Thursday, 30 October 2014

Essen Essence.

So this years Essen came and went and a 5th Wednesday in the month meet for the Reading Boardgame Social was hastily arranged so that the multifarious purchases of the group could be tabled. I arrived just in time to squeeze myself into a 6 player game of Colt Express. This game has an impressive "board" as it is made up of 6 little 3d train carriages complete with engine.

You want theme? - you got it
In this game each player is a wild west bad ass robbing a train of all its swag. Using a deck of movement cards you program your moves by handing them to the dealer in a predetermined turn order so that they can be re-revealed.
My baddie
Those familiar with Roborally will see a similarity here. Other players actions can interfere with your actions and cause unexpected results. Add into the mix that you can pick up damage from being shot by others and a roaming marshall you have something that starts veer into party game territory. It's not as frustrating as Roborally and only lasts four rounds. Its fast moving and actually a lot of fun with 6 players. Any hoo I managed to win in slightly fortuitous circumstances when a player carrying a suitcase full of cash dropped into my carriage at the same time I had programmed my guy to sock anyone nearby in the jaw. He dropped his booty and my next card was to pick it up.....

Me 3200
Dave 2000
Shane 1750
Chris 1550
Matt 1250
Paul H 1150

Next up for those wanting a challenge was Steam punk space exploration game Onward to Venus. This beautifully themed concoction is set in our very own solar system and playing factions that were world powers in the Victorian era. I got Ze Germans because they were the yellow counters and was facing the massed ranks of Russia, Britain, France and USA. The object of the game is to spread your influence around the planets and moons of our solar system setting up mines and factories, nabbing resource cards, victory point counters and averting the odd crisis. Players with the most mines and factories on a celestial body wins VP's in a 1st 2nd 3rd kind of way.

Earth - In an alternate Victorian space age universe

I decided I liked the look of Mars so in my first turn I flew my little space rocket to the red planet leaving one troop ship back on earth for reinforcements. This, I found out quickly, was my first mistake as no sooner than I had left orbit when the next player beat me up and nicked my factory. "Welcome to Earth!" My next mistake was to be taken in by a damsel in distress. Next to me Laura had been steadfastly collecting action cards until it was discovered that she had passed the 10 card threshold. Since we were all new to the game I felt it unfair to penalise her into discarding them as she had been using actions to collect them, therefore we agreed she could use them next turn. To repay that kindness she promptly destroyed several of my military units using the same cards in her hand that I had strived to save. (This is a little dramatic. She probably would kept those anyway BUT THATS NOT THE POINT.) In fact this became quite a theme throughout the game with my shiny yellow units being taken off the board due to a Yankee sneak attack. It was enough to give one a complex. Anyway the damage was done and the game owner Chris, strolled to the win.

Chris 41
Laura 34
Daryl 31
Me 22
Dave 13

The night was still relatively young so I jumped table again and joined the unboxing of another new game Boxes. This extremely simple game appears to have taken it's inspiration from the bizarre and not and all staged TV programme Storage Wars. Here, like the show, we are bidding for unknown lots of cardboard boxes each of which may or may not contain things of value. At the start of each round players may look at a certain number of boxes secretly so that they might be able to decide how much to bid. Multiples of the same colour goods create a bonus. Bidding is in two forms, closed and open.
Totally pointless gavel

I managed to not win any boxes at all through out the game. The prices just seemed too high.  Therefore I was left with the money I started with! It wasn't a winning strategy.

Paul 4150
Matt 3480
Me 3400
Paul H 3360

To end the evening we then played a couple of games of timeline which I seem to be quite good at and won both games. In fact I don't think I've lost with my deck yet....


  1. They had Colt Express in Area 51 today but it sounds disturbingly similar to Robo Rally! Also I have to stop buying games. I'm on the first step right now - recognition of a problem.

  2. Board games. Not even once.

    Colt Express, as I said in the blog, appears to be a light version of the RoboRally mechanic. Or you could say its a game that ironed out some of the complaints levelled at it.

    However the core problem of the game that you can't strategise anything, is still in there. And that can be annoying to some...