Tag Archives: Moneybags

9th August 2022

Pink, Blue, Orange and Lemon were the first to arrive, very soon followed by Plum and Jade.  While they were waiting for food, the group decided to play a couple of quick games.  First up was Moneybags, a game we played for the first time a few months ago.  This is a very quick social deduction game with a similar premise to Ca$h ‘n Guns:  players are a gang of thieves distributing their loot.  In Moneybags, the “Godfather” first distributes the loot and players then take it in turns to either steal from another player, pass, or close their money bag and recuse themselves from the rest of the game.

Moneybags
– Image by boardGOATS

If a player is robbed, the victim can challenge if they think the thief was too greedy.  If the victim has less than the robber, they win their challenge and take all the money for themselves, otherwise the thief wins and they take all the loot.  After two rounds, the players that have not been eliminated compare the height of their piles of cash, and the one with the tallest stack is the winner.  Pink started sharing out the cash while Blue explained the game.  Blue then started, robbing Pink to demonstrate how it is done.  It wasn’t long before the first player, Plum was eliminated, and everyone really understood how things worked.

Moneybags
– Image by boardGOATS

When she was robbed, Lemon was unlucky to lose her challenge to Orange on a tie leaving only Blue, Pink and Orange left at the end of the round.  It was then a matter of comparing the three stacks to find that Orange was once again involved in a tie, but this time he lost to Pink on the tie-breaker (the winner being the player earliest in the turn-order).  Pink relinquished his right to being the Godfather though and gave it to Orange who filled the money bags for a second round.  Unfortunately, Orange failed to put any coins at all in Plum’s bag and put most of it in Lemon’s and Pink’s.  This made Lemon the first target and Pink the second.

Moneybags
– Image by boardGOATS

Ill-advised challenges left both Lemon and Blue eliminated in the first round and Orange by the end of the second.  Another three way comparison quickly pushed Pink into third leaving a close finish between Plum and Jade with Jade just sneaking in front.  Two games were enough, and Jade suggested the group move on to something new: MANTIS, a game from the same people as Exploding Kittens.  This is a simple set collecting game where, on their turn, players can choose to “Steal” or “Score”.  Players declare their plan (and their victim if they are stealing) before they turn over the top card of the deck.  When Stealing, if the colour matches cards belonging to their victim, then they take the cards and add them, face up to their array.

MANTIS
– Image by boardGOATS

When Scoring, if the colour matches any of their own cards, they turn over the cards and these become points—the first player to ten points is the winner.  While this sounds like pure chance, there is one thing that makes the game less random: the backs of the cards show three colours, one of which is the card colour while the others are red herrings (or herrings of another colour).  So whilst the game isn’t challenging, it rocks along nice and quickly.  Blue took points on her first turn to take an early lead, but everyone else soon caught up and overtook her.

MANTIS
– Image by boardGOATS

Food started to arrive, and everyone tried (and failed) to finish before eating; it took a couple more rounds before Pink scored his tenth point.  It was very close for second with almost everyone else on six or seven, but Orange just nicked it with eight.  While everyone tucked in to their food, the rest of the group arrived.  There was some debate as to who would play the “Feature Game” which was to be Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea, but in the end, Green and Ivory took themselves and the game to the other side of the room to set up a four player game where they were eventually joined by Black and Purple.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

Alubari is a re-implementation of the popular worker-placement game, Snowdonia.  It had been a while since any of the group had played Snowdonia, so they needed a quick refresher of the rules and to learn the new aspects of Alubari. The underlying mechanisms are essentially the same, but it has a slightly smoother feel, and of course, the setting is Darjeeling (in the Indian state of West Bengal).  In this version of the game, players harvest Tea Estates and assist in the building of the Darjeeling and Himalayan Railway, from Siliguri Town to the summit at Ghum.  In addition, players use Chai (made from from harvested tea leaves) which increases the power of their actions.  Like the original game, players take it in turns to place their two workers on the action spaces available on the board.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

Once the workers have been placed, players carry out the actions in action order, that is to say, anyone who has a worker in Action A goes first, with the spaces within each Action numbered and activated in order.  The Actions are:  take Resources from the Stockyard; dig Rubble from the Tea Plantations; convert resources (Iron Ore into Iron Bars, Rubble into Stone or Stone into Rubble); lay Track; build Stations or buy Equipment; take Contract Cards, and finally, harvest Tea leaves or make Chai. Chai is very powerful because players can use it to to get an additional worker for the duration of one round.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

Chai can also be used to enhance actions.  For example, players can normally take three Resources from the Stockyard including one Chai; paying a Chai increases the number of Resources they can take to five with a maximum of two Chai. Some of this mirrors Coal in the original Snowdonia game, but initially, there was a little confusion amongst players over the differences between Tea and Chai.  There is a distinction here between Tea and Chai, with Tea being the raw leaf product (represented in the art by a leaf) and Chai being the refined product (represented by a teapot).  Tea Harvests are shown by a leaf with an arrow which mean players collect Tea leaves equal to the number of tea estates owned by player multiplied by the current value of the Tea Harvest Track.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

The Tea Harvest Track works the same way as the Excavation Work (aka Dig) Rate and the Track Work Rate:  they depend on the Weather.  The back of the contract cards show the weather; at the start of each round the current Weather disk is removed, the other Weather disks shuffled forwards and the empty space filled with a disk that matches the back of the top card in the Contract deck.  Thus, players can see what the weather will do for the next few rounds and use that to plan when to take actions.  In general, the Excavation and Track Work Rates are increased by sun, decreased by rain and Work stops altogether when it is foggy;  in contrast, the Tea Harvest Rate increases with rain, decreases with fog and is unaffected by sun.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

At the start of each round, the Stockyard is refilled with Resources which are drawn blind from a bag.  As well as Iron Ore and Stone, the bag also contains a small amount of Chai and five Event Cubes.  When one of these is drawn, from the bag, the game plays itself according to a Rondel.  This design feature is intended to prevent players from hoarding Resources and thus slowing the game—the fewer Resources there are in the bag, the more likely it is that a white Event Cube will be drawn out.  The Events include Excavate, produce Tea, build Stations and lay Track.  This last is particularly important because the game ends at the end of the round when the final Track space, on the approach to Darjeeling is completed—this could be by a player or an Event.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

Once the rules had been run through, the game got underway.  Right from the outset Black pointed out that it was through Contracts that the big scores were really made. The Contract Cards come in two parts:  a Special Action part and an end game bonus.   The Action can be used in any round, but its use must be declared before any Actions are resolved.  Whether the Action is used or not, players can claim the bonus at the end of the game, and it was these to which Black was referring.  Ivory took note of Black’s advice and very early on went for a hefty contract which would give him forty points if he could get five rail tracks.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

Considering that there are only fifteen tracks in the game, with four players and the game itself sometimes building track through the Events, the Contract for five rail segments looked like a tall order.  However, as nobody was really paying attention to Ivory’s plans, with the help of a Chai super-boost, it proved easier than it should have been.  Aside from that, Ivory, along with Black and Purple began with a fairly typical Snowdonia game approach, collecting building supplies.  Green on the other hand, decided to experiment with the new Tea/Chai mechanisms and started clearing the Tea Estates.  Although Green did get the first Tea Estate, everyone else also got one soon after.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

Green was able to continue this approach though, and by the first Tea Harvest, he had more estates than any one else.  Green was also the first to gain Equipment, going for a simple one, the Chai Boiler, from the Promo Pack, and gained two Chai with it. He was able to use those Chai to boost his later actions.  By halfway through the game he had built up quite a pile of Rubble, and only then realised that he could use this to build Stations.  This wasn’t the only game blunder made with Stations. It was only towards the end of the game that Black suddenly remembered the first town on the map, where players could use Tea leaves to pay to build the Station. The first space only cost three leaves, but gave a whopping twelve points and Purple make use of that as soon as it was pointed out.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

Green took advantage of the Tea/Chai conversion after a very good Harvest, pushing himself to the top of the Chai track. He was then able to get a third worker and boost many of his actions the following round.  Through most of the game Ivory held the start player token, with Green and Black only taking it a couple of times with Ivory taking it back straight away.  The game was building nicely when suddenly, almost out of nowhere, it was over.  There were eight Tracks built when everyone except Purple chose to lay Tracks in the next round.  Green went first.  He needed to build two Tracks for his contract—he had the Steel but the Track Work Rate was one and he had run out of Chai so couldn’t increase it.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

Next was Ivory who did have Chai, which allowed him to build two extra Track sections and he had the Steel to do it enabling him to build three in one go.  Black also had Chai, but only two steel. Seeing that he may not get another chance, he used the Chai, but still needed to lay one more track for his Contract.  So the game had gone from eight Track sections to fourteen in a single turn.  Green was primed to get his second Track section to complete his Contract, but unfortunately for him, the game had other ideas. With three white Event Cubes, the second event was Lay Track triggering the end of the game, but no Track left to be built. From there, it was just the usual calculations with players maximising points with the last workers and Chai.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

Adding up the points, it turned out to be an incredibly close game. Purple and Green were within a whisker of Black who was the runner-up with sixty-nine and a half points (yes, this game does indeed give half points!).  It was Ivory who was the clear winner, however, with his five track Contract that shot his score to the dizzying heights of ninety-six.  In the post game discussion, the group agreed that some of the Chai boosts seemed more powerful than others, and the track laying bonus in particular seemed overly powerful. There also did not seem to be as many Tea Harvests as players expected (only three in the whole game including one from a Contract Card).  This was only one game though and it is highly likely that others will play out quite differently.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
– Image by boardGOATS

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, after a bit of discussion, Blue swapped seats with Lime and he and Pink introduced Orange and Lemon to one of our favourite games:  Ticket to Ride.  We play this quite a bit in lots of different guises, so the plan was to start by playing a short game, the Demo edition, and then play a full sized version.  The game is very straight-forward and the basic play is the same across all editions:  on their turn, players can take train cards, build track by paying train cards, or take tickets which give end-game points.  While the basic mechanisms remain though, the map, the number of train pieces change and some editions add extra little rules.

Ticket to Ride Demo
– Image by boardGOATS

In the first, Demo game (played on the Europe map), Lemon managed to get lots of matching tickets which meant she gave everyone else a bit of a spanking.  Not being a native English speaker, Lemon queried the vernacular at which point Pink tried to explain that it was a sporting term, but everyone else including those on the next table insisted that he should explain it properly with all the meanings.  Lemon and Orange opted to spare his blushes by looking it up, only to blush themselves when they found it.  Much hilarity ensued and was shared with the neighbouring table.

Ticket to Ride Demo
– Image by boardGOATS

After the introductory game, Pink and “the Citruses” moved onto a “full version”, but in an effort to avoid “special rules” the group played a house ruled version of Ticket to Ride: Germany.  This version of the game has its heritage in the Märklin limited edition that was the third game in the series and was published about fifteen years ago. Märklin make model railways, a bit like Hornby, but with German trains.  The Märklin version of Ticket to Ride had special art work with a different Märklin train depicted on each individual card in the deck.  More importantly, however, it introduced a passenger mechanism which made the game considerably more complex than the original.

Ticket to Ride: Märklin
– Image by boardGOATS

With the Märklin edition sold out, about ten years ago, Days of Wonder (presumably reluctant to renew the license for the Märklin branding) re-released the game for the German and Austrian market as Zug um Zug: Deutschland.  This was a simpler version that used the same map, but without the passengers, although the 1902 expansion was released a a couple of years later to reintroduce them with a new, simpler mechanism.  A few years after that, about five years ago, the German game was released for the worldwide market including both the Deutschland base game and the 1902 expansion—the only difference was the omission of two tickets.

Ticket to Ride: Germany
– Image by boardGOATS

It was this newest Germany version of the game that the group played.  However, although the variant includes the passenger mechanism and there is no official variant in the rules “as written” to remove them, in order to keep things simple, the group omitted that part of the game, effectively playing Zug um Zug: Deutschland.  The game had just begun, when three rounds in, Pine arrived.  The others offered to include him, but he declined and, as a result, he didn’t play anything at all, all evening.  He did manage to recount the infamous game when he and Pink gave Blue and Burgundy a spanking over the Heart of Africa map as they got stuck in the middle blocking each other.

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 – The Heart of Africa
– Image by boardGOATS

The German version has two types of ticket:  long tickets (brown backed) and short tickets (blue backed).  At the start of the game, players choose four in any combination of the two types, but must first announce what combination of Tickets they are drawing.  Pink went for an almost exclusively long (brown) ticket strategy which he achieved with varied success, while the others went for a mixed ticket approach.  There was a little difficulty reading the tickets as the game uses a slightly gothic font which can be a little difficult to read, especially for those who’d forgotten their glasses.

Ticket to Ride: Germany
– Image by boardGOATS

Both Lemon and Lime claimed the long train line from Berlin to Hamburg which give them eighteen points, the equivalent of a long ticket.  And tickets were very important this time.  Pink began completing routes from Kiel to Switzerland and France (via Bremen and Köln) before taking more tickets.  To fulfill these, he extended his network to Hamburg in the north, but failed to get to Karlsruhe in the south which cost him eighteen points in failed tickets.  The game can be played in a relatively friendly way, or aggressively with players trying to shut each other out.  We play in the more self-focused, less confrontational way, so failed tickets are normally relatively unusual, as such, this game was remarkable in that it was a bit of a tale of missed tickets.

Ticket to Ride: Germany
– Image by boardGOATS

In addition to Pink, Orange was particularly unfortunate this time, failing to complete any tickets as he was unintentionally badly blocked.  The game was ended somewhat unexpectedly by Lime, partly because he picked up the long route (suddenly depleting his supply of trains), but mostly because people weren’t paying attention to the number of trains he had left.  He was more fortunate in his ticket draws as well and that contributed to his hundred and fifty-four points and him giving everyone else a serious trouncing (another word for Orange and Lemon to look up).  Lemon was the best of the rest finishing with ninety, over sixty points behind Lime.

Ticket to Ride: Germany
– Image by boardGOATS

While everyone else was playing with trains, on the next table, Jade introduced Lilac and Blue to his new acquisition that he picked up from UK Games Expo back in June, Old London Bridge.  This is a fairly typical Queen Games game, with lots of pieces, but not too challenging—just what everyone wanted on a warm night.  The game is set in 1136 after the great wooden bridge across the Thames was been consumed by fire.  Players are architects, each responsible for designing and building one section of the new bridge.  On their turn, players add one of the available buildings to their bridge section.  Each building has three attributes:  Location, Colour and Number.

Old London Bridge
– Image by boardGOATS

There are six different types of building, each with a special “power”.  Thus, Haberdashers allow players to take money, the Purple Chapel buildings allow players to move along the associated track etc..  The colour is important because if that colour matches other buildings already on their bridge, they get a boost—for example, if a player takes a blue Haberdasher building, and already has two other blue buildings, they get to do that action effectively three times, taking three times as much money.  Finally, buildings must be built in descending Number order—to reset, players have to build a park, which has no additional “power”.

Old London Bridge
– Image by boardGOATS

There are six building spaces on a central Rondel, each associated with a different pile of buildings and each with a money bonus that changes as the Rondel rotates at the start of each round.  Each Rondel space can only hold one player’s marker, thus each building type can only be built once per round.  One space is always deactivated (which one also changes as the Rondel moves), but the seventh space, the centre of the of the Rondel costs money, but allows players to take any building, including one that is currently unavailable (either because it has already been taken or was deactivated at the start of the round).

Old London Bridge
– Image by boardGOATS

Each round, players bid with Character Cards to see who gets to choose a building first.  Character Cards which have a numerical value, zero to four.  Where there is a tie, it is broken by players’ respective positions on the Purple Chapel track. Players start with a hand of Character Cards, but can add to these by building a Hostelry building—the higher the power, the more powerful the cards they can take.  At the end of the game, the players get bonus points depending on the value of the Characters they have left over.  In addition to the Haberdasher, the Hostelry and the Parks there are also two types of buildings in the Bridge Gate:  Purple Chapel Buildings and Red Gatehouse Buildings.

Old London Bridge
– Image by boardGOATS

Each of the Bridge Gate buildings have a track associated with them.  During the game, passing milestones on these tracks give money and break ties (Chapel Track) or give special tokens that allow players to bend the rules (Gatehouse Track).  Additionally, players get bonus points at the end of the game depending on their final position on these tracks.  The final building type is the Guild House.  These have no action associated with them, but are “Colour wild”, featuring all four colours, and as such, they boost every other building type.  At the end of the game, players add their residual money to bonus points for their finishing position on the Bridge Gate tracks, for unused Characters, and for having the fullest bridge (if a player can’t obey the Number rules, they may have been unable to build a building).

Old London Bridge
– Image by boardGOATS

Jade had only just started explaining the rules, when Plum announced that she had a “new religion”—Kittens, and shared photos.  From this point forward, every pause in the game became a “Kitty Paws” and was punctuated by more increasing levels of cuteness—definitely an improvement on the stuffed Pandas from last time.  Despite the undeniable distractions, everyone was still able to focus on the game and proceedings weren’t slowed at all.  Plum seemed to amass a vast amount of money in no time at all and after making a mess of her first turn, Blue got lots of orange buildings and lots of cards but was very slow to make any progress on the Purple Chapel track and lost every tie-breaker she was involved in as a result.

Plum's Kitty
– Image by Plum

Lilac was the first to run out of Character Cards and therefore ended up relying on her position on the Chapel track to ensure she didn’t get left with Hobson’s Choice every time.  In this she was helped by Jade who also ran out of cards.  Although Blue’s forest of Orange buildings meant she could get a lot each turn, her choice was often to do something she wanted but not get much of it, or take yet another orange building and to do something she didn’t really want and rely on probability to even things out in the end.  Things didn’t really even out, and as a result, Blue ended up with a lot of Character Cards.  Everyone else went for a much more balanced strategy focusing on one or two or maybe three Colours.  And Plum’s pile of loot grew ever larger.

Old London Bridge
– Image by boardGOATS

Towards the end of the game, Jade put on a massive spurt along the Red Gatehouse track and collected some Character Cards, while Blue finally made a move along the Purple Chapel track.  As a result, Jade who had led the Purple Chapel track for most of the game was pipped by Blue, and Blue who’d held a massive lead on the Red Gatehouse track was edged out by Jade.  Plum finished with the most cash with thirty, but in the end was only slightly ahead of Lilac and Jade.  Lilac who had just quietly got on with her game was the only player to fill all the spaces on her Bridge, despite running out of cards. In the ranking for players with the most buildings, there was a tie for second place.

Old London Bridge
– Image by boardGOATS

Initially, the tie was resolved as a friendly tie with both Plum and Jade getting three points for their second place and Blue taking one.  On reading the rules later, it turned out that end-game ties are also broken by position on the Purple Chapel track, giving Jade three points and Plum one.  In general, bonus points are actually much less significant than money.  This is because money is absolute and turned directly into points, but the bonuses only reflect placings (not how successful someone is);  the bonuses therefore have a maximum of five points in each case whereas players can finish with as much money as they can.

Old London Bridge
– Image by boardGOATS

In this case, however, it was very close for second place and the tie break for that bonus turned out to be critical:  Plum beat Jade on the friendly ties, but positions were reversed with the tie breaker from the rules as written.  Old London Bridge also includes alternate bonus conditions and had even one of these been in use, then the scores could have been quite different. There was no question about the winner though:  throughout, Lilac had just quietly got on with her own game doing everything well.  She was the only one to finish with all twelve buildings, finished with almost as much money as Plum, and had made good progress on both the Bridge Gate tracks.  With a final score of thirty-eight points, she was four points clear of whoever took second.  With time for just a few more “kitty pictures”, people started heading home.

Plum's Other Kitty
– Image by Plum

Learning Outcome:  Everyone Likes Train Games, and Kittens.

17th May 2022

Black and Purple were first to arrive this week, but Pink and Blue were not far behind, and once food had been ordered, there was just time for a quick game of Love Letter to commemorate its recent tenth anniversary.  We used to play this quick little filler game quite a bit, but that fell victim to the global pandemic and, as a result, it’d been a while since anyone round the table had played it.  Played with just sixteen cards, the game is really simple, but is a great way to kill a few minutes.  The idea is that each player starts with one card, and on their turn draw a second from the deck and play one of the two.

Love Letter
– Image by boardGOATS

Each card has a number and an action or effect.  The actions range from number one, the Guard, which allows the player to guess what character card a player is holding and “assassinate” them if correct, to number eight, the Princess, who will win the game for the player holding it at the end, but lose it for them if they are forced to discard it before then. There was just time for three rounds before food arrived.  Black took the first round and Pink the second.  Pink then recused himself as he went to chat to some of the locals about Jubilee plans leaving Black, Purple and Blue to fight it out with Blue taking the final point.

Love Letter
– Image by boardGOATS

With the arrival of Pine and Lime, the group went on to play Moneybags, which had been the “Feature Game” a couple of weeks ago.  The idea of this is that, on their turn, players have to decide whether to rob another player’s hessian sack of gold or not.  Critically, however, they must not be too greedy.  This is because the victim can challenge the thief, and if the thief is found to have more than the victim, the victim takes the lot, but that makes them more of a target as now everyone else knows how much they have…

Moneybags
– Image by boardGOATS

This time, the game did not go according to plan.  Black played the Godfather and divvied up the loot.  Purple robbed Pine, who promptly challenged and won a huge pile of gold.  As it was his turn next, after lots of advice from everyone else, he closed his bag and stepped out.  Then Blue challenged Black and won, knocking him out too.  Although it was close between Pine and Blue, much closer than most people thought it would be, Pine’s huge stash won out.  The moral of this story is to rob someone before you in the turn order otherwise, if they challenge and win, they can kill the game by closing their bag.

Moneybags
– Image by boardGOATS

This week, the “Feature Game” was the Arts and Architecture expansion to Tapestry, which is something that Ivory in particular, had been waiting ages to play.  We wanted to give others an opportunity to play the base game first and then the (slightly less complex) Plans and Ploys expansion, which got an outing a few weeks ago.  That was enjoyed by everyone involved, so it was now time to add the second expansion.  The base game is simple in terms of what you do, but playing well is much more difficult.  The idea is that there are four advancement tracks:  Science, Technology, Exploration and Military, and on their turn, the active player progresses along one of these taking the actions for the space they land on.

Tapestry
– Image by boardGOATS

In general, players must pay resources to carry out actions and, in some cases, may pay more to carry out a bonus action.  The first player to progress along each of the tracks receives a building as they pass landmark spaces, which those players then add to their city.  Filling rows and columns of their city gives additional resources and as these are scarce, the extras can be invaluable.  Players can focus on a specific track or take a more balanced approach, but this decision is often driven by starting Civilisations which give players a special and unique ability.  Coupling the Civilisation with the right strategy is often the difference between success and failure.

Tapestry
– Image by boardGOATS

When players run out of resources, they can instead take income which means players move on to the next round at different times.  The Arts and Architecture expansion provides more civilizations, tapestry cards, technology cards and capital city plans.  The biggest change, however, is the addition of a new advancement track featuring new Art or Masterpiece cards and tiles and, of course, associated Landmark miniatures.  Each Income phase, players can activate their masterpiece power and get the benefit shown, typically resources or points allowing players to prolong their turns further, but like the Technologies, they are really a long term investment.

Tapestry: Arts & Architecture
– Image by boardGOATS

Green and Teal joined Ivory in what was a Tapestry rematch of the last game and, in addition to the Arts and Architecture expansion also included the Plans & Ploys expansion. Each player received a standard capital city and an expansion capital city, but everyone decided to try the new ones to add variety to the game.  For the Civilisations, in an effort to ensure things were balanced, the up-to-date starting adjustments were used, and players chose:

  • Craftsmen (Ivory), which gave him a new board to place his income buildings on for extra bonuses;
  • Historians (Teal), which enabled him to choose a player each round, and when that player placed a special building, Teal would gain extra resources;
  • Architects (Green), which gave his income rows double points scoring under certain conditions.
Tapestry
– Image by boardGOATS

Green’s Civilisation did not last beyond his first income phase, however, as he played the Plague Tapestry card which allowed him to draw a new one. This new one, Entertainers, gave him an extra bonus track to follow each income phase.  Ivory made his intentions clear by moving up the new purple Arts track and gained a couple of special Arts cards.  Green followed him, but also spread a bit more onto the Technology track for a Technology card.   It was Ivory who was first to take an income phase, but as he had not explored the Technology track he did not have a Technology to upgrade on his first income.  Ivory did have a couple of Arts cards to provide him with a nice little bonus though.

Tapestry: Plans and Ploys
– Image by boardGOATS

Teal went a different route and travelled up the Explore track and expanded his island.  The resources he gained on the way enabled him to take his first income much later than the others.  This pattern of Teal taking income last remained in play to the end of the game. Green took the second income first, and Ivory switched back to first for the third income. It was Ivory who took his final income first, closely followed by Green leaving Teal to play on his own at the end.  By this time, Ivory had collected all the Arts buildings, completed both the Arts and Science tracks and expanded his empire by three more hexes.

Tapestry: Arts & Architecture
– Image by boardGOATS

Ivory had also collected three Arts cards and replaced two of his income scoring tracks. He had only placed two income buildings on his Civilisation card, but had mostly completed his capital city (including a massive seven special buildings), but had only one, solitary technology card.  Teal had completed the Explore track, although two of his space hexes were very poor scoring for him, and had not progressed at all on the Arts track. His empire was seven hexes in size, including the one in the centre of the territory. He had also collected six special buildings on his way, but no Technology at all.

Tapestry: Arts & Architecture
– Image by boardGOATS

Green managed to complete the Arts and Technology track, choosing to travel up the Arts again for his technology completion bonus. He did not expand his empire at all, although he had grown the islands a little. He finished with four Arts cards and three Technology cards, but only five special buildings.  In the final scoring  Green finished with a personal best of two hundred and ninety-three points, beating the hitherto invincible Ivory who “only” managed two hundred and fifty-one, some way ahead of Teal.  Part of the reason for this was that Teal did not place his last player cube choice from his civilisation on his penultimate income.

Tapestry: Arts & Architecture
– Image by boardGOATS

This was because the game ended in a bit of a rush because time was getting on and Teal unfortunately didn’t thought the others wouldn’t get any more buildings.  As a result he missed out on a few free resources in the final round and even a few resources can make a huge difference. As ever it is difficult to find the right balance in Tapestry as players need to both specialise and be a Jack of all trades, which is very hard to do.  Although the game took longer as a result of the expansions, all three liked the added enhancements and would be keen to play again with all the extras.

Tapestry: Arts & Architecture
– Image by boardGOATS

Meanwhile, on the the other side of the room, Lime was introducing Black, Lilac and Pine to Die Wandelnden Türme, a recently released, curious little family game.  The idea is that players start with a handful of Wizards placed on top of the little Towers around the board, and a hand of three cards.  On their turn, the active player plays a card which allows them to move one of their Wizards a set number of spaces forward, or move a tower a set number of spaces.  When Towers move, they take any resident Wizards with them but can also land on top of another Tower and trap any pieces that were on the roof.  A player that catches other pieces in this way gets to fill a Potion Flask.  They can then spend the Potions to cast spells.

Die Wandelnden Türme
– Image by boardGOATS

In the base game the spells available are “move a Wizard one space forward” or “move a Tower two spaces forward”, but others are available and change the feel of the game a little.  Players are trying to land all their Wizards in the black, Raven Castle and fill all their Potion Flasks—when someone succeeds, that triggers the end of the game.  It is a fun and entertaining game where players Wizards get variously trapped and if they have a bad memory, can find they lose them in the circus of dancing towers.  And that is exactly what happened to poor Pine.  His Wizards disappeared and every time he uncovered where he thought they were, he discovered they weren’t.

Die Wandelnden Türme
– Image by boardGOATS

In the end it was a tie between Lime and Black, but it had been a lot of fun, and Pink in particular was watching with envious eyes from the next table as he’d read about the game in the Spielbox magazine and fancied giving it a go.  While eying up the Wizards, Pink was playing Calico with Purple and Blue.  This is another game that is new to the group, although it was released a couple of years ago.  It has a similar feel to Patchwork, the popular two-player tile-laying game about designing quilts, though the games are by different designers.  The most obvious difference is that Patchwork is a Tetris-like game with polyomino tiles, where all the tiles in Calico are regular hexagons.

Calico
– Image by boardGOATS

On their turn, the active player chooses a patch tile from their hand of two, and sews it into their quilt, before replenishing their hand.  If they complete a colour group with that tile, they can add a button to their quilt; if they create a pattern group that is attractive to a cat, it will come over and sit on their quilt.  At the end of the game, when the quilt is finished, players score for buttons, cats, and their own personal target.  In reality, the theme is a bit “pasted on”, but the pieces are nice, and make what is otherwise a bit of a brain-burny abstract a little more accessible.  Purple and Pink struggled with the puzzly nature of the game at the beginning, where Blue got a better start.

Calico
– Image by boardGOATS

Achieving the personal targets is difficult—these specify the number of different tiles that should surround a particular tile.  For example, the goal tile AA-BB-CC scores when surrounded by three different colours, or three different patterns, with two matching tiles in each colour/pattern.  Successfully fulfilling a target with both the colour and the pattern scores more points, but is significantly more difficult.  Despite explaining this to Purple in her rules outline and saying she had decided to give up on the extras, Blue somehow got lucky and was able to fulfill two of private goals with both the colour and the pattern.  With lots of buttons and cats, it was a bit of a runaway victory for Blue, but it was very close for second, with Pink just edging it.

Calico
– Image by boardGOATS

Die Wandelnden Türme finished first, so the foursome scratched about for something else to play and settled on The Game.  This is a simple cooperative game that was one of Burgundy‘s favourites.  The team have a deck of cards numbered from two to ninety-nine (in our case, from a copy of The Game: Extreme, but ignoring the special symbols), and they must play each card on one of four piles.  For two piles where the card played must be higher than the top card, and for two it must be lower.  There are just three rules:  on their turn, the active player can play as many cards as they like (obeying the rules of the four piles), but must play at least two cards before replenishing their hand, and players can say anything they like but must not share “specific number information”.

The Game
– Image by boardGOATS

Finally, there is the so-called “Backwards Rule” where players can reverse a deck as long as the card they play is exactly ten above or below the previous card played on that pile.  The game ends when, either all the cards have been played onto the four piles, or a player cannot play a card.  This time, things went wrong from the start and unusually, kept going wrong, so much so that there were still two cards left in the deck when the group could no-longer play.  Lilac ducked out and Pine, Lime and Black gave it a second try, but the end result was not much better.  Clearly the group keenly felt the loss of Burgundy’s special skills.

– Image by boardGOATS

While they played their second game of The Game, Calico came to an end, and Lilac joined Purple, Pink and Blue for a game of Sushi Go!, the archetypal “card drafting” game.  Players start with a hand of seven cards, and choose one to keep, passing the rest on to the player on their left. Players repeat this with the aim of the game being to end up with the set of cards that score the most points. The game is played over three rounds with the player with the highest total winning.  This time, the game was interrupted by an arrival, one some people had been waiting all evening for.  The “special guest” was the new resident at the pub, a gorgeous black Labrador puppy by the name of Winston.

Sushi Go!
– Image by boardGOATS

The game decidedly played second fiddle when cuddles were on offer.  Despite the distraction of Winston, or perhaps because of his help, Blue, who is usually appalling at this game, somehow managed to make two solid rounds.  Pink did the same in the first and third rounds, while Purple and Lilac were more consistent over the three rounds.  Purple finished with the most puddings, and Pink and Lilac shared the penalty for having the least.  Those penalty points made all the difference as Blue pipped Pink to the post.  And as Tapestry had also finished and Pink had finished admiring Teal’s copy of Root, it was time for all little puppies to go to bed.

Winston
– Image by boardGOATS

Learning Outcome: It’s hard to specialise and be a “Jack of all trades” simultaneously.

3rd May 2022

Like the last few games nights, this one started with Pink and Blue playing the deck-shedding game, Abandon All Artichokes.  This is a very simple game where players start with a deck of ten artichoke cards from which they draw a hand of five, then, on their turn, they take one card from the face up market, play as many cards as they can, before discarding their hand to their personal discard pile.  If, on drawing their new hand of five cards they have no artichokes, the game ends and they win.  In the first couple of games a few weeks back, Pink struggled somehow, and Blue won.

Abandon All Artichokes
– Image by boardGOATS

Then Pink got the hang of it, and won several games on the trot, but this time it was Blue’s turn to finally get back on terms, just before supper arrived.  They were just finishing when Black and Purple, and then Teal arrived.  Although it was still very early, it was a perfect opportunity to play the “Feature Game” as it was Moneybags, a quick little social deduction, filler game. The premise is similar to that of Ca$h ‘n Guns, where players are thieves dividing up the spoils from a robbery, stealing from each other and generally trying to deceive everyone so that they come out on top.

Moneybags
– Image by boardGOATS

In Moneybags, one player takes the role of the Godfather, divides the loot “evenly” amongst the players’ small hessian sacks.  Holding only the top of their sack, each player takes it in turns to Pass, Stick, or Rob another player.  Pass and Stick are simple actions (pass and remain in the game, pass and stick with the total in their sack so they can neither Rob nor be Robbed), but Rob is the interesting one.  The active player can Rob any other player that is still “in”, taking some or none of the loot from their sack.  The thief mustn’t be too greedy, however, as the victim can challenge—the protagonists compare their loot and the one with the largest stack loses, the winner takes all the loot and the loser is eliminated.

Moneybags
– Image by boardGOATS

After two turns round the table, the game ends with the Godfather (or arguably Godmother), taking their second turn.  The winner is the player with the most loot.  Moneybags can be played over three rounds, though like Saboteur it is probably best when one round is considered “the game” rather than playing in campaign mode.  Pink started as the Godfather and divvied up the money.  In addition to coins, there is also a Diamond in the loot; this is worth roughly ten coins. When comparing spoils, the coins are stacked with the Diamond placed on top so that the tallest stack loses when Robbed or wins at the end of the game.  The Diamond is comparatively light, so it adds a little bit of additional ambiguity to the proceedings.

Moneybags
– Image by boardGOATS

Pink, made a point of taking note of where the Diamond went and then stole it back later in the game giving him the first round, slightly ahead of Teal in second.  Lime arrived during towards the end of the game, so the rules were explained to him.  Then Ivory joined the party so Blue swapped out and gave him a quick summary as well, while Purple, as Godmother, divided up the spoils.  With a slightly better idea of how the game played, the second round went even better with more players Robbing and challenging each other.  As a result, the Diamond went round the table several times.  There was much hilarity as players tried to guess how much cash people had, and Pink showed his age when he commented that someone’s stash “chinked like a bus conductor’s money bag”.

Moneybags
– Image by boardGOATS

Once again, the Godparent finished with the Diamond, but Purple had very little cash to go with it and therefore only made third place.  This time the winner was Ivory, in a very, very tight finish, just ahead of Black.  It had been a lot of fun and although we could easily have played another round or two, we also wanted to play some longer games.  Moneybags fills a similar role to 6 Nimmt! though, so it will get another outing soon.  In the meantime, Viticulture (Essential Edition), Roll for the Galaxy, and Brass: Birmingham were all suggested for the next game, but Pink always loves playing Viticulture and Teal has been keen for a while, so Ivory took them off to play that while the others decided what to play.

Viticulture
– Image by boardGOATS

Viticulture is a worker placement game where players plant and harvest grapes, make them into wine and fulfill contracts to get points.  The first player to reach twenty points triggers the end of the game, and at the winner is the player with the most points at the end of that round.  Although Viticulture is not particularly novel or innovative, it is widely respected as one of the best worker placement games around, succeeding in being both smooth to play and relatively easy to learn, though it takes real skill to be good at it.  This time, everyone sold land to fund worker training; although we haven’t done this when we played previously, it would seem to be an accepted tactic in most games now.

Viticulture
– Image by boardGOATS

At the start of the game, players get choice of a couple of “Mama” and “Papa” cards (taking one of each)—these give people starting resources, workers, money, Visitor cards or a starting building.  Pink took a Trellis from his Mama card which meant he could just plant grapes that needed a Trellis and not worry about building any cultivation infrastructure.  The others prioritised money. Playing two worker cards at the same time (using the on-board bonus) was a popular.  Though it required care not to overrate the feature and wind up playing some slightly naff workers, when perhaps it might have been better to wait until the next round.

Viticulture
– Image by boardGOATS

The grey, extra-worker meeple was also popular, with players seemingly happy to be last in the turn order if that meant they got an extra “turn”.  Although everyone had played the game before (though Teal only online), there were some rules that needed “ironing out” as years of playing with the Tuscany expansion meant that Pink had forgotten many of the differences between that and the base game (Tuscany will get an outing as the “Feature Game” in a few weeks). The game was brought to an unexpected (and obviously skillful) conclusion by Teal, who finished the game just before Ivory and Pink had the chance to deploy their big scores.

Viticulture
– Image by boardGOATS

On the next table, Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest got a second outing, largely as Black and Lime had missed out last time, but also as Purple and Blue had enjoyed it.  This is also a fairly simple game to play, with a lot of depth.  Players start with the same hand of Character cards chosen from a larger deck.  This provides a lot of variability, while also ensuring that nobody has an advantage caused by random card draw.  The cards are numbered from one to forty, each with different actions—some daytime, some dusk, and some nighttime.  The idea is that everyone simultaneously chooses a card to play, then the cards are activated in ascending order during the day, descending order at dusk and simultaneously at night.

Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest
– Image by boardGOATS

Some of the cards can have a huge impact on other players’ games.  For example, the Brute causes the highest value card in play to be discarded, which means the player that played that card doesn’t get actions on that round.  In addition to night time actions, any players whose characters survive the day, also get to take some loot, if there is enough available of course.  Some of the loot is extremely valuable, some of it can be used to assassinate other Characters and and some can be more of a curse than an advantage.  As a result, rounds can go well or badly.

Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest
– Image by boardGOATS

The game is played over three voyages, lasting four, five and six days respectively.  At the end of each voyage, players bank their takings and are paid a small amount based on their reputation at the start of the next round, which then acts as their kitty.  This time, Blue had an appalling first round.  This meant she was some twenty to thirty doubloons behind the others from the start, but also meant that when when others threatened, she was able to point to her lack of funds and how she was “not the threat”.  In contrast, Lime took an early lead and therefore attracted a lot of hostility, missing a lot of turns as a result.

Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest
– Image by boardGOATS

By the start of the final voyage, Blue was still some way behind, but hadn’t given up, Purple was fighting to get to the front, Lime was getting a bit fed up of being picked on and Black knew he was likely to be next in line.  It was all to play for, especially as the final voyage is the longest so players have time to plan and work card combinations.  Blue managed an amazing final round and nearly made it in what was a very tight finish—she ended just two doubloons behind Lime and Black who tied with eighty-six.  Lime could have won outright if he had played his Captain in the final round, but as it was, Black’s Aristocrat left him third on the Reputation track, one place ahead of Lime, giving him victory on the tie-breaker.

Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest
– Image by boardGOATS

Remarkably, Viticulture had finished first, so after discussing and admiring Roll for the Galaxy and comparing it with Race for the Galaxy (which Teal was more familiar with), the trio squeezed in a quick game of Love Letter.  This is a super-quick micro card game played with just sixteen cards that celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.  When it was first released it was very innovative, but since has inspired a lot of similar games, it is still great in its own right, as a simple, quick filler though.  The idea is players are trying to finish with the highest ranking card, so on their turn, they take a card from the deck adding it to their hand, then play one of their two cards.

Love Letter
– Image by boardGOATS

Each card has a rank, but also an action that takes effect when played.  For example, these allow players to look at others’ cards, force others to discard their card, or make them compare cards with the lowest being eliminated.  The last player standing wins the round, the first to three is the winner of the game.  This time, Pink and Ivory got their revenge on Teal for ending Viticulture too soon.  Between them, they shared the five rounds, with Pink just taking the balance and with it, victory as Libertalia and the evening as a whole, came to an end.

Love Letter
– Image by boardGOATS

Learning Outcome:  There’s no such thing as honour amongst thieving gamers.