Thursday, October 5

Session Report: Games Night

Last night I organised a games night at my house. Beforehand I managed to get three more Border Reivers boxes finished off. In the end only Roman could make it to the games night, so we played a shed-load of 2-player games.

Don't tell The Wife, but on Monday I bought a new game: Lost Cities by Reiner Knizia. We started off with this as it's a nice quick game that we could play while (vainly) waiting to see if anyone else was coming. As usual with the first game, the person who had never played before ending up with a negative score (Roman -9, Me 13), but Roman is one of those people who can sit down to a game he's never played before and very quickly determine a winning strategy. Roman really enjoyed Lost Cities, so we ended up playing the best of five, with Roman winning three games to two. In the second game Roman got a huge score, while I struggled to get a positive one (Roman 62, me 16). The third game also went Roman's way, but by a closer margin (Roman 36, me 31). In the fourth game I foolishly decided to play all five expeditions, and near the end of the game I knew I was going to struggle to play the cards I needed to make them score positively. Then I realised that I could drag the game out by drawing discarded cards rather than from the deck - I'd never thought of that before. I ended up winning that game, clawing back some self-respect (Roman 15, me 20). Considering I'd played all five colours I was pleased to get a positive score, let alone win. Roman won the last game comfortably, also using the drag-out-the-game technique to good effect (Roman 43, me 27).

Next up I introduced Roman to Ticket To Ride by Alan R. Moon. I loved this game from the first time I played it, and I though Roman would like it too. He did. We played a couple of games, I won the first despite a cronically stupid move in the closing rounds. I'd completed all my route cards so I thought I'd draw some more. I drew the three cards and discarded the one I was miles away from out of hand. There were two others, a coast-to-coast which I was about eight carriages away from completing and a shorter route which I was only four carriages away from completing. I choose to keep both of those. In my next turn I went to start claiming the routes I needed and I realised I had only six carriages left. There was no way I could claim the coast-to-coast route I had elected to keep, and I was destined to lose the twenty-two points it was worth. D'oh! I still managed to sneak a win though (Roman 89, me 93). The second game was an opportunity for Roman to display his strategic thinking again and he romped away with it, completing loads of routes and winning by a mile (Roman 134, me 111).

The last game of the night was Football Tactics 2006 by Randy Thompson. I'd won a free copy of this during the World Cup, and was yet to play it. We set up the game and fortunately for me, Roman was there to translate it - as the copy I have is in German. We played two twenty-minute halves (the game comes with a stopwatch and is timed). I quite enjoyed this one. There is quite a lot of tactical play involved despite the roll-and-move nature of the game as you can move your pieces forwards and backwards, left and right and diagonally, and they can change direction once during their move. I liked the timed nature of the game - it added a feel of urgency, and the breadth of football rules that had been incorporated was impressive - offside, tackles, free kicks, fouls, corners and goal kicks. Good stuff. I'd definitely play this again. The game finished one all, and it was bed-time.

There were two other pieces of good news during the evening. I sold my first copy of Border Reivers to the United States, and a friend Linz (who had only received his copy of Border Reivers on the weekend) showed it to another friend, who has a friend (pretty tenuous, huh?) who writes for a wargaming magazine. The writer wanted to review Border Reivers in his magazine, and Linz was asking if it was ok to lend them his copy and give them my details. Sure! I'm all for free publicity.

Plus I received a phone call from The Wife in Canada, I'd not spoken to her for several days so that was nice too. All-in-all a good night.

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