Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Sleeping Custard

When Sam found out he was unable to attend Tuesday’s meet, he sent out a call to any available gamers for a Bank Holiday Monday meet. Ian, Adam and myself answered this call.

At first, we began with Pantheon: chosen because its author was the same guy who created Stone Age. But before too long, however, we gave up on it. A mix of odd terminology and a twenty-page rule book meant that it just looked too much like work.

Instead Railways of the World was brought out. This classic has everything a gamer needs: tension, bidding, territorial struggles and tiny hexagons with railway track on them.

At first, I went south to try and pick up an early delivery bonus. I wasn’t too happy about this, because it meant building in the area around Mexico City which usually gets pretty clogged up with competing players.

Instead, though, Ian, Sam and Adam all went north. Ian played very aggressively from the start, apparently going head to head against Adam. It wasn’t until Ian revealed his baron at the end that we realised Ian was simply trying to link two towns for points.

During the game, with alcohol flowing, Sam and Ian got into a bidding war over a Engine Upgrade card. Higher and higher it went until Ian was bidding $12,000 to upgrade to a $15,000 engine. Sam was about to bid, until he glanced down at his engine card and realised it only cost him $10,000 to upgrade normally. He quickly passed, grateful that Ian didn’t call him when he offered to pay $11,000 for the card.

Sam and Ian went for a high bond strategy. Ian, though, was shipping goods around for four and five points far sooner than the rest of us. Adam started with two separate networks that he joined up mid-game, and he had two depots working for him. I had my network in the south and, despite Ian nicking all my black cubes, I did pretty well for myself.

In the end, Ian saw his bonds drag him back, while Adam and I both completed our barons for that last points-push into first and second.

Adam 54
Andrew 53
Ian 49
Sam 39

What a game! And it was only nine o’clock. Next we introduced Adam to Bruges, the game that we’re pretty sure Martin wouldn’t like. You roll dice and play cards to acquire workers or influence, build canals or houses, recruit people and fight off threats.

It may have been only nine when we started, but Adam felt his energy levels drop off a cliff midway through the game. He yawned and blinked and asked how long was left. Afterwards, he admitted he played most of the game in a haze. All of which doesn’t explain how he managed his second win of the evening. I scored my second second place, while Ian got his second third and Sam picked up his second fourth.

Adam 50
Andrew 47 and cash
Ian 47
Sam 46


  1. Great to play Railways again. I've definitely been guilty of favouring new stuff over the last few months (in part due to mine and Joe's website efforts to be fair) but it remains a classic.

    I'm yet to finish anywhere but last in Bruges but I do like it. Have fun tonight whoever goes!

  2. In Railways instead of my usual half-scattergun, half-reactive approach, I decided to let my baron dictate things. As he rewarded hotels I picked up every hotel going. The problem with this was twofold - firstly, only two hotels came out - and they collectively had one cube delivered to them in the whole game (by me!). Secondly, the rest of my game was it's usual half-scattergun half-reactive approach. What does everyone else do? Do you start the game with a long-term plan???

  3. By the way, I forgot to mention Ian entertaining us during Bruges with his catchphrase "Activate Stable boy!" giving rise to images of one of the lesser super heroes to come out of the middle ages.

  4. Activate stable boy!

    Sam - I think getting early bonuses and planning long deliveries at the end are where most of the points are. The early bonuses get you more income so you should be taking less bonds, while later on a couple of four-point deliveries beat any railway baron. Of course someone is bound to steal your cubes just before you get that network in place...

    Oh, and didn't Monday count to the division Andrew? Huh? Huh?

  5. Also - I nearly fell asleep in railways too, but it looks I covered up well enough that no one noticed...

  6. Who's turn was it?

    Planning further than one turn ahead is something I'm guilty of not doing. But equally I've seen Martin go big on bonds and make it work - he just got everything going against Andrew and I as we tried to play frugally.

    I think in the latest game I ended up doing halfway between the two which failed on both counts!

  7. re the division Adam, it was decided a while back that non-Tuesdays were non-division, as Andrew, Ian and I tend to get more games in during the week than everyone else and it gave us a points advantage...