Friday, 10 January 2014

Artifacts and Everything After

This was a special day. The day that after three years of waiting, the Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts expansion finally arrived! I immediately texted Joe to see if he was up for a game and he responded enthusiastically. It turned out he'd just bought a copy too. So I headed round to his studio (aka the Afternoon Den of Fun) for a quickie before Roll for the Soul. We decided not to explore the Orb part of the expansion just yet and simply throw in the new cards and get going. In the first game I went the tried and tested production and consumption route, while Joe assembled a monstrous horde of aliens. In the final reckoning I had pipped him by a tantalising point!

Martin 50
Joe 49

An immediate rematch was necessary. Once again I favoured consumption while Joe liked military. This time he had an interlocking set of bonus cards for Rebel, Imperium and Uplift cards and we were both drawing a huge seven cards each time production happened. And again I scored a narrow victory, thanks to 14 points of consumption on the final turn. 

Martin 58
Joe 49

It was time to head off to Roll for the Soul, where we found Adam, Tom, Katie and new (I think) Andy taking their penguins fishing. While they finished off, Joe and I had a quick game of Romans Go Home! I'm not sure of the exact score in Hey, That's My Fish! but Katie came running over excitedly to tell us she'd scored her first win at 'games club'. Meanwhile, Joe dominated Hadrian's Wall with some neat tricks:

Joe 34
Martin 17

The six of us now teamed up for the terrifyingly thematic The Walking Dead Card Game.... wait a minute, this is just 6 Nimmt with pictures of zombies and bullets on it! The new artwork doesn't really get in the way of the same old great game. Joe, Adam and I showed that experience does count by alternating the lead between us while Andy raced to the finish line. We weren't entirely sure he was joking when he said he was going for most points. Thanks to a zero in the third and final round, I just sneaked past Joe for the win. I'm afraid I don't have the full scores as I didn't know I would be thrust into the role of narrator for the evening!

As the zombies lumbered off into the distance, Gonz arrived decked out in a voluminous cagoule that put Adam in mind of a World War One soldier. He had games with him but couldn't resist the lure of Agricola with Adam and Andy. They'll have to fill in the details in the comments, but I have been reliably informed that the final score was:

Adam 39
Andy 35
Gonz 35

I suggested Kingdom Builder to the others. Katie and Tom had played it at RFTS just before Christmas, but they seemed to be in that gaming honeymoon phase where they want to learn something new every time. So, what could I do but propose the other game I'd brought with me, The Palaces of Carrara? It wasn't my fault!

Joe and I agreed that with two new players we should stick to the basic game and off we went. It was a bit of a strange one with all the cheap buildings snapped up early, Katie having a fetish for flags and a few rules misunderstandings along the way. I finally managed to achieve the game-ending goals, but only with the very last building, which would have ended the game anyway. Again, I don't have the full scores, but I won, followed by Katie, one point ahead of Tom, and poor Joe trailing in last. "I'm done with this game!" he pronounced furiously. I hope he doesn't really mean it...

The others were on the final round of Agricola and closing time was drawing nigh. Just time for the four of us to have a quick bout of Love Letter. I took a 2-point lead, but couldn't close it out and when we had to stop the scores were poised at:

Katie 2
Martin 2
Joe 1
Tom 1

Into the night we made our way, our heads full of games and our bellies full of the delicious Everything Wrap (or maybe that was just me). 


  1. What? You played before Games Club? And what do you get in an Everything Wrap? Nice write-up Martin.

    I've never played Race For The Galaxy, I'll have to remember to pester for it next time.

    Agricola started off quite friendly, before devolving into the normal mess of "you bastard, get your hands off my sheep" etc by the end. Andy picked up the rules very quickly and had by far the most impressive farm at the end with maximum points for veg, grain, sheep and cows. Gon eschewed actual farming in favour of rumpy-pumpy and a huge stack of bonus points and I had a baker who saved my bacon come harvest time. My huge family and stone house just swung the final score in my favour. I love Agricola.

  2. What *don't* you get in an Everything Wrap?

    Well actually it's just halloumi, falafel and roasted vegetables.

    Race for the Galaxy is a tough one to learn but it's worth the effort. Very happy to run you through it some time.

    And that was Andy's first ever game of Agricola? Impressive!

  3. Nice write up. I guess Adam's return to form on Agricola means that we'll never convince Sam to play it again. And well done to Katie on her first win.

    a cagoule?what cagoule? I have neve wore a cagoule, and suggesting that I have is absurd! Now, what a cagoule is? ;-)
    I guess I invested too heavily in building rooms for my farm, and when the have kids card appeared as late as possible, I was skrewed. What kind of farmer learns before how to make fences than how to make the hanky panky?? I had lots of bonus points in order to make up for my dull, empty farm, but clearly, It wasnt enough...Anyway, it was a good game,and I was clearly impressed at the easeness with wich Andy got the game...Next time, Mr. Adam!!

  5. Great first write up :) I've learned that a strong showing in rooms and workers is essential in 3 player Agricola. Do not make that same mistake in two player, as I did! Again, important for 4 and 5 player but you need a back up plan because everyone is doing it! Great first time score though. I managed to score one point once, in my second game, so it has the ability to rubbish your plans.

  6. Race for the Galaxy is a gem - Sam and I played it a lot when the base game came out, over fish finger sandwiches in Start The Bus, as I recall. Didn't we even make Ian play it with us Sam, or was that just Dominion?
    I think you'll really like it Adam - if you've played San Juan, the Puerto Rico-themed card game, you'll cotton on pretty quickly - it's better than that though.

    Henry and I played it this summer in France - he agreed to play twice, and it didn't really grab him. A day or so later, without too much begging for me, he agreed to give it a last try, and it clicked. It became our go to game of the summer.

    Palaces of Carrara. My nemesis. I wasn't really furious, but every time I play I think "I have a plan." And even if that plan is just 'copy Martin' that's still a plan. But coming fourth against two people who'd never even played before ... Something snapped in me.

    I like the game, but I'm past trying to improve at it. I don't really connect with it. I'm still floundering, after what, 7 plays? Maybe 8. I do like it though, I think it's a very solid game. I'm just retiring from trying to grock it. I never will.

    Nice write-up Martin. I have a photo of Gonz in his wearable tent - I'll try to add it to the post.

  7. I should probably have added the Agricola score - it was:
    Adam 39
    = Gon 35
    = Andy 35

  8. Nice post, Martin. There has been talk of making GNN bi-weekly and alternating with RftS nights. I like the idea but unfortunately it's not workable for me as Sally will be doing something on Thursday nights I think - or Tuesday. Basically she wants me to pick a night! Which is not unreasonable.

    Hopefully we can keep GNN going every tuesday if we have enough takers...?

  9. Re: Race for the Galaxy. I didn't like it as much as Joe did, but remember enjoying it. I can see Adam liking it a lot.

  10. Adam - the Agricola score was in my original post :)

    Sam - I'm up for Tuesdays and alternate Thursdays if others are too!