Boardgaming Memories…… First month of Boardgame Club

9 08 2015

I’ve just rediscovered a Geeklist I made back in 2008 on BoardGameGeek, tracking my first games played after joining Brighton Boardgame Club. Unfortunately, we can no longer attend the club due to time commitments, but it’s been great reading back on my comments as I began to get into the world of strategy board games which Gamleys, Woolworths and Toys ‘r’ Us had prevented us from seeing.

Here’s the Geeklist. Despite naively thinking they wouldn’t, my thoughts on Catan certainly have changed! Exposure to many, many more games since then certainly opens the eyes!


Missing (not) in Action

24 11 2012

Just a quick note to apologise for lack of action this last week or two. Having caught the ‘lurgy’ I’ve been away from gaming and most other activities not involving rest and beds, but will get back in the swing of things forthwith!

Am looking forward to a Skype gaming session with our Peterborough friends tomorrow evening so will post details following. This will be to show that geographic distance shouldn’t be a barrier to getting your game on!

leider / malheureusement / desafortunadamente

8 11 2012

This post is a brief Unfortunate-fortunate-unfortunate sandwich.

1) Unfortunately, due to late work, etc, we couldn’t make our regular Thursday boardgame evening with the Saltdean/Seaford group 😦

2) Fortunately, my wife suggested a game of something to keep us going! We decided on Ted Alspach’s Suburbia. Yippee!

3) Unfortunately, she won by a massive score! I think I know where I went wrong but will post details of the session soon.

Ps: it feels like a great game and fits 2 players very well! But, like I say, more soon!


Tokaido: A walk on the gentle side

3 11 2012

Age: 8+
Players: 2-5 players
Duration: 45 minutes

The man behind boardgaming hits such as 7 Wonders and Ghost Stories, Antoine Bauza, revealed a much more genteel game at Essen 2012: Tokaido.
This game was high on the ‘want’ list for many Essen-goers and I’m sure the gloriously beautiful artwork by French artist Naïade played a keen part in this.

The game sees 2-5 players embarking on the ancient journey to Edo and are trying to make this as pleasurable a journey as can be. They do this by virtue of making various ‘stops’ along the way. This can be to sample hot springs, to make donations at local temples, to sample the wonderful panoramic views, eat tasty meals at the many inns, buy souvenirs or simply have encounters which bring a variety of benefits. These benefits bring either VIPs, coins and/or can contribute to bonus VIPs at game end.

Beautiful board/art/pieces

One of the game’s strengths is the turn order mechanism. There is no ‘follow clockwise around the table’ to be found. Quite simply, the player who is furthest back on the path to Edo is the player whose turn is next. This brings us to the next mechanic of how far along the road a player may move. Again, in a twist, a player can move as far along the road they want (at least until the next inn).

Rushing ahead has a variety of benefits, such as enabling players to have the best pick of the options available on that section of the road, and can guarantee a spot rather than get blocked out. Reaching the inn first also gives access to the widest choice of meals. However, the player who jumps ahead will miss out on many of the other delights to be had. Also, the mechanics mentioned previously will result in the players further behind being able to mop up everything that was left behind. If these players are quite far back then it will be quite a wait until that player gets another turn. So there’s a balance to be had. Does slow and steady win the race, or does he who snooze, lose?

Each player also has a choice of two characters at the start of the game who offer a special ability to that player only, such as discounted meals or souvenirs.

Game artist Naïade illustrating copies of the box at Essen Spiel 2012

Player interaction isn’t high in this game. Other than blocking spaces you can see your opponents may want, or reaching spaces before they do in order to claim bonuses, there are no attacking options to harm other players. However, the game doesn’t set itself out to be that type of game. It is all about the journey.

For gamers who are after ‘meat’ they will find this game doesn’t have it. Everything is light, gentle and you won’t find yourself spending ages deliberating your next move. The game’s age range and playing time recommendations back this up (8+ and 45minutes respectively).

We have played this 4 times now: once as a 2-player, twice as a 4-player and once as a 5-player. In the 2-player game you play with an Alhambra-esque ‘Dirk’-type 3rd player who is controlled by the player farthest along the road. We didn’t find this worked badly at all.
In each of the games, one of the concerns has been that there wasn’t much of an urge to forge ahead and skip places, so most players felt that choosing the next space (or 2) ahead of them was the only viable option to take. Which in fact, felt like it amounted to a lack of choice. Many found the bonus values in each area (3pts) were not significant enough to encourage them to skip ahead to complete panoramas, etc. Out of the many players, one said that they never wanted to play again, but in contrast, there were others who were very much looking forward to doing so.

All that being said, there is no doubt to the appeal of the game. In Essen, the game had many many pre-orders and sold out during the show. We found that there was always a large gathering at the FunForge stand, and indeed, back at the hotel after the show, we had plenty of people show an interest when we were playing.

For me, it is a game I will definitely keep as I had fun playing it and I think it shows off the hobby in a good light. I believe it will be one of the gateway games I will turn to to help introduce new people to the world of non-mainstream games.

If ever the world runs out of Enigma songs, joss sticks or herbal oils, there’s always Tokaido to turn to for some gentle relaxation!

Game in play

3 11 2012

Interesting read from a game designer who attended Essen Spiel 2012.

The Opinionated Gamers

„Most of the public doesn’t know the other side of Essen,“ reflected Michael as he, Bernd and I compared our own conversations with those we’d had with other fair attendees.  Bernd was managing his Irongames booth again, content to sell remaining stock of his previous releases along with some new expansions for those games.  Michael was collecting games from publishers for the library at his Spielwiese gaming cafe.  And I was rolling  my carry-on suitcase full of prototypes through the crowds from one appointment with publishers to the other.

There really are two sides to the fair, and it is difficult to experience each one equally.  Last year was my first time here, and I chose to see it from the perspective of an attendee.  I had a great time bumping into well-known game designers, meeting many gaming jounalists and bloggers for the first time, and seeing friends from other…

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Card City Expansions?

31 10 2012


I just noticed the innocuous-looking ‘1’ on the side of the Card City box. This doesn’t appear on the box front. I’m assuming this means this is likely to either have expansions in the future, or will be #1 in a series of games by the author/publisher. “Curiouser and Curiouser,” said Alice….

Welcome to my boardgaming blog, and my 1st post

28 10 2012

Welcome to my first blog!
This one will concentrate mainly on my love for, and playing of, boardgames.
I was going to say that I can’t believe how many people think boardgames are purely those seen on the shelves of Toys’R’Us or Tesco, etc. You know, Monopoly, Cluedo, Scrabble, for example.

However, I know that I also held that opinion until a few years ago, when my wife and I first noticed a strange-looking game appearing halfway up the stairs of our local Borders bookshop….

It was still half a year before we took the plunge and bought the game in the blue box (It was still in the same location!). The game was called Carcassonne. There were no dice. There wasn’t a board to move from start to finish upon.

Little did we realise that this little game would lead us to railway clubs, people’s homes, scout huts and even to Essen, Germany!

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