPIEL which runs from Thursday to Sunday every October.

Essen 2022
– Image from spiel-messe.com

Although many of the Covid restrictions have been lifted, medical grade surgical masks covering mouth and nose are still mandatory for all visitors and exhibitors.  So while SPIEL will likely be larger this year than last, it probably won’t reach pre-pandemic proportions.  The maths trade is back though, a crazy event where hundreds of people agree multiple trades and sales online in advance and then all meet up at 3pm and try to find the people they have made contracts with and make the exchanges.  Remarkably, it works, and very well too, with some people selling hundreds of euros worth of games through this means.

Essen Maths Trade
– Image by Friedhelm Merz Verlag

Despite the number of people involved, the exchanges only take a few minutes and it is usually almost all over in half an hour making it a surprisingly efficient way of making space for the new arrivals.  In addition to the Maths Trade, there will be the usual exhibitors showcasing their wares.  The Spiel des Jahres and Deutscher Spiele Preis winners will also all be available and there will also be lots of games making their SPIEL debut.  These include Uwe Rossenburg’s latest game, Atiwa, and the top of “The Essen Hotness” games:  Tiletum, Revive, Woodcraft, Lacrimosa and Hamlet: The Village Building Game.  Games like Flamecraft, Turing Machine and War of the Ring: The Card Game will be for sale too.

Atiwa
– Image by BGG contributor W Eric Martin

There will be re-implementations, like Richard Breese’s reworking of his 1998 game, Keydom’s Dragons (formerly Keydom), Clever 4Ever (extending Ganz Schön Clever), Skymines (a redevelopment of Mombasa), Amsterdam (formerly Macao) and of course, Ticket to Ride (San Francisco).  Expansions will also be on show for games like The Red Cathedral (Contractors), Galaxy Trucker (Keep on Trucking), Meadow (Downstream), Sagrada (The Great Facades – Glory) and two of our favourites, Viticulture (World) and Wingspan (Asia).  Sadly, no-one from boardGOATS will be there to see them though; maybe next year…

Wingspan: Asia
– Image from stonemaiergames.com